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Discover the job buyers are hiring you for and increase customer satisfaction

Don't use generic 'truths' that lead to boring marketing; discover what job buyers are hiring for and increase customer satisfaction
Discover the 'real' problem buyers are buying for, improve customer satisfaction and stand out in your market

Insights that help you increase customer satisfaction & stand out in your market are hiding. Your job is to dig deeper and understand the Jobs your customers are hiring you for.

Your buyers will be struggling with processes and ‘Jobs’ that your competitors won’t be targeting and the category isn’t aware of. Finding these provides a clue to the ‘real’ problem your buyers are buying tools and services to fix. 

Many, many tech businesses use ‘Category’- or ‘Business’-level insights. This is why everyone looks and sounds the same. This lack of insight is what drives Boring to Boring marketing. We always go deeper, exploring User-level insights to find ‘real’ problems your product can solve better than anyone else. 

Here’s a breakdown of the three major types of insights and what to do with them to stand out in your market:

Category level insights

These insights can be found in industry reports and from experts. They point to where the category is heading. 

Finding something surprising here is hard unless we redefine where the category is going. Doing this is hard unless a) incumbents are failing and buyers are desperate for a different approach (think rail privatisation, or Mac vs PC), b) you’ve a revolutionary way of solving problems buyers didn’t realise they had (think AI), or c) you’ve a large marketing budget.

Business level insights

These insights describe the financial and regulatory needs of customers. Spoiler: they want to make money and save money in a predictable, lawful way. 

So, we have to dig deeper to understand the nuanced motivations beneath these obvious business goals. Compliance and risk are big areas that govern business strategy. So too are Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policy and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices. If you can show how you make/save money within one of these areas, sales are easier, as many offerings will appear ‘nice to have’.

Buyer/User level insights

This is where all the friction in sales processes exists. Insights here are personal, particular to niches and powerful when uncovered. 

Buyer and user needs govern most procurement decision-making. For example, for one client we uncovered that the failings of the entire industry to tackle cyber security breaches was embarrassing for buyers. This led to a personally provocative positioning calling out these failings and attacking incumbents as letting buyers down. This is charged stuff, but is the only way to cut through the generic waffle promoted by competitors adhering to ‘category’ norms.

Finding these insights and increase customer satisfaction

The creator of the Jobs to be Done methodology, Tony Ulwick had an epiphany after a particularly disastrous new product launch. He realised “companies should stop focusing on the product and the customer — and instead should understand the “underlying process” (or job) the customer is trying to execute when they are using a product or service.” Tony Ulwick, 1990

This sparked 30 years of experimentation with the idea that a process, not a single pain or problem, was behind buying decisions.

He explains:

Six Sigma thinking seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects. It uses a set of quality management methods, mainly empirical, statistical methods, to address process deficiencies. It occurred to me that we could apply Six Sigma and process control principles to innovation if we studied the process that people were trying to execute when they were using a product or service, rather than studying the product itself.

After 10 years of localised success, Ulwick introduced his theory to Professor Clayton Christensen with the Harvard Business School. Christensen popularised the JTBD theory in his 2003 book The Innovator’s Solution. And now it’s common parlance.

We use this method to uncover the Jobs marketing prospects are looking to get done. 

Take advantage of and stand out in your market by understanding the jargon:

Jobs to be done: The task or process they are engaged in that a hired solution might help them with.

Pains to avoid: Problems they’re trying to solve that get in the way of achieving their Jobs. These are emotional, physical, political, financial etc

Gains sought: The personal and professional advantages of solving the problems and getting the jobs done. These can be long term or short term. Often they are daily gains, such as making life easier at work, reducing stress, increasing productivity etc.

Alternatives explored: These are other ways to achieve the job, and they include workarounds using people and software hacks, or competitor software and other vendors. We ask how the market is moving and what the adjacent threats might be. We also ask where the money comes from & how it is used currently?

The process of getting a Job done

Using Jobs to be Done we can learn the steps prospects use to get those jobs done. Our focus is the process they go through. In that process they will use many tools, people and methods; anything basically to get the Job done. These are the alternatives and workarounds we look out for.

The process employed to get a Job done has steps and metrics. These measure the degree of pain or gain in the process. 

For example, imagine a prospective customer is trying to get insight from multiple data sources (that your analytics software could help them with). The steps they take may be to aggregate data sources, normalise and clean the data somehow, involve other parties for insight about the data they are using, and so on. 

These steps each have a measure of difficulty and it’s these measures that provide the insight into how your product can help, and how much it may be valued. 

Value (in the eyes of the buyer) is created when their pain is alleviated and they can see how to achieve their goals. So discovering where and how value is created by your product becomes the central objective in understanding how to market the product.

Customers’ ability to buy and your chance to increase customer satisfaction

Obviously, to get sales you need people with a budget. Steve Blank uses a useful checklist to find early-ish adopters. These people need to know they have a problem, feel that pain, are hacking a solution together already AND have a budget to fix the problem. Often you can find buyers with one or two of these behaviours, but the budget bit remains absent. 

We segment buyers based on buying capability and we explore the Jobs they are trying to get done with the budgets they have.  

We use one to one interviews. There’s a whole host of methods when it comes to interviews, but we’ve found a way that delivers very precise insights that marketing and product development can both use. 

This, for me, is the gold standard. 

B2B businesses don’t need generalised insights about pains and gains. They need to be able to develop products around Jobs. It also applies that marketing should help buyers decide by providing insight about these Jobs. So focusing on Jobs creates new insights validated in real needs.

I’ll go into the detail of how to break the Jobs down into measurable units in Webinar 3 – Value Propositions. 

Watch it here:

If you can’t wait to unearth the hidden insights that will catapult your team to messaging clarity and renewed marketing vigour, get in touch with us 🙂 

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