July 8, 2024

Mapping The B2B SaaS Customer Journey To Improve It Phase-by-Phase

Kevin King
Kevin King

Marketing starts with the customer. 

Everything a marketer does is impacted by how, when, where, and why a customer interacts with your company. 

But how much do you really know about them? 

Do you know where they’ll first interact with your brand? How do they engage with your product? What content will help push them through the pipeline? 

That’s the customer journey—every interaction a customer has with your business, before, during, and after purchase. If you don’t know what your customer’s journey looks like, you aren’t alone. This oft-forgotten aspect of marketing can be challenging to nail down, but journey mapping can help. 

Customer journey mapping outlines the customer journey from start to finish. That way, you can tailor every phase of their experience to meet their exact needs. It’ll benefit them, and it’ll benefit you: 

  • You’ll have a richer understanding of what your customer wants, improving the customer experience
  • You’ll boost customer retention and overall satisfaction by catering to their needs
  • You’ll stop wasting money on tactics that don’t work and start prioritizing ones that do

In this blog post, we’ll help you understand what happens in each phase of a customer journey and provide tips for mapping out the journey for your business. 

Housekeeping: 3 Key tasks to complete before you map the B2B SaaS customer journey for your business

We know you’re ready to get started, but before you ever put pen to page, there are three crucial steps to take to prepare for mapping your customer journey. Doing this prep takes the guesswork out of journey mapping. 

1. Set goals for your customer journey map

Every road trip needs a roadmap. It helps you stay the course and measure progress. 

Similarly, your customer journey map relies on clear, intentional goals to help you achieve the best results. 

If a customer journey map’s primary function is to identify phases of each customer’s path to purchasing, it’s what you do with the map that makes it a critical aspect of your strategy. These goals should be detailed to avoid vague, unreachable goalposts and align with your business’s overarching initiatives. 

Common goals include: 

  • Increasing conversion rates to close more sales next quarter
  • Improving customer retention rates at renewal
  • Garnering higher customer satisfaction survey scores in the first 90 days

Outlining clear objectives you want your journey map to help you reach ensures that you’re creating a tool that directly aligns with your needs. 

2. Create a persona for your ideal customer profile

Next, you need to understand your ideal customer profile. This ICP is a persona that encapsulates the exact type of person who could benefit from your SaaS product. It also describes their motivations or jobs-to-be-done.

Creating a comprehensive overview of your “perfect customer”—including things like their job titles, the types of companies where they work, and their demographic details—allows you to dive into their pain points and provide solutions that will actually matter to them. 

For instance, if your product is a calendar solution perfect for busy businesses with crowded calendars, your ICP could look like team leads at scaling companies, particularly in client- or team-facing roles where meetings would be abundant. 

If you operate an intuitive accounting software, your ICP would likely be the accountant at an SMB with too much on their plate, struggling to juggle company and employee expenses. 

Ultimately, defining your ICP allows you to fine-tune your marketing content so that you get the most from your customer touchpoints.

3. Identify phase zero: The moment your ICP realizes they need a solution

The first time a customer interacts with your brand might sound like the start of their customer journey. It isn’t. It takes place long before they brush against top-level content or begin the onboarding process with your SaaS platform. 

Phase zero is when your ideal customer recognizes they have a problem and need a solution. 

This will look different depending on your product. Let’s look at our previous ICP examples here. The swamped manager is struggling to schedule meetings, and they realize they need a better system. Or, the financial officer at the small business with one too many accounting snafus is determined to find a user-friendly and easily deployable solution. 

Your marketing efforts should start here. If you wait until phase one, you’re missing golden opportunities. 

Phase One: Awareness

Once someone realizes they need a solution, you want to make them aware of your product features. This introductory stage is often your first point of contact with potential new customers. 

Common ways to kick off this user journey include: 

  • Top-of-funnel long-form blog posts that rank highly on search engines
  • Social media posts, both organic and paid 
  • Influencer marketing endeavors
  • Paid advertising efforts

If a team lead at a tech startup searches “best time tracking app for freelance teams” and finds your company in the SERP, that’s their first touchpoint. 

Tips for mapping the awareness phase

To make the most out of this phase, you’ll want to consult customer data. Dig into customer behavior patterns, identify which channels your ICP spends the most time on, and ask customers how they heard about you. Talk to your sales team and get insider info on top prospects.

When you map out the awareness phase, you’ll be able to better target people who can benefit from your product—and understand how to continue nudging them closer to purchase. 

Not sure which marketing campaigns are the right content for the awareness phase? SEO agencies that specialize in B2B SaaS content can help you identify the right content to reach your target audiences. 

