You waste time and reputation using these methods for B2B customer discovery: surveys, landing pages, and asking for endorsement before product experience.
Pictures Are to Words as Conversations are to Surveys
Q: I am having trouble getting people to fill out my customer discovery surveys, how many do I need to be statistically significant.
I think the following approaches burn time and social capital without generating much in the way of insight:
- Using surveys for “customer discovery.”
- Landing pages for signups where little if any information is provided about the team or product but many answers are required of a prospective user to signup.
- Launchrock style landing pages that require your prospects to invest their credibility by tweeting, blogging, or otherwise announcing their interest in your offering to their friends before you give them access to your beta. This is destroying the value of any endorsement you might ever generate.
One conversation is worth between 100 and 10,000 survey responses, provided that you are listening and prepared to be surprised.
A dozen to two dozen conversations with knowledgeable individuals will put you well ahead of any survey based approach.
Practical tips for how to conduct B2B Customer Development Interviews
- Surveys Always Suck for B2B Customer Development
- 40 Tips for B2B Customer Development Interviews: Practical tips for how to prepare for and conduct customer development interviews, including key questions and effective follow up techniques.
- Six Elements to Extract From Customer Development Interviews: A list of key aspects of a prospect’s description of their situation, needs, and vision for a solution (in particular how they will measure the impact).
- Customer Interviews: Allow Yourself To Be Surprised
- The Best Way to Get Feedback from Early Customers is a Conversation
- The Best Feedback from Your Early Customers is a Story
- Use a Wiki To Organize Customer Interviews
Image Credit: From Edward Tufte‘s series of “Philosophical Diamond Signs” Using the format of diamond signs that provide alerts and warnings about the road ahead, this series of works on canvas shows philosophical alerts, imperatives, and thoughts about the path past and future.