Customer Journey: Mapping, Stages, & Examples

Mar 18, 2024 - Mike Hakob

A B2B customer journey is one of the essential elements that all businesses must focus on because it’s part of the greater customer experience. Most businesses see a significant increase in revenue when they focus on customer experience.

If you’ve purchased anything online, you’ve been through a digital customer journey.

What is a Customer Journey?

A customer journey for B2C and B2B are similar. You can envision the journey as being:

  • Interactions with a brand
  • Awareness of the brand
  • Eventual purchase

Thanks to marketing, social media, or other touchpoints, your customers will become aware of your brand. Perhaps the business is looking for a solution to a problem that your company’s products help solve.

While doing research, they came across your product and became aware of your brand.

At this point, no purchase is made, and many solutions may be considered. The potential lead may add your brand on social media or schedule a demo. Over time, as you gain the individual’s trust, a purchase may eventually be made.

In essence, the customer journey is the stages the prospect takes that lead to them being a customer.

Multiple interactions take place prior to the purchase, and every customer may be at different journey stages in the process. One customer may go through all stages, while others may be very close to one of the end journey stages.

Optimizing this entire customer experience and learning from customer journey map examples helps businesses refine it to boost revenue and retention.

Why Are The Customer Journey Stages Important?

The customer journey involves 17% of time spent with direct conversations with your brand and the rest is left to independent research. Consumers on all spectrums are cautious buyers who conduct intense research and go through various buying journeys before making a purchase.

Each of the five customer journey stages is important because you never know where the potential lead is until they find your solution.

If you skip the consideration phase and don’t create materials that will help nurture these leads during this critical journey stage, guess what? A competitor will likely transform the lead into a sale because you don’t have comparison articles, case studies, webinars, or pros and cons of your solution versus a competing one.

Optimizing each stage of the customer journey empowers your brand to capture more revenue and cater to the needs across all touchpoints.

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How Customer Journeys Differ In B2B Vs. B2C Contexts

A B2B and B2C customer journey is different because the B2C buyer is less complex. When you cater to businesses, you must deal with very complex buyer experiences that may include tens of thousands of dollars in sales and multiple approval layers.

Depending on the industry, long-term value is less of a focus in B2C. Streaming services are an excellent example of this not holding true because the goal is to retain the consumer for as long as possible.

In B2B, the goal is long-term loyalty and retention. You’ll focus heavily on information throughout all customer journey stages, and you’ll need to offer extensive customer support before and after making the sale. What you will find in common is that people – your buyers – all have the same emotions and needs that must be met.

B2B customer journeys may be more extensive, but you’re still trying to educate and nurture leads to push a sale.

Customer Journey Vs. The Buyer Journey

A customer journey map template varies from a buyer journey in a few ways:

  • The buyer journey stops once the sale is finalized.
  • The customer journey includes retention and advocacy.

In the buyer’s journey, a consumer only transitions to a customer after the final phase—the decision stage. Yet, the interaction with your customers doesn’t terminate upon their purchase. Indeed, the sustained success of a business depends on its ability to retain customers.
At this point, the significance of the customer journey comes into focus.

In the customer journey, focus on improving your relationship with customers by keeping in touch regularly. These relationships make customers trust your brand more, which helps keep them coming back.
If you don’t cater to both of these journeys, it will negatively impact your business.

Benefits of Knowing The Customer Journey

Businesses and marketing teams must focus on the customer journey because it benefits the company’s growth. You’ll benefit from:

  • Increased Conversion Rates: Optimizing the customer journey will lead to an increase in conversions and leads reaching out to salespeople. You can think of your own experience. If you can’t find information on a product or case studies demonstrating the benefit of one product over another, you’ll go to another supplier. The same will happen to your business if you don’t optimize customer journey stages.
  • Maximized marketing ROI: Higher conversions maximize your return on investment. Marketing provides better results when your customer goes through a highly optimized customer journey that answers all of their questions and explains how your solution solves their problems.
  • Higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Customer lifetime value is one of the metrics in B2B that is most important. A higher customer lifetime value means you’ll spend less on acquisition and can instead focus on retention and finding ways to capture more revenue from existing customers.
  • Competitive Advantage: Optimizing customer journey stages also leads to a distinct competitive advantage. You’ll close sales faster and pique buyer interest earlier in the journey.

If you know what your customers’ journey looks like and how they interact with your brand, you’ll have an easier time traveling across the many journey stages that it includes. Before working through a customer journey map example, let’s dissect each stage and what it includes.

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What are the Customer Journey Stages?

Customer journey stages encompass all of the phases that a lead goes through when buying a product, from becoming aware your company can solve a problem to you – the business – trying to retain the customer.


In this stage, we see when the customer becomes aware of a need or a problem. Initially, in the customer journey, the business or person just realizes that they have a problem. For example, a business may need a supplier of processors for its new product because the current supplier went out of business.

A new problem has arisen for the company, and they’re researching and learning about your company’s processors to solve it.


After some time, the lead is deeper into the customer journey and compares solutions from multiple providers. Customer starts to evaluate the solutions and the options. Multiple alternatives may be considered, and the potential buyer is researching each item in greater detail to learn about the features and pain points it can help solve.


