Buyer Enablement

The emlen Guide to Building a B2B Customer Journey Map

You know how frustrating it is to put effort into a prospect only for them to vanish. But what if you could be proactive about improving customer retention, personalizing interactions, and boosting conversions? A customer journey map is the key to making that happen.

Let's explore how to use your resources to get the best results and avoid wasted effort. First, we'll cover the basics of B2B customer journey mapping.

min read
Mar 27, 2024

Fundamentals of B2B Customer Journey Mapping

A B2B customer journey map visually represents the steps your potential customers take as they interact with your business. It offers insights into customer motivation, needs at each stage, and potential roadblocks.

Why is this so important? Think about it this way:

→ Deeper audience understanding

B2B buying decisions aren't made by individuals. Understanding the roles of everyone involved—decision-makers, important stakeholders, end-users—is key to tailor your approach. Journey maps force you to get specific about who you're serving.

→ Identify areas for improvement

A B2B SaaS customer journey map can shed light on pain points where things are stuck, points of confusion, or places where customers abandon the process. This lets you address pain points before they cost you leads.

→ Strategic advantage

Having a clear journey map lets you prioritize initiatives and resources toward making the biggest impact. It aligns marketing, sales, and the customer service team, ensuring everyone is working together toward the same goals.

Key Components of a Great B2B Journey Map

  • Customer personas: Detailed profiles of your ideal customers. These help you empathize with your buyers and understand their goals, challenges, and motivations.
  • Stages of the journey: The typical steps your customers go through, such as awareness, consideration, decision, and (hopefully!) becoming a loyal customer.
  • Touch points: Every interaction a customer has with your brand, including seeing an ad, attending a webinar, or speaking to a salesperson. Consider adding these B2B customer journey touch points to your map.
  • Emotions and pain points: Acknowledge how customers feel along the way. Where might they become frustrated, overwhelmed, or delighted? This information is incredibly helpful for optimization.

Here’s an example:

Imagine a potential customer who sees a LinkedIn ad for your project management software. A solid B2B customer journey map template will not only note this as the 'awareness' stage but also capture what motivated them to click that ad, how smoothly they transitioned to your website, and what obstacles they might face as they research your solution.

Create a comprehensive B2B customer journey map in 3 steps

Mapping out your ideal customer journey might seem overwhelming at first, but it's a game-changer for improving your B2B sales and marketing! Think of it as creating a detailed roadmap for understanding how your ideal customers find you, interact with your brand, and ultimately decide to buy. Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started.

Step 1 - Define your ideal customer(s)

You wouldn't start a road trip without a destination, right? The same goes for your customer journey map for B2B. Start by building detailed customer journeys and personas. This means going beyond basic demographics and digging into things like…

→ Industry and company size

What specific sectors and types of companies do you serve best?

→ Job titles and roles

Identify both the key decision-makers and the people influencing the purchase (they're not always the same!).

→ Pain points and needs

What problems keep your ideal customers up at night? How can your product or solution make their lives better?

→ Goals and motivations

What are these individuals and their companies trying to achieve, both short-term and in the bigger picture?

Step 2 - Identify Key Touchpoints

Now, let's chart the potential routes your customers might take. List out every way they might encounter your brand, from the obvious (like ads and your website) to the less direct (like word-of-mouth or online reviews). Some key touch points to consider include:

  • Social media: What platforms are your customers on? What kind of content resonates?
  • Content: Whether it’s your blog, whitepapers, or case studies, make sure this content offers value in your B2B customer journey.
  • Events: Webinars, conferences, or local meetups?
  • Sales interactions: Demos, consultations, etc.
  • Customer support: Negative interactions can potentially shape how customers view you!

Step 3 - Craft Your Map Visual

Customer journey map courtesy of

There's no single right way to create the map itself. Here are some B2B customer journey map examples:

  • Simple timeline: Especially useful for linear journeys with a straightforward sequence of steps.
  • Matrix structure: Great if you have different personas involved at various stages.
  • Customer experience chart: This maps out touch points but also dives into underlying customer thoughts, emotions, and opportunities at each stage.
  • Tools and templates: Many software solutions and platforms provide customizable visual templates and features to assist with the mapping process. A B2B customer journey template can help get you started!

Important Note: Don't just map your actions. Think about what customers do on their own, too – reading reviews, seeking peer advice, etc. Tools and templates are fantastic, but the core goal is understanding the full buyer journey.

Analyzing B2B customer journey maps

A well-crafted digital customer journey map is much more than a cool graphic to stick on a wall. To drive actual business results, you need to actively analyze it for trends, bottlenecks, and opportunities.

