The three fundamentals of enterprise subscription success are:
1. know who your customer is *by segment* in the enterprise
2. pinpoint the *recurring* pain the segment needs solving
3. communicate *to internal teams and customers* how you solve it
At Substribe, we’ve talked with hundreds of customers of b2b services and loads of cross functional teams in b2b subscription organisations. Here’s some of the things we’ve heard along the way.
“Why isn’t customer research working for me?“
- Most teams, when it comes to the crunch, fail to agree who the customer is. This fundamental difference in opinion means that it is difficult to figure out what should and could be done. Without intent, the research will be tumbleweed in your organisation.
- Unlocking value from your conversations isn’t as simple as listening, however intently, and listening isn’t going to get you very far if you’re the only person acting on the insights you gather.
“We talk to our customers all the time“
- Speaking with customers should help create alignment for an organisation, setting the scene to craft a service that delivers customer outcomes and justifying large repeatable price tags. If it’s not, then you’re doing it wrong.
- It is hard to listen to the customer and the signals get really messy. This is why companies end up throwing more features at a problem – the kitchen sink scenario. And if it’s like most companies kitchen sinks…
“Why does customer research take so long?“
- It shouldn’t.
- You need to know what you’re testing and why. And you need a curious mindset – difficult to do if you feel you have a job to defend, a bonus to achieve, a P&L to protect, and all the rest of the silo shenanigans.
“I can’t think of a single example of discovering something truly useful.”
- Here’s an example. I was speaking with someone’s customer when they said something that really struck me: “We are a forecasting business.” Why did that strike me? They’re a utility company. This seemingly out of place statement gave a signal about *recurring* pains and frustrations about forecasting.
- When you discover a breakthrough, you find the path to other groups in the organisation, what happens to information before and after, how often it’s required and by who. Oh….and how much value to put to it.
“What if our customers have research fatigue?“
- You’re doing it wrong.
- The answer is not to make it all about you. That’s a drain of energy. It’s satisfying when an interviewee asks me for a transcript of the conversation because it’s helped them think differently about their job. But I’m starting from a position of finding out about them and how their performance could be unlocked. Before talking about a product.
“What’s the best question to ask?”
- A broken question. Let the customer fill in the blanks with the answer to the question that’s on their minds.
- Don’t look for feedback – you’ll get a high if they say you’re right but it’s a sugar high that crashes fast – the Haribo effect (source: parenting 101 ‘give Haribo at the end of the birthday party, not during it’).
I’ve listened, so what do I do now?
You need teams to develop a curiosity mindset. To build the confidence to focus on the customer. To get creative with ways to deliver outcomes that matter to your customers.
If you need help, then you should join Substribe.
At Substribe we unlock growth in b2b subscriptions by upskilling from within.