Forget the Funnel

Forget the Funnel

Author
Georgiana Laudi, Claire Suellentrop
Year
2023
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Review

I can’t wait to try the approach outlined in this book. Having a customer-led growth framework makes a lot of sense. A company is a value exchange mechanism, it must provide customer value and capture some of it. The authors did a great job of showing how this framework is complementary and intersects nicely with customer research and JTBD theory. The way it promotes a radical focus is helpful, in my experience it’s often a lack of focus that stops product teams making rapid progress.

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Key Takeaways

The 20% that gave me 80% of the value.

  • The problem: marketing and product teams operating haphazardly, flinging ideas around, trying to see what sticks. The real problem is, you’re guessing. You’re relying too much on experimentation
  • The solution: research and understand your best customers.
  • You need to understand…
    • What life was like for your customers before they started using your solution
    • What happened that made them realise, something wasn’t working and they needed something else?
    • What they did next, and next, and next, until they found you?
    • What led them to choose you over all the other options?
    • What value they experienced that convinced them to pay for your solution?
    • What they’re able to do now that they weren’t able to do before?
    • What happened next? (how have they changed now they’re your customer?)
    • Once you know all of the above, you can build a marketing and product sales strategy that works
      • You’ll know what to say
      • What channels to use
      • What parts of your product to highlight for potential customers, in what order
  • The customer-led growth framework:
    1. Get inside your best customers’ heads
    2. Map and measure your customers’ experience
    3. Unlock your biggest growth opportunities
  • Why forget the funnel? The traditional marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, purchase) doesn’t work in a recurring revenue-based businesses, that needs customers to continue paying month after month
  • You can be more effective at reaching, resonating with, and retaining great-fit customers if you know more about their psychology (why they do what they do)
  • You need buy-in and alignment from teams across the company and leadership to implement the Customer-Led Growth framework. You’ll need a cross-functional team
  • You can’t afford not to take this time. Your team implementing inefficient, ineffective tactics is already wasting time.
  • Lack of clear ownership, vague or nonexistent goals, and/or lack of specificity is what creates dysfunction
  • Create a figurative documentary of your best customer’s journey…
    • from the struggle
    • to the search for solutions
    • to finding your product
    • to trying it
    • to buying it
    • being satisfied with it
  • Gather insights by asking questions, gathering answers and analysing what you find
  • Identify your best customers: Not all customers are created equal. Learn from your best customers, as they’re the kind of the customer you want more of
  • Your best customers…
    • understand the problem your product solves
    • have personally struggled with it
    • pay for the value your product provides without hesitation
    • have an ongoing need for your product
    • have reached what we call “value realisation” (solved the problem they wanted to solve)
    • began paying recently enough that they remember what life was like before they found your product (3-6 months ago)
  • Don’t take what customers say (their opinions) at face value. Look for the underlying psychology → the pains and needs behind their actions and desires.
10 Questions to ask your best customers
  1. How are you using [product name] today?
  2. When did you first start using [product name]?
  3. With that timeline in mind, take me back to life before [product name]. Prior to [product name], what were you using instead?
    • If you were using a combination of products, what were those?
  4. Tell me about the moment you realised the [old way] wasn’t cutting it. What caused that moment? What compelled you to look for something different?
  5. Where did you go to look for new solutions? Did you try anything else before [product name]?
  6. How did you find out about [product name]?
  7. Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options? Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
  8. When you signed up for [product name], what happened that made you feel certain it was the right solution for you?
  9. How that you have [product name], whats the number one. thing you’re able to do that you weren’t able to do before?
  10. What do you wish [product name] did that it doesn’t do today?
  • If you’ve identified 500 or more ideal customers → start with a survey, if you have fewer than 500 people, or only have time to use one method, choose interviews
  • Once you understand how your best customers fell in love with your product, you’ll be able to be a better matchmaker going forwards
  • If you don’t have enough existing customers to learn from → the next best thing is audience research (Learning from your target audience or potential customers out in the world experiencing the problem that you help solve)
    • Study what your target customer are doing in the real world
    • the conversations they were having in forums and communities
    • the way they described their pain points and needs
    • the other solutions they were trying, and why those solutions didn’t work for them
  • You’re aiming to learn:
    • what influences the people you’re trying to reach
    • who they listen to and trust
    • where they go when they’re looking for new solutions
    • other solutions they’re trying, and why those solutions are/aren’t working for them
  • Not everyone in your audience, out in the wild, is automatically an ideal customer
    • When you learn from your best customers you know they’re a fit
    • Results are therefore more of a hypothesis you’ll want to prove or disprove
Website Survey Questions (documenting your customers’s life before they’ve found a solution)
  1. Which of these best describes you? {tells you about their awareness}
    • I’m considering a [product type] for the first time; not sure it’s for me yet
    • I know I need a [product type]. I’m just trying to find the best option.
    • I know [product name], but I’m not a customer yet.
    • I’m already using [product name]. I’m just here to sign in.
    • Other [click to type].
  2. What tool(s) do you currently use for [problem], if anything? (online or offline)
  3. Is there anything you dislike or want to change about your current solution(s). If so please describe
  4. What matters most as you look for a new solution? {tells you where to aim your messaging}
  5. Is there anything holding you back from [booking a demo/signing up] right now? {tells you about barriers}
  • Expect to uncover:
    • the website visitors’ most common pain points
    • current solutions
    • requirements as they looked for something new
    • the actual words and phrases they use
    • the order in which to arrange messages and information on the site, according to their priorities
  • Jobs-to-be-Done:
    • The struggle… {that pushed them to look a new solution}
    • That motivated customers… {things their existing solution lacked}
    • To seek a desired outcome {how would life be better}
  • How to find customers’ Jobs-To-Be-Done
    • You’re looking for the job the customer hires your solution for
      • what led them to fire their past solution
      • search for new ones
      • ultimately choose yours
    • You need to find out
      • The struggle… (When I…)
      • That motivated customers … (Help me…)
      • To seek a desired outcome (So I can)
  • The Customer Job Statement:
    • When I ____ , help me ____ , so I can _____
    • Struggle, motivation, desired outcome
    • Customer Interview
      Struggle Quote
      Struggle Theme
      Motivation Quote
      Motivation Theme
      Desired Outcome Quote
      Desired Outcome Theme
      A
      B
      C
      D
  • The four steps to get to a job to be done
    1. Identify struggles, motivations and desired outcomes in responses to your questions
    2. Look for common themes
    3. Define the top few jobs your customers hire your solution for
      • Start drafting JTBD statements
        • Take the top struggle
        • Identify the motivations and desired outcomes connected to the struggle theme
          • Filter by those who had the struggle theme in question …. Which are the most common motivations and desired outcomes?
        • Do the same for other struggles that are common
    4. Pick one job to prioritise
    5. Things to consider
      • Urgency to solve their struggle
      • Willingness to pay for value
      • The sales burden / Product-led possible?
      • High retention potential?
      • Expansion and upsell potential
      • Do customers congregate in ways you can target?
      • Company visions
      • Your unfair advantage / experience
      • Where your product and team are today
  • Each job statement can represent vastly different customer needs and priorities. If you don’t focus you’re back to chaos. Identifying the top-priority customer Job give you valuable guardrails. You can…
    • zero in on your customers’ real previous solutions and why they failed
    • understand where and how they look for new solutions (who they talk to, who or what influences them)
    • cut through the noise and articulate what makes your product the best choice for their specific needs
    • understand what life looks like for them as they make a purchase decision and start using your product
    • understand how life is uniquely better for them now that they’ve solved their struggle
  • Your customer Job is based on customer data. This is not guesswork

