Sales and marketing teams are great at doing user research with future customers. Sales teams use online forms to see if there's a good fit while marketers use demographics and feedback to create better messaging.
What about startups without sales or marketing teams?
As a startup, aim to take every opportunity to get to know your future customers. At Viable, we use our onboarding surveys and free trial form to learn more about our prospective customers.
Besides requesting contact information so you can get back to them, find out who they are, the size of their business, what tools they use (if applicable), and what problems they’re trying to solve.
Understand who your potential user is both at the individual and company level. Ask questions such as:
Knowing the size of your prospective customer’s company will help you create segments that align to your offerings, or develop new ones. You can ask questions such as:
Ask potential new customers what problem they’re trying to solve. Ideally you provide them space to explain in their own words what they need. You can also provide multiple choice answer options, depending on how clear-cut your product’s use case is.
You can ask prospective customers what tools they use today, either to solve their problem or in ways adjacent to your product or service. For instance, if your product has integrations with multiple productivity apps, you’ll want to know which apps prospects are already using.
Tracking activity across the internet is far from perfect. You can ask people how they heard about your product. Matching their responses to your marketing efforts will be inexact—especially if your startup’s marketing stack is still sparse—but it’ll help give you a sense of which channels are working.
As you develop your marketing and user research capabilities, start with the intake forms you’re already using, such as:
Any time you have a chance to speak with a potential new customer is a good time to learn about who they are and what pain point they’re experiencing. You’ll be better equipped with the qualitative data to validate product improvements or new product ideas.
Last Updated: 04/21/21
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