You understand the effort required to find a good prospect, someone with just the right fit for your Software as a Service. It’s time to capitalize on the energy you’ve put in to defining customer avatars, identifying ideal customers and prospecting in the right places and convert those high value contacts into recurring revenue customers.
You’ve done the heavy lifting to make initial contact with your ideal prospective customers. In just six, well defined ‘moments’ we’ll show you how to create Badass customers who are both your best product evangelists and the solid foundation for your key recurring revenue relationships.
Let’s get started.
The key to each and every ‘moment’ in building recurring revenue relationships is nuturing active customer conversations. We live in an era of unprecidented opportunity to reach potential customers, using automation processes to increase effectiveness. We live by metrics, avatars, optimizations, best practices and paths to purchase. Ironically these automations only succeed if they result in one key outcome – better one to one customer conversations.
Recently we have seen a profound shift in customer expectations. They believe we should be using technology to better meet their individual needs. They fail to understand why we can’t create a customer experience that responds to them based on the sum total of their interactions with us. The good news is we can. As Drift has said recently, “Conversations are the New Leads”.
The first moment along the path to recurring revenue is initiating conversations one to one. Go where your best potential customers congregate and mingle.
Nurture your contacts by creating a results focused learning community. There are many advantages to engaging your customers and prospects in a high value community. You gain faster insight into how they learn to use your services. You distribute the energy cost of providing in depth customer education by engaging members in supporting each other. As the community grows and the value members are garnering increases, they will be reluctant to stop working with you as much because of the loss of community as losing access to your product or service. Trust and authority will accrue to you from your efforts and those of other community members.
In this phase you must be the instigator, sparking the sharing of valuable information and insights which make participation in the community rewarding time well spent for your clients. Do not limit the value exchange in the community to areas related to your product. Encourage connections based on all areas of commonality of interest. The strength and value of the community is your primary concern.
Build a learning team inside the community. Much learning happens when community members interact across levels of the competence scale. Too many organizations rely on product experts to train the newest members of their customer base. This can be fatal. Experts suffer from the curse of knowledge. They know too much They can no longer relate to, or even imagine, what it was like to be completely unfamiliar with your services. Instead, link new users to learning partners who are just ahead of them on the learning path. Those who have only recently learned the basics are much more likely to recall the challenges as a new user and how they were overcome. They also can relate easily to what if feels like to be brand new. Finally, they are able to share successes that the new user will relate to as achievable and within reach.
Having your customer education support engaged with the activities of your community gives you a window on how your customers become successful with your product. Interact with the members. Encourage sharing and support of customer objectives. Create a safe space where you can see the mistaken assumptions customers make as easily as their successes. With this analysis you can reverse-engineer customers’ mistakes, mapping through the likely thought patterns and misfires, and then figure out how to untangle them.
Learn the larger context in which your customers will use your product. People don’t buy a digital SLR camera to learn about exposure and depth of field. They buy it to take better pictures. Link the best results you can deliver to the key outcomes your customers actually want. Focus your education on helping customers rapidly achieve their core objectives first, then loop back to fill in the gaps that will improve their results or consistency.
An intimate understanding of exactly why your customer or prospect engaged with you is critical.
Once you know why a customer engaged with you, it is time to identify the actual tasks they need to accomplish successfully to meet their objectives. A framework likt the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ process to can be sued to map clear customer outcome objectives. What must your customer be able to do with your product or service to achieve the solution they are seeking?
Understand that the key jobs may not always be what the customer thinks they are. Your understanding of their job requirements mapped to competencies in using your product will provide the quickest path to percieved successes. Scope down and focus your early stage education only to achieving the badass results your customers need.
There are three primary reasons that many organizations have weak customer education programs – those that do not build the customer loyalty and strong relationships that result in stable recurring revenue.
First, the education is not short and clear enough to start getting customers results immediately. This is often the outcome when training resources are designed by product experts – remember the Curse of Knowledge. To be successful your programs need to deliver meaningful results quickly.
Secondly, when education is part of the marketing function there is a bias toward covering as many features and benefits as possible to demonstrate the value built into your product. So much initial customer education comes in the form of lengthy webinar overviews that we have come to think of this approach as just “How it is Done.”
In fact, results are what matter to your customers and prospects. A user who is quickly making visible progress will feel more aligned with your services than one who is trying to make sense of the long list of functions and tools you provide.
Finally, many organizations shy away from doing the legwork to actually create concise and effective leanring materials. Mark Twain once said, “You’ll have to excuse my lengthiness—the reason I dread writing letters is because I am so apt to get to slinging wisdom & forget to let up. Thus much precious time is lost.” So it is with much of the customer education that is being produced.
Yet there are proven rapid educational techniques and adult learning approaches which will allow you to quickly and easily create educational materials to ensure your users become Badass at using your product - to achieve transformative outcomes in their larger context.
Creating Badass users of your product is the surest way to build loyalty and stable recurring revenue. Customers who are meeting their objectives quickly and effectively using your services will naturally become evangelists for your bran. You be able to rely on more Word of Mouth (WoM) and Word of Wow (WoW) to widen your user base and market your product. Tell your customer success stories where your potential clients congregate. Attract new customers into your process to consistently scale your ARR results.
Go ahead and get started.
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