5 different types of buyer journey maps

A customer experience map is a great tool if you are looking to map multiple experiences and overcome silos in your organization. If the goal is to hone into a particular area of focus or specific customer journey, then consider starting with a buyer’s journey map (also known as a customer journey map).

1. The easy-to-convince model
2. Circular model – Just the basics
3. Mapping the buyer’s journey to the marketing funnel
4. Before-and-after model
5. The linear model

Organizations that use a mapping program to manage buyer and customer journeys average a 79% increase in cross-sell and upsell revenue.

Marketing research from the Aberdeen Group

In the new B2B marketing landscape, buyers are in control of their journeys. According to Forrester, 74% of buyers do more than half their research online before making an offline purchase, and the Corporate Executive Board reports that 57% of executives reach a decision before they contact sales. Thus, understanding what customers are thinking and feeling at each stage of the journey is critical.

A customer experience map is a great tool if you are looking to map multiple experiences and overcome silos in your organization. If the goal is to hone into a particular area of focus or specific customer journey, then consider starting with a buyer’s journey map (also known as a customer journey map).

While there is no single way to create a buyer’s journey map, below are a few that struck our fancy.


Simpler models reflect purchases that require less consideration, such as:

  • Impulse buys driven by reflex or habit
  • Purchases by brand loyalists
  • Buys from one decision-maker

For example, Andrew Davis’ model of the buyer’s journey adapted from McKinsey reflects a cyclical, nonlinear buyer’s journey.

Buyer journey maps
Source: Power Post

A moment of inspiration leads to a trigger. That trigger may lead to an immediate purchase. If the customer experience is positive, then a loyalty loop may be created – which manifests as a subscription or as repeat purchases.

For easy-to-convince buyers, content marketers succeed by generating moments of inspiration, then reminding buyers of those moments to trigger purchases. For example, Red Bull creates inspiring content on extreme sports so when users see extreme sports, they thirst for Red Bull.

In more complex purchases, triggers lead buyers to add a brand to a small set of sellers they’d be willing to buy from – their considered set. Buyers actively evaluate these sellers and choose one to buy from. Note that 57% of corporate executives reach a decision before they contact sales, according to a survey by the Corporate Executive Board.

One fascinating thing about Andrew’s model is that the buyer’s experience from the first purchase clearly informs all future purchases. Many buying journeys are like this: cyclical and repeatable.


The model from Anthony Christie at Level 3 shows six stages in a B2B customer’s journey. Its cyclical process fits carefully considered, big-ticket sales of products and services purchased repeatedly, for example, telecom services that connect companies to cloud-computing resources.

Buyer journey maps
Source: Uplandsoftware

This model emphasizes what employees need to do at each step in the buyer and user journey. This model is favored because it:

  • Speaks in the simple language of the customer, not in marketing jargon
  • Makes customer expectations clear to employees in sales, marketing, customer service, operations, and accounting – all of whom play key roles in the customer’s journey.

In big-ticket B2B sales, marketers need to supply crucial content to nudge the buying committee forward. To address the differing needs of various committee members, you may need to build separate buyer’s journey models for each key member.

Remember that each member has different priorities, worries, and pressures affecting their decision. For example, the users of the product want maximum performance, IT wants good technical support, and the purchasing team wants the lowest price. It takes different content to satisfy each of these information needs.

That’s why it’s critical to understand the personas of each member on the committee – and be clear about who holds decision power and which content is relevant to each.

When you’re selling to individual decision-makers, your job is easier – since you only need to understand and serve one buyer persona. Determine which information that buyer needs at each step, which media they prefer, and then deliver content accordingly.


The marketing funnel — also known as the sales funnel — is a model of your marketing and sales process from your company’s point of view. Leads start at the top of the funnel. As they learn more about your business and get closer to making a purchase, they move down toward the bottom of the funnel. This type of model has been in use for more than 100 years, and it’s still one of the most basic concepts in business.

Buyer journey maps
Source: Uplandsoftware

A customer at the top of your marketing funnel knows your business exists, but they haven’t interacted with you much or sought out additional information. In the middle is the research and consideration stage. At the bottom of the funnel, customers have done their research and they’re ready to make a purchase. Since not everyone who takes an interest in a business will end up buying something, most businesses have more prospects at the top of their funnel than the bottom — hence the term.

Understanding your marketing funnel is useful to you as a business owner or marketer because it gives you a way to categorize your leads and customers based on their relationship with your business: They’ve just discovered your business, they’re interested in your product or service but not sold yet, or they’re ready to buy. Tracking the position of leads in your funnel helps you know how to keep their interest, answer their questions, and address their concerns, all of which can be instrumental in making that sale.


This model uses a straightforward linear model for its customer journey, which reflects six stages. Each step of this buyer’s journey model is added a layer to represent the buyer’s information needs at each stepincluding company and product brands, relevant content, influencers, pricing, product, store locators, and so forth.

Buyer journey maps
Source: Powerpost

Carefully considered purchases call for even more rigorous models of the buyer’s journey. When consumers buy a new house, car, or investment plan, most of them put in lots of research, time, and effort. After all, they’re making some of the biggest financial commitments they’ll ever make. They research everything online. They ask their families and friends for opinions at each step.

Yet business buyers may be risking even more – their reputations, jobs, or careers. That’s why the stakes are so high in carefully considered, big-ticket B2B purchases.

This model also adds peripheral vision. It extends beyond the purchase – adding the buyer’s experience and loyalty to the customer journey. That’s important because, when customers have a good user experience, they are far likelier to make repeat purchases. By the same token, bad user experiences may derail future purchases.


While the buyer’s journey itself may not be linear in nature or function, it can sometimes be better understood visually using a linear model that divides the customer journey into five stages: awareness, consideration, purchase, service and loyalty with relevant content ideas distributed across the path. What’s helpful about this visualization is the distinction given between physical vs. digital touchpoints and unmanaged vs managed marketing touchpoints.

Buyer journey maps
Source: Uplandsoftware

These five models are designed to help you think through what’s happening in the hearts and minds of buyers as they take each step in the buyer’s journey. By identifying the most helpful model for your buyer journeys, you can create and deliver content that will resonate with your buyers at their particular stage in the decision-making process.

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