The Complete Guide to Product Qualified Leads

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Chapter 8: Identifying Your "Voice of Customer"

Once you’re collecting qualitative customer data (via questions on thank-you pages, short surveys to customers, and 1:1 interviews), you’ll have tons of material with which to write high-converting messages across your ads, your website, and throughout communication with your users during their trial experience.

The question now becomes…how to distill, measure, and leverage this qualitative data?

Themes to look for as you review data pulled from each customer segment:

▪️ Competitors mentioned by users in this segment (direct -- i.e., products offering the same solution, and indirect -- i.e., several non-competitive products cobbled together to create a solution)

→ If most customers in a segment are switching over from an indirect competitor (e.g., a personal assistant vs. an automated scheduling tool like Calendly), they’ll need more educational content about the value of a product like yours before they’re ready to make a sign-up or buying decision

→ If most customers in a segment are switching over from a direct competitor, they’ll need less education about the value of a product like yours, and more information about how you compare to their existing solution

▪️ Pains that led customers in this segment to seek a new solution

→ Lead your sales and marketing campaigns with these pains -- before talking about the advantages of your own solution. This puts the focus on your user and their needs -- building trust that your product was made specifically for them, and increasing the likelihood of signups. 

▪️ Biggest roadblocks / skepticisms people felt reaching the “Aha!” moment

→ Compare when your users recall reaching “Aha!,” vs. when your team assumes they have. What gave them confidence your product was the right fit? What were they doing at that time that led them to take that action? What happened next?

→ Acknowledge and dispel users’ worries with in-app chat and onboarding emails to move users toward “Aha!” faster.

The team behind budgeting software You Need a Budget knows their 34-day trial period is fraught with roadblocks — many stemming from a user’s personal (often unhealthy) relationship with money. 

To combat this, they send a series of friendly emails to people in the trial phase, each designed to help the user overcome one common anxiety in the way of reaching “Aha”:

While I’d recommend testing this message against tighter copy, or breaking it up with images, YNAB does a great job of calling out a common user anxiety and pulling users closer to activation.

▪️ The “better life” customers want to achieve / enjoy

→ The emotional side of the “Aha!” moment. Playing up this “better life” in your messages motivates users to continue through the onboarding process until they reach “Aha!,” and feel that better life they’ve been searching for.

Examples of onboarding emails that focus on the steps to “Aha,” without focusing on the better life (they fail to convince me to care):

Onboarding email that focuses on the “better life” I’m looking for (convinces me to care):

▪️ Most common words / phrases + especially interesting or “sticky” words / phrases people use

→ By using your customers’ own words and phrases to describe your product and the benefits it creates, you increase the likelihood of new users seeing themselves mirrored on the page, in an email, or within your app -- and as a result, the more likely they are to take the next step toward “Aha.”

**Note: my method for keeping track of frequent and “sticky” phrases is to highlight them in green, as shown in the Voice of Customer Worksheet. This makes them easy to skim, copy + paste whenever I’m writing new marketing and sales material.

After sorting your research into the themes above, the final section of the Voice of Customer worksheet will help you prioritize those messages: from most-frequently-mentioned by this customer segment, to least-frequently-mentioned.

This shows you which messages resonate most strongly with this segment -- so you can craft landing pages, in-app messages, and onboarding campaigns that address customers’ most important needs first, and guide them to “Aha” much more efficiently.

Takeaway Points: Identifying Your "Voice of Customer"

1. Once you’re collecting qualitative customer data, you’ll have tons of material with which to write high-converting messages across your ads, your website, and throughout communication with your users during their trial experience.

2. Complete the VOC worksheet using the data you collected in Section 6, to leverage that data and sort the key details into top pains, motivations, and stickiest words / phrases for each customer segment

Authored By

Claire Suellentrop

Founder, LoveYourCustomers

Claire Suellentrop helps high-growth SaaS companies get inside their customers’ heads. Previously the Director of Marketing and #2 employee at Calendly, she’s seen firsthand that truly effective marketing stems from a deep understanding of existing users’ needs.   

Now, she works with companies like Wistia, FullStory, and MeetEdgar to uncover their best customers’ needs and desires, then uses those juicy details to create more relevant, high-converting marketing and onboarding campaigns. 

Ed Fry

Head of Growth, Hull.io

Ed Fry is passionate about helping marketers grow their organizations and directly contribute to revenue. He was the first employee at Inbound.org and worked with thought-leaders like Rand Fishkin, Co-Founder of Moz, and Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder of HubSpot. During his tenure, membership grew from 5,000 to 165,000+ members between 2012 and 2016.

Ed currently oversees Growth at Hull - a customer data management platform that eliminates data problems for marketing and sales teams alike. 

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