Here are three ways to extract the maximum value:

1. Spotting pain points and moments of frustration

Pay close attention to sections in your map where negative emotions pop up for customers. Confusion, long wait times, or finding irrelevant content all raise red flags. 

Ask yourself the following questions…

  • Are there common points where customers seem to drop off? Why might that be?
  • Do any parts of the journey take particularly long (ex., the time between a demo request and it actually happening)?
  • Where are customers forced to jump between departments or repeat information?

2. Highlighting positive experiences

It's equally important to look for the bright spots! Look for touch points that consistently evoke excitement and clarity or make the customer feel understood. Understanding why those moments work well can help you amplify that kind of experience across the entire customer's journey.

3. Leveraging analytics and customer feedback

Data is your friend when analyzing a journey map. Supplement your observations with:

  • Engagement metrics: Analyze click-through rates, time spent on your website, or social media performance to see which touch points are the most effective.

  • Customer feedback: Surveys, testimonials, and interactions with support teams uncover the "voice" of the customer, enriching your map analysis.

  • Tools for analytics: Here's where emlen comes in with its buyer engagement analytics features. For example, seeing what content customers dwell on in your digital sales room tells you which pain points, or features have their attention at which stage in their journey.
how does work?

Imagine your map flags 'lack of personalization' as a frustration point. You might dig deeper with customer surveys to reveal which channels tend to feel overly generic. Armed with that insight, you could focus on tailoring website recommendations or providing curated content at that stage.

Beyond the Map

Don't underestimate the value of anecdotal evidence or individual buyer stories. They might point out problems a broader analysis misses, enriching your buyer persona journey map over time.

Optimizing Touch points across the customer journey

A beautiful customer journey map on its own won't get you far. You’ll start making real progress when you dig in and analyze it for those make-or-break moments. This is how you find pain points to fix, positive customer experiences to replicate, and those hidden opportunities that could lead to major growth.

Think of your map like a treasure hunt, but instead of gold, you're looking for red flags! Pay close attention to areas where customers seem frustrated, confused, or simply disengage completely. 

But it's not all about fixing problems. Look for those moments on your map where customers seem to feel excited, understood, or delighted. Why do those moments work so well? Understanding this will help you create a more consistently positive experience.

Your observations on the map are a great start, but data adds that crucial layer of certainty. Here is how you can do that…

Engagement metrics

Where are customers clicking, spending time, and interacting meaningfully?

Customer feedback

Surveys, reviews, and even recorded support calls offer customer insights you can't get anywhere else.

The emlen advantage

Buyer engagement analytics tells you not just if customers look at content but how it shapes their decision-making.

Here's a quick scenario:

Imagine you’re a company selling manufacturing software. Your map shows a drop-off after the free trial phase but also high engagement with your 'ROI Calculator' tool.

This suggests customers are interested but might be struggling with justifying the cost internally. You could respond by offering case studies with hard numbers, or a sales consultation focused on building a business case.

The impact of digital transformation on the customer journey

Digital technology isn't just about tweaking your customer journey – it's a major shake-up! B2B buyers today have different expectations, and the businesses that adapt quickly will be the ones that thrive. 

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and imagine you’re on a tight deadline. You're not going to wait until Monday morning to call a sales rep, and you might not even want to during regular business hours. You want answers NOW. This means ensuring your company offers:

→ Intuitive websites and content

Can customers easily find what they need, whether it's product specs, a support article, or a case study showcasing results?

→ Knowledge bases and AI tools

24/7 access to troubleshooting guides and answers to common questions demonstrates you value your customers' time.

Gut feelings used to be a big part of B2B sales and marketing. Not anymore! Today, data is reshaping how we understand customer emotions and respond to customer behavior. How?

Predictive analytics

Don't just react to trends—anticipate them! Look for patterns in customer behavior to forecast needs and prepare before the market shifts.


Say goodbye to blasting generic offers. Segment your audience and use data to deliver content and messaging that feels incredibly relevant.

Tracking ROI

Data doesn't just boost sales. It makes your whole company smarter about where to invest time and money.

New technologies pop up all the time, and although we can’t predict the future, some tech trends have a big effect on the B2B customer journey. For example, immersive tech like AR/VR could allow your buyers to experience your offerings remotely in ways that weren’t possible previously.

Your sales teams could also adopt tools like emlen. Our digital sales rooms offer dynamic, content-rich spaces where sales reps can track prospect engagement for deeper insights. 

Go digital or get left behind

B2B businesses that adopt a "wait-and-see" approach with emerging technology risk getting stuck in the past. Instead, embrace experimentation, stay plugged into industry trends, and be willing to re-evaluate your existing customer expectations and journey map in light of digital innovation.

