Create a customer lifecycle
In order to market your product or sell your product, you need to understand the lifecycle of your customers.
We want to understand where our customers are looking for current alternatives.
If they have a problem, if they have a need, where do they go to find out more about the product/ service or alternatives.
Next, we want to understand how people go about trialing products.
Where they go for feedback. Whether they search out forums. Whether they go into shops to try products or whether they sign up for a free trial.
Next, you want to understand their buying behavior. Do they make an upfront investment and purchase the product outright? Do they like to have monthly subscription? Do they lease your products? Or do they need a payment solution because they don't have the money upfront to start off with. Also, what the customer lifecycle allows you to understand is that once you’ve made a sale with your customer, how do you keep on getting them coming back? So they make not just one product purchase but purchase multiple times.
Lastly, what you want to look at is whether you can get your customers to refer somebody new customers.
What activities or what do you need to trigger in your customers in order for them to refer their friends, family and other people towards your products or services?
By really understanding the customer lifecycle, you're not trying to sell your customers something that they're not looking for. What you want to do is match your sales cycle with your customer lifecycle for best and most effective use of your time and theirs.
To come up with your customer lifecycle for your products, start off by having to think about what you did last time you purchased a product. Pick out one example, it might be a mobile phone that you purchased, a car that you looked at getting, a book or even a website that you subscribe to.
Where did you go look for it in the first place?
What types of keywords did you type in? Did you search on Facebook or Twitter?
Did you go through LinkedIn? Did you type into Google search the exact problem that you were having?
Once you found a few different alternatives, what was the next step? What made you choose one over the other? Were you comparing benefits? Were you reading forums? And also, how did you actually trial the product? Did you trial a friend's product? Or were you actually going out into a shop, testing it, holding it and talking to salespeople?
Have a think about that first initial process. Have a think about how you can match it to your own product or service. But then don't stop at the sale. How do you get them to keep on coming back?
We spend all this effort, all this time getting the customer in the first place, how do you maintain that relationship? Lastly, you want to have a look at how they can refer your product to their friends. How do they tell their friends about it? You want your customers to be loyal supporters, champions of your products and tell everyone in the world about it.
Combining these key areas of your business model canvas really allows you to define and put together a solid sales lifecycle. Start off yourself, have a think about these questions and I will show you next on how we can measure every single step.
So in order to market your product or sell your product, you need to understand how your customers will search, find, try and purchase products. Once you understand how their buying behaviour, create a sales cycle that matches your customers’ decision process.
To complete your customer lifecycle journey, think about how you can keep them as loyal customers. Also look to understand how you can make it easier for your customers to tell their friends about your product to help you increase exposure to new potential customers.