This article is based on Jessica Armstrong’s talk, ‘Orchestrating a B2B post-sale journey’, at the Product Marketing Trailblazers virtual event. 

As a PMA member, you can enjoy the complete recording here. For more exclusive content, head over to your membership dashboard. 

I'm really excited to talk about orchestrating the post-sale journey in the B2B space. But first, let me introduce myself: my name's Jess, and I'm a Senior Lifecycle Customer Marketer at Gong

At Gong, we've had a lot of experience navigating customer onboarding and the post-sale space – making sure we deliver on the promises made during sales while setting ourselves up for growth, expansion, and advocacy

Using a framework to orchestrate this journey is crucial. Today, I’m going to show you how to do just that.

Why it’s vital to nail the post-sale journey 

So, why should we care about the post-sale journey? Well, there are two obvious reasons right off the bat: 

  1. It creates a better customer experience: It does this by helping customers achieve the promised outcomes and reducing friction for the best possible results.
  2. It gets better results for us as marketers and a business: It helps you identify pain points that could lead to churn and key moments that could spark growth, ultimately increasing annual recurring revenue and net dollar retention. It also lets us create customer case studies that aid new business generation.

But that’s not all! On a more tactical level…

  1. It drives organizational alignment: So many teams are involved in the post-sale journey – product, marketing, customer success, sales, etc. Mapping the post-sale journey aligns everyone so they can solve problems together. 
  2. It also enables governance: If you're sending too many emails or mixed messages, a customer journey map helps you identify the right channels and cadences to prevent communication fatigue.
  3. It optimizes resource allocation: Mapping human and non-human touchpoints reveals duplicated efforts or over-reliance on certain interactions. You can then automate lower-touch activities so your team can focus on the highest-impact conversations along the journey.

At Gong, I’ve witnessed all five benefits of implementing our customer journey framework.

What problems does a post-sale customer journey solve?

Before we get into the challenges that a properly orchestrated post-sale customer journey can solve, let’s take a quick look at the difference between this kind of journey and the buyer journey.

In B2B, a typical sale involves around six or seven people, so the buyer journey is a path taken by only a small handful of individuals, who may not even be the intended users of the product they’ve just bought. 

Once the solution has been bought, a whole team or even an entire organization might be using it. The post-sale customer journey is all about helping that organizational ecosystem to align and start to get value from your product.

This raises two major challenges:

  1. After the point of sale, the circle of influence quickly decentralizes as new stakeholders and end-users enter the journey.
  2. Even though you convinced the organization to invest, your work isn’t done yet – you still need to persuade the end-users that your product is worth their time.

We were coming up against both of these challenges at Gong. 

The solution? 

We created what I call a “split lifecycle model”. The goal of this model is to acknowledge the maturity of the account and the personas that move it forward. At the same time, we want to recognize the maturity of the end-user, while also promoting individual user adoption and value. 

Here's what this model looks like in practice:

Split Lifecycle Model diagram with two main sections: "ACCOUNT JOURNEY" with role "CHAMPIONS/DRIVERS" focusing on KPI "RETENTION," influencing "Renewal" and "Expansion" directly and "Adoption" indirectly. "USER JOURNEY(S)" split into "USER PERSONA A," orchestrators, with KPI "STICKINESS & ADOPTION," influencing "Adoption" both directly and indirectly, and "Renewal" indirectly. "USER PERSONA B," end users, with KPI "ADOPTION," directly affects "Adoption" and indirectly "Renewal."
Source: Gong

As you can see, we have two separate journeys – the account journey and the user journey – each with different goals.