Jobs to Be Done Theory

SaaS companies, at their core, are created to deliver products to consumers to meet specific needs or address specific pain points. When a customer buys a SaaS product offering, they are essentially saying, “We believe this product can help us meet this need or address this paint point.” Clay Christensen, author of Competing Against Luck, presents this a little differently, calling it the “Jobs to be Done Theory.”

Essentially, every customer is ‘hiring’ a product to do a job (or solve a problem). If the job goes well then it will result in a renewal. If it doesn’t, the organization is let go, or fired. Every B2B interaction (and B2C, as Christensen notes in his book) can be aligned to this theory, and SaaS Customer Success is no different. An organization’s focus on providing a singular ‘job’ can be threatened, however, as it grows and changes offerings in order to meet the demands of multiple customers.

New Customers vs. Current Customers

A SaaS company’s current customers rely on their platform to deliver value – to do its job. But what happens when an organization decides to try something else in order to get even more customers? Without the customer-focused strategy behind it, decisions like this can actually hurt an organization over time.

New Customers – the Risk of Only a New Customer Focus

Every company wants to thrive and innovate, and in the SaaS world that is the only way to continue to grow and survive. But the minute organizations begin making decisions based on new logos rather than current customers, a disconnect is created that can be hard to come back from. Make sure that before you release a new product or a new feature, that your current customers have a need for it too.

Current Customers – Why they Hired You, the Job to be Done

The best place to start is by looking back at your earliest customers. What problems were you solving for them? What ‘job’ did they ‘hire’ you to do? It’s pretty common for a company to shift focus towards new business as it starts to grow. It’s important to remain grounded and aware of how these initial customers are handling the change of focus, whether or not they are requesting changes of their own, and if they are beginning to feel as though the product is not delivering value to them any longer.

Every organization has churn. There are inevitable factors that make this inescapable. When an organization’s focus is exclusively on new business, however, this churn is magnified and can increase rapidly. If an organization is dedicated to solving customer problems and meeting their needs, this churn can decrease from a flood to a trickle.

How Do You Know If You’re Executing a Customer-Centric Strategy?

Most companies would tend to agree that they are customer-focused, but to be sure they should ask themselves these questions:

1. Are you improving churn month over month or quarter over quarter?
2. Is your referral/reference list of customers growing?
3. Do you celebrate renewals the same way you celebrate new wins? Does the renewal get lost?

At the end of the day, there isn’t a winning side between current and new customer. The key is to be continually innovating and solving the ‘jobs to be done’ of current customers and potential customers. Ensuring your current customers are gaining just as much value from new product offerings and features as new customers is critical, because if you stop helping a customer accomplish the ‘jobs to be done’, they will hire someone else.

One way to ensure you’re on target when it comes to solving the ‘jobs to be done’ for current customers is to take the high and wide model to the next level. Now, as well as developing 1:1 relationships with individuals throughout an entire customer organization, hone in on specific jobs for individual roles or user personas. Using specific pain points as a base for developing solutions guarantees a need for your service, or ‘job to be done’, at the customer company.

Getting Started

Keep your eyes and ear open for new customer pain points and goals that can be used as jumping off points for innovation. Make sure you’re ready to change and grow for customers, but don’t force a one-size-fits-all solution on current customers that are used to your current ‘work’. How are you providing a ‘job to be done’ to your customers? How are you intersecting this strategy with new customer innovation?

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.