It is obvious that your enterprise’s greatest asset is its customer base. Additionally, customers who are pleased and satisfied with your offerings are a powerful force behind the expansion of your company. They consistently buy from you, recommend your company to their friends and coworkers, and help you maintain and expand over time.
It may appear that this only applies to B2C companies that conduct direct sales to customers. However, it also applies to B2B businesses. In the B2B world, the customer experience is crucial for businesses to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
But how can you assess the current state of your B2B customer experience and figure out how to effectively target and make changes so that your clients are happier and more devoted? Customer account journey for B2B organizations can help with this.
The B2B customer experience is affected by various touchpoints throughout the customer account journey. When developing your customer service and marketing strategies, it is crucial to comprehend this complexity.
So, how does one evaluate the account journey and make the necessary improvements? To assist you in doing that, we have created this crucial guide.
So, let us get started.
What is a customer account journey?
A customer account journey is a sum of interactions that take place with a customer account within an enterprise. It is a mechanism that establishes the groundwork for enhancing customer experiences continuously by conducting research and analysis. Your company will quickly become submerged in the sea of information and confusing noise if you do not have a well-established customer journey.
Creating a customer account journey can tell the tale of your customer’s interactions with your brand across all touchpoints. B2B business leaders can use this process to learn about specific customer pain points, which will help them improve and personalize the various stages of the sales process.
The customer journey creates a comprehensive picture of the interactions between customers throughout the customer lifecycle journey and the roles and responsibilities of the various teams responsible for delivering that experience.
An organization will come together and develop a shared sense of ownership between teams as a result of creating a customer journey because everyone in the business will be aware of what is necessary to provide the experiences that customers expect. You can foster a customer-centric culture by doing this.
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A close look at the B2B customer account journey in a multi-stakeholder organization
To map the client journey, you must first comprehend the B2B customer account journey. As a B2B company, you still have clients and a client journey even though you sell to other businesses rather than consumers directly, as in the B2C world.
Also, in an enterprise with multiple stakeholders, the post-sales B2B customer journey commences with the onboarding stage. Then comes the adoption stage.
Next, you want to expand your accounts and retain the existing accounts. This means you must perform customer advocacy to ensure that the existing customers become your brand ambassador and promote your brand.
Once that is done, it is a matter of time before you scale the accounts and take your organization to the next level.
Now that you have taken a closer look at the B2B customer account journey in a multi-stakeholder organization, let us focus on the closing section of this write-up.
How to design and track a customer account journey for B2B enterprises?
Let us look at the various steps to design and track a customer account journey for B2B enterprises.
It can be tempting to believe that customer onboarding does not begin until a customer has formally subscribed to your service. However, we think the registration process is just the beginning of that journey.
Make the registration process as quick as you can. You want to make it as simple as possible for people to subscribe to your service. How much of the data you request is optional rather than necessary? Request the information you require to get the customer set up and use your product, and then follow up with additional inquiries.
Need a lot of details to register? Spread it out over several pages as opposed to requesting everything on one. Heap discovered that requesting sign-up information across several pages was associated with a tepid rise in conversion rates. So, if you ask for a lot of data from your customers when they sign up, spread it out over several pages to make it seem less.
Make it simple to register with a service like Google, Slack, or social media that they already use. According to Heap, this virtually eliminates friction from the sign-up process and allows potential customers to join with just one click, which has significant advantages: When people have the ability to join with just one click using a service they already use, like Google or Slack, the sign-up rates improved by 8.2 percentage points.
Distributing a welcome email to a new customer
Sending a welcome email to a new customer after they sign up is the following step in your onboarding procedure. They should be immediately redirected to your product by this email so they can begin using it and benefiting from it.
Thank the customers
Gratitude is due! Since they took the time to sign up for your product, it is crucial to convey your appreciation to your new customers.
Share tools that will aid in their launch. This could be a video showing a product in action, a link to a help article, or a list of frequently asked questions.
They may have already seen a product demo, a product tour, and many screenshots. The first time a customer logs in is when they get a sense of your product. You want to get them set up and prepared to use your product at this point. A guided tutorial or setup wizard is typically included to walk your customers through each step of the setup procedure.
The onboarding process for B2B products probably entails more than just learning how to use the product. Your product no longer exists in a vacuum; it is now a component of your customer’s technology stack. Customers might need to set up integrations with other tools, get the most out of your product, import data from other sources, or invite their team.
A product walkthrough walks customers through the steps they must take to set up and finish important tasks in your product. Your customers will learn about your product most quickly and effectively if they use it themselves:
Walkthroughs are unique because they instruct by having the user carry out the action rather than just showing them what to do.
Your onboarding process should keep customers interested and continue after they have logged in for the first time. You may want to send your customers additional follow-up emails after your welcome email, encouraging them to log in and providing advice and pointers on how to use your product.
Business decision-makers need to confirm the value a product provides for their company. Does it address a pressing issue or pain point? Does it improve or speed up processes? Operational risks and difficulties are associated with deploying new software and unforeseen costs.
Leadership must decide that the value of an innovative technology outweighs not only licensing costs but also these ancillary factors before moving forward with it.
However, this phase needs to be addressed after the sale, especially if the customer is carrying out a staged or departmental roll-out. This should be made clear in pre-sale conversations with customers.
Increased revenue from current accounts is referred to as account expansion. Account managers do this by cross-selling or upselling more products to existing customers. As a result, the business can raise earnings without acquiring new clients.
Research consistently shows that keeping and selling current customers yields a higher return on investment (ROI) than finding new clients. Customer acquisition costs (CAC) have increased by 50% over the previous five years, according to ProfitWell. To prevent churn or the gradual loss of customers, account managers must strive to deliver excellent service and guarantee buyer success.