Customer journey: Getting company-wide alignment

A stunning customer journey map tucked away in a marketing team folder won't change your company. The real magic happens when everyone understands the customer journey and feels invested in optimizing it. But we all know how tough it can be to break down those internal silos! 

Here's how you can start:

Your customer journey map is the perfect tool for sparking collaboration, but only if it's shared widely. Think beyond static documents and embrace these tactics:

✔️ Create a shared knowledge base

The map, personas, and any insights should live in a platform everyone can access and contribute to.

✔️ Hold cross-functional workshops

Bring sales and marketing teams, as well as product development and even customer support, together to see how a seemingly small decision in one department impacts the big picture.

✔️ Create shared goals and metrics

Move away from department-specific targets. Create goals around improving the overall customer journey and experience (like reducing onboarding time) that motivates teamwork.

Now that you’ve looked at updated tactics, it’s time to make your customer journey map central to all initiatives. It needs to shape your company’s daily work. So now, you need to consider how it informs things like:

  • Marketing messages: Do ads feel like generic sales pitches, or do they speak directly to customer pain points in a way that matches where they are in their journey?
  • Sales training: This can help tailor your team’s approach based on your buyer’s stage in the journey. Early on, it’s about education. Later, it’s focused on overcoming objections.
  • Product development: Let your buyer’s voice guide your product roadmap. This will reduce frustrations along the map.

You’ve centralized your tactics. But is your tool stack helping or hindering your success? Spreadsheets can only take you so far. For complex journeys, having the right tools can make all the difference. 

Think about combining the power of your CRM data with your map for a richer customer view through CRM integration. Or, let everyone contribute to the map with collaboration tools to draft those personas in real-time, with version control to avoid chaos.

If your map identifies a gap in your content resources during the 'consideration' phase, the marketing team shouldn't work alone to create new content. Collaboration with sales could reveal typical questions they get at this stage or with the product team to offer more in-depth technical comparisons as buyers get closer to a purchase decision.

✔️ Leadership matters

The leadership team of any organization has immense power to further improve customer retention and establish a customer-centric mindset. Emphasizing the impact of the customer journey on overall business goals and making customer satisfaction a central metric motivates cross-functional efforts long-term.

Capitalizing on analytics for dynamic customer journey mapping

Your customer journey map is a starting point, not a finish line. To truly stay ahead of the curve, you need to harness the power of analytics to continuously refine your understanding of how customers behave.

Customers don't always tell you directly what matters most. Data reveals the truth. Track these key things:

Website traffic and behavior: 

  • Where do people click?
  • Where do they abandon?
  • What type of content keeps them engaged?

Social media engagement:

  • Which platforms drive meaningful conversations?
  • What formats do customers share the most with their networks?

emlen’s buyer engagement analytics:

  • What sparks a buyer’s interest in your digital sales rooms?
  • Who do they share content with?
  • How does that influence decisions?

Analytics helps you identify trends and turn a mass of data points into actionable insights. You should look for patterns that can give you a sales and marketing edge.

💡Be aware of seasonal buying cycles. Do certain industries slow down during summer? Ramp up your outreach efforts or adjust content in anticipation. 

It’s not just industries that have changing needs but your buyers, too. Are your existing customers suddenly asking about that new feature your competitor offers?

You should be proactively addressing these kinds of issues to help keep them on your side of the fence.

But how can you be ahead of the game? With predictive analytics. Think of the most sophisticated analytics as a fortune teller for your sales team.

Predictive analytics can help you understand who is truly ready for a sales conversation or who needs more nurturing. 

You can also monitor your churn risk when you identify early signs that a customer might be jumping ship. Then, you can create strategies to make sure you keep them on board.

Also, you can use predictive analytics to see the types of content that will truly move your buyers based on previous behaviors.

⚠️ Note of caution: Analytics are incredibly powerful, but they remain tools—not a crystal ball. Always temper data-driven actions with common sense and your human perspective on who your customers are.

Use your customer journey map for tailored experiences

Blasting everyone with a generic pitch in B2B is completely out of touch. A solid customer journey map is your secret weapon for delivering exceptional, personalized experiences across every touchpoint. 

Stages of the buyer's journey courtesy of Hubspot
Stages of the buyer’s journey courtesy of Hubspot

Here’s what you can do…

1. Stage-driven content and outreach

Think of your map as a guidebook to your customer’s mindset. What matters most to them changes along their buying journey, too, so your content and outreach need to evolve with them:

→ Awareness

Focus on the big-picture pain points and how you uniquely solve them. This isn’t the time for blasting your features.

