Your B2B customer journey has these touchpoints

You know your direct sales channels, of course. But what about touchpoints earlier in the B2B buying process? Do you have a strategy to attract enough traffic and profitably convert the leads you gain? We'll show you how to find the most important touchpoints in your customer journey.

Touchpoints

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In the age of digital marketing and multi-channel sales, companies are connecting with their customers in more places than ever before in business history.

However, the ability to connect with customers through so many channels is both a curse and a blessing.

While the multitude of touchpoints along the customer journey should be used to encourage customers to buy products, it can also cause customers to be lost to the company before they buy.

Customer Journey

Source: Customer Journey according to Aioma

This multitude of touchpoints on the customer journey poses a particular challenge for many companies. B2B companies in particular run the risk of losing sight of important touchpoints, as the customer journey often lasts longer than in the case of B2C.

What are touchpoints?

Customer touchpoints (usually referred to as touchpoints for short) are all situations where a lead or customer comes into contact with a company or brand. These touchpoints between companies and contacts exist before, during and after the purchase of a product or service.

On the customer journey from the initial contact to the purchase and finally to the use of a product or service, there can be a varying number of customer touchpoints at all stages. The number of these touchpoints between company and customer depends on both the size of the company and the complexity of the product or service that a lead is looking for or comes into contact with.

Touchpoints occur both online and offline.

They can take different forms, such as interactive (e.g. a website), static (e.g. an advertising brochure) or human (e.g. a salesperson).

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Companies should constantly keep in mind that at every touchpoint of the customer journey, an impression is left on the customer, whether it's visiting the company website, reading a product comparison, or speaking with a sales representative.

These impressions can be cognitive and emotional in nature. The cognitive aspect refers to the information the contact learns about the company, its brand, and its products at the touchpoint. The emotional aspect, on the other hand, refers to the feelings that arise in the customer at the moment of contact. This feeling towards a company is also referred to as brand experience.

Touchpoints are so important to businesses because they always leave an impression on the customer, regardless of how important the business deems a touchpoint to be.

Especially at the touchpoints of a B2B customer journey, the challenge is to be able to offer the customer a positive and coherent experience over a long period of time.

Do you know the touchpoints of your customer journey?

As already mentioned in the introduction, it is absolutely critical for every company to know the different touchpoints through which contact with a potential customer can take place.

They should know and understand which channels their future customers are on, get inspired, find out about and compare products, form an opinion and make their purchase decision.

Companies that know the touchpoints of their customer journey can target their knowledge to direct their customers to the right channels and ultimately turn them into paying and returning customers.

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Companies that do not have an overview of their customer touchpoints, on the other hand, will find it much more difficult to accompany their customers and successfully turn them into paying customers.

As a rule, such companies will lose their customers somewhere between the contact points on the customer journey.

Incomplete Customer Journey

Source: Incomplete Customer Journey according to Aioma

How to find and design your B2B touchpoints

To create a coherent customer journey, all possible touchpoints need to be defined and evaluated. This allows you to decide which ones have the highest chance of success and on which channels you should focus.

This is the only way to actively shape the customer experience and to lose as few customers as possible between the individual touchpoints.

When identifying customer touch points, companies need to ensure that both online and offline points are fully considered.

The touchpoints of your customer journey can be divided chronologically into three phases:

  • Before the purchase,

  • during the purchase

  • and after the purchase.

In the following, we will show you which touchpoints come into question.

B2B Touchpoints

Source: Own representation

Touchpoints before the purchase

Before a purchase is made, a customer goes through countless touchpoints. In a first step, the customer notices that he has a certain need. Either he notices this on his own or he is made aware of it via online and offline advertising or an exciting article.

To satisfy his need, he turns to information sources he knows, such as Google, social media channels or the advice of acquaintances in the industry. His search is usually focused on his need and not a specific product or brand.

Typical touchpoints for this phase would be:

  • Search engines

  • How-to videos

  • Blogs

  • Forums

  • Case studies

  • Testimonials from other industry representatives

In the pre-purchase phase, it is therefore particularly important to be present on the channels that are relevant to the target group.

Touchpoints during the purchase

Most companies nowadays offer their customers the possibility to buy their products and services through different channels.

Possible touchpoints during the purchase are:

  • Website

  • physical showroom

  • Catalogue

  • (virtual) trade fair

  • telephone sales

  • Sales force

Touchpoints after the sale

Many companies make the mistake of neglecting their customers after a successfully completed sale. But it is precisely the touchpoints after the purchase that are crucial for the customer to keep the company in good memory for a long time and to return to it for a next purchase.

An intelligent after-sales strategy not only turns (one-time) customers into returning customers, but also into loyal brand ambassadors who promote the company and its products free of charge. Investments in the care of existing customers are therefore always also investments in the acquisition of new customers (see pre-purchase touchpoints).

These touchpoints of the customer journey can have many different forms. They include the following channels:

  • Customer service or support

  • regular newsletters with further articles

  • Surveys

  • Feedback

Conclusion

Identifying and analyzing all the touchpoints a company has with its customers is a basic requirement for making marketing and sales customer-centric.

Only through a full understanding of the customer journey and all associated touchpoints can a company ensure that it successfully accompanies its customers throughout their entire journey.

In many companies, the analysis of touchpoints reveals the weak points in customer relationship management. Companies should use these touchpoints to steer contacts in the right direction and turn them into paying and returning customers, as well as loyal brand ambassadors.