Navigating the CRM Customer Journey: From Mapping to Marketing


Most new business endeavors start small. The founder identifies—and capitalizes on—an opportunity to serve a specific customer in a specific way. One satisfied customer leads to more customers, a larger team, and new opportunities. What was once small grows into a much larger entity with many moving parts—and numerous customers, all of whom still expect the same level of service.

Understanding the customer’s journey is paramount to keeping and growing that level of service. CRM systems, like Insightly, highlight and map the intricate and sometimes messy path of each customer experience. This gives businesses the edge they need to foster relationships and drive growth.

For organizations to scale in a way that supports the customer journey, many are turning to automated systems that help them strike a better balance between growth and personalization. Marketing automation tools, such as Insightly Marketing, can be especially useful when implemented thoughtfully and strategically.

CRM Customer Journey

The CRM customer journey, at its core, is an automated system meticulously designed to track every interaction a customer has with a brand. Be it a new lead receiving their initial email or a high-value customer making repeated purchases, this journey encapsulates it all. With CRM platforms like Insightly, businesses can optimize each step, ensuring no touchpoint goes unnoticed.

Today, in the world of CRM, we’re seeing the rise of the automated customer journey. Automation in CRM systems allows businesses to design, execute, and monitor the customer experience with greater efficiency. By integrating technology into this journey, businesses can anticipate customer needs, personalize interactions, and ensure no opportunity for engagement is missed.

There are many advantages of an automated customer journey. For starters, automation brings with it the promise of consistency. When a process is automated, businesses can be confident that each customer receives the same high-quality experience, regardless of when or how they interact with the brand. It also allows for scalability. As a company grows, so too does its customer base. Automation ensures that a business can handle increasing numbers of customers without compromising the quality of their journey.

What Are The 7 Steps To Map The Customer Journey?

Steps in a sequence of the customer journey.Mapping the customer journey is a strategic approach businesses can use to better understand the experiences and emotions of their customers at different touch points. So, what are the 7 steps to map a comprehensive customer journey? Let’s go ahead and dig in.

  1. Define Objectives: The first step is to understand why you are creating a customer journey map in the first place. For example, it could improve user experience, identify pain points, or optimize conversion paths. Having a clearly defined objective will give a solid start for your customer journey mapping.
  2. Create Buyer Personas: Next, you’ll want to identify (or create) your ideal customer profile (ICP). When crafting your buyer profile, you’ll need to understand their behaviors, preferences, and pain points. The more in-depth the buyer persona, the better the customer journey can be. 
  3. List Touch points: Identify every potential customer interaction with your brand, from website visits, social media views, customer service interactions, etc. The list doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but it’s essential to consider how customers can interact with your brand. Leaving out touchpoints could lead to a gap in your journey mapping.
  4. Identify Stages: You’ll break down the customer’s experience into distinctive stages next. More commonly, the stages might include awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase. Keep in mind that no one knows your business better than you. If you have unique stages that are a part of your potential customer’s experience, this identification stage may look different than what might surface after a quick Google search. Take the time to think through what these might be.
  5. Gather Data: The fifth step in mapping the customer journey is data gathering. Utilize analytics, customer feedback, competitive insights, and other data sources to fill in details about each above stage and touchpoint. 
  6. Visualize the Journey: Using all the information you have gathered, it’s time to create a visual representation, often referred to as the user journey map. This visualization makes it much easier to understand the customer’s experience and emotions at each stage. Mapping this out gives you a cheat sheet predicting where and when things could go wrong.
  7. Iterate and Refine: A customer journey map is not static. It’s crucial to iterate and refine what you’ve built constantly. As you gather more insights, as your customer base grows, revisit and refine your map to ensure it remains accurate and actionable.

With this comprehensive mapping of the customer journey, you can more effectively cater to the needs and emotions of your audience, ensuring a smoother, more enjoyable experience.

Customer Journey Touch Points

Touch points in the customer journey represent every interaction a customer has with a brand, whether digital, like visiting a website, or physical, like entering a store. They play a crucial role in shaping the customer experience and the overall success of a business in the market.

Digital Touch Points: Online interactions a customer has with a brand. Examples include website visits, social media engagement, email, and mobile app usage. Today, these touchpoints often serve as a customer’s first introduction to a brand.

Physical Touch Points: In-person interactions, such as visiting a store, attending an event, or face-to-face customer service encounters.