Deconstructing the Customer Experience

  • Focus on value delivered to the customer → not value delivered to the business
    • Map your customers’ unique milestones and identify a metric for each that represents what value the customer is getting
    • You can only extract the value that your customers are getting. So focus on on teh value you’re creating for them
  • ARRR frameworks have two drawbacks:
    • The set of stage-gates are generic. Regardless of your product, industry or pricing model, customer or problem being solves
    • They incentivise the team to focus on transactional moments over customer value moments
  • One you have the JTBD, you can deconstruct the experience of those customers, into phases that make up their experience (in a way that makes sense to them)
  • Mapping it starts by breaking it down into three main phases:
    1. Struggle phase: they realise they have a problem and begin seeking and exploring possible solutions
    2. Evaluation phase: your customer commits to try your product and decides it’s the solution they were looking for
    3. Growth phase: your customer successfully embeds your product into their daily life and even may use it in new ways beyond the scope of the original problem.
  • Within each phase you need to find out what customers are thinking, feeling and doing
Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A
Milestone B
Milstone C
Milstone D
Milstone E
Milestone F
Thinking
Doing
Feeling
  • Now you have a framework to place your insights from customer research into a customer experience map
Struggle Phase
  • Initially your customer is still using the old solution (or doing nothing)
  • Something causes a moment of realisation, that triggers a search for solution.
  • They somehow find your product → and make the leap
  • Pull apart the top-priority struggle into the real actions your customers need to take
The research questions that will help
  • When did you first start using [product name]?
  • Take me back to life before [product name]. Prior to [product name], what were you using instead? If you were using a combination of any tools or products, what were those?
  • Tell me about the moment you realized [old way] wasn’t cutting it. What caused that moment? What compelled you to look for something different?
  • Where did you go to look for new solutions? Did you try anything else before [product name]?
  • How did you find out about [product name]?
  • Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options? Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
The survey questions that will help
  • When did you realise you needed something like SparkToro?
  • What was going on in your world that caused you to start looking for something new?
  • Answers from customers reveal what they were thinking, doing, feeling at each stage
    • Read between the lines
Evaluation phase
  • Once the customer has made that first commitment to try out your product (start a trial, request a demo) they have into the Evaluation phase.
  • They get to an “aha” moment: they take some set of actions using your product that helps them realise it’s solving their problem
  • They haven’t bought it yet, but are most definitely interested.
  • After initial confidence they might take a further step (invite colleagues)
  • Once they’re certain they’re ready to commit and make a purchase
The research questions that will help
  • Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options?
  • Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
  • When you signed up for [product name], what happened that made you feel certain it was the right solution for you?
  • Now that you have [product name], what’s the number one thing you’re able to do that you weren’t before?
Growth Phase
  • You’ve helped your new customer solve their Job, but their relationship with your product has only just begun
  • Your customer is in the process of building habits around using your product.
    • Only once your product has been embedded into their daily life or recurring workflows has their problem really been solved for good.
  • Your customer will evolve. New struggles will arise for them; they’ll have new challenges to tackle.
    • If your product can continually solve new problems for your customer, then congratulations: you have a customer for life.
  • The research questions that will help:
    • How are you using [product name] day-to-day?
    • Now that you have [product name], what’s the number one thing you’re able to do that you weren’t able to do before?
    • What do you wish [product name] did that it doesn’t do today?
  • Identifying Customer Milestones
    • Milestones are the “leaps of faith” your customer takes throughout their relationship with you. To identify where different milestones begin and end, look for similar feelings within a phase. As the customer shifts from one milestone to another, their feelings will shift. Rearrange your stickies to show how the customer’s mental and emotional state changes through the different phases
    • Two or three milestones per phase is common
Struggle Phase: will often breakdown into…
  • A problem milestone: customer feels frustrated
  • An interest milestone: see a potential solution, feel hopeful
Evaluation Phase:
  • there’s more variation in the number of milestones in this phase tends - it depends on how complex your product is and your customers needs
  • Common milstones:
    • Activation → the “aha” moment or first value moment
    • Engagement or Value realisation → customers have solved the problem they wanted
Growth Phase:
  • Especially important for recurring revenue businesses → everything rests on our ability to deliver continued value to customers.
  • What are they able to do now that they couldn’t do before?
  • What does this “better life” look like for them?
  • Also, what opportunities do they have to expand their usage or need for your product?
  • Can you see ways to drive up value for your customer, or generate word-of-mouth referrals that will help attract more new customers?
  • Common milestones:
    • Engagement / continued value → customers have established a habit and your product is embedded into their life
    • Expansion / Value Growth → customers evolve in their needs, expand their usage, become a “pro,” and/or begin telling others about your solution.
  • Unlike transaction based models, customer experience maps focus on your ideal customer’s real experience → with your unique product and business model
  • Your team can now identify exactly where you’re meeting customer’s needs well, and where you’re dropping the ball.

