The B2B customer journey experience (CJX) is a highly complex and matrixed relationship that encompasses every single touchpoint you have with your customers. It starts with the initial outreach from your sales team, continues into the hands-on experience the customer has with your product or service, and extends all the way through the renewal phase.
How well you manage this journey plays a pivotal role in your company’s success. However, too many businesses silo off the different functions that interface with customers, responding to their needs in a disjointed and uninformed manner. When this happens, major problems arise and you risk significant churn and lost revenue.
On the other hand, an exceptional customer journey experience is built on continuity, insights, and clear communication across departments. Intelligently orchestrating these fundamentals at every touchpoint will lead to improved customer outcomes, increased retention, and revenue growth.
With so many changes in how a B2B sale has typically been made, your sales reps don’t get nearly as much time with a prospect as they did in the past. You have to make every conversation count. And with innovations brought on by increased digitalization, prospects nowadays can track down nearly every piece of information they need to make a purchase online without ever saying a word to a salesperson.
While buyers are more educated than ever before, they are also experiencing information overload. Gartner research shows that prospects spend 15% of the entire buying cycle just sifting through all of the sales content they receive, and Forrester has found that 78% of buyers say salespeople come to meetings with totally irrelevant materials. But by personalizing and tailoring your sales conversations, you can increase purchasing ease by 40%, add real value, and start the customer experience off on the right foot.
Start by really getting to know each one of your prospects, inside and out. Understand the problems they face, their long and short-term goals and growth targets, and how your business can play a part. Focus on what’s going well, what isn’t, and identify champions and detractors within the sales target’s organization. During the conversations and interactions with your prospects, your sales reps should be gathering this information and storing it in a centralized location that can be shared throughout your organization. These insights will be crucial to your ability to manage the relationship and set the rest of the customer’s journey up for success.
There are numerous benefits of an effective customer success operation, including:
Even though you successfully close a deal, your journey with that customer is just beginning. Remember, to provide a great CJX, you need to emphasize continuity. First impressions are everything, so it’s critical you nail the handoff between your sales and customer success teams. Depending on how that transfer goes, you can either be on the road to an outstanding experience that builds trust and loyalty, or one that leaves customers with shaken confidence and second-guessing their decision.
After the contract is signed, make sure the sales rep informs customer success managers (CSMs) how everything went. The CSM will want to know a few things, such as why exactly the customer decided to buy, what specific outcomes they are hoping to achieve, and any questions or concerns the customer had during the purchase process. This background information will give CSMs a comprehensive view of the new relationship and ensure they don’t go into the engagement blind when helping the customer achieve their desired goals.
Now comes time for the moment of truth. Have you done enough for your customer that they acknowledge the value of their business with you? Can they rely on you to solve their problems when they hit a roadblock?
Well, if you’ve prioritized creating a value-added sales process along with helping your customer onboard, adopt, and use your product to its full potential, you’ve really done everything in your control to make the renewal conversation an easy one.
If your retention team is on the ball, you should be starting contract talks well in advance of the expiration – typically 60 to 90 days. So, how can the insights gathered from the customer success team lead to higher renewal rates?
The first step is to ensure a constant flow of communication between the customer success organization and your renewal reps. CSMs can share information on what’s worked well, what hasn’t, and help suggest a course of action to take that will help navigate the renewal conversations.
At the same time, renewal reps can add significant value themselves by pinpointing common reasons customers aren’t sticking around. Armed with that knowledge, CSMs can take a more proactive approach to prevent similar problems occurring with other customers.
There are, of course, customers that will churn out of your business for any number of reasons out of your control. But if you’re willing to take the steps to provide your customers with a seamless CJX, you can significantly reduce preventable attrition, keeping – and growing – your business with them.
If you’re interested in learning more about the B2B customer journey experience, check out our recent whitepaper which goes even more in-depth into the topics discussed here. You can also reach out to us at any time to start improving your company’s CJX today!