If you’re like most people, you use dozens of tools at home and at work throughout the day. Now ask yourself: how often do you use a tool designed for one task to help accomplish a different task?
Examples of this are all around us. Have you ever used duct tape? I bet you have. Did you use it to secure or repair an air duct? I bet you didn’t.
The same thing happens with B2B software. I once worked for a company that used a simple request-fulfill ticketing system designed for IT help desks to handle requests for the creative team. They already had the software, and requesting a logo design and requesting help with a tech issue follow a pretty similar process.
When you’re creating product messaging for your customers and prospects, you’re likely focusing on what your products and services were intended to do. The question is: What opportunities are you missing?
Five Tactics to Help Understand How Your Products Are Used
Even if you lack the resources for focus groups and users conferences, there are still opportunities to understand how your customers use your products and use that information to inform your product messaging.
Voice of the customer
Listening to recordings of sales calls and customer service calls is one of the best ways to put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and customers. These conversations are a valuable opportunity to hear prospects and customers talk about how they are using your products, potential use cases for your product, what they like, and what they don’t like.
Understanding the features they use, the functionality they didn’t realize you offered, and the challenges they face using or getting buy-in for a purchase can all help you craft effective product messaging.
At TechnologyAdvice, our sales enablement and marketing teams listen to sales calls with customers on a regular basis. Ths helps them better understand the challenges B2B marketers face, how our products are resonating, and the objections our team needs to overcome during the sales process.
Customer service data
See all those customer service tickets about one of your features? That’s a sign there’s a problem your product managers need to address. It’s also an opportunity to develop product messaging.
Poor execution could be the reason a specific feature is causing customers trouble, but it’s not the only explanation. Are users trying to use features to do something the features weren’t designed to do? Are they misunderstanding what that feature does because the messaging wasn’t clear?
Your customer service data provides a window into how customers are using your product and the issues they encounter along the way. Put it to good use in your marketing.
Talk to your sales team
Yes, marketing and sales alignment is an issue for many organizations. And some marketers are from Mars, while some salespeople are from Venus. At the end of the day, however, you’re people, you’re teammates, and you share common goals.
Engaged sales reps are an excellent source of information about how their clients are using your tools and how prospects are thinking about using them. Sales might also find that certain messages are resonating better with clients or prospects, or they found success when they deviated from your messaging. You’re only going to learn about these instances by developing relationships with sales.
Talk to your customers
It’s true that 2020 wasn’t a great year for getting together with customers. But until those conversations can happen again in person, they’re happening virtually.
In addition to the one-way voice of the customer experiences where you listen to calls, video meetings, virtual events, and online communities allow you to talk to your customers and prospects.Any information you gather about how people use your product — or wish they could use it — adds value.
UX tools to watch your users work
How much could you learn about your products, how people use them, and where people run into problems if you could just look over their shoulder as they work? You’d learn quite a bit about the product, even more about the users, and probably something about personal space in the process.
User experience (UX) tools like Hotjar and FullStory collect data on product usage and turn it into analytics. Heatmaps based on user experience data, for example, can tell you what people are doing, and what they might be trying to do with your tools. Your product team might already be using these types of tools. Ask them if they can share.
Use Unintended Use Cases to Your Advantage
Whether you love the term or hate the term, digital transformation is on the minds of many of your customers and prospects. The pressure to transform has them on the lookout for technology that helps automate, simplify, and increase the speed of work. Agility is another important goal of these transformational efforts.
Products and services that are flexible enough to solve multiple problems and do it quickly deliver added value. If this applies to your products, it needs to be part of your messaging.
Never forget that B2B marketing is about helping people solve problems. If you can clearly communicate in your product messaging the problems your products help customers solve, the better positioned you’ll be to succeed.