Identifying Customer-Led KPIs

  • Tying your team’s performance to your customer’s success is super valuable
  • Daily, weekly, or monthly active users is simple to understand and easy to track → BUT for many products, this metric has nothing to do with the customer getting value
  • Once you know what your customer values → you can start measuring your success based on customers taking actions that show you they received that value
  • Lagging indicators often represent business results, but they aren’t actionable. They tell you what’s happened, not why or what your team should do next. Leading indicators are metric you can act on. They represent actions customers take, that when tracked, help you understand their success with your solution
  • Define a KPI for each milestone
    • Each milestone needs a KPI that indicates a customer has successfully taken that step
Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A Problem
Milestone B Interest
Milstone C First value
Milstone D Value Realisation
Milstone E Continued Value
Milestone F Value Growth
KPI New unique website visitors
KPI First search
KPI 5+ searches and 1+ list
KPI 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports and updgrade or review or referral
  • What actions do customers take within this milestone?
  • What is the customer doing that…
    • you can track
    • implies they’ve transitioned to that phase
    • maybe tips them into the next phase once complete
    • indicates you’ve done a good job helping them reach value
  • Match what your customers said was valuable, to the features and attributes of your product that create value
  • Be clear on how your product helps them solve their problem
  • Don’t just talk about your shiny new customer-led KPIs; champion them. Use them.
  • Release your team to work on moving them in the right direction. A direction that drives customer value

Bridging customer’s success gaps

Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A Problem
Milestone B Interest
Milstone C First value
Milstone D Value Realisation
Milstone E Continued Value
Milestone F Value Growth
KPI New unique website visitors
KPI First search
KPI 5+ searches and 1+ list
KPI 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports and updgrade or review or referral
Lots of people getting here
and here
but way fewer were getting here
  • A success gap is a disconnect between what your ideal customers need and want, and what your customer experience provides
  • Put yourself in the shoes of an ideal customer who needs your product. Spot gaps between what your ideal customers need and want, and what your current customer experience provides
  • You’ll have much more clarity now, as you’ve narrowed your view to your ideal customer. You’ll see the mismatches between WGLL and your experience.
  • Move through the milestones.
    • Does your value proposition make it clear that your product can help your ideal customer achieve their desired outcome?
    • Are you introducing the most important features first?
    • Is it obvious how your product addressees the typical objections?
    • Log friction points as you go
  • Choose one success gap. Which success gap is causing the most harm to your customers’ experience?. Choose the gap where even a modest increase in conversation rates would have a big impact. Look for big drop offs
    • What KPI would…
      • Have the biggest potential payoff?
      • Leverage the existing team, resources and budgets best?
      • be actionable in the short term and
      • excite the team because they already have a clear path to fix the experience?
  • Get clear on how you’ll bridge the gap
    • Put all the ideas on the table that directly help bridge the top-priority success gap
    • With clarity on your top priority comes focus → you can ignore everything else for now
    • Once you’ve chosen your approach, use your new KPIs to measure progress
  • Use your CX map and KPIs to focus and guide your strategies, you’ll have a greater impact on performance
  • Share your customer insights and CX map widely in an all hands meeting with everyone
    • Reiterate the value
    • Call out all contributors
    • Show off the data
    • Introduce the customer milestones
    • Explain how the CX map will be used
    • Let everyone know that you’re open to questions or challenges
  • Being Customer-Led in your Day-to-day
    • Focus on the customer’s experience every day
    • Use the CX map to guide annual and quarterly planning cycles
    • Use the CX map to guide individual projects
    • Redefine teams’ and individuals’ targets using the new KPIs
    • Create accessible dashboards of KPIs
    • Contextualise research done by different teams
    • Supercharge employee onboarding
  • Build on what you’ve done:
    • Go back to your research, focus on a customer job you identified but tabled. Build a new CX map with new KPIs
    • Start the customer-led framework steps again, but this time for a customer segment you don’t currently serve
  • The goal of the Customer-Led Growth framework is to make your customer’s experience quantifiable, unambiguous and the bedrock of your organisation (every department, every team, every decision)
  • Getting inside your customers’ heads is the key to hitting your goals. No more wasting time, fumbling, guessing.
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Deep Summary

Longer form notes, typically condensed, reworded and de-duplicated.