So, how do account managers ensure account expansion, especially from enterprise clients?
Discover the Ideal Clients
Not every new client is advantageous for the business. Your sales team is likely signing up new customers who are going to churn if they are working overtime to get everyone to sign up for your good or service. This is a costly oversight.
The truth is that not everyone will benefit from your solution. A wise sales strategy understands this and prioritizes prospects with a history of being a good fit. By doing this, you can be sure that the money you spend on customer acquisition has a high return (LTV (lifetime value)).
Put the success of the client first
When an account uses your product or service to achieve the desired result, this is referred to as client success or customer success. This represents the most significant outcome of your partnership for them. Additionally, it ensures a high customer retention rate, which raises your revenue.
Business growth and customer satisfaction are closely related. A HubSpot survey of 752 businesses found that companies experiencing revenue growth are 21% more likely than those experiencing revenue stagnation to view client success as particularly important. This might be the case because loyal customers are more likely to make repeat and additional purchases.
Have a Team Committed to Customer Success
Do not let your salespeople pressure current customers with upsells and cross-sells. They frequently lack a complete understanding of how these clients interact with the business or know how to best contribute to their success.
Create a group of customer success managers (CSMs) who will be in charge of assisting clients in reaching their next benchmark. Contrary to customer support representatives, who respond to customers’ obstacles or problems with your product, CSMs foresee issues and provide solutions to improve the customer experience.
As a result, CSMs are well-positioned to manage account growth because they can point out issues and suggest solutions by offering products. A conflict of interest is produced when CSMs are required to upsell or cross-sell to current customers. To meet a quota, CSMs may pressure customers to try out new goods or services even though doing so will not help them succeed.
Only sell if it makes sense
Although it can be tempting to view meeting quotas as the ultimate objective, CSMs must remember that customers do not care about a company’s profitability. Upselling or cross-selling to customers to hit a benchmark at the expense of their success will ultimately hurt the company’s bottom line.
Customers who believe they were misled into purchasing something that does not assist them in reaching their next goal are likely to decline a contract renewal. CSMs should only promote a supplemental good or service if they sincerely believe it will aid the client in achieving their objectives.
On the plus side, CSMs who are confident that an expansion will boost a customer’s success will find it simpler to close the deal. Their conviction that it is the right course of action spares them the awkwardness they would otherwise experience when promoting a subpar solution to meet a quota.
According to customer success, pay commissions
Think about doing away with CSM (Customer Success Manager) quotas completely. In this manner, they are free from external pressure to put customer success first. Financial incentives can still be used to boost account expansion. A strong alternative is commissions based on customer success.
CSMs are more likely to spend time carefully selecting the top to upsell and cross-sell candidates when they are compensated for sales that help the client reach their next milestone. Additionally, they will not waste time trying to sell to people who would not gain anything from a different product.
You cannot just assume that your customer is content every step of the way. It is critical to gather feedback regularly. Your best bet is probably to receive direct feedback via regularly scheduled calls. Customer success managers should check in with customers on their progress and any difficulties they may have while keeping an eye on recent support calls to ensure that problems are fixed.
Periodic surveys, like net promoter score (NPS) surveys, are also beneficial, but you should ask your clients if they would like to participate. These tools give your team the means to gauge customer satisfaction and determine how likely they will continue using your goods and services. Additionally, they might identify early warning signs of customer churn, giving you time to take corrective action.
Sales is frequently in charge of account growth and retention in enterprises. Account (sales) representatives should be actively involved in maintaining regular contact with customers and ensuring their success. Additionally, marketing should be involved by regularly updating customers on new features, customer success stories, and problem-solving techniques.
With this knowledge, other stakeholders or your customer point of contact might be motivated to ask for updates or new features. As their business develops and they experience success with your product(s), they might also see the value in growing their user base or rolling it out to additional divisions or affiliated businesses.
After excellent CX comes customer advocacy. Customers who are satisfied with an organization’s goods or services are likely to spread the word about it. Organizations should know new customers’ expectations when onboarding them for a product or service. Customers are more likely to endorse a business if they can identify its objectives and gauge its success.
When customers are happy, more potential customers will hear about their positive experiences and may consider using that business for their own needs. Word-of-mouth marketing can draw new customers to a brand and result from customer advocacy.
Many people base their purchasing decisions on peer-to-peer success stories and case studies. Businesses can link a single referral’s effect to subsequent revenue increases if properly tracked.
Asking customers to participate in case studies or sending them a Net Promoter Score survey to gauge how they feel about the brand are two additional ways to gauge customer advocacy.
By giving customers a voice and providing information about what works and what does not, these surveys and conversations can assist an organization in learning more about its operations and potential areas for improvement.
After completing this exercise, you will likely notice two important things:
- Too much of your time is spent on tasks without bearing on the client account journey.
- You are not spending enough time on tasks that actually affect the client’s journey.
Considering this, you should decide what tasks are more important to complete first: those that support your journey or those that do not…
Here is where it gets simple:
The more frequently you meet the customer at each stage of the customer account journey, the more likely they will do business with you. Therefore, stop doing all of the current activities that have no impact on the account journey and step up the activities that do.
Designing truly innovative experiences is made possible by taking a step back and creating a client journey map. Engaging employees in your company’s various departments about its customers and how they interact with your brand is greatly beneficial.
A customer account journey map assists you in identifying the strengths of your business and identifying the adjustments that must be made to deliver the ideal customer experience, affect revenue, and differentiate yourself from the competition. 64
Customers are a company’s best brand ambassadors because they share experiences and offer advice. They should be acknowledged as a key component of long-term strategic growth because they have the ability to spread zeal.
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published October 12, 2022, Updated February 28, 2023