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    May 23, 2022

    How would you beat lead scoring with Jobs-To-Be-Done

    In this latest episode of the How Would You Beat podcast, we looked at how companies can improve their lead scoring tactics. The conversation opened up other relevant lines of thought, such as “why product teams need to understand lead scoring”, “what does one do with leads that don’t rank but are still showing interest?” and “is there potential for using Jobs-To-Be-Done for lead scoring?” 

    Why product teams need to understand lead scoring 

    Lead scoring is a common practice for many marketers. It is a mathematical process that ranks leads by their likelihood to purchase your product. Sales teams pursue leads based on a clear hierarchy: a lead with a higher score invites a higher focus because of a greater likelihood to make a purchase and vice versa for low-ranking leads. 

    Traditional lead scoring uses two buckets of information. In one bucket, you have firmographic information such as your lead's role in the business or their firm's sector of operation. In the other bucket, you have behaviors, like their activity on your website, for example. This information is added up to decide how your lead fares against your ideal customer profile. This approach is undoubtedly better than not ranking leads at all. 

    Unfortunately, it has a blind spot: these demographic and behavioral traits have nothing to do with your customers’ unmet needs. They do not consider the job that they struggle with.

    Jobs-to-be-Done posits that customer struggle causes purchases. Therefore, you can enhance lead scoring by understanding whether a lead has unmet needs that your current product can solve. If the answer is yes, then your lead automatically ranks higher because they’re acknowledging - in a sense - that your product can be useful to them. 

    Using JTBD for lead scoring means identifying unmet needs by zeroing in on the job steps that are a struggle for your customer. Every Job-to-be-Done consists of steps that mark the milestones customers need to achieve to get the job done successfully. If you ask customers about their needs at various stages, you will get valuable information on where their unmet needs truly lie. Customer Effort Scores can help you prioritize steps to focus on in your product strategy. Steps that customers say are high effort have unmet needs. Because customer struggle causes purchases, focusing your product, marketing, and sales efforts on unmet needs leads to accelerated growth.

    The specifics of unmet needs and underserved segments 

    Getting the right information about customer struggles and unmet needs means asking the right questions. For example, when talking to customers about their struggles, it might be more productive to simply ask about where their struggle is than to ask them if they need a specific product or solution. Henry Ford’s famous quote on innovation is cited very often. Still, it can’t be said too many times. Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” What he’s highlighting/calling attention to here is that his customers would not have been able to tell him that they wanted a car; they didn’t even know what a car was. But they did know what struggles they had. 

    This is true for a lot of customers. They might not be able to articulate what would solve their problem, but they’re acutely aware of their unmet needs. That’s why it is so important for companies to avoid asking customers what they want in a solution and instead simply ask what the problem is. 

    Using the JTBD for lead scoring existing customers and churn risks 

    The JTBD logic that customers “hire” your product to get the job done extends to the fact that the customer will “fire” your product if it fails to get the job done efficiently. Your product also risks getting fired if another product is able to get the job done faster and cheaper. 

    Let's imagine a situation where a customer tells you that he’s really struggling with job step #8, and your product does not currently solve job step 8, but it does help with another job step, call it job step 6.

    There are two things to be done here: 

    First, ask the customer if he’s also struggling with job step #6. If he says yes and your product solves this step, then you’re still in the game. The sales team can pursue the customers who have problems with job step #6 and demonstrate how your product solves the problem. 

    Second, the product team can pursue a solution to job step #8 in the product roadmap. When the product team launches the solutions that help your product solve this step, then marketing and sales can prioritize the customers who have unmet needs in job step #8. They already know who to target and are clear on how the solution solves the problem. They don’t go to the customer saying “Look at our new feature” but can instead say “I have a solution to your problem.” 

    The problems that the product team fails to solve become churn risks or competitor threats. This is how it goes - the customer buys your product; it fails to solve the problem as thoroughly as they’d had hoped; they linger on your platform for a while but notice that one of your competitors gets the job done more efficiently; this customer has now become a churn risk. 

    So how do you pre-empt these churn risks? Do you simply go to your competitors, list out their product features and then make sure your product has all of those? Unfortunately, this traditional way of doing things means that you’ll always be playing catch-up. That kind of game is always hard to win because your competitor already has the lead. The more effective way of going about things is to refocus on your customer’s unmet needs (possibly ones that a competitor can meet more effectively) and tweak their approach so that you end up with a solution that does your customer’s complex job more effectively. This way, instead of lagging, you’ll be able to leapfrog ahead of your competitors because you’re always thinking about fulfilling your customer’s unmet needs. 

    Therefore, the ultimate product, ironically, is one that the customer never actually does anything about because it solves their problem (or gets the job done) with complete efficiency. The perfect example is LifeLock, a personal security product. Customers buy and install and pay for the product the whole time, without ever thinking about it every single day. But when a crisis does occur, LifeLock kicks in and solves the personal security breach effectively. The idea of a product that nobody thinks about might be difficult to digest when you’re an enthusiastic product developer keen on building new and exciting features. But the product features are not why your company exists; the customer is the reason for your existence, and getting their job done is what makes your product successful.

    JTBD-driven messaging 

    Using JTBD for lead scoring allows you to have conversations that resonate with your customers. Marketing messages that address customer struggles at specific job steps are proven to multiply conversions by anywhere between five and ten times. 

    This approach works throughout the customer journey. For example, this method can also be used to create ambassadors for your company’s product - or at least a good bank of testimonials. When you go back to a customer and ask them if they’re still struggling with the jobs your product solves, and their answer is no, that’s a testimonial right there. 

    To sum up, you can enhance your company’s lead scoring system by considering your customer’s struggles throughout their journey; when they’re still a lead and not a buyer, when they’re a new customer, and right up to when they become a long–term customer. It ties into product development because new solutions will be designed to cater to unmet needs, and it ties into marketing because it guides messaging that will actually make sense to your customer. 

    If you want to learn more about thrv and our Jobs-to-be-Done approach, be sure to sign up for our free course.


    Posted by Jay Haynes

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