How do you operationalize it?
Every company should be customer-centric and customer-led. Now, that’s hardly an innovative approach to take or philosophy to have, but in the context of customer-led growth, it’s about operationalizing it and doing what it takes — the research required to develop a hypothesis, to implement and build a customer experience on top of your product, embedded in your product, as part of your product. It’s important to build a customer experience that you can validate.
As the product grows and as your customer changes, you’ve got to be flexible enough to iterate and make sure that your customer experience is reflective of what you offer. You have to have the infrastructure and process in place so that, as your product innovates, your customer experience can innovate along with it.
What are the right metrics to measure customer-led growth?
That’s my favorite question! I’m quite anti-MQL, SQL, credit card entered, etc. I always refer to those as transactional moments. They’re lagging indicators and are not necessarily an indication of somebody getting value. Part of the reason why we’re so addicted to these life-cycle, transactional metrics is because we use marketing and email automation software and these tools push us in that direction. They’re also easier to measure, and there’s a lot of pressure to prove acquisition growth even when it’s void of meaning. The leading and lagging indicator way of thinking about it is really helpful.
We’re huge fans of the ‘Jobs to be done’ framework. So, when we work with a company to identify their biggest, top-priority customer job, we will always start with one customer job and map their experience through things like “thinking, feeling and doing”, which are classic lenses to look at how the relationship with the customer can evolve.
But, we unpack the motivations and objectives behind them — Where are they going? What actions are they taking? What actions are they not taking? What conversations are they having with us? What conversations are they having without us? We try to identify their leaps of faith in their relationship with the company.
Where are the critical milestones? This starts with them experiencing the problem, before the company is even on their radar. Most marketing automation software or life-cycles don’t account for the problem stage. They go from purchase onwards, or they go from, “they landed on our website” onwards. We believe it’s really important to understand the customer experience from experiencing the problem that they have all the way to solving their job to be done, and in a subscription business, evolving further from that customer job.
So, what happens next, once they’ve solved that customer job? What’s their next job? If we can map out those milestones, and we have all this rich customer data, then we can come up with, “What does the activated product look like? What does a healthy, engaged customer in our product act like?”, etc. Identifying and often defining new KPIs is a big part of what we do.