4 min - Oct 16, 2023

The Key to Operationalizing Your Customer Journey

by Lauren Thibodeau

Every time I help a company map their desired Customer Journey, I’m reminded of what a valuable process it is, provided the process is:

  1. Rightsized for the company and pragmatic – not a science project.
  2. Validated with customers early and often.
  3. Accompanied by a specific action plan to operationalize it, including people, process, tech, and metrics.

I recently completed this process with a young, rapidly growing SaaS company that sells an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs) solution to mid-sized businesses in a specific market vertical.

Far from being a pretty picture to put on a shelf somewhere collecting dust, this Customer Journey Map is serving as a springboard for action to achieve a key GOAL measured by specific OUTCOMES.

The  Goal:

Make the customer experience easy, intuitive, and fun, AND efficient and scalable for the vendor.

Now remember, this is an Enterprise ERP solution. Imagine how delighted customers will be and what a differentiator this is when this vendor makes ERP implementation, onboarding, and usage easy, intuitive, and fun!

Success As Measured By:

Initially: Time to first value, specifically have customers up and running, with their data in the system, within 30 days!

An ambitious but achievable goal for this B2B software company, that provides another differentiator from its competition.

AND a customer sentiment score of 4 or 5 out of 5.

Ultimately: Top quartile or better customer and revenue renewal rate, expansion rate, and referral rate compared to industry benchmarks for similar companies.

What Did We Do?

Over a period of days and weeks (not months!) we mapped the end-to-end desired Customer Journey in customer-centric language. The process to do that and the layers involved are the topic for another day.

The focus of this short article is on how we made sure this Customer Journey Map didn’t become shelf ware, but instead served as a springboard for ACTION.

Specifically, we laid out a plan to operationalize the Customer Journey Map across People, Process, Tech, and Metrics.


– Involved cross functional internal stakeholders to build it

– Assigned ownership of key actions to cross functional internal stakeholders to implement it

– Tested and validated with customers


– Used the Journey Map as a framework to identify the playbooks needed to provide prescriptive, efficient guidance to customers through the various stages of their journey, well beyond initial onboarding

– Prioritized 15 actions and customer-facing collateral needed in order of importance, and identified owner and timeline to action.

Now 15 is a lot! In this case, many were small. If initiatives are large and involve multiple cross functional resources, I recommend focusing on 2 or 3 max.

Examples of actions included in this case:

  • Document customer value drivers and specific goals at time of initial sale
  • Formalize an internal sales to implementation transition process, to ensure we’re never asking the customer for the same info twice
  • Elevate the process for customer kickoff with specific artifacts and checklists to make it easy for everyone
  • Establish a cadence of tactical and strategic follow on touch points
  • Create a high level visual view of the customer journey to share early in the sales cycle, and revisit with customers throughout their journey

– Identified how to leverage existing tools and resources to operationalize quickly, for example, used existing:

  • CRM to store customer business goals and sentiment
  • survey tool to gather customer feedback
  • email automation tool to nurture new users to completing required training
  • graphic designer to build customer journey visual for customers

– Identified leading and lagging metrics of success from customer and vendor perspective at different stages in the journey

Customer Centric Metrics included:

  • Behaviour: % training completion, Daily Active Users as % of Total Users, time spent in sandbox environment during onboarding
  • Sentiment: AI generated Customer Temperament
  • Outcome: Time to First Value, Customer Outcome Score as rated by customer

Vendor Centric Metrics included:

  • # of bugs reported
  • Customer renewal rate
  • Revenue retention rate (gross and net)
  • # of referrals
Bring it home

The icing on the cake to operationalize the customer journey is to take time to reflect back on how actual customer journeys aligned with or varied from the desired journey.

By doing this collaboratively in conversation with customers, you can continue to iterate on the Customer Journey.

This can even inform different flavours of the desired journey for different types or maturity levels of customers.


If you’d like help mapping, updating, or operationalizing your Customer | Patient | Tenant journey, reach out today.



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