Whether physical or digital, every touchpoint offers a chance to impress or disappoint a customer. The importance of customer touch points lies in ensuring a positive and consistent experience to drive customer loyalty and increase sales.

Five examples of customer touch points for a D2C or retail brand include:

  1. Social media advertisement (Digital)
  2. Website browsing and purchase (Digital)
  3. Store visit or trial (Physical)
  4. Customer support call (Digital/Physical)
  5. Feedback or review submission (Digital)

Understanding and optimizing each of these touch points through a customer journey map ensures businesses can offer a seamless and satisfying experience, strengthening the relationship between brand and customer.

Customer Journey Marketing

Customer journey marketing is not just a trendy buzzword. McKinsey defines it as a series of touch points that customers experience as they move from awareness to loyalty. Effective customer journey marketing ensures every message is tailored and campaigns resonate throughout the customer’s path.

The framework for customer journey marketing involves segmenting the customer’s journey into 5 stages—awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Once segmented, delivering the right message at the right time becomes much more manageable. 

Designing targeted campaigns for each segment of the journey ensures that customers receive information relevant to their current stage. This can enhance conversion rates and build brand loyalty.

Customer Journey Marketing Examples

  • Awareness: Running an advertisement introducing a new product to your prospective customer.
  • Consideration: Sending educational content or reviews from other purchasers about the product once the customer has engaged with the previous content.
  • Purchase: To incentivize buying, offer a limited-time discount or promotion on that product.
  • Retention: Once the customer has purchased, you can share additional content like tips on product usage, user-generated content, etc.
  • Advocacy: Encouraging happy customers to leave positive reviews, refer friends, or join a loyalty program for repeat purchases.

Customer journey marketing is about recognizing and meeting customers’ unique needs at every phase of their interaction with a brand, ensuring a strategic marketing approach.

How To Create A Customer Journey Map

Last piece of a puzzle in a customer journey.Creating a customer journey map might seem daunting, but it’s more straightforward than it sounds. Begin by understanding the customer’s perspective and the stages of their journey. This map is more than just a visual representation; it reflects the user’s journey, filled with insights and business opportunities.

Using the 7 steps outlined above, you can easily create to visualize and understand a customer’s experience with your brand.

As a reminder: 

  1. Step 1: Define Objectives
  2. Step 2: Create Buyer Personas
  3. Step 3: List Touch Points
  4. Step 4: Identify Stages
  5. Step 5: Gather Data
  6. Step 6: Visualize the Journey
  7. Step 7: Iterate and Refine

By creating a customer journey map, businesses can gain invaluable insights into their customers’ experiences and emotions, leading to more informed decision-making and enhanced customer satisfaction.

User Journey Mapping

User journey mapping is a design thinking tool that charts users’ paths while interacting with a product or service. It encapsulates their emotions, experiences, and challenges at each step.

While often confused with user flow, user journey mapping focuses on the emotional experience. Both user flow and user journey capture user interactions; however, user flow strictly maps out the sequence of steps a user takes.

A user journey map is a powerful tool for businesses and designers, offering deep insights into the user’s experience. It can help you accomplish:

  • Empathy Development: By visualizing the user’s emotions, challenges, and needs at each touchpoint through a user journey map, teams can better empathize with their audience, understanding their perspective.
  • Pain Point Identification: A user journey map highlights areas where users face challenges, frustrations, or bottlenecks, providing a clear roadmap for where improvements are needed.
  • Streamline User Experience: User journey maps give a better understanding of the flow and progression of a user’s interaction. This can also help teams create more intuitive user experiences.
  • Inform Design Decisions: Similarly, the insights from the map guide designers in creating interfaces, products, or services that align with users’ expectations and needs.
  • Cross-Departmental Alignment: A user journey map serves as a unified visual reference that can align various departments (like marketing, design, sales, and customer service) in understanding how to serve the end-user better.
  • Measure Effectiveness: Businesses can gauge the effectiveness of their design or process modifications by comparing user journey maps before and after changes.
  • Facilitate Stakeholder Communication: It provides a visual, easy-to-understand representation that can communicate user needs and experiences to stakeholders or team members who might not be directly involved in design or user research.

For businesses eager to excel, understanding the CRM customer journey is not just beneficial; it’s essential. Whether you’re just starting or looking for ways to optimize, the customer’s journey is your roadmap to success.

Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo-on-demand of all the Insightly apps at your convenience, or request a personalized demo to see how Insightly can help support your customer’s journey.