Part I: Forgetting the Funnel

Chapter 1. Why You Should Read This Book

  • You can get trapped running experiments and obsessing over metrics
  • Customer-led growth: is when you move from obsessing over marketing metrics to measuring customer value
  • The problem: marketing teams operating haphazardly, flinging ideas around, trying to see what sticks.
    • Scrambling like this won’t generate long-term growth, it might even prevent sustainable and predictable growth
    • Stop and ask: Why isn’t this working?
    • The real problem is, you’re guessing.
    • You’re relying too much on experimentation
  • The Solution
    • What works elsewhere isn’t always relevant to you (your product, business, customers)
    • You can fix inconsistent, unpredictable growth if you research and understand your best customers. You need to understand…
      • What life was like for your customers before they started using your solution
      • What happened that made them realise, something wasn’t working and they needed something else?
      • What they did next, and next, and next, until they found you?
      • What led them to choose you over all the other options?
      • What value they experienced that convinced them to pay for your solution?
      • What they’re able to do now that they weren’t able to do before?
      • What happened next? (how have they changed now they’re your customer?)
    • Once you know all of the above, you can build a marketing and product sales strategy that works
      • You’ll know what to say
      • What channels to use
      • What parts of your product to highlight for potential customers, in what order
    • You’ll reach and resonate with more right-fit customers and see more consistent growth
  • The approach is tangible, and doesn’t have to be big, complicated or expensive.
  • The customer-led growth framework:
    1. Get inside your best customers’ heads
    2. Map and measure your customers’ experience
    3. Unlock your biggest growth opportunities
  • Author learnt about Jobs-to-be-Done theory: a research process that helps uncover a customer’s motivation for buying a product.
    • People ‘hire’ a solution to improve their life in some way
    • People ‘fire’ that solution when it no longer serves them
  • Why forget the funnel?
    • The traditional marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, purchase) doesn’t work in a recurring revenue-based businesses, that needs customers to continue paying month after month
    • It’s a serious mistake to think about marketing as something that stops when someone signs up
  • The author duo’s strengths:
    • Claire knows how to get the critical insight needed to inform an impactful growth strategy
    • Gia knows how to apply it
  • The Customer-Led Growth Framework can help you think more strategically about marketing
    • Solving marketing problems will end up benefiting your entire business
  • You can be more effective at reaching, resonating with, and retaining great-fit customers if you know more about their psychology (why they do what they do)
  • You’ll learn:
    • Who they are
    • Where to find them
    • How to show them the answer to their problems
    • How to onboard them / get them to value
    • How to retain them

Chapter 2. Building Your Customer-Led Team

  • You need buy-in and alignment from teams across the company and leadership to implement the Customer-Led Growth framework.
  • You’ll need a cross-functional team:
    • Leverages each department’s existing knowledge
    • Each department becomes invested in success
    • Increases collaboration and reduces duplicate customer research efforts
  • Two common forms of resistance to Customer Research
    • What if all this does is slow us down?
    • What if we end up even more confused than we are now?
  • You can’t afford not to take this time. Your team implementing inefficient, ineffective tactics is already wasting time.
  • 75% of all cross-functional teams fail in at least three of the five criteria for functionality
    1. Meeting a planned budget
    2. Staying on schedule
    3. Adhering to specifications
    4. Meeting customer expectations
    5. Maintaining alignment with the company’s larger goals
  • Lack of clear ownership, vague or nonexistent goals, and/or lack of specificity is what creates dysfunction
  • CLG Team Roles and Responsibilities
    • Primary Stakeholder: highest decision-making power on the team. Interested in the big-picture strategy. Accountable for making sure the champion is unblocked
    • Champion: responsible for getting things done
    • Secondary Stakeholders/contributors: leaders who have a stake in the outcomes, consulted but not driving the work
    • Facilitator: internal or external consultant to drive the process forward
  • To gain customer insight, the champion will run customer research and decide what knowledge to use.

