Customer discovery in a B2B company

  • 23 November 2021
  • 7 replies
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Hey,

 

I’m looking for ideas and thoughts around customer discovery when your customers are organizations large and small. How do you approach them when they aren’t yet a customer? How do you catch their interest on your own as a Product Manager? Love to hear your thoughts.

 

Thanks, Jamie


7 replies

Userlevel 3
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Hi @JDrummer,

Thanks for bringing up this topic of conversation!

I don't know if this is helpful to your situation, but in Inspired by Marty Cagan, he touches on methods for recruiting and working with prospective reference customers. He recommends that your reference customers should be from "your existing customer base, prospects, or a blend." Those that "truly feel the pain and are near desperate for the solution that we want to build."

In my experience as a business owner, if you want to connect with potential customers and understand their needs, you need to go where they are already gathering. It's amazing the connections we can make and the insight we can gather from forums, online communities, and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. By inserting yourself into the conversation in a helpful way, connections can be made, often turning into potential customers.

I look forward to hearing from others in the community on this topic and thank you so much for bringing it up. I'm sure others have found themselves in a similar situation! 

Userlevel 7
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I’ll add some additional thoughts here:

Teresa Torres in her book Continuous Product Discovery touches on the importance of at least weekly touchpoints with customers and getting to a place where you are continuously interviewing.

  • For customers, I’d start with those you have in Productboard and that are already sharing feedback. Focus on those in the target segment you need feedback from and those that are sharing feedback about the problem you’re trying to solve or better understand. In the Features board, within the Features detail panel you’ll find these appended to the component or feature and you can down the list of folks that have given you feedback and reach out to them.
  • For those that aren’t customers, as @michelle.fifis noted, you need to find them where they are. That may mean attending trade shows and events, via your landing pages and lead generation efforts, or talking to your sales team to see how they prospect and identify leads in your key target segments. I’d also leverage in-product prompts to get them sharing feedback and even scheduling calls with your product team. Tools like https://www.trychameleon.com/ can help with this (there are lots of others too). You might want to check out my webinar with Pulkit, their CEO, for some good tips too. There’s also nothing wrong with picking 20-30 target customers, reaching out to folks over LinkedIn, and seeing if they’d be willing to share a half-hour or hour of their time.

 

Userlevel 1
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Hello @JDrummer 👋

What is the primary goal of your discovery work?

  • Discovering new problems you aren’t yet solving
  • Discovering organizations with problem that you are currently solving
  • Something else
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Hi @pstrouven_pxc  :smile:

I am trying to find market fit for a problem/solution, specifically around SAP, and discovering new problems we haven’t yet thought of.

I’m lucky in that we have a Service Delivery team so starting the conversation with our current customers has been much easier, however reaching out to other potential customer has been difficult as I don’t know who uses SAP (as no one publishes this on their website) and of those - who realistically will respond to emails for an interview? I think I could likely find improvement by approaching individuals within organizations rather than the organisation itself. 

@scott.baldwin and @michelle.fifis have provided really good feedback on this however. I need to go to the watering hole of complaints and engage them there, so going forward this is the way i’ll approach this and see if I can have better luck.

I am a Junior Product Manager by the way, so any advise on anything is very much welcome!! :grinning::grinning:

 

Thanks, Jamie

Userlevel 7
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@JDrummer Are you an SAP partner? Could they provide you a list of potential contacts or mutual customers? Could you scan for customers in your target segment that may have been featured as SAP customers in case studies, events, or other materials? If all else fails, maybe back to where you go to where your audience is and from there find out who is/isn’t using SAP specifically.

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Hi @scott.baldwin, I don’t believe we are, but the idea of looking at case studies & other material is a great idea. Thankfully I can at least get interviews with existing customer and - whilst talking about our product - explore if they have SAP or not and maybe get a bit of insight that way.

Userlevel 5
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Hi @scott.baldwin, I don’t believe we are, but the idea of looking at case studies & other material is a great idea. Thankfully I can at least get interviews with existing customer and - whilst talking about our product - explore if they have SAP or not and maybe get a bit of insight that way.

One thing that you might want to try doing here is to go to the SAP community forums, locate the area of topic that your project may end up being considered, and posting a topic to see if there’s anyone interested in discussing it further. I haven’t been on the SAP community forums since I was a product manager for a company that was trying to validate our approach as to whether we should integrate with them or not (eventually, we became a partner - but that wasn’t for quite some time).

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