As a business owner, building strong relationships with customers and leads is a must if you plan on retaining repeat customers. But as your business grows, you might be finding that your once-manageable list of loyal customers isn’t so easy to reach anymore and your sales process is suffering as a result. 

You take pride in your business’s ability to offer an authentic customer experience, but individually reaching out to contacts on your list is no longer an option at your stage of growth. You’re trying to figure out how you can keep your loyal customers from receiving irrelevant offers and emails, but that kind of personalization is time consuming. With a growing contact list, you need to be able to streamline your sales cycle so that you can continue interacting with customers authentically, and do so at scale. All business owners reach a point at which they need to balance growth with sales strategies that still feel genuine and personalized for their audience and customers. If you’re feeling like you’ve reached the point in your business when the human element is beginning to get in the way of scaling your processes, you’re actually in an exciting place. 

Customer expectations are rising

If it feels as though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to please your customers, you’re right — it is.

As Gary Beck, Chief Strategy Officer for marketing agency Endai said, “Today’s consumers desire products tailored specifically to their wants and needs. People-based marketing achieves this by customizing communications to consumers based on what is most relevant to them and most likely to create engagement and purchases over time.” 

This means that you have to have a way to speak to your audience on their terms. The Ford business model, where “you can have any color as long as it’s black,” is out, and businesses that can’t keep up fall by the wayside. The Harvard Business Review found that “organizations that don’t know what their customers want risk harming relationships and even losing them, rather than driving ongoing value for both the consumer and the organization.” It’s brutal, but it’s happening: Customers will go where they know they’ll be catered to.

Get ahead with personalized customer journeys

There is actually an easy way to improve the customer experience. Implementing a customized and systemized customer journey is essential for setting your business apart from the rest.

Throughout your entire customer journey, it’s important to sprinkle in human interactions to build and maintain relationships with your leads and customers. 

According to Mapping and Personalizing Your Customer Journey, “Because each lead and customer you encounter will behave uniquely and have different interests and needs, there’s no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all customer journey.” When you take the time upfront to set up a personalized sales process, you not only save time down the road responding to your customers and leads’ needs, but you also make them feel cared about throughout their experience with you.

Customers prefer personalization

People like to feel understood and cared about — so much so that 71% of consumers become frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal, according to a report by Segment. Additionally, 44% of consumers say they’re likely to become repeat buyers following personalized experiences.

By creating a customized and dynamic experience that accounts for each stage of the customer lifecycle, and matching your sales offers to the appropriate customers, you dramatically increase your chances of locking in that coveted customer loyalty.

The wisdom of creating a personalized customer  journey

Planning and personalizing your customer journey will allow you to:

  • Assess your current marketing and sales processes so you can identify which parts of the customer lifecycle are already giving contacts a personalized experience
  • Match your contacts with categorized products so that loyal customers will receive different offers than entry-level contacts
  • Define the different paths contacts will take in your marketing and sales funnels so that they get the most personalized experience possible
  • Decide what to do with customers after they buy each of your products so that they’re more likely to engage with your brand as lifelong, repeat customers
  • Sprinkle human interactions into your sales process where appropriate so that you can strengthen your relationship with leads and customers
  • Replace repetitive tasks in your sales process with automation so that you can free up time for more effective and efficient human interactions

Ready to leave your one-size-fits-all customer journey behind for good? Check out the Mapping and Personalizing Your Customer Journey worksheet to help you get started with a plan you can begin implementing right away.

About Lindsay Kent
Lindsay is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and holds a degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and minors in Spanish and Integrated Marketing Communications. After working with several small businesses, Lindsay moved to sunny Santa Barbara to become Ontraport’s Content Manager.