Improving collaboration between sales and marketing teams requires careful analysis of how your prospects and customers interact with your company. Customer lifecycle mapping is a great way to do just that.
By documenting each step of the customer's journey - from acquisition to retention and everything in between - you can better understand where you are succeeding and where you need to improve. You'll also gain insight into how your sales and marketing teams contribute to conversions and the customer experience. Not only will this help improve customer service, but it can also help you increase sales and ROI.
Here are several considerations as you map your customer lifecycle:
Who are your customers?
Ideal Customer Personas (ICP) give you a better understanding of what drives them and what is important to them. To develop a comprehensive profile, you will want to examine several categories of data:
- Demographic information, such as occupation, location, type and size of organizations, etc
- Psychographic insights - their goals and challenges, what features they desire, etc
- Tracking their interactions with your company helps you understand their interests and what drives conversions
It is important to remember that not all customers are the same. Create separate ICPs for ideal customers, new target verticals, and specific segments of customers.
What types of interactions occur at different stages?
As prospects move through the buying stages - awareness, research, evaluation, and decision - they may interact differently. Tracking touchpoints at these steps let you see what drives customer decisions and where to improve.
A touchpoint is any customer interaction with your brand throughout the buying journey. Some common touchpoints include:
- Digital media - your website and social media pages
- Marketing collateral - commercials or display ads
- Purchase experience - plan selection, pricing, and the payment process
- Contact with your customer service and sales reps
- Post-purchase experience - a welcome email or phone call, knowledge base, and onboarding experience
Consider the Customer's Perspective
Once you've mapped their actions, reflect on the customer's thoughts, activities, and emotions at each touchpoint. Why are they engaging through that medium? Is it a positive experience that accomplishes what they set out to do?
For instance, if you notice that many customers are dropping off at a certain point in the journey, analyze that touchpoint carefully to determine what the customer is experiencing and how you can improve it. Similarly, if customers are highly engaged and responding positively, identify what makes that interaction engaging so you can replicate it across the lifecycle.
You can get fantastic feedback from customers by asking their thoughts about a specific experience. Use surveys or ask during interactions with sales and service teams. This will help you get into their heads.
Using the customer lifecycle map for better alignment
Now that you have mapped your customers as they engage through the lifecycle, it is time to look inward at your sales and marketing teams.
- How are teams talking about leads through the lifecycle? The entire organization should have the same definitions for when a lead becomes marketing-qualified, sales-qualified, etc.
- Does your sales team believe your leads are high quality?
- At what stages and touchpoints does marketing handoff leads to sales? How should they do so?
- What information is shared? Marketing needs feedback from sales to measure lead and pipeline quality, what features are most desired, and what collateral resonates best. Sales needs personas and activity data about leads to personalize their efforts.
- How else can your teams work together to improve the customer experience?
This exercise should help you identify opportunities to coordinate sales and marketing teams and should be revisited regularly.