Much deliberation has taken place, and the buyer has made a decision to purchase a product or service. Your sales team will need to work diligently to close the sale. The lead will spend time comparing prices, reading reviews and comparisons, and may even demo your product.


Acquiring a customer costs 500% – 700% more than it does to retain them. Great effort must be made to retain the customer and drive repeat business. You’ll want to offer coupons and sales, impeccable customer service, and continue nurturing the buyer with email sequences.


At this stage in the customer journey, you’ve done so well that the buyer advocates for your brand on your behalf. Friends, family, and business colleagues who have a similar pain point that they were trying to solve will be referred to you.

The customer is loyal to your brand and will recommend it to anyone they believe it can help.

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How to Align Lead Qualification with Customer Journey Stages

Qualifying leads allows you to understand the lead’s ability and willingness to purchase from you. You need to remember this in all of the first three customer journey stages. For example, in the awareness stage, the lead has not gathered enough information to make a purchase.

You’ll need to nurture the lead with product demo videos, blog posts, and education-based materials. Don’t try to make the sale at this customer journey stage.

Creating buyer personas will help you align lead qualification with the current stage of the lead.

What’s the Difference Between Customer Journey and Marketing Funnel?

A customer journey and marketing funnel are similar, with each having the following:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Loyalty

Multiple funnel types exist, such as the granular or AIDA funnel, which are slightly different. With this in mind, the main difference is perspective. A marketing funnel will, in many cases, end when the sale is made, while the customer journey will include more in-depth retention and loyalty.

Marketing funnels make a sale, but the customer journey is what helps retain the customer and grow your business.

Sales funnels and marketing funnels are often used interchangeably but can differ in focus. Sales funnels are all about making a sale and guiding potential customers to buy something. Marketing funnels are wider, including not just making sales but also building brand awareness and connecting with people. However, when we talk about the customer journey, it’s about the whole experience — from when someone first hears about a product to after they’ve bought it, including how they stay loyal to the brand. Unlike funnels that end with a sale, the customer journey includes everything before, during, and after that point.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the company’s interactions with the brand. You’ll examine the experience from multiple personas to learn their actions, motivations, questions, and pain points.

Customer journey mapping examples include the entire journey, touchpoints, customer experience, and the solutions you offer.

Your goal is to understand the needs, perceptions and processes the lead has with your company, which can often go overlooked by marketing and sales teams.

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Advantages Of Customer Journey Mapping

Mapping the customer journey offers multiple advantages to organizations:

Understand The Role Of Different Touchpoints & Channels

You may have dozens or hundreds of touchpoints, and customer journey mapping allows you to gain a better understanding of the touchpoints you need to focus on in your marketing campaigns. If you’re present in all touchpoints, it will help you turn a lead into a buyer.

Personalize Your Website and The Customer Journey Across Channels

Your customer journey mapping is also a blueprint for your sales and marketing teams. You can optimize your website, personalize customer emails, and customize the journey across all channels.

If you know where the customer is in the customer journey and you personalize your website accordingly, you can lead them deeper into the customer journey.

Support Your Marketing Efforts

The more you know about customers, the shorter your customer journey can be. Customer journey mapping empowers sales teams to convert more leads by utilizing integral customer data to improve marketing efforts.

Improve The Customer Experience

Data allows you to optimize the customer experience, convert more leads to sales, and retain customers for longer. With these insights, businesses can create personalized experiences that resonate with their audience.

Predict How Customers Will Behave

Customer journey mapping can help you predict how customers will behave in each customer journey stage, so you can align your messaging and marketing to their behavior and preferences no matter where they are in your funnel.

Boost Customer Engagement Metrics

Being able to visualize and understand the customer journey allows your business to target the right audience, and improve the customer experience and user engagement metrics. It’s estimated that 86 percent of consumers will leave a brand they trusted after only two poor customer experiences.

Increase Customer Loyalty

Customer journey mapping can help improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. Research shows that 94% of customers are motivated to make future purchases with a business if they have a positive experience.

Mapping the customer journey makes it easier for your business to meet the expectations of shoppers while improving brand loyalty.

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How To Create A Customer Journey Map, Including Tools And Templates

While there’s no standard or fixed approach to customer journey mapping, there are some best practices that you should follow. These include:

Create Data-Driven Buyer Personas

The first step in mapping the customer journey is to create data-driven buyer personas. Personas are fictional characters that represent your customers and are based on user data and market research.

Buyer personas are, essentially, customer profiles that include information about their:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Personal goals
  • Pain points

A persona aims to help you imagine yourself in your customers’ shoes and understand their wants, needs, and problems.

How do you create data-driven buyer personas?

  • Start by gathering and analyzing customer data through feedback surveys, form analytics, and market research.
  • Next, segment customers into buying groups based on shared characteristics, like their location or demographics.
  • Then, you can build your personas. Create personas for each segment you want to target.

Each persona should, at minimum, define the customer’s basic traits, such as demographic information, pain points, and motivations.

Deciding What To Measure

Once you create your buyer personas, the next step in customer journey mapping is to determine the goals you want to achieve and what you want to measure.