→ Consideration

Dive deeper with case studies, comparisons (like battle cards), and technical resources. Show them that you’re not just an option but the best choice.

→ Decision

Now’s the time to emphasize ROI, offer implementation support, and tailor content to the specific priorities of their role. 

2. Segmentation for meaningful personalization

Personalization is more powerful when it’s targeted. Segmentation helps you deliver the right message to the right audience. Here are some things you should keep in mind…

→ Industry focus

Speak the language of the customer’s industry. A manufacturing client won’t care about the same things a healthcare company does.

→ Role-based personalization

A CFO or the site manager will have different motivations, even if they’re within the same company.

→ Behavioral tailoring

emlen’s analytics reveal which content resonates with an individual buyer. Use that data to tailor follow-ups.

3. The importance of consistent personalization

Don’t let amazing personalization moments be rare! To build trust, ensure a seamless experience with the following:

  • Customer Data Platform (CDP): Every customer-facing team member needs a complete picture of buyer interactions and insights.
  • Real-time customization: Can your website, chatbots, or email marketing tailor content on the fly based on known customer data?

Imagine an enterprise software solution catering to HR leaders. Prospects visiting from job boards could receive different initial prompts than organic search prospects demonstrating awareness of specific product features.

Those requesting a demo should see content catering to their industry's common implementation questions.

Ethical Considerations: Always approach personalization responsibly and be transparent about data collection. Customers may be impressed by how "well you know them," but a creepy overreach can backfire in an instant.

Preparing your B2B customer journey for what’s next

The B2B world moves fast. What worked yesterday might flop tomorrow. The key is building adaptability into the very core of how you approach your customer journey. 

Agility is essential. Be prepared to quickly adjust your map, resources, and messaging in response to economic shifts, new tech and trends, and competitor strategies. That just means you need to stay current but always be customer-focused

You should be following major shifts within the markets you serve and anticipate their impact on the needs of your customers. Make feedback a regular process, not a once-a-year survey! Always build regular check-ins with your buyers and sales teams with continuous feedback loops. 

Finally, future-proof your tech stack by considering scalability and integrations/APIs. Can the tools you’re using handle a surge in sales, and will they play nicely with your existing tools? 

How emlen enhances your B2B customer journey

What can can do for your business? 💡

You've crafted a beautiful customer journey map. It's filled with insights about your ideal buyers, pinpoints pain points, and guides your content strategy. But now comes the hard part – turning all that knowledge into actions that drive sales. This is where emlen makes the difference.

Think of emlen as your bridge between the theoretical and the real world. It gives you both clarity and the tools to execute. Instead of guessing about what customers might do, emlen's analytics show you what they're actually doing within your sales rooms. 

Which content sparks excitement? Who are the hidden influencers in a buying group? Are certain slides making buyers tune out? This intel is pure gold!

emlen isn't just about optimizing content. It's about empowering your sales team to strike while the iron is hot. Real-time collaboration features mean reps can see who's forwarding content, engaging deeply, or suddenly going radio silent.

Now, your reps can tailor their outreach, personalize follow-ups, and act on those crucial moments of buying interest that can be easy to miss in the traditional sales cycle.

Why emlen is the smarter choice

  • Actionable insights: Go beyond data points to understand exactly which parts of your content strategy succeed and where optimizations are needed.
  • Personalized and efficient: Deliver sales experiences that cater to individual needs without overwhelming your internal team.
  • Enhanced revenue outcomes: Turn customer understanding into more closed deals with insights fueling proactive engagement throughout the B2B buyer journey.

Start building your B2B customer journey map

You now have the knowledge to transform how you understand your B2B customers. You've learned the fundamentals of journey mapping, the importance of personalization, and how to leverage data to make those maps even more powerful.

But the true value comes from taking action. Start by sketching out a basic map, gathering feedback from your team, and refining it over time. Don't let the pursuit of perfection become the enemy of progress.

Remember, the best customer journey maps are living documents that evolve alongside your business and your customers' ever-changing needs. Tools like emlen can streamline this process, providing insights that elevate your sales engagement from generic to truly personalized.

The B2B world moves fast, and those who understand their customers best will be the ones who win. Don't get left behind – empower your teams, delight your customers, and unlock the growth potential a strategic customer journey map can bring.

Marc is co-founder of emlen and responsible for the go-to-market strategy and execution that convinces today's modern B2B buyer.

Subscribe to our blog!

Stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest on buyer enablement.
Subscribe illustration
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Table of contents
Enjoying this article? Share it with the world!

Articles like this