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  • Writer's pictureMonique Olan

Maximizing revenue & operations with buyer journey mapping

Truly understanding your buyer's journey is not just advantageous—it’s essential. But often businesses confuse the external buyer/customer journey with internal marketing, sales and customer service operations.

These are not the same. But they are connected.

Doing the research to understand the buyer journey -- especially as more than 70% of it occurs before they reach out to the brands they may want to purchase from* -- and then mapping this journey and its intricate touchpoints against your internal operations, data flow, tech stack, and more, is a foundational cornerstone for revenue growth.

This blog unveils a systematic approach to documenting your buyer's journey -- including revealing the unique format and approach of PivotalPitch's Buyer Journey & Operations Map and Buyer Data Matrix -- that highlights how this crucial understanding and documentation can be harnessed to optimize your go-to-market and post-purchase teams, drive revenue, and improve operational efficiency.


Understanding the buyer/customer journey

The buyer journey has evolved dramatically since the digital revolution. At its core, it encompasses all the stages a potential customer goes through before deciding to purchase a product or service.

It's far from linear, often a complex web of interactions, decisions, back and forth motion, etc., influenced by many channels, sources, touchpoints and so on. That said, in order to understand it, we'll often look at it as an order of stages that they go through in that decision process.

The five core stages

PivotalPitch five stages of buyer/customer journey

One of the most common ways to view the journey is through five primary stages:

  1. Awareness: The potential buyer realizes they have a problem or need.

  2. Consideration: They start researching potential solutions to this problem.

  3. Decision: The buyer chooses a solution and proceeds with a purchase.

  4. Retention: Post purchase, the new customer is supported to stay a customer.

  5. Advocacy: If retention is good, the business turns the customer into an advocate.

This simplification overlooks the nuances and the reality that today's buyers often loop back through stages multiple times as new information is uncovered and comparisons arise. But using this flow of understanding is going to be the foundation for how you map that journey with your internal operations.

Is it 'buyer' journey or 'customer' journey?

It's argued that the buyer journey is just the shorter first three stages of the journey, while the customer journey is all five. But the word "buyer" can stand for someone pre or post purchase, while "customer" stands for someone post-purchase, so really the concept should be reversed.

At PivotalPitch, the buyer and customer journey are the same.

Semantics are not important. Understanding across your internal teams and how you operate against that understanding is.

The modern pre-purchase buyer journey

With the shift to digital and the expanded influence of the internet and social media, the way consumers interact with brands has fragmented and decentralized the journey.

  • The number of touchpoints and engagements needed to move a buyer through the journey has increased.

  • The need to do so through more dynamic and integrated campaigns and methods has increased.

  • The self-guided researching and informing process by the buyer prior to engaging with a sales team has increased.

  • The expectation of clear value articulation -- both for the business and the business' user -- has increased.

It's pretty clear why this journey is so important to understand. Seeing the world through the eyes of the buyer is fundamental to meeting their needs, addressing pain points, steering them towards your solutions, and then retaining and growing them once they convert.


Our approach to mapping the journey

Visualizing this journey is key. But it's not about creating just another flowchart; it's about mapping out a comprehensive view that aligns with the customers' perspectives, your brand's internal processes, and the technologies that support these interactions. And then it's about maintaining that visual as a master source of truth for your business, departments, go-to-market, and on.

This comprehensive mapping is what we at PivotalPitch call the Buyer Journey & Operations Map.

The three crucial layers of the map

Visual example of PivotalPitch/s Buyer Journey & Operations Map

1. Buyer Perspective Journey

The most challenging yet the most rewarding part is charting the journey from the buyer's viewpoint. It requires deep diving into the "dark journey"—the pre-engagement phase—and requires rigorous research, customer interviews, and market trend analysis. The goal is to step into your buyers' shoes and understand their every move and motivation.

2. Internal Process and Operations

Clarity is your best friend when it comes to internal processes. You need to pinpoint every interaction your company has with the customer and understand what happens behind the scenes. This includes identifying touchpoints, backend activities, team roles, and the timing of each interaction.

Pro Tip: Enhance this layer with hyperlinks to SOPs, templates, and other resources for quick access and smooth execution of tasks.

3. Technology and Systems

Your tech stack should not just be a set of tools; it should be an ecosystem that complements your buyer's journey. Mapping out your technology and systems against the buyer journey helps align your data sources, uncover the value of each tool, and identify gaps and overlaps in functionality.

This mapping ultimately gives you a source of truth for how the buyer and business interact. It's one of the easiest ways to determine where you have gaps and inefficiencies. It also enables you to see and plan out areas to improve, add automation, etc. It's also a great way to prioritize what marketing campaigns to do, when and how, based on the experience of your buyer and the most needed areas of support and opportunity.


Optimizing operations against the journey with data

The next key asset we at PivotalPitch develop to then take the Buyer Journey & Operations Map and actually operationalize your customer insights into a critical growth lever is to develop what we call the Buyer Data Matrix.

This is a foundational source of truth document (again) that ties together all the data points that matter in that 5 stage journey, including...

  • Buyer demographics, firmographics, psychographics, etc.

  • Market pain points and problem recognition.

  • Solution categories, value proposition, features/functions, etc.

  • Other custom business categories and data points.

  • Lifecycle stages across marketing, sales and customer support.

  • Marketing and demand generation methods, sources, content categories, etc.

This then plays a huge role in how you set up your technology to help inform, track and maintain these data points, how your teams are informing or informed by them to make decisions or take action, how you understand marketing performance metrics against revenue success, and more.

One of the easiest ways to cripple your revenue growth potential is to have messy business data, no maintenance or sources of truth for it, and not operationalizing it effectively.


Conclusion: transforming insights into action

Understanding the buyer journey and effectively mapping it against your internal operations is more than just a strategic exercise; it's a transformational process that aligns every facet of your business towards common goals—delighting your customers and driving sustainable growth.

At PivotalPitch, we've honed this process into an art, crafting bespoke Buyer Journey & Operations Maps and Buyer Data Matrices that serve as living documents, guiding businesses to not just meet but exceed their growth ambitions. These tools are not static; they evolve as your business and your buyers do, ensuring you remain at the forefront of your industry.

However, the true power lies not in the mapping itself but in taking informed actions based on these insights. This is where many businesses need a guiding hand—someone who not only understands the intricacies of these strategic assets but also knows how to leverage them for maximum impact.

This map is not just a diagram; it’s a strategic asset. If you haven’t yet developed this for your business, it’s time to start. And if you need a guide to lead this endeavor, you know where to find me.

How to elevate YOUR business knowing all this

If the journey to maximizing revenue and operational efficiency seems daunting, you're not alone. Many leaders recognize the need but are unsure where to start or how to integrate these insights into actionable strategies.

This is where I can help. With over 15 years of experience in aligning marketing strategies with business goals, I offer a partnership that goes beyond consultancy. Together, we can transform your buyer journey insights into concrete actions that drive revenue, streamline operations, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Interested in exploring how we can unlock your business's potential together? Let's start the conversation. Book a consultation with me, Monique Olan, and take the first step towards operational excellence and unparalleled growth.

*Study done by 6Sense, January 2024.


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