GUEST POST from Geoffrey A. Moore
Customer journeys are a mainstay of modern marketing programs. Unfortunately, for most companies, they are pointed in the wrong direction!
Most customer journey diagrams I see map the customer’s journey through the vendor’s marketing and sales process. That’s not a customer journey. That is a vendor journey. Customers could not care less about it.
What customers do care about is any journey that leads to value realization in their enterprise. That means true customer journey mapping must work backward from the customer’s value goals and objectives, not forward from the vendor’s sales goals and objectives.
But to do that, the customer-facing team in the vendor organization has to have good intelligence about what value realization the customer is seeking. That means that sales teams must diagnose before they prescribe. They must interrogate before they present. They must listen before they demo.
That is not what the typical sales enablement program teaches. Instead, it instructs salespeople on how to give the standard presentation, how to highlight the product’s competitive advantages, how to counter the competition’s claims—anything and everything except the only thing that really matters—how do you get good customer intelligence from whatever level of management you are able to converse with?
The SaaS business model with its emphasis on subscription and consumption creates a natural occasion for reforming these practices. Net Revenue Retention is the name of the game. Adoption, extension, and expansion of product usage are core to the customer’s Health Score. This only happens when value is truly being realized.
All this is casting the post-sales customer-facing functions of Customer Success and Customer Support in a new light. These relationships are signaling outposts for current customer status. Vendors still need to connect with the top management, for they are the ones who set the value realization goals and provide the budgets to fund the vendor’s offerings, but for day-to-day reality checks on whether the value is actually getting realized, nothing beats feet on the ground.
So, note to vendors. You can still use your vendor-centric customer journey maps to manage your marketing and sales productivity. Just realize these maps are about you, not the customer. You cannot simply assign the customer a mindset that serves your interests. You have to genuinely engage with them to get to actionable truth.
That’s what I think. What do you think?
Image Credit: Pexels
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I completely agree – and this speaks to the continued reminder to business folks that “you are not your audience”.
Over the years, I have always advocated that business is about fulfilling needs, wants and desires for the end user/audience/etc (preferably using psychographics).
Human beings want to do/achieve things which are largely meaningful to them – and those meanings will change. Any business which just wants to impose its own pathways on everyone else is going to struggle in the mid/long term.
I always try and make sure that any time I speak during Customer Experience (CX) workshops, etc. that I start my sentences with “I am not the customer, but my personal experience …”
If we are building a customer journey in absence of a group of customers, we call it the “voice of the business” not the voice of the customer, and try to get the clients to invest in validating their perspectives on what the customer journey might be with customers in some way, if they’re not willing to invest in having customers in the room when the customer journey is built.
And as you mention, these things only represent a snapshot in time. The customer journey actually evolves over time along with their wants, needs and jobs-to-be-done.
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