How to gain buy-in for your customer journey project? Do’s and don’ts – part 1

Last year AFAS teamed up with SPOTONVISION to create a better understanding of their customer’s journey, focusing on the immediate post purchase stage. By looking at the moments of truth for the customer and identifying how the customer experience could be improved, AFAS has gained a good understanding of the process, the pitfalls and the successes of a customer journey project. Recently a small group of marketers came together to discuss the AFAS experience specifically and the subject of Customer Journey’s in greater depth.

Why create a customer journey map?

  • To identify moments of interaction
  • To gain insight into client needs
  • To understand the growth perspective of an individual customer
  • To work on optimal customer experience
  • To be able to respond to the context of the customer
  • To optimise own processes

Four key questions

At the round-table meeting, we asked the participants from various B2B companies what their key questions were about the customer journey and customer experience. We then divided these questions into four areas:

  1. How do I win over the internal organisation, before, during and after such a customer journey project?
  2. How do I map the customer journey? What kind of research can I best conduct?
  3. How do I translate the customer journey into marketing and marketing activities?
  4. How do I operationalise the findings and follow-up programmes? What is the role of my CRM system and/or marketing automation system?

In a series of four articles we discuss each topic individually and for each topic we outline a number of do’s and don’ts.

How do I win the internal organisation over; before, during and after a customer journey project?

An often heard question is: ‘How do I convince management of the need for a thorough customer journey analysis?’ Generally, it boils down to ‘selling’ the strategic use of the customer journey; for example, switching from focusing on churn rate to a comprehensive approach to the total customer experience. Another common question is how to bring all staff of the internal organisation on the same page; how do colleagues take responsibility, especially in large, complex organisations?

Customer journey as a project: who takes it on?

The customer journey affects the entire organisation; it is not a marketing or communication affair. It is everything with which or by which the customers come into contact with your organisation or products at various points in time – be it the support desk, the finance department, the consultant or the website a customer is dealing with. As this tends to involve a variety of departments, we wonder how you can cross these customer journey boundaries and keep the project feasible. This then leads to the key question of ‘Who in the organisation should be responsible for the customer journey and customer experience?’ Often marketing departments are quick to take the lead. A recent study has shown that the central role will increasingly shift to marketing in the coming years.


  • Find a sponsor: Gaining buy-in from your organisation for mapping out the customer journey is not always easy, often because its connection with the business is not recognised quickly enough. If you notice that someone is not buying your story, find a sponsor in a different department or at a different level in the organisation.
  • Share your successes: Particularly when you are working on small-scale successes in various departments, it is important that you showcase the successes. Think of yourself as a champion, so show your achievements and regard lobbying your story as your daily challenge.
  • Start small: It can be the little things that help improve the customer experience. Start with small projects and successes, seize opportunities for improvement and show what you’re already working on or have accomplished.
  • Be a relationship manager: When moving through the entire organisation, your personality is crucial. You must have a sharp antenna and don’t be afraid of hierarchical obstacles
  • Use figures/scores: Failure to measure will ultimately lead to a failure of the programme. Start with a baseline measurement: Exactly how satisfied is the customer? What is going well, what could be improved? You might want to consider customer satisfaction figures, etc.; show management concrete results.


  • Ivory tower: Move across the boundaries of marketing; preferably a ‘spider-in-the-web’ person should take on the subject of customer experience and marketing is cut out for this job. However, it will only work if you cross departmental boundaries and are able to win over the various departments.

I hope that these do’s and don’ts have given you some guidance. One of the things we recommend is to appoint a Customer Experience Manager within the organisation. This might be difficult to accomplish at the beginning. In some companies it works and bears fruit. Such a strategic choice is often made by senior management, and many companies in the Netherlands are not yet ready for it. However, patience is a virtue.

Our other blogs in the customer journey series are:

Share this article

Grow your B2B Marketing knowledge

Subscribe to keep up with our latest B2B Marketing updates and exclusive events. Straight to your inbox, once a month.