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Companies who successfully deliver outstanding customer experiences consistently do better than their competitors — we've all heard this for years now.

But success isn't easy. Those organizations who do deliver outstanding service experiences are investing to develop and expand their organizational capabilities.  

The first step in designing a new capability is understanding what your customers value and expect in every touchpoint of the customer lifecycle.  

Automating the Customer Journey Map

Enter customer journey maps (CJM). Developing customer journey maps can take a few weeks using manual tools to capture and present information, and so unsurprisingly some firms have developed tools to help automate CJM development.  

Munira Fareed
Austin, Texas-based Hive9 provides performance management software and in April released an automated customer journey mapping tool. During a recent conversation with Munira Fareed, CMO of Hive9 we discussed the potential of automating this process and the business processes that customer journey maps can improve.   

Hive9 faces some competition from companies like Vancouver, British Columbia-based Allocadia, which provides marketing budget management and San Mateo, Calif.-based FullCircle Insights for dashboards and analytics.

While some companies are looking at customer journey maps from a call center or interactive voice response (IVR) perspective, I'm unaware of any other solutions delivering automated journey maps that marketers can use to make decisions. 

Tools like Hive9 — that help link CJM activities to cost and revenue generation — provide exciting opportunities for companies to realize enhanced profitability.  

Read her responses to my questions and let me know what you think — do automated CJM tools provide new benefits or is there a better mousetrap?

Dave Angelow: Gartner named Hive9 a 2015 Cool Company. What makes it a cool company and what should people know about Hive9?

Munira Fareed: Hive9 is a marketing performance management company. B2B CMOs, demand generation leaders and marketing operations experts rely on our cloud-based solution to get one view of all plans and budgets tied to pipeline and revenue performance, optimize the full customer experience, and measure what matters to get real-time visibility that drives action and results. 

Unlike static spreadsheets and disparate, out-of-sync tools, Hive9 predicts and improves the impact of marketing and provides always-on intelligence with connections to leading CRM, marketing automation, finance and project management systems. Hive9 customers include Zebra Technologies, Thomson Reuters and MongoDB.  

Dave Angelow: The company started in Marketing Performance Management and recently added the CJM capability. What lead to the development of the CJM tool?

Munira Fareed: We think of understanding the customer’s journey as an important part of measuring and improving marketing performance. Hive9 helps with planning and budgeting, analytics and attribution, so when there's access to data and insights from the different data silos, the next step is to visualize the touch points across marketing and sales. 

Dave Angelow: What type of company would most benefit from using your CJM tool? Are there specific business conditions, industries or other factors that are best suited to using the tools?

Munira Fareed: B2B enterprises with complex touch points across marketing, sales and support would find it useful to filter across business segments, products and geographies, and see how their customers interacted with their specific part of the business. 

Dave Angelow: How does CJM fit with the customer lifecycle — are there specific business processes that CJM helps improve?

Munira Fareed: Customer journey maps are most useful when they look at the customer lifecycle from Awareness through Purchase as well as Usage and Advocacy.  By paying attention to touch points across marketing, sales and customer success (service), users can gain an understanding of their customers lifecycle.

Using automated customer journey maps helps marketers drive better conversions, help to reduce the sales cycle and drive prospects onto the desired path with the best-performing messages and assets. 

  • Drive clear marketing actions based on accurate and timely customer behavior data from both online and offline channels
  • Improve customer engagement with tag management and proven, relevant, next best messages. Hive9 can orchestrate your marketing automation platform so the right message goes out at the right time
  • Get a clear journey map of all the touch points from marketing and sales, then segment it by solution, industry, audience segment and other attributes
  • Retain customers and create advocates by understanding customer actions past purchase 
  • Built-in asset tagging system associates key business-level attributes to content and interactions

Dave Angelow: Describe the typical use of CJM — is it a project, an ongoing use — who is involved in launching and using the tool?

Munira Fareed: Within an enterprise, the people most interested in automated customer journey maps seem to be the leaders in marketing, customer marketing and customer experience. The scenario is one of ongoing use, where marketers and customer experience advocates can clearly see the the journey touch points based on actual data, and then use that understanding to make decisions about campaigns, messages and content assets.  

The questions CJM answers include:

  • What are the various journeys prospects and customers take while interacting with my brand?
  • How do those journeys vary by product, industry, geography or buyer personas?
  • What content assets and delivery channels are most effective at different stages of the journey?
  • How can I get more prospects on the path to revenue and advocacy?

Dave Angelow: Being a performance measurement company, what are the key metrics CJM impacts and how do these translate to bottom-line?

Munira Fareed: Once the Journey Map for a given audience is analyzed, next best message allows customers to intercept existing logic in their marketing automation system to serve the next best content based on a given persona, company, prior interactions and various other data sources. Customers can set up their own rules based on this data. Each rule allows the user to specify what the rule applies to: target audience, life cycle stage, product, solution or segment, waterfall stage, etc.  

The key metrics that can are impacted as a result of understanding the best-performing journeys are: better conversion rates, reduced sales cycle length, increased revenue.

Dave Angelow: Can you share info on the business case for CJM — what are the costs for the tool and what are the benefit areas?

Munira Fareed: Pricing depends on the number of touch points and data sources. Starting points are about $100,000. The major benefits are the ability to see and interact with actual customer journeys, compare journeys and drive prospects onto the desired path by offering best-performing messages and assets. 

Title image "Globes" (CC BY 2.0) by  rvacapinta