Six Elements to Extract From Customer Discovery Interviews

By | 2018-06-29T23:01:16+00:00 June 8th, 2010|Customer Development|6 Comments

Key take-aways from customer discovery interviews: prospect’s description of their situation, needs, vision for a solution, plan to measure solution impact.

Six Elements to Extract From Customer Discovery Interviews

checklist: Six Elements to Extract From Customer Discovery InterviewsYou should make sure you explore the following items in customer discovery interviews, they are important elements in any summary of customer discovery and validation efforts for B2B products.

  1. Prospect’s description of the problem in their own words. This is rarely more than a sentence or two and capturing the essence in their own words is key.
  2. High level description of current work process or work flow in their own words. This forms the basis for any delta comparison or differentiation of your solution.
  3. Any constraints they mention: if you hear the same ones multiple times you will more than likely have to satisfy them.
  4. How they will tell that a new solution will leave them better off: this is different from asking them to specify the solution, it’s asking for “future state” or the end result they would like to achieve.
  5. What else they have tried to do to solve the problem: probe for why they were not satisfactory.
  6. Key metrics or figures of merit they would use to evaluate a new outcome.

Some Other Good Posts On Customer Discovery Interviews

  • Tips For B2B Customer  Development Interviews
  • Getting Early Feedback
  • Best Feedback from Early Customers Is a Story
  • More Effective Discovery Conversations Lead to More Effective Demos
  • Customer Interviews: How To Organize Findings where Peter Cohan defines “minimum viable discovery” as
    • Job title and industry of the prospect. This allows you to leverage what you have learned from similar prospects or customers for more nuanced and detailed discovery.
    • Their top-level challenge or critical business issue: this is normally a goal or objective that is at risk.
    • The reasons why it’s at risk–or the problems putting it at risk. , that’s what’s going on today, why is it a problem, what’s the impact, the pain portion of things, and that’s what most people can do fairly richly.
    • The specific capabilities the customer’s looking for to solve their problems. That’s critically important from the standpoint of being able to enable a credible demo to take place.
    • A credible shared assessment of the tangible value of the solution for this customer. We call that the delta. What’s the tangible driving force of making the change? It could be money, it could be people, it could be time, but it needs to be something that’s tangible. And it’s compared to their status quo and other alternatives available to them.
    • There needs to be a critical date or event by when the customer needs to have a solution in place, otherwise that sales process will drag on for the next 17 years.

Customer Visits” by Edward McQuarrie goes into extensive detail about techniques and strategies for interviewing business customers not only to refine existing offerings but to identify new product opportunities.

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