For any business, growth is the aim: more leads, more signups, and more revenue. But today, with competition rife in saturated industries, businesses must work harder to grab the attention of their consumers and convince them that their product and/or service is the right fit for them.
While there’s no magic formula, a personalized approach will do wonders: interact with your leads and customers like you know them, because you do. You can gather their demographic and behavioral data, and make informed assumptions about their needs and expectations (e.g. a lead downloaded X whitepaper so they are most likely interested in Y; a customer has X problem which can be solved by Y), and then curate personalized customer journeys that speak to their real situation. The result? A high conversion rate and increase in customer advocates.
In this blog, we will discuss what makes an effective customer journey, and the three journeys every SaaS/B2B business should create.
What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is a path of interactions an individual has with your brand or product and/or service based on their behavior. Customer journey marketing is a framework for acquiring, nurturing, and growing customers by automating such interactions. It proactively drives the customer experience using data-driven personalization to convert leads into customers at scale.
SaaS and B2B companies can create visual customer journeys in Ortto to guide their leads towards adoption and customers towards expansion and advocacy.
Journeys will vary depending on the individual’s preferences, behavior, and relationship to conversion. For example, a journey that a top-of-the-funnel lead will be guided on will look different from that of a hot lead (prospect), a new customer, or a long-term user, and so on.
If you’re starting out, the three customer journeys you should create first are:
Lead nurture journey – converting leads into customers.
Welcome/onboarding journey – ensuring customers are successful when they adopt your product or service.
NPS/feedback survey – ensuring customers remain engaged to prevent churn.
We’ll expand on these three journeys in more detail later in the blog.
The stages of the SaaS customer journey
Knowing the different stages of the customer journey will help you define your objectives when creating journeys – specifically the type of individual you’re communicating with, their needs and expectations, and how to engage them.
The stages of a typical SaaS customer journey are awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, adoption, expansion, and advocacy.
This stage is for individuals are conducting a broad search for a solution that addresses a problem they're facing. They have come across your product for the first time, perhaps via an organic Google search or through online reviews, and want to dig a little deeper.
This is the first stage of the buyer’s journey and is all about driving brand awareness, so ensuring your content is enticing, personalized, and relevant to their pain points is crucial. Utilize multiple channels to drive awareness including social media, website content, email, SMS, and webinars or events.
In this stage, the customer is looking a little more closely at your solution to see if the range of services or features available will be able to solve their problem. As it can take some time for the customer to evaluate their options, this stage can have a longer timeframe.
An extensive content hub of blogs, whitepapers, case studies, reports, and webinars will help in explaining how your offering can address the needs of the customer.
At this stage, individuals are at the purchasing tipping point. They may be vetting a few different offerings by watching demos or doing free trials to explore products and features. The earlier an individual can get an understanding of the value of your product or service and the more personalized interactions they receive in their nurture journey, the more likely they will be to convert.
This stage is when a lead becomes a customer. Your focus here should be on ensuring that the transaction is as smooth as possible and they are ready to start using your product or service right away.
This is about creating a seamless onboarding experience to reassure your new customer that they made the right purchasing decision. A flawless welcome email, personalized support interactions, easy access to guides, how-tos and tools to set them up for success, fast responses to queries – all of these things will keep your new customers satisfied and engaged, which will reduce churn.
At this stage, your customer has been using your product or service successfully and has solved their initial problem. How can you encourage them to expand their usage to increase MRR? Can you introduce them to new features or upgrade their plan to cater to their growing team? There are many expansion opportunities, but the customer must believe it is worth the additional cost.
This stage is about identifying your best customers: the ones who have been using your product successfully and are highly engaged. Now’s the time to turn them into brand advocates – to spread the word to their network via social media, write online reviews or testimonials, and participate in case studies.
Three SaaS/B2B customer journeys to create
Now that you understand the stages of the customer journey, you can start to create some journeys. Below are three journey examples, why they are important for SaaS/B2B companies, and how to create them in Ortto.
1. Lead nurture
The first journey you should create is a lead nurture journey, to convert leads in the consideration/evaluation stages down the sales funnel to conversion.
A lead nurture journey may include different prompts and utilize various channels, such as email, SMS, ad retargeting, website content, or social media. Each prompt should be personalized and informed by the individual’s demographic and behavioral (and more) data to maximize effectiveness.