Chapter 3 Learning from Customers

  • The goal is to move from:
    • customers’ presumed pain → to their real pain
    • believing which features created value → to knowing which features created value
  • Marketing became curated and more targeted.
  • Why You Need New Customer Research
    • Building a product in the first place is one thing → learning from customers’ experience actually using it is another
    • Your customers change, their needs shift as old problems are solved, as industries mature, and as more solutions enter the market
  • Past research can give you answers to the wrong questions.
    • If may have focused on demographics not customer struggles or desired outcomes
    • Or it may tell you what is happening but not why
    • Neither demographic data nor product data tell you what’s inside customers’ heads
  • Create a figurative documentary of your best customer’s journey:
    • from the struggle
    • to the search for solutions
    • to finding your product
    • to trying it
    • to buying it
    • being satisfied with it
  • Gather insights by asking questions, gathering answers and analysing what you find
  • Identify your best customers:
    • Not all customers are created equal
    • Learn from your best customers, as they’re the kind of the customer you want more of
    • Your best customers:
      • understand the problem your product solves
      • have personally struggled with it
      • pay for the value your product provides without hesitation
      • have an ongoing need for your product
      • have reached what we call “value realisation” (solved the problem they wanted to solve)
      • began paying recently enough that they remember what life was like before they found your product (3-6 months ago)
  • Don’t take what customers say (their opinions) at face value:
    • Look for the underlying psychology → the pains and needs behind their actions and desires.
    • Avoid inviting options or speculation
    • Avoid leading or closed questions
    • Try to gain an understanding of what happened
  • What to ask customers:
    • Build a storyboard of their real, step-by-step experience, from life before they ever knew they needed your product to the ongoing value and growth they’re now enjoying
    • Try to understand what happened in their journey (their struggles, motivations and desired outcomes)
    • Use open-ended questions to gather the real words and phrases they use (the customer’s voice)
    • 10 Questions to ask your best customers
      1. How are you using [product name] today?
      2. When did you first start using [product name]?
      3. With that timeline in mind, take me back to life before [product name]. Prior to [product name], what were you using instead?
        • If you were using a combination of products, what were those?
      4. Tell me about the moment you realised the [old way] wasn’t cutting it. What caused that moment? What compelled you to look for something different?
      5. Where did you go to look for new solutions? Did you try anything else before [product name]?
      6. How did you find out about [product name]?
      7. Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options? Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
      8. When you signed up for [product name], what happened that made you feel certain it was the right solution for you?
      9. How that you have [product name], whats the number one. thing you’re able to do that you weren’t able to do before?
      10. What do you wish [product name] did that it doesn’t do today?
  • What method to use, survey or interview?
    • If you’ve identified 500 or more ideal customers → start with a survey
      • typical response rate of between 10–15%
      • they can quickly give you a broad view
      • they can also be interviewed later
      • you’ll miss the nuanced details though. They don’t humanise or describe
    • If you have fewer than 500 people, or only have time to use one method, choose interviews
      • you can clarify and get data beyond just words
      • energy, verbal cues, emotion, body language
      • try to get to 10-15
  • Once you understand how your best customers fell in love with your product, you’ll be able to be a better matchmaker going forwards

Chapter 4. Learning from Future Customers

  • If you don’t have enough existing customers to learn from → the next best thing is audience research (Learning from your target audience or potential customers out in the world experiencing the problem that you help solve)
    • Study what your target customer are doing in the real world
    • the conversations they were having in forums and communities
    • the way they described their pain points and needs
    • the other solutions they were trying, and why those solutions didn’t work for them
  • You’re aiming to learn:
    • what influences the people you’re trying to reach
    • who they listen to and trust
    • where they go when they’re looking for new solutions
    • other solutions they’re trying, and why those solutions are/aren’t working for them
  • Look for people’s objective, observable actions and answers.
  • Look for information about the problem they’re trying to solve, the places they look for solutions, and the tactics they use to track down solutions.
  • Not everyone in your audience, out in the wild, is automatically an ideal customer
    • When you learn from your best customers you know they’re a fit
    • Results are therefore more of a hypothesis you’ll want to prove or disprove
  • Ways to collect audience insights
    • Run target market interviews
    • Send a survey to your email subscribers
    • Mine reviews of competing solutions
    • Use audience intelligence or customer discovery tools
    • Do social listening in forums / communities
  • A website survey is the quickest and most straightforward way to get the info you need:
    • Learn from the people you already know are in problem-solving mode
    • You can ask your website visitors a few quick questions to learn…
      • How sharply they’re feeling the problem your product solves
      • What matters most to them as they look for ways to solve that problem
  • In customer research is about quality of response (from your best customers)
  • Audience research gives you a wider band of quality but with more quantity
  • Website Survey Questions (documenting your customers’s life before they’ve found a solution)
    1. Which of these best describes you? {tells you about their awareness}
      • I’m considering a [product type] for the first time; not sure it’s for me yet
      • I know I need a [product type]. I’m just trying to find the best option.
      • I know [product name], but I’m not a customer yet.
      • I’m already using [product name]. I’m just here to sign in.
      • Other [click to type].
    2. What tool(s) do you currently use for [problem], if anything? (online or offline)
    3. Is there anything you dislike or want to change about your current solution(s). If so please describe
    4. What matters most as you look for a new solution? {tells you where to aim your messaging}
    5. Is there anything holding you back from [booking a demo/signing up] right now? {tells you about barriers}
  • Expect to uncover:
    • the website visitors’ most common pain points
    • current solutions
    • requirements as they looked for something new
    • the actual words and phrases they use
    • the order in which to arrange messages and information on the site, according to their priorities

