Lesson on Building a Customer Journey From a Fortune 100 CMO

We sat down with Joe Toubes, former CMO of Honeywell, for an informative conversation about his process for mapping the customer journey.

Lesson on Building a Customer Journey From a Fortune 100 CMO
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Joe Toubes is the former CMO of Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company with over $36B in annual revenue. He’s currently the CEO of The Toubes Agency, a full-service marketing and communications firm. With over 30 years of experience, Joe is one of the most successful and knowledgeable marketers in the world.  

We sat down with Joe for an informative conversation about his process for mapping the customer journey. It all revolves around one key element: Content

“Content is king. The cycle that our buyers go through varies and therefore takes some thought in terms of what content we're providing them along that customer journey. The first step is mapping out that journey and here’s how I do it…” - Joe

Keep reading below...

It All Starts With Personas

Starting with persona mapping is crucial. Joe says you need to begin this process by identifying the necessary outcomes that potential customers seek and what it takes to move forward in their decision-making journey. That’s because not every persona has the same needs or requires the same information. Many enterprise sales have several personas involved in the buying process and each needs to be marketed to separately.

Gartner reports that the typical team involved in purchasing enterprise technology has grown to include over 13 people. This group comprises seven to eight members who play a significant role in leading the procurement process, alongside five to six individuals who participate intermittently, especially during stages of validation, reviews, and giving approvals.

“Those people will have a significant influence on this decision, so making sure content and information is pushed to them so that we help them make the selection for us.” - Joe

Persona mapping is the first exercise and it sets up the rest of the customer journey. When selling into enterprise organizations, or even more sophisticated SMBs, Joe says you will likely need more than one customer journey map. Consider the role of each buyer, influencer, and decision maker, then map their journey independently.

The Awareness Stage

The next step is actually creating the customer journey. Joe likes to simplify this process by focusing on three main stages of purchasing: Awareness, Consideration, and Closing.

In the initial Awareness stage, Joe’s focus is on generating broad interest and establishing a company as a leader in its field. This is the stage where thought leadership and brand are incredibly important.

In Joe’s experience, the Awareness stage has the broadest range of content topics and delivery methods, like emails, phone calls, or brochures. You can cover a range of topics, but they should address the specific issues and interests of each persona.

The Awareness stage serves as the foundation for planning, pricing, and budgeting marketing campaigns.

The Consideration Stage

Moving into the Consideration stage, Joe shifts his focus to more in-depth interactions. There is when he starts introducing content around technical specifications, pricing, and other critical factors that buyers need to continue their journey.

This part of the process where a strong partnership with Product Marketing is crucial. The substance of the content should focus on solutions and how they align with the customer's needs. Product marketers are experts at synthesizing complex information into simple terminology that buyers can understand. This is where case studies, testimonials, and certifications are great assets to share.  

Joe says the goal of Consideration content is to guide customers toward making a well-informed purchase decision. You want to address any major concerns in this stage to ensure that buyers feel confident when it comes to their final decision to buy.

The Closing Stage and Onboarding

By the time buyers reach the Closing Stage, they should already have the content they need to understand the product, the value it provides, and the benefits they should expect by purchasing. Content shifts to assets that help close the deal, like ROI calculators and legal terms.

Once a deal is closed, it doesn’t mean the journey ends. Joe underscores the importance of not stopping at the sale but continuing into the onboarding phase.

“Ensuring a seamless transition through the sales process involves more than just closing the deal; it extends to effectively mapping out each stakeholder's journey to foster a sense of comfort and trust.” - Joe

The Onboarding stage sets the tone for the future. It's about providing new clients with all the necessary content and information they need to kickstart a successful partnership. The objective is to build long-lasting, positive relationships from the outset.

Feedback and Iteration

Joe says that there should always be an emphasis on iteration and improvement.

“You rarely get everything right on the very first attempt. That’s why it’s so important to collect feedback and iterate. Continuous improvement is the fastest path to success outcomes.” - Joe

At his agency, Joe recommends that his clients use Winware to collect feedback. His favorite feature is the ability to send dedicated links to blog articles, landing pages, and product videos. Winware helps Joe to collect and track feedback by persona and content piece.

“It’s so easy to collect feedback with Winware. It’s a no-brainer recommendation to my clients.” - Joe

Final Words

Incorporating a comprehensive customer journey is essential for any marketing campaign and it becomes increasingly evident the more senior you are within a company.

“We would launch hundreds and hundreds of products each year at Honeywell. The key is that all these campaigns, whether you're spending $100K or $10MM, go through this process to make sure that they are thoughtful in building their programs, and that it's dynamic enough to adjust, right, based on data and what hopefully your content is working.” - Joe

This is true regardless of the size of your company, the cost of your product, the market you sell to, or the persona of the buyer.

“If you're not preparing a comprehensive buying journey, you have no chance of providing your customers what they need. The exercise can be done in a matter of an hour or it can be done in a matter of a few weeks depending on how detailed you need to do that. Investment is worthwhile. Please, it's absolutely worthwhile.”

Watch the Full Conversation here.

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