Know your customers and grow your business
Published October 2, 2015, updated February 15, 2022
Summary - Despite our company’s successful growth path, we realized that we really didn’t know enough about our customers. By digging deeper into the makeup of our customers, we were able to develop distinct client personas. These help us build the right features for the right people – people who are critical to our success.
Earlier this year, we determined that despite growing sales and revenues, we really didn’t have enough information on who our customers really were.
We had been spending a lot of time improving our churn metrics – customers who left us – but had not put enough effort into understanding our successful customers. What industries were they in? How big were they? How were they using our services?
So to find out more about what our “ideal customer” might look like, we did some serious investigative work that included surveys, interviews and structured analysis.
The results surprised us. They changed our views about who our customers really are. And from here on in, they will allow us to better serve the individuals in each company who matter most to our success.
Here are some of the things we found:
Intuitively, we had assumed that we were selling to mid-sized businesses with a certain data maturity, and departments within Fortune 500 global giants.
But when we analyzed our customers, we found we were actually selling more to small and medium-sized businesses - a shift downmarket from where we thought we were. While we have some large customers, our sweet spot is actually companies with 10 to 1,000 employees.
Looking at data from our support organization, we also found that our successful customers were using customer support twice as often as unsuccessful customers. As an aside, we look at metrics such as Daily Active Users and Dollar Expansion to highlight our successful customers from those that are at risk of discontinuing.
Support engagement interactions told us they were interested in the product and had people who wanted to create and use Klips. And because they do, they ask for more things. (That comes back to what I was saying last week about customer support and how we’ve beefed it up by offering what we call our Data Hero Services.)
We wanted to take our analysis further and scheduled a series of interviews with both successful and unsuccessful customers. We used those interviews to create four ‘customer personas’. Those personas help us understand which individuals inside a company matter most to a successful outcome.
On one side are what we call the ‘builders’. These are the technically minded people who connect to their data and build the Klips.
If they are employees who are mandated to complete certain tasks – the tactical builders – we call them Implementers.
In the builder group, the ones we’re more interested in are those who have enough status to understand the business needs and who know how to build the tools to support those needs. These strategic builders are what we call Analysts.
On the other side are the ‘viewers’ – the people who don’t build the Klips, but who use the information the Klips provide.
Tactical viewers are the “masses” within a company who may be direct or casual users of the product once it is in place. We call people in this group Information Consumers. They are not “decision-makers” in the classical sense of the word, but they need up-to-date, accurate information throughout the day to do their jobs.
A strategic viewer is a business user who doesn’t have the technical chops to build a Klip, but who understands why and how the business is being measured and is generally deeply vested in the performance of the department or the business.
These people are Drivers or champions within a company. Many are owners, executives, or senior managers in their organization.
But because they aren’t technical, they likely won’t be successful customers for us unless they enlist the help of a builder. So we can’t appeal to them alone.
We know that it is the drivers and analysts who get involved in initial product trials. The analysts will make the technical case to subscribe, so it is important that we enlist their help and design a journey that makes them successful.
But we also learned we have to engage the information consumers.
This was a real eye-opener. We have not spent a lot of time building viewer engagement. Which creates a bit of a ‘chicken-or-egg’ question. We do know that our most successful customers have a very high percentage of engaged viewers.
What is attracting viewers to our dashboard – an initial need, a mandate, or seeing some awesome visualizations?
It may be all of the above. We need to spend more time with the information consumers to learn their motives and habits, and to increase their engagement.
In the meantime, the development of personas and the journeys they take are teaching us where to invest our time and resources.
As most CEOs will tell you, we have long been focusing on the business champions; the drivers and buyers. However, to win more business, we need to focus on two other groups: the analysts, understanding that their successful journey will significantly influence the decision to buy; and the information consumers, because without them nobody would be looking at the dashboard!
Allan Wille is a Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Klipfolio. He’s also a designer, a cyclist, a father and a resolute optimist.