Revenue Relationships

with Steve Blank

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How do you get, keep, and grow customers?

Steve Blank

8x Entrepreneur, Author, Customer Development Expert

Lessons Learned

Get, keep, and grow are the three critical parts of customer relationships.

Corporations are made up of human beings with titles.

Customer discovery is to continually refine opinion about target customers based on fact.


Lesson: Revenue Relationships with Steve Blank

Step #1 Archetypes: How do you get, keep, and grow customers?

Today, we're going to be talking about customer relationships. In other words, how do you get, keep and grow customers. So in the last lecture, you remember the business model canvas, all the nine components of a startup. We talked about value proposition, we talked about customer segments, we talked about channels. But today, we're going to focus on customer relationships. Customer relationships really are about how you get customers, how you keep customers, and how you grow them.

Here are two get, keep and grow funnels. And the one thing to notice is the one on the top represents a physical channel and the one on the bottom is web mobile. And the thing to it just remember, is a physical channel as we're going to see later, that the details inside of how you get or acquire customers, are different than how you would acquire customers in web mobile. Just know that the physical representation of a customer life cycle, get, keep and grow, is kind of this double barreled funnel, and that's why we draw out this way. It just allows you to kind of understand how the customers get in to our company, how do we get them, how do we keep them and how do we grow them. And so let's look at it, both of these get, keep and grow for physical and web mobile channels in a little more detail.

Now, we keep using the words get, keep and grow, but this get, keep and grow actually refers to human beings, not just random ideas. One of the things we need to understand is what's the archetype or the persona of our customers that we actually want to get? So one of the things that's kind of hard for startups is to realize that getting customers isn't some abstract idea, you really need to understand who your customers are. This is not just thinking about selling to consumers, even in corporations there are human beings with titles that you need to figure out. Almost the same things as you would in a consumer company.

So what you need to understand, what are the roles of these individuals you're trying to sell to, who are they. If it's in a company, what's their position, what's their title, what's their organization? And by the way, not just on the org chart, how do they get influence there, who do they influence? And if they're actually buyers, how do they buy? I mean, how do they hear about products, how they know about you? And as we'll see later, one of the interesting things is there are some customers that are users, like in Google, there are people who use search, but there are people who are payers, who are actually a whole different customer segment. So you need to understand that these people, this archetype I'm trying to define, are they users, are they payers, are they regulators, are they somewhere else in the buying process.

What you're really are trying to understand, if you remember from the value proposition, in customer segment lectures, is you're trying to understand what pain is being solved for them, and what gain is your product creating for them. And at the core is you're trying to derive an archetype of who they are. What we tend to do, is suggest there are startups that you literally start with a series of hypotheses and you get out the building, and in your customer discovery process, you're going to start refining archetypes. Turns out that most companies are selling to multiple archetypes. If you have two or three, don't worry, that's probably fine. If you have 20, it means you voted none of the above and you really need to refine it more.

But then we suggest the company's actually pick a representative picture of who that persona is, who the person would most represent that archetype. Put together a poster, post it on the wall of your engineering department and say, here's who you are building the product for. It's Dave. He might be younger, been professional, 21 to 30, lives in large cities, buys X or Y. It could be Sally, Midwest mother of 45 to 55 in the Midwest of the United States, or someone in India or China, it doesn't matter. What you need to do is have an opinion based on some fact, that gets refined, that helps you understand, these are the people we're trying to acquire. And don't angst about your first hypothesis, but understand the whole goal of customer discovery is to continually refine, these are the people we think are most likely to buy in the early stages of our company.

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