Best customer journey support: Salesforce vs Dynamics 365

By Beate Thomsen, Co-founder & Product Design - June 14, 2022

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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. 

What is referred to as a customer journey?

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. 

The different stages of the customer journey

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: 

  • Stage 1: awareness, which consists in spreading the word about your products and services. For marketers today, a great part of the awareness phase consists in pushing a message “out there”. That message is often found by coincidence or at a very early stage of purchasing consideration.
    During that stage, people are doing early research and searches. The art for businesses is to “be there”, at the right place, at the right time with the right message and value proposition.
    Branding, as well as clear positioning and sharp messaging are crucial to this stage. 
  • Stage 2: consideration, which is the time where potential buyers evaluate and compare possible solutions to their challenge.
    During that stage, businesses must prove to potential customers that their solution is the best for them. They can do that by different collaterals, literature, videos, posts and other communication means they are providing.
  • Stage 3: conversion, where prospects take the next step and agree to get in a dialogue with a business. At this point, they want to know everything about your products and services.
    During this stage, it is important to provide the answers to all the questions or worries they may have. This includes things they don't even know about. You have gotten the customer’s interest, now it is up to you to deliver the best value proposition. They must feel like they cannot keep living without your solution or services. 
  • Stage 4: purchase. This stage is what all companies are striving to achieve. This is not the most support or collateral craving phase of them all but rather the result of thorough and hard work in the previous stages.
    During this stage, you can provide proof of your solution or services’ efficiency and benefits. Most of all, you need to have a fair and compelling pricing model that will make the actual purchase possible.
  • Stage 5:retention. The retention stage is sometimes underrated. It is however a vital part of the customer journey. It is important for you to have happy customers that will stay there for a long time and not run away to the competition. If you offer a subscription based solution, this is very important. And, it is especially true if you have additional goods or services that you can up- or cross-sell to them.
    During that stage, it is important that you maintain the dialogue from where sales, implementation and/or support left it. A well-balanced mix of emails, mails and calls can be the best way to remind customers that you are here for them if need be. 
  • Stage 6: advocacy Nobody will deny the importance of customer advocacy. This is simply because good reputation and word of mouth are the cheapest way to promote your business.
    During that stage, you can help them be heard by suggesting customer reviews, the creation of case stories or testimonials. You can also invite them to speak with/for you at customer-facing events.

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: 

  • Attract
  • Engage
  • Delight customers.

Customer journey vs customer lifecycle

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: 

  1. The customer journey is viewed from the perspective of the customer, while the buyer lifecycle is understood from the perspective of the retailer.
  2. The customer journey has a focus on pushing the customer through the sales cycle. On the other hand, the customer lifecycle puts more emphasis on retaining the customer’s interest in order to keep selling to them. The vision and importance of customer retention are vital right from the beginning. Selling to existing customers is often easier than selling to new customers. 

Customer Journey Support

What is customer journey mapping?

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). 


What is customer journey orchestration?

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.

Customer journey orchestration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing

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. 

Customer journey mapping with Salesforce

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. 

About the author

Beate Thomsen, Co-founder & Product Design

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As co-founder of the Rapidi Data Integration platform, Beate has spent over 15 years on its development, building it around her motto: 'keep it simple, functional yet beautiful.'
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