Buyer’s Journey vs the Customer’s Journey. What’s the difference?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We have all heard the term, Buyer’s Journey. We have also heard the term, Customer’s Journey. Do they mean the same thing? If they are the same, do I pick a term and run with it? If they are not, which “journey” do I build my CRM’s sales funnel around?

We hope to answer these questions. Let’s look at each journey.

Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey is the steps a consumer takes to purchase a product or service. The stages of each journey are:

  • Awareness – The buyer has a problem, or a need and they are looking for a product or service as a solution.
  • Consideration – The buyer understands their problem. They have found potential solutions (different products or companies) and begin to research which one will help them.
  • Decision – The buyer has picked a product or service. They move forward with the transaction.

Here’s an example. Sandra’s family is prone to allergies and 2 of her 3 children have a weak immune system (awareness). She needs better air quality in her home, so she begins to research products that clean the air in her home. She sees that options include portable systems and systems that connect with her furnace (consideration). Sandra decides she wants a system that integrates with her furnace and narrows the choice to businesses that do installations (decision).

Customer’s Journey

The customer’s journey starts after the buyer’s journey. The customer’s journey is focused on their experience and continued engagement with you after the purchase. It involves all touchpoints as a customer from social media to customer service.

We will continue the example. Sandra purchased the product and installation service. She has moved from the buyer’s journey into the customer’s journey. Her customer journey will regularly interact with the business. She will receive automated email updates (driven by the business’s CRM). She will be invited to follow the business on social media where she can see product updates and service promotions. Customer service will be available if Sandra has issues with her air quality product. Her customer journey will be ongoing.

So what’s the Difference?

The buyer’s journey and the customer’s journey have different goals for the customer. Each journey produces different results:

  • A customer must go through the buyer’s journey first to become a customer.
  • The buyer’s journey is pre-transaction as the buyer is learning about the best solution for their need. The customer’s journey is post-transaction which is about nurturing and building loyalty.

So, this begs the question, which journey should I build my CRM’s sales funnel around? The answer is both. Although they are different, your sales funnel needs to include both. If you focus the use of your CRM solely on the buyer, your customer retention is going to suffer. At the same time, if you focus your CRM strategy on nurturing the customer, you will have a difficult time converting buyers because most are not ready to buy at the top of the sales funnel.

Over the course of the next couple of blogs, we are going to dive into this deeper. Although the journeys are different, you can use CRM to guide prospects from buyer to customer. Our next blog will start with practical ways to use your CRM to guide the buyer through awareness, consideration, and decision.

If you have questions about implementing a CRM strategy and how to effectively use it for your company, contact us at 301-332-0613 or fill out the contact form. We want to help you attract, nurture, and convert more leads to customers.

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