Chapter 5. Identifying Your Customers’ Jobs-to-be-Done

  • Jobs-to-be-Done:
    • The struggle… {that pushed them to look a new solution}
    • That motivated customers… {things their existing solution lacked}
    • To seek a desired outcome {how would life be better}
  • How to find customers’ Jobs-To-Be-Done
    • You’re looking for the job the customer hires your solution for
      • what led them to fire their past solution
      • search for new ones
      • ultimately choose yours
    • You need to find out
      • The struggle… (When I…)
      • That motivated customers … (Help me…)
      • To seek a desired outcome (So I can)
  • The Customer Job Statement:
    • When I ____ , help me ____ , so I can _____
    • Struggle, motivation, desired outcome
    • Customer Interview
      Struggle Quote
      Struggle Theme
      Motivation Quote
      Motivation Theme
      Desired Outcome Quote
      Desired Outcome Theme
      A
      B
      C
      D
  • The four steps to get to a job to be done
    1. Identify struggles, motivations and desired outcomes in responses to your questions
      • Struggle: talk about pain, actual problems, or situations that triggered a need
      • Motivation: specifics of a new solution that fill the gaps customers’ old solutions didn’t
      • Desired outcomes: their picture of how life will be better
    2. Look for common themes
      • Which struggle themes appear most often?
      • Pull them into a chart and plot them to see 📊
    3. Define the top few jobs your customers hire your solution for
      • Start drafting JTBD statements
        • Take the top struggle
        • Identify the motivations and desired outcomes connected to the struggle theme
          • Filter by those who had the struggle theme in question …. Which are the most common motivations and desired outcomes?
        • Do the same for other struggles that are common
    4. Pick one job to prioritise
      • Don’t try to solve all of their customers’ jobs at once
      • Focus on one
        • Consider:
          • Urgency to solve their struggle
          • Willingness to pay for value
          • The sales burden / Product-led possible?
          • High retention potential?
          • Expansion and upsell potential
          • Do customers congregate in ways you can target?
          • Company visions
          • Your unfair advantage / experience
          • Where your product and team are today
      • Each job statement can represent vastly different customer needs and priorities
      • If you don’t focus you’re back to chaos
  • Identifying the top-priority customer Job give you valuable guardrails. You can…
    • zero in on your customers’ real previous solutions and why they failed
    • understand where and how they look for new solutions (who they talk to, who or what influences them)
    • cut through the noise and articulate what makes your product the best choice for their specific needs
    • understand what life looks like for them as they make a purchase decision and start using your product
    • understand how life is uniquely better for them now that they’ve solved their struggle
  • Your customer Job is based on customer data. This is not guesswork