Maybe you want to map out:

  • New customer journeys
  • Renewal journeys
  • Fixing product issues

In the future, you can create multiple customer journey maps as your goals change and new opportunities arise.

Use Tools To Collect Customer Data

Customer data collecting tools help you understand how customers interact with your product or service. The data they analyze can help you build out your personas and improve your customer journey mapping.

Some of the top tools for collecting customer data include:

  • HubSpot is widely recognized for its comprehensive marketing, sales, and service software that provides businesses with a full stack of tools to manage customer relationships and drive growth. Unlike traditional analytics tools that focus solely on website traffic, HubSpot offers deep insights into customer interactions across your website, email, social media, and more. It enables you to track customer behavior, segment audiences, and use that data to personalize the customer experience. With HubSpot, you can see not just how visitors are finding your site but also how they engage with your content, which campaigns are driving conversions, and how to optimize the customer journey from awareness to advocacy.
  • FormStory tracks and monitors the whole user interaction with the form on your website and captures how users fill out form fields. It helps you to prevent losing potential customers due to form errors by capturing partial submissions. Giving you a second chance to reconnect with those reaching out to you. FormStory with its advanced algorithms, secure data storage, and real-time monitoring analyzes how prospects interact with your forms allowing you to optimize your customer journey.
  • Qualtrics combines all of your customer data into a single platform to create a complete picture of the customer experience. It can track signals of customer frustration, find mentions across the web, and help you understand the overall customer sentiment.

Take the time to weigh your options and test different tools to find a solution that works well for your team.

Conduct Audience Analysis

Now that you’ve gathered customer data, it’s time to analyze it. Conducting an audience analysis will help you understand:

  • Who your audience is
  • What they want and need
  • Their interests and preferences
  • Their demographic information

You can use all of this data to enhance your customer persona information and adjust your messaging to ensure it aligns with your customers pain points and interests.

List The Touchpoints At Each Customer Journey Stage

At this point, you’ve created buyer personas and have collected customer data. Now, it’s time to create a list of all potential touchpoints each persona has with your brand at each stage of the customer journey.

These touchpoints should include the most common marketing channels where customers interact with your brand.

Touchpoints can differ at each stage of customer journey, so don’t skip this important step of creating a touchpoint list for each stage. Doing so will allow you to optimize your approach for each of your personas. While every customer journey is different, these are some of the most common touchpoints for each stage:

  • Awareness: Social media, blogs, ads, events, videos, and referrals from family and friends.
  • Consideration: Landing pages, SMS, emails, reviews, and sales calls.
  • Purchase: Retargeting ads, live chat or chatbots, cart abandonment emails, or product print inserts.
  • Retention: Sales follow-up messages, thank you emails, online communities, or product demonstrations.
  • Advocacy: Loyalty programs, in-person events, and surveys.

Remember that these are just the most common touchpoints. Take the time to examine and analyze each stage of your own customer journey to create an exhaustive list of touchpoints. It may seem like a time-consuming task, but you’ll eliminate blind spots to ensure your company is there for its customers wherever and however they want to connect.

Map The Customer Experience At Each Touchpoint

Now that you have a list of all touchpoints at each stage of the customer journey mapping, the next step is to map out the experience you want to create for each of these touchpoints.

For each touchpoint, consider the customer’s actions, motivations, pain points and questions. How did they get to the touchpoint and what will they do now? How do they feel at this point? Are they frustrated, curious, or excited? What questions do they have and how can you answer them? What are their problems and how can you solve them at this touchpoint and stage?

By following these steps and creating your customer journey map, you can deliver the experience your customers want while improving engagement.

Remember that your customer journey map can change over time to suit your individual needs and goals.

How customer Experience works

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How Do AI and Machine Learning Shape the Customer Journey?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are shaping the customer journey in many ways, including:

  • Improving Personalization – AI and machine learning can analyze massive amounts of data in a short period of time, including customer preferences, behavior, and histories. Having quick and easy access to this valuable information makes it easier than ever to personalize customer interactions at each stage.
  • Real-Time Mapping – Thanks to advancements in AI, businesses can now map the customer journey in real time, allowing them to identify obstacles and take action swiftly.
  • Segmentation – Machine learning and AI allow businesses to segment customers based on their preferences, behavior, past interactions, and other parameters. Segmenting your customers will allow you to create a different map for each segment to meet customer demand and expectations better.

The customer journey is the journey customers take from becoming aware of their problem to finding your business, making a purchase, and becoming an advocate for your brand. Understanding each stage of the customer journey and mapping the customer journey can help you better meet customer expectations, answer their questions, solve their pain points, and create an overall positive experience.

Mike Hakob

Mike Hakob is a seasoned digital marketing maven with over 15 years of mastery, and the visionary Co-Founder of FormStory. As the driving force behind Andava Digital, he has dedicated his expertise to empowering small to medium-sized businesses, crafting tailor-made websites and pioneering innovative marketing strategies. With a graduate degree in Management of Information Systems, Mike seamlessly blends the realms of technology and marketing, consistently setting new industry benchmarks and championing transformative digital narratives.