“Call for pricing.” Ah, the words every buyer loves to read. NOT.
Especially on a pricing page.
The more friction you create between your buyer and your product, the more likely they won’t buy.
It seems intuitive.
Yet, many software companies force B2B customers to get on a call just to find out pricing. Or with the vague hope that they’ll convince people to buy because “it’s easier to sell on the phone.”
Not being transparent is one of the many errors you make across the customer journey landscape. We’ve all been there.
But you’re here to discover how you can optimize the customer journey, right? So let’s get into it!
This article highlights ways to optimize every stage of the customer journey, from awareness right the way through to turning customers into brand advocates.
We’ll show you the tools to invest in and tips to execute your marketing strategy, so you can start driving growth in your business today.
It’s common to break the customer journey into stages, and we’ll get to those later, but I think we have to consider that our customers are human. They’re not ‘leads.’ They’re people looking for solutions to their problems.
So yes, we want to optimize each customer journey stage, but we also consider what each stage represents for the buyer. Consider what they’re struggling with now, how they want to feel in the future, and how we can get them there.
When we optimize the customer journey, we remove friction and make it easier for customers to buy. We become valuable partners and ensure a smooth ride. More than that, we create an incredible customer experience so they become brand advocates.
At Lean Labs, strategy comes first. A killer go-to-market strategy puts the customer at the center of your marketing efforts and differentiates you from your competition. Book a Growth Mapping Session to see the strategies we create for our clients and how we make customer acquisition their competitive advantage.
Six Benefits of Focusing on the Customer Journey
When your strategy is customer-centric, you view everything through the lens of your customer. When you know what it’s like for them to go through your sales process and buyer journey, you can optimize and iterate until you get it right.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
The first benefit is obvious. When customer satisfaction goes up, churn goes down. When customers can see that you’re taking the time to get to know them and your messaging resonates, you already provide a good experience. Providing them with relevant and engaging content builds trust and authority.
Even if you already provide an excellent customer experience, asking for feedback is good practice. The more feedback you get on how easy it is to buy from you and what you can do better, the more you can improve their experience.
A seamless customer journey should increase conversion rates and sales, provided you do everything else well (like making a sale once the customer gets on a call). And when you’re in constant touch with customers, you’ll find opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
Part of optimizing the customer journey is team alignment. Fewer customers will fall through the cracks when your team aligns, leading to increased revenue. More on this later!
Lastly, loyal customers and brand advocates will be open to repeat purchases and other opportunities to work with you. And they’re more likely to recommend you to others.
Churn is inevitable. But, you can improve your churn rate by listening to customers who drop off or decide not to buy. Ask lost customers why they didn’t choose you, and make improvements based on their feedback. This way, fewer customers will fall through the cracks, and you can address issues before customers become frustrated or disengaged.
Proactively seeking out potential issues and building strong customer relationships reduces the likelihood of customers leaving for your competitors. In turn, you reduce the cost of acquiring new customers and increase profitability.
An obvious benefit of happy customers is that they’ll recommend your business to friends, family, and colleagues. Yet many companies don’t have a referral strategy and don’t ask satisfied customers for referrals.
Provide an exceptional customer journey, tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing, and generate more referrals. It’s a surefire way to attract new customers without breaking your marketing budget.
When you’re customer-centric instead of you-centric, you set yourself apart from the competition. If it’s difficult for customers to reach your competitors, pricing isn’t transparent, and it’s not easy to buy–you have an opportunity.
Be transparent, personalize the customer journey, and make buying and using your product easy. You’ll be surprised how many businesses get this wrong.
A Better Understanding of Customer Needs
Examining and optimizing the customer journey will unearth valuable insights into your target audience’s wants, needs, and preferences. Leveraging data, you can enhance your products and services to meet customer needs and address pain points.
You’ll also demonstrate a commitment to providing a high-quality service, helping to build trust and authority in your market.
First: Map Out the Customer Journey
What does your customer journey look like? If you were to draw it on a piece of paper, do you have defined stages? Here’s an example:
Awareness → Consideration → Purchase → Retention → Reputation
Let’s briefly map out each stage.
- Awareness: Potential customers first become aware of your business. Drive traffic to your website and offers with compelling content and an intuitive buyer journey that converts.
- Consideration: There are two levers in the consideration phase; acquisition and activation. Turn website visitors into qualified leads and then nudge them along the buyer journey so they’re sales-ready.
- Purchase: By this point, potential customers know you can solve their problem, and it’s time to convince them to choose you over your competitors.
- Retention: Everything leading up to a website visitor becoming a customer counts towards an incredible experience for your customers. Provide stellar onboarding and customer service, and go above and beyond to retain loyal customers.
- Reputation: Your reputation precedes you. If you’re already solving the same problems your potential customers have, shout about it from the (figurative) rooftops.
