How Understanding the Customer Journey Increases Sales

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How do you develop a sales promotion program that will resonant with your target customers? Where do you start?

One key component that we’ve talk about in previous posts is knowing who your customer is. We’ve discussed understanding their demographics and psychographics so that you can appeal to their emotions and their basic wants and needs. Remember, a successful sales promotion is designed to change their behavior to buy now.

Customer Journey Mapping

With that in mind, the more you know can help you design the program to increase your chances of changing their behavior and increasing your sales. A key element to improving your sales

Understanding your customer's journey can be key to the right sales message.
Understanding your customer’s journey can be key to the right sales message.

process and ultimately maintaining the customers you gain is through a better understanding of the customer journey within your organization. Have you ever considered customer journey mapping? It helps you to have a fundamental understanding of each step the customer goes through and diagramming their experience within your company.

Basically you want to look at the first engagement to trial to buying to sharing to either upgrading or buying again or choosing an alternative from a competitor. By doing this analysis it will help you understand what will motivate them to go to the next stage. Maybe you have an in-store promotion that leads to trial but then they never go to step two which is actually buying the product. What is stopping them?

If you develop the customer mapping you can see what the customer is doing at each stage and how your company is treating them. Maybe the trial includes a touchpoint with your company – how are they treated? Or maybe your product has instructions for use or are directions for assembly, are they confusing and difficult to follow – is that why they never make it to buying your product?

Do you have automatic processes in place to thank them for their business when appropriate and engage them?

There is no true science or right way to create your journey map. You and your organization will need to determine what’s easiest to understand. Some like to create a diagram that looks like a story with pictures of each of the steps with the customer and the company’s interaction at each step. Others may develop a spreadsheet or timeline of the various activities, motivations, questions and barriers that are encountered at each step of the process.

Purchase Funnel

All knowledge of the customer experience with your sales process can help you in developing the next phase of your understanding by looking at your purchase funnel. This type of model helps you to outline the behavior of your customer throughout your sales process.

Update your sales message based on where your customer is in the funnel
Update your sales message based on where your customer is in the funnel

Think about the top (large end) end of the funnel as the larger audience that has some awareness of your product or service and the funnel gradually shrinks in size as the purchase cycle goes from research to consideration to purchase. The size of your funnel shrinks as you have a natural loss of potential customers through those stages.

Why does understanding this additional process help your sales promotion programs? As you understand where potential customers are in their decision making process you can design your sales promotion message to be more personalized and aimed moving them from consideration to purchase.

Think moving them to another product within your line, it might be time to develop a gift with purchase promotion. Or Is it time to encourage that test drive of a new car? How is the dealership presented (clean, professional appearance)? Are you salesman well trained and understand all the various options for the car and promotions?

Remember the purchase is just a model that is another way to help you describe the customer journey from the moment of contact with you to your ultimate goal for them, a purchase from you and repeat purchases.

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