Part III Mapping Your Customers’ Experience

Chapter 6. Deconstructing the Customer Experience

  • Airbnb map their ideal customer journey
    • Each milestone, the touch points with AirBnB and the host
      • How they felt
      • A sense of how much value they got from this part of the process
  • The business-centric models and pirate metrics took a back seat
    • Pirate metrics: acquisition, activation, revenue, retention, and referral
      • Pirate because AARRR! 🦜☠️
  • Focus on value delivered to the customer → not value delivered to the business
    • Map your customers’ unique milestones and identify a metric for each that represents what value the customer is getting
    • You can only extract the value that your customers are getting. So focus on on teh value you’re creating for them
  • ARRR frameworks have two drawbacks:
    • The set of stage-gates are generic. Regardless of your product, industry or pricing model, customer or problem being solves
    • They incentivise the team to focus on transactional moments over customer value moments
      • risky for recurring revenue businesses
  • Identifying your ideal customer’s JTBD → gives you insight into their specific value moments
    • You can map their experience and do something to improve it
      • Streamline, optimise, reach customers who are a bette fit, ensure more reach their desired outcomes.
  • One you have the JTBD, you can deconstruct the experience of those customers, into phases that make up their experience (in a way that makes sense to them)
  • Customer Experience Anatomy
    • Mapping it starts by breaking it down into three main phases:
      1. Struggle phase: they realise they have a problem and begin seeking and exploring possible solutions
      2. Evaluation phase: your customer commits to try your product and decides it’s the solution they were looking for
      3. Growth phase: your customer successfully embeds your product into their daily life and even may use it in new ways beyond the scope of the original problem.
  • Within each phase you need to find out what customers are thinking, feeling and doing
Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A
Milestone B
Milstone C
Milstone D
Milstone E
Milestone F
Thinking
Doing
Feeling
  • Now you have a framework to place your insights from customer research into a customer experience map
  • Struggle Phase
    • Initially your customer is still using the old solution (or doing nothing)
    • Something causes a moment of realisation, that triggers a search for solution.
    • They somehow find your product → and make the leap
    • Pull apart the top-priority struggle into the real actions your customers need to take
    • The research questions that will help
      • When did you first start using [product name]?
      • Take me back to life before [product name]. Prior to [product name], what were you using instead? If you were using a combination of any tools or products, what were those?
      • Tell me about the moment you realized [old way] wasn’t cutting it. What caused that moment? What compelled you to look for something different?
      • Where did you go to look for new solutions? Did you try anything else before [product name]?
      • How did you find out about [product name]?
      • Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options? Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
      The survey questions that will help
      • When did you realise you needed something like SparkToro?
      • What was going on in your world that caused you to start looking for something new?
    • Answers from customers reveal what they were thinking, doing, feeling at each stage
      • Read between the lines
  • Evaluation phase
    • Once the customer has made that first commitment to try out your product (start a trial, request a demo) they have into the Evaluation phase.
    • They get to an “aha” moment: they take some set of actions using your product that helps them realise it’s solving their problem
    • They haven’t bought it yet, but are most definitely interested.
    • After initial confidence they might take a further step (invite colleagues)
    • Once they’re certain they’re ready to commit and make a purchase
    • The research questions that will help
      • Why did you decide to choose [product name] over other options?
      • Can you recall anything that stood out to you?
      • When you signed up for [product name], what happened that made you feel certain it was the right solution for you?
      • Now that you have [product name], what’s the number one thing you’re able to do that you weren’t before?
  • Growth Phase
    • You’ve helped your new customer solve their Job, but their relationship with your product has only just begun
    • Your customer is in the process of building habits around using your product.
      • Only once your product has been embedded into their daily life or recurring workflows has their problem really been solved for good.
    • Your customer will evolve. New struggles will arise for them; they’ll have new challenges to tackle.
      • If your product can continually solve new problems for your customer, then congratulations: you have a customer for life.
    • The research questions that will help:
      • How are you using [product name] day-to-day?
      • Now that you have [product name], what’s the number one thing you’re able to do that you weren’t able to do before?
      • What do you wish [product name] did that it doesn’t do today?
  • Identifying Customer Milestones
    • Milestones are the “leaps of faith” your customer takes throughout their relationship with you.
    • The frame-by-frame storyboard of your ideal customer’s journey
    • To identify where different milestones begin and end, look for similar feelings within a phase.
    • As the customer shifts from one milestone to another, their feelings will shift
    • Rearrange your stickies to show how the customer’s mental and emotional state changes through the different phases
    • Two or three milestones per phase is common
  • Struggle Phase: will often breakdown into
    • A problem milestone: customer feels frustrated
    • An interest milestone: see a potential solution, feel hopeful
  • Evaluation Phase:
    • there’s more variation in the number of milestones in this phase tends - it depends on how complex your product is and your customers needs
    • Common milstones:
      • Activation → the “aha” moment or first value moment
      • Engagement or Value realisation → customers have solved the problem they wanted
  • Growth Phase:
    • Especially important for recurring revenue businesses → everything rests on our ability to deliver continued value to customers.
    • What are they able to do now that they couldn’t do before?
    • What does this “better life” look like for them?
    • Also, what opportunities do they have to expand their usage or need for your product?
    • Can you see ways to drive up value for your customer, or generate word-of-mouth referrals that will help attract more new customers?
    • Common milestones:
      • Engagement / continued value → customers have established a habit and your product is embedded into their life
      • Expansion / Value Growth → customers evolve in their needs, expand their usage, become a “pro,” and/or begin telling others about your solution.
  • Where the Magic Happens:
    • Unlike transaction based models, customer experience maps focus on your ideal customer’s real experience → with your unique product and business model.
    • Your CX map isn’t based on assumptions but on value customers actually report
    • Your company can now see and understand what your customer experiences as they evolve in their relationship with your solution.
    • Your team can now identify exactly where you’re meeting customer’s needs well, and where you’re dropping the ball.
    • A common “aha” moment for CLG Teams in the mapping process is “Oh, shit, we haven’t been doing X”
    • Before you can start implementing all the opportunities → you have to decide how you’ll measure the success.

Chapter 7. Identifying Customer-Led KPIs

  • Unclear, poorly set KPIs cause problems
    • They can create internal dysfunction
    • and wreak havoc on your customer’s experience
  • Tying your team’s performance to your customer’s success however is super valuable
  • Measure Customer Value
    • Daily, weekly, or monthly active users is simple to understand and easy to track → BUT for many products, this metric has nothing to do with the customer getting value
    • Once you know what your customer values → you can start measuring your success based on customers taking actions that show you they received that value
  • Measure what you can act on
    • Lagging indicators often represent business results, but they aren’t actionable. They tell you what’s happened, not why or what your team should do next.
    • Leading indicators are metric you can act on. They represent actions customers take, that when tracked, help you understand their success with your solution

Common leading indicators

  • New unique visits
  • Signups
  • Product activation
  • Product engagement
  • Product expansion
  • Referrals, reviews
  • Ney promoter score (NPS)
  • Customer satisfaction rating (CSAT)

Common lagging indicators

  • Annual or monthly recurring revenue (ARR/MRR)
  • Cost to acquire a customer CAC
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU)
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV/LTV)
⚠️
I think NPS and CSAT are lagging indicators, to me they’re a sign of what’s happened in the past and not that actionable
  • Define a KPI for each milestone
    • Each milestone needs a KPI that indicates a customer has successfully taken that step
Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A Problem
Milestone B Interest
Milstone C First value
Milstone D Value Realisation
Milstone E Continued Value
Milestone F Value Growth
KPI New unique website visitors
KPI First search
KPI 5+ searches and 1+ list
KPI 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports and updgrade or review or referral
  • What actions do customers take within this milestone?
  • What is the customer doing that…
    • you can track
    • implies they’ve transitioned to that phase
    • maybe tips them into the next phase once complete
    • indicates you’ve done a good job helping them reach value
  • Match what your customers said was valuable, to the features and attributes of your product that create value
Customer Value
Features + product attributes that create that value
e.g. the ability to share insights
e.g. Insight export / share functionality
  • Be clear on how your product helps them solve their problem
  • What’s your value realisation moment? When everything clicks into place for them → and they’re likely to become a paying customer
  • The first value milestone, is a sign they’re on the right track → toward full value realisation.
    • Glimpsing value to come
    • Learning about the features that will help
  • When does your customer feel enough value to transition from evaluation to growth? To a paying customer?
  • To keep customers around → you need to deliver value continuously
  • Value Growth moments:
    • use features that require an upgrade to the next pricing tier
    • switch from monthly to annual billing
    • invite more team members to their account
    • join your referral or affiliate program
    • leave a five-star review or write a glowing testimonial
    • become a power user of your product
    • and invite and teach others about it
  • Value Growth is when the potential for expansion or net revenue retention (NRR) finally becomes clearer.
  • You’ve done the research → identified your best customers’ Job → understand the phases of the customer’s journey → the milestones they encounter with your product → and the customer-led KPIs needed to measure progress
  • You’re on the precipice of predictable, meaningful growth.
  • Don’t just talk about your shiny new customer-led KPIs; champion them. Use them.
  • Build dashboards for your customer KPIs
    • this provides visibility into the health of your customers
    • how successful you are at meeting their needs
  • Benchmark your performance
  • Release your team to work on moving them in the right direction. A direction that drives customer value

