Journey mapping can be an energizing and eye-opening exercise in customer empathy. As advisors to B2B CX and marketing leaders in the Forrester Leadership Boards (FLB), we come along on many journey mapping “journeys.”

The most common question we receive from executives is, “How do I ensure the journey mapping process is actionable and aligned with key business outcomes?”

Too many companies have workshops that produce a flurry of sticky notes and butcher paper — and little else. It’s impossible to make an impact on customer experience (CX), customer lifetime value, culture, or revenue when journey mapping efforts miss on the elements critical to driving action and accountability.
We’ve culled some favorite stories of how Forrester’s FLB members are setting up their journey mapping efforts to be successful. Here are the top five must-do’s:

  1. Start with the right people in the room and with the end in mind.
    Every journey map requires a journey owner. Period. One global healthcare firm insists on a designated journey owner before holding a journey mapping workshop. The journey owner recruits stakeholders for the workshop — like CX, marketing, customer service, sales, operations, IT, HR, legal, and customer insights — and leverages the CX governance structure to ensure action is taken post-event.
  2. Prioritize; don’t proliferate.
    A B2B customer journey can cross dozens of product lines and geographies with multiple stakeholders, so personas can easily get out of control. One Fortune 500 manufacturing firm started with more than 300 customer personas before deciding to focus on the four relevant to the most impactful journeys: B2B enterprise buyer, B2B influencer, B2B small business, and B2B2C end customer. This streamlining helped the firm target effort and reduce redundancy.
  3. Look for silo-busting opportunities.
    A regional health insurer evaluating overdue customer onboarding used a journey mapping workshop to connect the teams that support the process. The company learned that each team was meeting its own internal service level agreement (SLA), but the overall process exceeded the external SLA for delivering member cards. The conversation opened eyes and kickstarted a process evolution that shortened overall delivery time and created more transparency among teams.
  4. Align along common metrics.
    Calibrate priorities across the organization with shared metrics that balance short- and long-term objectives. A CX leader at a Fortune 500 manufacturing firm gets stakeholder agreement on success criteria before each workshop begins to support objective, actionable measurement of the new journey. Deriving these common metrics through a top-down approach (e.g., starting from corporate goals) can help rally everyone around a shared cause.
  5. Keep stakeholders engaged with “catalyst” moments.
    Some leaders build CX from the ground up, leveraging high-stakes events like a new product launch, a company acquisition, or new market development. When a financial services firm gained more than half a million customers overnight via acquisition, its marketing leader used the opportunity to journey-map and retool the client onboarding experience.

What it means: Focus on where the journey map can take your organization, how you’ll drive action, and how you’ll measure success. That’s the difference between making a map that can propel your organization forward versus just producing a pretty piece of artwork.
Want to learn more about how journey maps are built and acted upon? Our new CX Foundations course has a module for that!
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