I'm a product marketing team of 1 - what would you recommend as easy, every-day tools/actions that will help me understand our customers that little bit better?
Well first of all, it’s always tough to be a team of one. You are definitely going to have to ruthlessly prioritize and as a team of one, it can be easy to get stuck as the sales content/collateral & product launch factory. So with the spare time that you have, I think a few things that can help you understand the customer a bit better perhaps in order of ease:
- Sign up for daily newsletters from the industry trades that you’d want to cover your launches
- In those newsletters sign up for the webinars that come thru, or webinars from competitors that you think your target market would be interested in
- Set up and automate reports from your CRM to your inbox anytime there are deal notes…things like competitors mentioned, closed won or closed lost reasons – obviously this is dependent on good CRM hygiene, but try and get sales folks to put notes in the system and help them see how it will help you better position products for them to sell
- Get on calls, or listen to recordings if you have the tools…this is usually the most helpful way that I’ve found to get into the mind of a prospect/customer whether it’s to sit on calls with sales or customer success and hear how customers are articulating their needs/pain points
- Go to industry conferences either as an exhibitor or as an attendee to hear sessions and meet customers in real life!
- Listen to sales/CS calls. As a team on 1 you can't be on every call but make it a weekly habit to listen to at least 5-10 calls (you can listen at 1.5 or 2x speed 😊). Be strategic about the calls you listen to - use keyword search or tagging for key topics of interest that are relevant to your business like competitors, pricing, implementation, ROI, etc. This will give you great insights into what your customers and prospects care about and how your team is responding.
- Read G2 reviews. There's so much information shared in these reviews about what your customers like or don't like and what matters to them. You can also make it a fun activity with your CS team - once a quarter host a happy hour and each one reads a couple of reviews out loud (record it and you have a great video to share on social).
- Follow NPS comments. If your team is running NPS surveys, comments left by your customers are also a great source of intel. You can btw, easily turn these comments into customer quotes that once approved can be used in your marketing content, social, sales deck, etc. As a marketing team of 1, you need to multiply yourself so this will allow you to kill 2 birds with one stone.
- Set a goal for yourself to talk to at least x customers every quarter. It can be a formal interview or just listening in to a customer QBR.
First, start with what you already have at your disposal, which will likely include:
- written customer case studies or success stories
- requests that customers have made in the past about product features
- support requests that came into customer support
The other easy action you can take is to talk to the sales reps at your company, and ask them:
- Why do we win deals? What are customers looking to solve when they purchase our solution?
- Why do we lose deals? What are customers not finding attractive about our solution or what is the competition doing better?
Odds are you have a lot of customer knowledge around the office, with customer support, sales, product, and other teams.
Part of better understanding your customers is also to just talk to them directly, although this would take more time to accomplish. When your sales team closes a deal, make a point to fup with the customer and ask them questions about why they purchased your product, what alternatives they researched, etc. Do the same for the deals you lost, asking for the sales rep for an introduction. If your company is in the PLG, self-serve mode and you don't have a sales team, you will have to go straight to the customer, reaching out to them and asking for a few minutes of their time.
You’ve received some great advice here. I think listening to calls, joining LI groups or following hashtags they care about is a great source of information. Here are a few other that I’d add:
Make it a habit to talk to a few AES and CSMs regularly. Ask them directly what they hear or see, stress-test your observations with them too
Speak to analysts. If your company has relationships with analyst firms, leverage them as your ear to the market
If you’re not doing it already, get into the habit of doing win/loss analysis regularly. In fact I’d recommend doing one 12-18 months back in your first 30 days in the role. Ideally you mix quantitative data (CRM) and qualitative (customer/prospect interviews, call recordings, AE interviews).