profile

Stephen Jeske

What You Don’t Know About Your Customers Can Hurt You

Published about 2 months ago • 4 min read

Finding your product-market fit is a thrilling moment for any B2B SaaS founder. You’ve identified a general customer base with a problem your product solves. But the champagne can wait – there’s still work to be done. Who within that customer base holds the buying power? Who are the influencers whispering in their ear?

Finding the right people to talk to is key to creating messages that connect and get results. Here’s how to hone in on your B2B SaaS target audience:

1. Dive Deeper into Firmographics:

Demographics like age and location might be useful for B2C products, but B2B calls for a different approach. Here’s where firmographics come in. Firmographics analyze a company’s characteristics, including:

  • Industry: Are you targeting a specific industry with unique needs your product addresses? Talk their talk, solve their problems. The more you understand an industry’s lingo, rules, and struggles, the better you can target your message. Imagine selling a project management tool. To marketing agencies, highlight features that make creative work and client teamwork a breeze. For manufacturers, focus on scheduling production and connecting the supply chain.
  • Company Size: Is your ideal client a nimble startup or an established enterprise? When talking to startups, focus on how easy and adaptable your product is. For big companies, security and connecting to their existing systems are key.
  • Revenue & Growth: Fast-growing companies are always on the lookout for ways to streamline their work. Focus on the ROI your product delivers and showcase how it empowers them to scale efficiently. On the other hand, established companies might be more risk-averse and value stability. For them, a product’s reliability, industry recognition, and proven track record of success is what they value.

2. Identify the Buying Journey:

Not everyone within a company has the same role in the buying process. There are typically three key players:

  • The Champion: This is your ideal user, excited about your product’s potential. They understand the pain points your product solves and become internal advocates. They’ll be scouring your website, downloading white papers, and attending webinars. Create content that educates them on the benefits of your product and equips them to champion your cause within the organization.
  • The Decision-Maker: The one wielding the final buying power. They might be a CEO, CFO, VP of a specific department, or a board member. Understanding their priorities, risk tolerance, and budgetary constraints is key. Tailor your content to address their strategic concerns. Focus on ROI, security, and scalability. Showcase case studies and success stories from similar companies. It’a great way to build trust and mitigate perceived risk.
  • The Influencer: This person may not directly control the budget but holds sway over the Champion. They could be a technical expert, consultant, or industry analyst. Address their concerns and showcase industry validation. Publish thought leadership content that positions you as an authority in the space. Partner with influencers to co-create content or participate in webinars to amplify your reach.

3. Leverage Customer Data (if available):

Early-stage founders might not have a vast customer base yet, but even a handful of initial customers can be a goldmine of information. Analyze firmographics and buying behaviors to identify patterns. Who are your most engaged customers? What industry or company size are they from? Look at the lifecycle stage of your existing customers. Are early adopters concentrated in a specific industry or company size? This could be an indicator of a good fit, and a target segment to focus on while you gather more data.

Don’t just focus on the happy customers. Analyze churned customers as well. What were their firmographics? Why did they churn? Seeing why your product isn’t for everyone helps you focus on the right customers. This saves you time and effort.

Talking to the Market: Unearthing Customer Gems and Sharpening Your Focus

Direct contact with potential customers isn’t just about gathering data. It’s about those surprising discoveries that can totally change your view. Here’s how to maximize the value you get from these interactions:

Craft Insightful Interview Questions:

  • Go beyond demographics: While firmographics are important, delve deeper into their specific challenges. Ask questions like:
    • “What keeps you up at night regarding [Industry challenge]?”
    • “What’s the biggest bottleneck in your current process for [Specific task]?”
    • “How do you typically evaluate solutions like mine?”
  • Focus on the emotional aspect: People buy based on emotions and justify with logic. Uncover their frustrations, aspirations, and decision-making drivers. Ask:
    • “What would an ideal solution to this problem look like for you?”
    • “How would your life/work be different if this challenge was solved?”

Embrace Different Engagement Methods:

  • Targeted Online Surveys: Reach a wider audience with well-crafted surveys. Here’s the key:
    • Focus on quality: Keep it concise (5-10 minutes). Ask specific questions that capture firmographics, pain points, and preferred communication channels.
    • Incentivize participation: Offer a discount, free consultation, or hold a contest. Incentives like this help boost completion rates.
  • Social Media Polls (LinkedIn):
    • Pose thought-provoking questions: Craft questions related to common industry challenges. Use this to gauge initial interest in potential solutions.
    • Spark discussions: Encourage people to share their experiences and perspectives. This can help identify potential champions within your target audience.

Industry Events Are A Goldmine for Direct Interaction:

  • Do your research beforehand: Identify companies and individuals with whom you want to connect. Look at attendee lists and conference schedules.
  • Prepare elevator pitches: Write a short, clear explanation of what your product does and why it’s great. Focus on the benefits they care about, not technical details.
  • Shift your mindset: Focus on listening intently to their responses. Ask open-ended follow-up questions based on their specific needs and challenges. Don’t just pitch – build rapport.
  • Follow Up – It Matters: Connect with them on LinkedIn or send a personalized email after the event. Briefly mention your conversation, offer relevant resources, and continue the dialogue.

Remember, you’re building relationships, not just gathering data. Skip the sales pitch. Take the time to listen to their problems and offer helpful advice. This builds relationships and turns potential customers into fans. Because when you really think about it, people trust advisors — salespeople, not so much.

So learn more about who you’re selling to. By talking directly with potential customers and using your data, you’ll get a clearer idea. This allows you to refine your message, tailor your content, and attract the perfect fit for your B2B SaaS solution.

Knowing exactly to whom you’re selling is key. It takes your product from good to great.

Stephen Jeske

The Early Stage

For B2B SaaS founders only. Get weekly insight into building awareness, converting prospects, increasing adoption, and creating advocates using content.

Read more from Stephen Jeske

You just launched your B2B SaaS product, the culmination of months of blood, sweat, and late nights. Then, you see it - a scathing online review ripping your creation apart. The initial sting might leave you wanting to crawl under a rock, but hold on! Negative feedback, while unpleasant, can actually be your startup’s secret weapon. Let me explain. The Pain of Negative Feedback We all want a pat on the back, especially early on. While negative feedback can be tough to hear, it’s not a...

6 days ago • 4 min read

Feeling overwhelmed by the content marketing beast? You’re not alone. Many early-stage B2B founders struggle to create high-quality content consistently. I’m talking about the kind that actually drives results. But what if you could transform your scrappy content efforts into a strategic marketing machine? The Content Marketing Struggle for Early-Stage B2B Founders For early-stage B2B founders, content marketing can feel like a double-edged sword. You know content is key. But wearing all the...

13 days ago • 5 min read

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This quote by Theodore Roosevelt applies very well to the world of B2B SaaS marketing. There's no doubt that features and benefits are important. But, it's your brand voice that builds the emotional connection. Imagine your SaaS solution coming to life – how would it talk? That's your brand voice! It's more than just words. It's the overall personality you project in all your marketing materials. In a crowded space, a unique...

20 days ago • 6 min read
Share this post