Changing the way you analyze your customers is a brave move. We‘ll go through why we started using ‘jobs to be done’ as a framework to grow and understand our customers. Personally, I feel it has allowed us to unlock many challenges we faced as a company.
Jobs to be done is a framework that helps companies like to understand precisely what customers are trying to achieve with your product. I know, it all sounds simple at first. However, once you start talking to your customers and drill deeper, you may realize, that your customers are not exactly using your product in the way you thought they would.
There will defiantly be customers who use your product or features in such a way that will surprise the entire team, and may even present a few opportunities too.
The Never-Ending Challenge
At the very start, we decided to get a better understanding of our customers ‘persona’ and trying to idolize who would be our perfect customer. It would involve us understanding their demographics, interests, personality traits and so forth. From our findings, we would attempt to correlate the similarities between the different characteristics and create strategies to market to this ‘persona type’.
But with this approach, our results were all over the place. The correlation was never definitive enough to reach 1 perfect customer type.
For example, 35% of our customers who contacted us were male, interested in reading blogs such as CNN, Financial Times, Insider, TechCrunch with hobbies such as football, soccer etc. 25% of customers are female, prefer reading HubSpot and medium.com with varied interests. The list and comparisons were endless. And to generate consistent results and determine a correlated assumption would have been very time-consuming and require a huge amount of data.
Sooner rather than later we kept running into the same problem. As were analyzing our premium customers base, which is consistently growing, it obvious that they all have their own unique persona. In the end, you have a list of customer personas, who are all ‘your customers’ yet all uniquely different. So what now? Do you keep creating personas? Start Marketing to another ‘persona’?
All Customers types are different. But are they trying to achieve a similar outcome?
We were defiantly not the only company who has a vastly different demographic. Looking at companies such as Dropbox, Basecamp, where they would have a very high variation of customer personas, but in the end, whether it’s me or you, our outcome is very similar. I could love football, and you could have never even watched a game — yet we use Dropbox to store and share files.
Ok, time to make the change!
Instead of looking at the individual personas of the customer, we started looking at what ‘job’ they were using our product for, and what result this allowed the customers to achieve.
Because, regardless of the persona of the customer, they were mostly trying to achieve a similar outcome with the application. So being a 35 year old male who loves traveling or a 35 year old female who loves reading had become less valuable for us to examine — they both wanted to achieve the same outcome whilst using Acquire.
We went from numerous personas to approximately, 3 jobs and outcomes our customers were trying to achieve. And once you realize exactly where and how your product fits into your customers day, what they are doing with your application and what this allows them to achieve, you can start utilizing this information for growth, marketing, and product development.
Which brings us to the image at the start of this post.
When______ I want to______ So i can______
Example: When a customer visits our website I want to pro-actively engage them So I can boost our conversion rate.
This is a great exercise for any company, it breaks down a number of small goals to 1–3 core customer goals.
As usual, it starts off with the Customer
We made it our mission to talk to as many customers as we could. We wanted to know exactly what ‘job’ customers were using our product for. Its interesting evaluate on how you think your customers are using your product as opposed to how they are actually using your product.
We asked the following questions. But it is your job to dig deeper into their answers.
- What are you using Acquire.io for? (if for example, e the customer said ‘sales’ it is our job to exploit this further). This could lead to questions such as ‘How is the sales team using the product?’ , ‘Who are they trying to sell to and when?’ etc. Try go as in-depth as possible.
- What did this allow you to achieve? (this is crucial. We all use products, we use their features — because we require an outcome in the end).
- In your entire workday is Acquire being used all day or in increments? (We want to know in the 8–10 hours they’re at work, where and how do we fit).
These 3 questions would lead to approximately 14–15 questions as we tried to go more in-depth with each point. We also recorded all our conversations so that we could capture all the necessary information and go through them as a team.
Making a difference in Product & Marketing
As you learn what customers are looking to achieve with your product and how they achieve this, it gives you a whole new perspective on your business. Make sure that your product allows your customers to do their ‘job’ in the most simplistic manner with the best results. Innovate on how these jobs are being done and make sure you keep ahead at all times. In short, make sure your product aligns with what your customers are trying to achieve, and do it well. (at the time you come across a product which has had insane growth, simply because they are just the best at doing what they do.)
As we learned more about the use-cases of our product and what ‘success’ looked like for our customers, you get a better idea on how to market to your audience. Marketing material and messaging should reflect what your target audience is trying to achieve. We would go through recordings and try to understand what similar ‘words’ or ‘phrases’ our customers would use when describing their success and issues they came across. We then would implement this messaging in our marketing outreach to test which one worked best.
Are you saying Personas are useless?
What we now use personas for is aspects such as their job title, industry, company size, position in the hierarchy, which has allowed us to get a better understanding of which person in a company would approach us first and who our decision makers were. Even before any conversation, I would know what they are looking for and who I need to bring into the conversation to get this deal pushed through.
We would examine industries and which ones were working the best for us and what I mean by this is, for which industry are we really providing the best value for and in which location. This allows us to focus on 1–2 key industries in a specific location and it really works for us. Being a young company its vital that we understand these aspects to make sure our marketing budget is generating an effective ROI.
For us as a SaaS company, it was more important for us to understand the job we were solving as opposed to the criteria of the customer's persona.