20. Customer Feedback


Your customers know best…

Once you have grown your company beyond the minimal viable product and you have at least one full-time salesperson selling, thus are on your way to being a “real” company, the next challenge is to keep learning from your customers.

When you were first starting up, this was called market research. It was part of the marketing effort. You used the Customer Development Model or Lean Startup processes (described in The Next Step: Guiding you from idea to startup) to interact with customers directly and hear their concerns and needs.

Once you have a sales team, your salespeople become your primary point of contact with customers, not the marketing team. The sales team hears the reasons the target customers are not buying. They are hearing where the benefits of the product/service match needs and where there are missing features or additional needs that your company should consider solving.

Your sales team thus takes on most of the responsibility of market research, along with the responsibility of passing this information back to the marketing team, so that they can continue to understand the market and adjust the product and messaging accordingly. This feedback loop is key to getting your product accepted and to growing your company!

To ensure this feedback loop loops, your salespeople should put the information gathered from customers into whatever system they are using to keep track of your sales calls, a.k.a. your customer relationship management system. Plus, you should have your salespeople periodically meet with your marketing team, to ensure the information is transferred smoothly and to ensure the marketing team gets their questions answered.

In addition, you can ask members of your marketing team to join in on sales calls. If the founders are not actively selling, they should periodically join in sales calls, both on the phone and in person, since they bring credibility that is immediately recognized by your customers.

As your company grows, keep an eye on the interactions between the sales team and marketing team to ensure you are maximizing all the interactions between your company and potential customers, not just those customers who are buying your product.


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