Phase Two: Consideration

Once a person has brushed against your product a time or two and is seriously shopping around for SaaS solutions, they move into the second phase: consideration. 

There are plenty of products out there to choose from, so ensure your marketing strategies are unique, engaging, and targeted. 

This could look like: 

  • Middle-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel SEO blog content 
  • Case studies from successful clients
  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Comparison guides showcasing how you stand up against your competitors
  • Reviews from G2 or Capterra, testimonials, or word-of-mouth referrals

Focus your messaging here and make it highly specific to folks who need your solution. You’ll nurture leads that are a good fit for your product, which leads to a higher customer lifetime value and lower churn rates. 

Tips for mapping the consideration phase

Speak directly to your potential customers’ pain points. Offer clear solutions to specific problems. Demonstrate that you understand what they’re going through and represent the superior solution. 

Consider tapping into existing customer feedback to strengthen your outreach efforts, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Your prospects are comparing you to other SaaS businesses in the market, so now’s the time to stand out. Talk about ease of implementation and other specific features so that prospects know what you have to offer.

Phase Three: Adoption

After careful consideration, a prospect decides to move forward with a product. This is called the adoption phase. 

By now, they’re familiar with your product and engaged enough to want to give it a try. Common touchpoints during this phase include: 

  • Product demos and tutorials
  • Pricing pages
  • Freemium tools and free trial sign-ups
  • Onboarding email campaigns

You want this experience to be as seamless as possible. Positive customer interactions here set the tone for the entire customer relationship.

Tips for mapping the adoption phase 

Studying the adoption phase helps you identify rough patches in your closing and onboarding processes. This is crucial to securing new customer revenue. Any dip in customer engagement here should be flagged. 

You’ll also be able to learn what encourages your ICP to sign the bottom line, that way you can better communicate ROI to future prospects. 

Phase Four: Expansion

Phases four and five sometimes switch order or will overlap entirely. Think of these as continued opportunities for customer engagement. 

Let’s first take a look at expansion. 

This stage of the customer journey is defined by growth. Expansion occurs when a customer upgrades to a new tier or adds to their contract. Whether because their needs change or your product has released new features, upsells increase the amount a customer spends on your services, boosting their lifetime value. 

A few typical touchpoints a customer will have during the expansion phase include:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • In-app notifications
  • Customer support interactions
  • Account manager conversations
  • Forums and community discussion boards

Tips for mapping the expansion phase

Customer nurturing campaigns encourage brand trust and loyalty. Here, it’s helpful to consider segmenting your customers to identify expansion and cross-sell opportunities. That way, your marketing team can build sales enablement collateral to make it easier than ever to support your new product releases and higher-tiered functionalities. 

No marketing team? No problem. When you partner with the right SEO agency, they’ll create content designed to keep customers engaged.

Phase Five: Renewal

When a contract or trial period is about to expire, it’s time for phase five: renewal. At this time, your customer is trying to decide whether or not to continue using your product. Recurring revenue depends on this phase of the customer lifecycle. 

How you’ll interact with your customer at this time often boils down to a few key touchpoints: 

  • Emails regarding upcoming renewal rates and available promotions
  • Loyalty programs and rewards for active customers
  • Customer satisfaction surveys 
  • Sales team conversations regarding renewal

Tips for mapping the renewal phase

When mapping your renewal phase, provide opportunities to receive customer feedback. Then, you’ll be able to proactively communicate things your customers may already be thinking. Here, you’ll learn what’s working for your customers and what isn’t, providing a launch point for future discussions around product, pricing, and placement.

Phase Six: Advocacy

The last stage of the customer journey is advocacy—when happy customers become spokespeople for your product. All your hard work to understand your ICP pays off because you’ve connected with people who find your product a perfect fit and are excited to share about it. Whether you’re getting tagged in a LinkedIn post or offering a referral program to recruit new customers, here are a few ways to support customer advocacy:

  • Social media posts 
  • Referral programs
  • Case studies and testimonials 
  • Community forums

Tips for mapping the advocacy phase

Advocacy works best when you reward customers for their support—consider providing incentives for providing testimonials or referring friends to your product. Plus, when it’s easy to share your content, advocacy becomes a no-brainer for happy customers. 

Learn how a successful SEO content strategy supports every phase of the B2B SaaS customer journey

SEO-driven content marketing has the power to reach your customers at every step of your journey. 

With the right strategy, blog content keeps your customers engaged, from that first top-of-funnel touchpoint, all the way through post-purchase education. It can help you reach potential customers and improve customer satisfaction across the board. 

Check out our content mapping guide to transform your customer experience through impactful content initiatives.

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