Part 4. Operationalising your customer insights

Chapter 8: Bridging customer’s success gaps

Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A Problem
Milestone B Interest
Milstone C First value
Milstone D Value Realisation
Milstone E Continued Value
Milestone F Value Growth
KPI New unique website visitors
KPI First search
KPI 5+ searches and 1+ list
KPI 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports
KPI Monthly 10+ searches and 2+ lists, and 2+ exports and updgrade or review or referral
Lots of people getting here
and here
but way fewer were getting here
  • A success gap is a disconnect between what your ideal customers need and want, and what your customer experience provides
  • You need to identify the biggest success gaps your ideal customers face across your customer experience
  • Identifying Success Gaps
    • Put yourself in the shoes of an ideal customer who needs your product
    • Spot gaps between what your ideal customers need and want, and what your current customer experience provides
    • Remind yourself of your top JTBD → go through each milestone as they would
      • Look at your marketing
      • Look at your copy
      • Go through each of the steps
    • You’ll have much more clarity now, as you’ve narrowed your view to your ideal customer
      • You’ll see the mismatches between WGLL and your experience
    • Move through the milestones.
    • Does your value proposition make it clear that your product can help your ideal customer achieve their desired outcome?
    • Are you introducing the most important features first?
    • Is it obvious how your product addressees the typical objections?
    • Log friction points as you go
  • Choose one success gap
    • Which success gap is causing the most harm to your customers’ experience?
    • Choose the gap where even a modest increase in conversation rates would have a big impact
      • Look for big drop offs
    • What KPI would…
      • Have the biggest potential payoff?
      • Leverage the existing team, resources and budgets best?
      • be actionable in the short term and
      • excite the team because they already have a clear path to fix the experience?
  • Get clear on how you’ll bridge the gap
    • Put all the ideas on the table that directly help bridge the top-priority success gap
    • With clarity on your top priority comes focus → you can ignore everything else for now
    • Once you’ve chosen your approach, use your new KPIs to measure progress
    • Some common approaches…
Struggle
Evaluation
Growth
Milestone A Problem
Milestone B Interest
Milstone C First value
Milstone D Value Realisation
Milstone E Continued Value
Milestone F Value Growth
Ad marketing camplaigns
Website messaging
In-app onboarding updates
Win-back nurture emails
Additional feature-based or use-case-based nurture sequences
Add-on or upgrade nurture emails
Though leadership content
Pricing updates
Product tour
Why wasn’t product right for you emails
Continuous customer education content and events
Annual subscription nurture
Referral programs
CTA updates
Email onboarding
Product reviews or referrals
Partner programs
Training webinars
  • Make shit happen
    • You know where to focus to move the needle
    • which project will have the biggest impact on your customers
    • how you’ll measure success as you execute
  • You have what you need to continually, consistently bridge success gaps and deliver greater value
    • Where there is customer value, there is revenue to gain
  • Use your CX map and KPIs to focus and guide your strategies, you’ll have a greater impact on performance

Chapter 9: Integrating and iterating customer-led practices

  • The biggest mistake you could make is put all of that work on the shelf
  • Share your customer insights and CX map:
    • If it looks like shit, people will treat it like shit
    • Get a designer to make it look good
    • Share it widely in an all hands meeting with everyone
      • Reiterate the value
      • Call out all contributors
      • Show off the data
      • Introduce the customer milestones
      • Explain how the CX map will be used
      • Let everyone know that you’re open to questions or challenges
  • Being Customer-Led in your Day-to-day
    • Focus on the customer’s experience every day
    • Use the CX map to guide annual and quarterly planning cycles
    • Use the CX map to guide individual projects
    • Redefine teams’ and individuals’ targets using the new KPIs
    • Create accessible dashboards of KPIs
    • Contextualise research done by different teams
    • Supercharge employee onboarding
  • Build on what you’ve done:
    • Go back to your research, focus on a customer job you identified but tabled. Build a new CX map with new KPIs
    • Start the customer-led framework steps again, but this time for a customer segment you don’t currently serve
  • The goal of the Customer-Led Growth framework is to make your customer’s experience quantifiable, unambiguous and the bedrock of your organisation (every department, every team, every decision)

Chapter 10: What got you there, won’t get you there

  • Getting inside your customers’ heads is the key to hitting your goals. No more wasting time, fumbling, guessing.