August 17th, 2011 Systems posted by dmblogadmin View Comments

5 Reasons Why You Don’t Know Your Buyer Better

Recently, I’ve been working with a number of companies that say they know their buyer. Yet, most of the time they don’t. Most people have a tendency to project themselves as the buyer. You often hear: “This is how I’d buy this product.” Well, unless you happen to be highly representative of your average buyer persona, you’re probably wrong.

This blog will explore 5 reasons why most product, engineering, marketing and sales people don’t know their buyer well enough.

#1 – Don’t Listen

Get on calls. Get out to your customer’s site. Ask questions. And, of course, listen to what they’re saying. There’s often a misinformation flow that occurs. A sales engineer hears something. Then, they take the worst part or the best and bring it back to engineering or product team. Most of the time it doesn’t fully capture the root of the problem or the right solution.

#2 – Not Hanging Out With Your Users

Engineers should hang out with a customer for the day. I know. Gasp. 9x out of ten this works out really well. The engineer now has a much better idea of what the user expects and the contraints of his or her environment. If you’re afraid of this, invite or video take your user research sessions with research participants. This is invaluable feedback that every engineer deserves.

#3 – Cool Technology, Wrong Problem

I’ve seen a number of companies get locked into a technology joyride. This is where the technical problem becomes more fun than the pain the technology is supposed to solve. When you company seems to be on a technology joyride make sure you have a product or sales team who stops it. Take a step back. Re-focus the team and effort on creating something people need, not something that’s cool to build.

#4 – Lost Customers or Prospects

Most people prefer to shy away from failure. “Well, close it out. Let’s focus on the next thing.” Wait. You should focus for a minute on everything you did with that customer or prospect. What could you have provided the prospect or customer to keep them? Look through the CRM. Map out your touches. See what happened. Then, decide what you’re going to do differently next time. Be systematic about it.

#5 – You’re Not Your Buyer

A lot of the time we like to talk about how we buy. Or, if I was buying this product, I’d buy it this way. Wrong. This is a huge trap. Make sure you don’t fall into this. If you are in your buyer’s demographic, you’re obviously biased toward the buying your own product. Plus, you have far more knowledge than your buyer will ever have about your product. So, always step back, say let’s look at the persona, research or ask our focus group what they think.

After a while, many of your home grown assumptions / projections will be gone. You’ll get a better intuition about your buyer and his or her needs. From there, you’ll be able to start making better – seemingly innate – decisions about what your buyer wants.
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