Is Your Customer Journey a Continuum?

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happy man smiling and celebrating the customer success

Everything should start with the customer. What do they need, what are their pain points, and what other emotional barriers are they facing? 2021 will continue to be full of change for most people, and for your company to be successful you need to put that emotion right at the center of every customer interaction. 

My favorite thing to say to a customer today is that I’m here for the long haul. I’ve seen their end-to-end life cycle with Allocadia, and that perspective holds me accountable for creating the best experience possible for them. This perspective has helped me develop this concept of a revenue continuum — in other words, your customer journey is a never-ending loop of touchpoints.

It’s all in the data

The data you get from customers, their experience, their struggle, and your struggles to service them can feed back not just into product strategy but also your market strategy and your sales process. That information will make the sales process more consultative by identifying struggles early, thereby improving the post-sales cycle. And if you connect all of these touchpoints and data streams, you create a revenue continuum. Creating that continuum for your company is how you create revenue success and how you enable your company’s growth to go from static to rocket-ship status. 

Not all revenue is created equal — there are different ways to acquire, renew, or grow a customer account, and they all require a plan. And all those plans, and the teams involved in those plans, need to connect. Grab a piece of paper and write down all the teams that are involved in generating revenue at your company — can you connect all the dots of your customer journey in a big circle? If you can’t, those gaps in the continuum are where you’ll want to focus first. 

Customers first strategy

I’ve always been passionate about putting customers at the center of all business processes, but 2021 is the year it’s critical to implement a revenue continuum around your customer journey. 

There are three main considerations as you build your continuum:

  • Frame your continuum within the customer experience and the value delivered during that experience — outside/in. Look at the individual customer experience and the whole account experience to create the right expectations for their journey with your company.
  • The investments you make with time/money/resources need to align with the full continuum. As a marketer, sales, or customer success leader, you need to understand how all activities and programs have a primary goal and a secondary support service. Pipeline focus may be the primary concern, but how those activities support the full journey needs to be considered in planning as well.
  • Bust those silos, which inherently create inefficiencies in generating revenue. When this becomes a cross-team initiative, you’re giving content and programs longer life cycles and enabling sales and CS to leverage different moments to delight the customer.

I’ve seen this continuum work incredibly well at both Allocadia and other companies to improve multiple processes for revenue teams:

  • It smooths out transitions when a customer moves from one team to the next, because consistency is built into the whole experience. It should make your team more agile if there is a feedback loop from customer success back to marketing, so employees can pivot and iterate on that information and create continuous improvement across all teams.
  • From a planning perspective, no strategy should be just about a single point in time. Your investments can be more effective and efficient by looking at the primary goal. For example, we’re trying to improve user adoption right now, as well as looking at how other teams can support that goal. Because improving user adoption isn’t just about the CS team’s engagements, we also have a content strategy now around encouraging broader team adoption so we can fix this issue before they’ve even signed a contract. Part of this is our MPM Maturity Model that is used to educate prospects, identify their major challenges during the sales process, and support adoption once they’ve become an Allocadia customer.
  • Resourcing is improved if you make customers smarter through their interactions with marketing and sales, because you then prevent issues in post-sales. This drives customer success efficiency, which also then accelerates deal cycles because you’re a trusted advisor early on. Plus, you need fewer resources applied to those educated customers after the sale, because they’re already prepared for the value you’re going to provide. This means you’ll need to consider GTM choices and tradeoffs at a leadership level that impact the entire continuum; don’t look at one department at a time.
  • Bring intelligence from churn and win-loss reports and put that back into the market strategy. Those insights are critical to ensuring that your team is creating educational and top-of-funnel programs that resonate deeply with your prospective customers and ensures there is consistent messaging throughout the entire journey.

Final thoughts

The ultimate goal for a customer-centered continuum, which we’re still perfecting at Allocadia, is that you’re revealing things when relevant to the customer, but the entire continuum is consistent. Think about your stakeholders — they’re your buyer in the beginning but your influencer later on. Often those who are in support roles in the beginning of a customer relationship become your greatest advocates. When you look at what’s missing from your diagram, is there one gap where you know you could make some quick impact? Or a gap that’s already being discussed internally, and you know you could get internal stakeholders excited quickly? 

This isn’t just a passion project; it’s backed up by data. Boston Consulting Group calls it a customer-journey-at-scale, and companies can realize cost reductions between 15% and 25%, and revenue increases of 10% to 20% with this approach. So, let’s all make our 2021 business goal to eliminate random acts of revenue. If we as revenue leaders can stop these random, siloed acts and start looking holistically at the customer journey, we can accelerate our revenue growth as the world shifts into a post-pandemic period and build a better future for our teams, customers and business.

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