Tools to Use for Customer Journey Optimization
Each stage of the journey relies on tools your business can use to remove friction and create an intuitive and seamless experience. Remember, though, tools are just tools. You need to use them effectively.
you need a presence for customers to become aware of you. Obvious, yes. Easy to get right? No. For example, a brochure website won’t cut it in the B2B SaaS industry, yet your website should be your best salesperson.
If your website is not doing that work, it’s time to return to the drawing board and start with the basics:
- Optimize your website for a great user experience by ensuring your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and mobile-responsive
- Put your unique value proposition (UVP) above the fold.
- Craft a compelling call to action (CTA) that guides visitors to complete desired actions.
- Make the buyer journey intuitive.
HubSpot CMS + Sprocket Rocket
Start for free! The right content management system (CMS) lets you quickly build and manage a website. HubSpot’s free CMS Tools is an entry-level version of their powerful CMS Hub. Even though it’s free, you can still build a high-traffic, high-converting, and profitable website without needing a developer.
The HubSpot Marketplace has hundreds of free themes, and Sprocket Rocket is a great option. It has free and paid versions; you can easily customize it to meet your needs. In addition, it’s 100% modular, making building beautiful, on-brand, and user-friendly pages as easy for marketers as designers and developers.
Other Tools to Consider
- SEO tools: Semrush and Moz help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords or phrases. Optimizing your website for relevant search queries can increase your visibility and attract more traffic from potential customers searching for products or services like yours.
- Your blog: Distribute valuable, helpful content to attract and engage your audience. Nudge them towards your offers. You’ll build brand awareness, trust, and authority by creating high-quality blog posts, infographics, videos, or other types of content that address your target audience’s pain points or interests.
- Strategic Partnerships: Get in front of more potential clients by partnering with businesses serving your audience. You could co-host webinars and events where you both benefit.
- Social media: Use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to reach and engage with your target audience.
- Cold outreach: Use targeted email campaigns or direct mail to connect with potential customers who may not know your brand.
- Paid advertising: Implement pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display ads, or social media advertising to drive targeted traffic to your website or landing pages.
Pro Tip: You must consistently track and analyze your awareness-building efforts. Is your content bringing in the right kind of traffic? Are you investing in the right platforms? You can use reporting tools like HubSpot and Google Analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, refine your targeting, messaging, and content to resonate better with your audience.
Once potential customers know your brand, they’ll evaluate their options. There is usually more than one solution to a problem, especially in the SaaS industry.
Customers will start evaluating whether your products or services meet their needs. Then, guide them toward a purchase decision with educational content and support. Here are some tools you can use.
Let’s say a potential customer downloads your lead magnet. Help them make the most of it by providing more value and offering something that nudges them towards working with you. For example, you could give a no-obligation call or consultation that helps them make an informed decision.
Use segmentation to send relevant content to the right audience at the right time. Use personalization to tailor your messaging based on user behavior, preferences, or demographic information.
Educational content like whitepapers, how-to guides, and checklists are a good play here.
Use lead scoring and other qualification methods to identify high-priority leads. For example, at Lean Labs, a lead is anyone who completes a desired action on our website. To become marketing-qualified, they must meet specific criteria.
You decide what those criteria are. Then, use your chosen tool to track leads and focus on those most likely to convert.
People want to see that you solve their problems for others. You can build trust and credibility by showcasing customer reviews, testimonials, case studies, and industry awards on your website and marketing materials.
Customers who see social proof can feel more confident choosing your product or service.
Analyzing Your Sales Pipeline Performance
It’s crucial to analyze your sales pipeline to identify bottlenecks, areas for improvement, and, most importantly, friction. If you don’t have an established sales pipeline with distinct stages, use a CRM tool to define one and start collecting data.
Look at specific metrics such as how many active opportunities and deals you have, the stages they’re in, the percentage of prospects that pass from one stage to the next, and average sales cycle length.
Other Tools to Consider
- You can re-engage potential customers who have previously visited your website but haven’t yet converted using retargeting ads on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook.
- You can help potential customers make informed decisions by creating videos comparing your products or services with competitors.
- Offer valuable insights to potential customers through webinars that dive deeper into your products or services.
Pro Tip: Align sales and marketing teams to ensure effective communication and provide a consistent and seamless experience for potential customers during consideration.
Customers are ready to buy… but will they buy from you? Getting them on a sales call is essential and making the buying process easy. It should be smooth and frictionless, from booking a call to signing the contract.
Use tools like Calendly, Zoom, or HubSpot Meetings to streamline appointment booking for sales calls, demos, or consultations. Potential customers are more likely to purchase if you make connecting with your team easy.
Contract Management Software
Use contract management software such as DocuSign, PandaDoc, or Dropbox Sign to simplify creating, signing, and tracking sales contracts. Your customers will benefit from a seamless, efficient purchasing experience.
Personalize and optimize the purchase process with AI-driven tools. Use AI to send automated emails to customers who abandon their carts, send push notifications to re-engage inactive users, or follow up with customers who don’t engage during free trials.
