Defining the Stages of the Customer Journey Map: Consideration

June 1, 2023

Kate McBee

Category: Customer Experience, Customer Retention, Customer Success as a Service, Customer Success Maturity, Customer Success Strategy, Digital Customer Success, Monetizing Customer Success

The customer journey map is a wonderful tool that’s a critical component of operationalizing your Customer Success capabilities. Whether looking at it from the perspective of your organization’s general maturity level or CS operations maturity specifically, building comprehensive journey maps adds another dimension to your organization’s ability to effect change across the business.

In our series defining and investigating all the stages of the customer journey, we’re looking at the most common steps a customer will take as they move through the lifecycle. In my last article, I looked closely at the first phase a prospective customer hits when they learn about your business: Awareness. Now, I will talk about the next stage of our model: Consideration. Though some may lump these two stages together into a pre-Sales or pre-CS phase, it’s helpful to understand the nuances that make them different. And, as you’ll see as a common theme throughout this series, they both don’t usually include Customer Success – but they should.

Consideration – Moving beyond the pain points and into evaluation

Your potential customer is aware of your business and wants to learn more. Yay! Chances are a Marketing or a Sales Development Rep will qualify the lead and hand it over to Sales. In Awareness, we gained an understanding of how the customer is framing their problem. What their pain points are and what the stakes are if they don’t solve them. In Consideration, we’re using that information to discover which of our products and/or services will best meet their needs. Sales takes point with the prospect, giving demos, answering questions, identifying key stakeholders, and generally driving them toward signing a contract.

In Consideration, the customer journey map touchpoints involve everything that needs to be done in order to demonstrate the value your solution could provide to the prospect’s business should they become a customer. Sales matches your product’s and service’s capabilities with their desired outcomes and scopes out a contract. This might involve assistance from team members outside of Sales, like value consultants, solution engineers, partner business managers, and – yes – CSMs. When building out all the tasks and activities involved in this phase, however you’re structuring your journey map, make sure someone starts to identify the KPIs you’ll be using in later stages to illustrate how your solution is tackling the customer’s core issues.

When evaluating a prospect’s needs gets complicated

If you’ve got a straightforward product like Zoom, Calendly, and Grammarly, where customers can quickly jump in with a simple trial, this phase of the customer journey can take little to no time at all. On the other hand, if you’ve got a complex solution that requires multiple integrations into the customer’s current infrastructure, Consideration can take more time. In these cases, the customers are evaluating the potential effects of a much more significant change. It’s likely a larger purchase, and it’s likely to shake up a lot of other business areas too.

In these situations, Consideration should be split into multiple phases. For example, as the Sales rep kicks off conversations with the prospect, they might begin with a detailed change assessment, going through the prospect’s current state systems, processes, and tools. They’ll work with the prospect to determine how much of an impact the solution could have on their organization and how big of a footprint it might have in other departments. Then, Sales might work with a solution engineer to plot out what implementation will look like and perform a risk/benefit analysis. If you have multiple products and options, there could also be a solution design phase. Finally, as the final stages of negotiation take place, you might include a pre-transformation preparation and planning phase.

Customer Success’s role in the Consideration stage of the customer journey

Much like during the Awareness stage, any participation from Customer Success happens behind the scenes, but that doesn’t mean that CS can’t contribute. One obvious way CS makes an impact is by building the customer journey map in the first place. We work with every department that has touchpoints with the customer during the lifecycle to fill in a comprehensive blueprint of the customer experience. For the pre-CS stages, this means Sales can gain a better, more detailed understanding of your typical customer’s needs, deepening their conversations with prospects and allowing them to fit solutions to outcomes more proficiently.

During Consideration, Sales lays the seeds for the relationship that Customer Success will foster and grow. CS and Sales should work together to create consistent control documentation that enables Sales to easily pass along all the information they’ve gathered about the customer so CSMs can hit the ground running. Siloing between departments is one of the biggest obstacles most businesses have to making smooth transitions for their customers. Both Customer Success and Sales benefit when they join forces in the Consideration stage of the customer journey.

The next phase of the customer journey is one we’ve all been waiting for: Acquisition. Now, Customer Success steps into the spotlight, so be sure to catch my next article in this series as we explore all the stages of the customer journey.