How can you use the pandemic as the customer discovery experiment

4 min read

Marc McDougall is the founder of Clarity First Consulting and helps SaaS Companies to book more demos. Marc helps in design, build, deploy, and manage SaaS websites just to enable them to see the real opportunity to land more conversions. He started his career with General Electric and has AcademiCode and Clarity First under his founder’s belt.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes:

[03:21] How did you go from being a web developer to B2B SaaS? How did this transition happen? 

[08:33] What is happening to the SaaS industry right now, especially with this current situation going on? 

[17:05] When I get on a call, what are the couple of things I should focus on in my discovery?

[23:02]  How do you think marketing has changed fundamentally due to this pandemic? 

[34:11] What are the approaches I should take and if I have to come up with some unique creative campaigns?

[40:20] If SaaS companies could focus on one thing or if you think there should be one thing these companies should be focusing on for the next six months. What that would be? 

customer discovery

In-Short:

Question: How did you go from being a web developer to B2B SaaS? How did this transition happen? 

Marc: The transition from just general web developer to focusing on conversion rate optimization for B2B SaaS companies was one that kinda happened out of necessity almost, 

I just started out as a web developer and realized after talking to customers, hundreds of interviews with potential clients learning that they weren’t really seeing anything magical about what I was doing.

They just saw me as another pair of hands, someone that could potentially help them maybe like throw a website together or something. But they weren’t really seeing the value that I was able to bring to the table and someone that’s kind of really in tune with what he’s able to do for people, I felt a little bit frustrated by that. 

And I realized over time I did some research and I talked to people that are much smarter than me that it was probably a positioning issue. So I’ve always loved working with SaaS companies and mostly because their site and marketing site is the lifeblood of the business. So I figured let’s just bite the bullet, focus on SaaS companies, and I’ve been loving it ever since. 

Question: What is happening to the SaaS industry right now, especially with this current situation going on? 

Marc: I think what’s most affecting SaaS companies right now, especially in the B2B space is there’s obviously a lot more friction when it comes to making that initial sale. You can imagine that a lot of companies are seeing people sign up for that first month for the first 30 days or so. And then immediately canceling so they don’t get charged for the service and that’s totally understandable. 

I mean everyone’s scared right now people are trying to make sure that recurring expenses have been reined in across the board. So totally understandable but there’s probably a lot more churn and there’s probably a lot more initial sales resistance the SaaS companies are seeing.

Question:  When I get on a call, what are the couple of things I should focus on in my discovery?

Marc: The principles you should be following is, try not to leave the customer in any particular direction when you’re asking your questions, so you don’t want to ask questions. Like did you know about this feature when you signed up right because that’s immediately making them aware of that feature and if something changes the whole context of the conversation instead of asking them questions. So instead of talk about the specific problem that feature solves and what they’re currently doing to solve that and how you can be of assistance to that, to solve that problem for them in the future. 

Question: What do you think about how marketing has changed fundamentally here apart from the obvious one such as the conference is going virtual. Like how do you think marketing has changed fundamentally due to this pandemic? 

Marc: Yeah, that’s really what I was going to say back. I mean the principles are not let me face like this humans have been doing marketing for millennia right way back when you were bartering cows for goats or whatever. 

Obviously, there are things like in-person events that are just basically completely nuked right now. They’re totally not liable. But these days you just need to stick to the principles right? Make sure you have a targeted offering to solve a specific problem for someone and reach them on a medium that they’re actually interacting on. Try listening offers authority by going out your way to Share value for free with your audience and then just contact them in a way that makes them stand out, you know, and eventually, they’ll realize.

Question: What are the approaches I should take and if I have to come up with some unique creative campaigns?

Marc: Yeah, one of them I guess a lot of this is our personality right? I’m kind of a goofy guy. So it’s quite easy for me to write silly emails. But if I was going to make a recommendation for other people what I generally say is if you wouldn’t open this email if you would open this email you’re about to send just delete it just to lead and try again and I would just think of I guess the process of writing a good delightful interesting email that stands up and doesn’t happen when you’re sitting done typing. 

In life when you’re moving around the world and doing things and you’ll notice something silly happen and you’re just like that’s ridiculous. Like that’s so dumb and maybe you take a picture of it. It’s kind of silly. And then that’s it. That’s your email and you just send them that picture with the subject line or something, 

When you’re moving around or having a conversation with someone you find like a funny idea just write it down. Just right down the jokes. Every now and then you’ll hit on something that’s very relevant and it’s got that right mix of relevancy and delight such that people open it and they’re actually interested.

Question: If SaaS companies could focus on one thing or if you think there should be one thing these companies should be focusing on for the next six months. What that would be? 

Marc: I like this question because it kind of gets to the core of it, you know gets to the core of what needs to be done. And what needs to be something actionable that needs to be done. You know, if you could only do one thing for the next six months, what would it be and keep it actionable? It’s actionable. It’s talking to your customers, you know talk to them and say to advise them to talk with tangible things. 

Give them on the phone figure out what’s valuable and for the people to stick around for the customer evangelist that don’t cancel your subscription get Is it COVID they cleared to your product is something that’s anchor a doubly valuable to their business and you needed mark those people need to figure out where that value is so that you can put maybe reposition your service a little bit so that when COVID goes away and we go back to normal. 

customer discovery

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Sanjana Murali is a Marketing Specialist at Hippo Video. She is an award-winning blogger, one of her articles on “Customer Success” was selected from worldwide participants and won her MVP 2019 award. She has learned the knack of ranking her blogs and website pages in the 1st result of Google Search from her 6+ years of writing and marketing experience. She is also the host of #Limitless webinar and podcast series at Hippo Video. She loves to talk about branding and marketing with videos. An eternal writer, words are her lifeline.
Sanjana Murali

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