Track the Right Metrics
Evaluate your sales and marketing efforts by monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and close rate. These metrics can help you find friction, identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategies.
Tie it All Back to a CRM
CRM platforms like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM can help you integrate sales, marketing, and customer service. Your team will be able to provide a consistent and seamless experience throughout the purchase process since all customer data and interactions will be centralized.
A Frictionless Ascension Path
Make it easy for users to upgrade to paid plans if your business offers a freemium model. Ensure that the upgrade process is frictionless, offer targeted incentives, and highlight the benefits of premium features.
Pro Tip: Transparent pricing is essential and will set you apart from competitors. If you’re not honest about price, you create friction.
It’s time to focus on maintaining and nurturing relationships with your existing customers, encouraging repeat purchases, and turning customers into brand advocates. Strong customer retention requires excellent customer service, continuous value, and personalized experiences.
Collect customer feedback using tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. Customer feedback is essential for identifying improvement areas and demonstrating dedication to customers. It’s also crucial when planning a new product launch and should play a role in your go-to-market strategy.
Create loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat purchases, referrals, or other valuable actions. It works particularly well for referral programs. If you need more subscriptions, get your users to invite friends and offer them both an incentive.
To go a step further, personalize rewards.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Take advantage of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to provide timely support, resolve concerns, and highlight your brand’s personality. Active engagement and responsiveness on social media can help build customer trust.
Customer Success Management Tools
Gainsight, Totango, or ChurnZero are helpful tools for monitoring customer health, identifying potential problems, and ensuring customers achieve their desired outcomes. Investing in customer success can reduce churn and increase loyalty in the long run.
Pro tip: Exceptional customer support is the cornerstone of retention. Your product should speak for itself, but when customers inevitably have problems, they want multiple channels for assistance. So go above and beyond to fix their problems and ensure your support team is knowledgeable, empathetic, and responsive.
Think about it. When you’re checking out a product online, what’s the first thing you do besides looking for a price? If you’re like me, you look for reviews. A good reputation radiates trust. A poor reputation is an instant red flag.
Use platforms like Google, G2, or Capterra to encourage and gather customer reviews. Reviews help build credibility and trust in your products or services, influencing potential customers’ purchasing decisions.
Reward customers who refer new business to your company with referral programs. Offering incentives or rewards can encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experiences with friends, family, or colleagues, ultimately driving new leads and business growth.
Active Social Media Profiles
Like it or not, you need active social media profiles to gain and keep attention. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, it doesn’t really matter. But you must regularly share valuable content, respond to customer inquiries, and encourage customers to share their experiences and interact with your posts to build trust and credibility.
Does your website have a case studies page? It should. In-depth case studies demonstrating your products’ and services’ tangible benefits are a great way to showcase your customers’ success.
You can help potential customers understand the value and impact of your offerings by showcasing real-world examples and measurable results.
Pro tip: Respond to both positive and negative reviews or feedback promptly and professionally. Build trust and improve your reputation by demonstrating that you value customer opinions and are committed to addressing their concerns.
Tips for Execution
As you can see, with multiple stages in the customer journey, you have various opportunities and touchpoints to optimize your customer experience. And I think there’s an important distinction to make if you’re going to be customer-centric.
Optimizing your funnel is essential, but when you humanize it and call it a customer journey, you’re more likely to focus on your customers’ needs instead of thinking about moving a lead from one stage to the next.
Be data-driven. We have so much data we can leverage, customer feedback to user behavior, and messaging to user experience. When you use a tool like HubSpot, you have a single source of truth with your data in one place.
Continuously iterate and improve. It’s OK if you need to go back to the drawing board: you’re not going to get it right every time. Data shows you when you need to pivot. Your customers will tell you when they’re not happy.
Lastly, embrace a cross-functional team. You must eliminate silos so potential customers don’t fall through the cracks. For example, marketing and sales teams must work together to provide the materials that answer critical buyer questions.
Execute Customer Journey Optimization With Confidence
Start mapping your customer journey by following the process above to create a customer-centric culture by identifying pain points and opportunities to improve at every customer journey stage.
From customer journey mapping and analytics to referral programs and automation, various tools and strategies help businesses optimize the customer journey.
At Lean Labs, we know that optimizing the customer journey starts with figuring out your potential customers. What drives them to want to change? Who are your competitors? How can you stand out? And how can you get them on a call with your sales team?
If you can’t answer these questions, your customers will stumble or get stuck on their journey.
Jump on a free Growth Mapping Session with us. Whether you want to create your growth strategy, launch a better website, or 10X your traffic, leads, and customers, we can point you in the right direction.
There will be two outcomes from this call: You’ll realize you need to level up your game, or you’ll get validation that what you’re doing is working. It’s a win-win.
Book your Growth Mapping Session here.