To be entered into a lead nurture customer journey, leads can be automatically qualified once they take an action such as filling out a form on your website or completing a lead generation form on Google or Facebook ads. This will turn them into a known visitor, allowing you to communicate with them directly.
You can also put your leads into an audience to be retargeted with ads on Facebook, Google, or Twitter to reach high-quality prospects who are more likely to convert. Learn about Ortto’s new Twitter integration in our blog.
Below is what a lead nurture email journey could look like in Ortto.
An individual has come across your brand (perhaps via an organic search or an ad, and signed up to download an ebook or attended a webinar, for example) and provides their email address
Straight away, they are sent a Welcome email outlining what they should expect to receive from you. The email content should encourage them to click on the email, which positively impacts email deliverability (that is, the likelihood emails land in the inbox instead of the spam folder. Read about email deliverability in our blog)
If they clicked on the email, you could wait a day or two and then send them some content relevant to their use case, e.g. a blog, then perhaps a report, then a case study, and then a request for a one-to-one session with a product specialist
If they clicked on the case study email, you could wait for two weeks and then send them an email about how to build a business case for your product or service
If they clicked on the business case email, route them to a sales representative who will reach out to ask if they would like to discuss how your product and/or service could benefit them
If they didn’t click the business case email, you could repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 (using fresh content)
By sending leads interactions based on their behavior and engagement, you will have better conversion success.
Below, see how easy it is to build a lead nurture journey in Ortto.
Another crucial journey all SaaS and B2B companies should create is a welcome/onboarding journey. This is to ensure that every individual who subscribes or signs up for your product and/or service receives a personalized introduction.
The aim of onboarding is to help the customers realize the value of your product or service as quickly as possible. To help ensure a seamless experience, you can boost usage and engagement by congratulating users for completing various tasks and onboarding milestones via onsite/in-app messages. You may also send them educational content such as guides and how-tos via email/SMS to help them reach value realization.
Below is what a welcome/onboarding journey could look like in Ortto.
An individual becomes a customer
Their response will be used as a filter, sending them down an onboarding journey that includes how-to content around specific tasks that will help them quickly see the value of your product. For example, if you were a productivity app, it might be ‘How to create a task.’
If they don’t complete the task, they are sent a reminder email a day later
If they do complete the task, they will be congratulated and sent a new how-to, like ‘Add a team member’
Customers will exit the audience and the journey when they get to the end (i.e. have completed all onboarding tasks)
You could also add in-app messages to help to guide them along the onboarding journey, or SMS to welcome them, or send transactional reminders. You could also create notifications for your support/success team to follow up with a customer if they are not engaged in the adoption stage, so they can take action.
It’s important to collect customer feedback throughout the customer lifecycle. Create NPS survey journeys to track promoters, passives and detractors to prevent churn and build advocacy. Remember: all feedback is valuable.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular customer feedback mechanism. It asks the question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” The scoring is split across three segments: promoters (scoring 9-10), passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6).
You can tag customers based on whether they are promoters, passives, or detractors using engagement scores, and create relevant customer journeys that engage and follow up with them accordingly. For instance, you may celebrate your promoters to maintain brand advocacy, or you may send detractors on a re-engagement journey, asking for more detailed feedback so you can help solve their issues and prevent them from churning
Below is what an NPS survey journey may look like in Ortto.
When a customer hits a certain criteria (e.g. they have completed a certain action) they would see an in-app notification that pops up and prompts them to complete the NPS survey
If they score between 0-6, tag them as a detractor which will automatically send them an email or SMS asking them to elaborate on their feedback. This could also alert the customer support team (via email or Slack) that there is a new NPS rating, who could then follow up with them to find out what more they can do to improve the customer’s experience. Alternatively, if a customer is tagged as a promoter, they would be automatically entered into a journey where they are asked to leave a review on G2 Crowd or Capterra. This tag could also alert the customer support or marketing teams to reach out to them about participating in a case study. If the customer is passive, you could end their journey there, or reach out with a standardized customer survey to discover what you could do to turn them into a promoter.
If the detractor doesn’t click on the follow-up email, send them another email with a promotional offer/discount if they provide more feedback
There are many variations of customer journeys that SaaS/B2B businesses should create, but the three mentioned are the best places to start. Try for yourself by signing up to Ortto for free.
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