Customer Interviews will generate a wealth of actionable information, including new revenue opportunities. Yet this approach, which traditionally pays for itself with a handsome dividend (one of my most recent client interviews revealed a 6-figure engagement), is probably one of the most under-utilized strategies. Customers love to share feedback, and to provide their points of view and perspectives. It’s not uncommon to hear “I love that you’re doing this!” Equally as important, interviews also provide insights respective to a company’s core value proposition and the sales decision-making process. We’ve used this approach for several years, and it’s never failed as one of our best tools in creating a customized lead gen marketing plan. The value of a 30-minute call will generate 4 amazing insights every company can capitalize on:

  • Targeting Based on Need: What was the trigger which initiated the decision to find a solution?

This question takes a customer back in time, long before there was any consideration that a purchase might be made. Every purchase has an event or a problem that needs to be solved. Although we “think” we understand the “pain points” our products or services resolve, I’ve found it interesting that often the customer and the company aren’t necessarily in alignment – meaning the company doesn’t understand the full breadth of what was happening operationally that triggered the need for the customer to begin a search of a new and better solution. When you understand what created the originating need, you now have three new vital pieces of information:

  1. A more specific way to profile and qualify your ideal lead
  2. High impact messaging that can be exploited through articles, blogs, collateral to prompt a lead to engage sooner rather than later
  3. A new purchasing indicator – when you have all of the purchasing triggers, sales has a much more reliable way to determine “need”
  • Where to Advertise: How did they find which companies have the product or service to solve their problem?

Keep this important sales stat in mind – 57% of all businesses searching for a new product/service are researching on their own, without any sales intervention. The answer to how did a customer find your company provides invaluable information. With a little additional probing, you will also learn additional “search” behavior to help you create a marketing plan to help you position your business at critical “search” points:

  1. What on or off-line resources did they use?
  2. Was there any other criterion used to determine which resources had the best products/services to serve your business needs?
  3. Where do they typically gather their updated news information regarding their industry?

This information will tell you if you’re leveraging all of the communication channels necessary to capture new leads at the most relevant time of the search process.

  • Your Value Proposition: Why did they buy from your company?

This feedback is the core to understanding your value proposition or other key messaging, which could be instrumental in closing future deals, or supporting your advertising/sales collateral. Most companies are surprised by what they learn, and frequently there are reasons that go beyond the originating assumptions. Sometimes it’s a salesperson, while other times it’s the benefit (s) of the products or services offered. But rest assured, there’s always something very distinctive which deserves to be called out and leveraged as unique competitive positioning.

  • What Information You Should Share: What is the customer’s top 3-5 priorities for this year?

This question is a great way to determine topics for future whitepapers, blogs or articles. However, if the exploratory discussion is well planned, the information often turns into a “Golden Ring,” as the key learnings frequently reveal new revenue opportunities or product menu extensions which have established demand.

We all love our customers, now you have several new reasons to love them even more!