By Stéphanie Jullien - June 14, 2022
The most successful marketing executives are often those who have understood, studied and properly mapped their customer journey. A thorough understanding of clients’ purchasing stages can give a competitive edge to any organization. Especially if this knowledge is supported with tools that can help staff provide the right sales support to the right person at the right time.
Approaches from marketing automation software vendors can be quite different. It can be difficult to know whether your business is best served with Microsoft’s Customer Journey Orchestration approach. Salesforce’s Customer Journey Builder is also a tool that many organizations have leveraged with success.
Read this article to find out what the customer journey is and which customer journey support approach is the best. In this article, you will also understand how to support your customer journey with perfect customer journey orchestration or mapping tools.
As any journey, the customer journey refers to a transformation, an evolution. The customer journey is the path that a person goes through until they become a customer. This includes all stages from never having heard of your product or services to becoming a recurring evangelist.
The customer journey involves all the interactions that a person may have with a business. It gathers their experiences with a business from the early discovery to a loyal customer.
There are several steps in a typical customer journey. These steps may vary slightly depending on who you ask. An example of the different stages of the customer journey could be:
There is no wonder why marketing executives are so keen on defining and supporting the customer journey. It is what makes their world go round. Consulting groups have understood this and many offer their own version of the customer journey - each with their own specific angle to it.
For example, Mc Kinsey has developed their own “Consumer Decision Journey”, one that applies well to the B2C companies.
Marketing automation platforms and marketing automation software providers have also shown interest in such journeys. Salesforce has their own version of the marketing flywheel. The flywheel is not really a full blown customer journey supporting tool - but rather another way to look at the sales funnel. The Salesforce Flywheel rightfully puts the customer at the center of a process made up of 3 phases to:
With all that focus on customer journey, one might wonder if the time of customer lifecycle is gone. Or rather, if customer journey is not just another fancy term to designate the same thing.
In truth, in many aspects, the customer journey and the buyer lifecycle are very much the same thing. Both concepts are referring to the process in which an unknown prospective customer will develop to become a customer. There are, however two small but distinct differences:
When your focus is on the customer’s journey from stranger to ambassador, you want them to receive the best individual experience every step of the way. It means understanding their needs, challenges and pain points step by step.
The customer journey mapping can be more or less complex depending on your audience. You may want to create one for each persona you are focusing on. This allows you to provide the best customer experience for each individual customer at each customer touchpoint.
Creating a customer journey mapping should always include a strategy for omnichannel promotion. Include all of your channels in your customer journey mapping exercise (emails, blogs, social media and other mobile apps).
Adobe Business Glossary defines customer journey orchestration as “ the coordination of customer experiences in real time to encourage customers to continue to engage with a company”.
Customer Journey Orchestration is about taking the customer journey mapping to (yet) another, more comprehensive level where all customer interactions and experiences are considered and leveraged. It is incorporating more consciously customer relationships into the customer journey.
It is about looking at each individual customer journey rather than a segment or a person type. It is about providing tailor-made processes to each and every single one of them.
In order to do that, you will need a complete 360-degree view and understanding of your client. This might mean integrating your systems if you are collecting data from multiple stand-alone sources. You will also need the AI capabilities that some systems like Salesforce can provide.
Microsoft is one that has recently spent a lot of time making sure that their business solutions support customer journey orchestration. The ultimate customer journey orchestration goal for Microsoft is to offer each individual customer a unique and individualized experience. Then based on this they can provide a two-way conversation throughout the entire sales process and beyond.
Very well aware that organizations with hundreds of thousands customers or more do not have the bandwidth to provide such personal dialogue with their clients. This is why they are developing their business solution, Microsoft Dynamics 365 to be able to provide them with the tools that allow spotless customer journey orchestration.
Salesforce is not far behind Microsoft with a slightly different approach, offering their clients the Salesforce Customer Journey Builder. Salesforce’s journey builder is a tool that marketing creative teams can use to implement marketing automation based on individual customer needs.
The Salesforce Customer Journey Builder is a user-friendly tool. It can easily be used by any marketing resource, even the least experienced to deliver a great customer experience.
Figuring out which tool is the best for your business might not be the easiest task. Microsoft’s vision does seem very appealing. However, it is today mostly a vision and not a series of tangible functionalities in the Dynamics 365 solution.
Salesforce’s journey builder is so far not as ambitious but can solve the customer mapping challenges of most B2C and B2B companies.