‘Jobs To Be Done’ as a Demand-Gen DriverIntegrate & Ignite Podcast
In this insightful interview, I revealed several key secrets to improving demand generation for B2B companies selling in complex buyer environments with long buying journeys and showed how the Clayton Christensen “Jobs to be done” framework can be applied by marketing.
“The way to win in marketing today is to define your own category. This starts with making a clear problem statement you want to resolve. From this point, you establish a demand-gen drive to market the resolution.”
“Marketers are often stymied by their myopic, product-centric views. That’s why they need to walk in buyers’ shoes to understand their needs and challenges. ”
“Instead of a sales funnel, consider a “jobs-to-be-done” flywheel with a four-part process of capture, education, engagement and conversion.“
There are two halves to demand generation. There’s a front end characterized by go-to-market engineering, which involves category design. Then you have a back end that identifies the problem and solutions for the customer. Together, these concepts help you generate demand through the naming of customer difficulties and offering extremely clear answers.
The building blocks of demand generation
Marketing isn’t about you or better, faster, and cheaper products. These are traditional concepts other marketers get sucked into. Instead, the goal is to create building blocks that address the customer’s pain points without the prepared sales pitch. This marketing solution helps you quickly leave the sea of sameness that others can’t seem to leave.
I like to think about this in the context of former Stanford business professor Clayton Christensen’s theory of “Jobs to be Done,” outlined in his book “Competing Against Luck.” Christensen’s theory is a critical building block of demand-gen.
“Jobs to be done” focuses on the tasks customers hope to accomplish. It explains the “why” behind consumer behavior, which helps product designers create things people want to buy. A marketing team can use the jobs-to-be-done framework to design maps of the customer journey.
While some buyers clearly understand the problems they need to solve others do not. Something drives them to the market but they’re not sure what it is.
This is where the building block of problem identification comes in. Since customers don’t always know what solutions exist, they need help. Problem identification is a mindset that allows you to figuratively walk in their shoes. For a deep dive into the topic, I recommend “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Reis and Jack Trout, which outlines the fundamental structure marketers need to step into their customers’ shoes.
‘De-risking’ the sales process
A jobs-to-be-done strategy doesn’t mean B2B buyers will immediately sign a contract with you. They have to complete another building block in their purchasing journey: validating your credentials. Therefore, Your goal should be to “de-risk” the sales process as much as possible.
Remember, purchasing decisions are almost always made by a team within a B2B ecosystem. Someone owns the budget while other stakeholders have their say in the process. You also have to consider the actual beneficiary of the solution — the end-users. Is it the sales team? The warehouse staff? The accounting department? Consensus creation is key.
Unfortunately, participating in de-risking isn’t simple. Over the last five years, the B2B purchasing process has become decentralized. For example, you could pursue the finance team, but they might not be part of the purchasing process. This is why something needs to be done at the marketing level to ensure potential clients understand your solutions.
The jobs-to-be-done flywheel
Since the purchasing process is now fragmented existing sales funnels don’t work as well. Today’s funnels drip content through advertising and email to warm up the customer. Unfortunately, buyers aren’t always responsive from the start. If marketers can’t connect with them through every step of the sales process, momentum is lost.
What if we thought of the sales process in another way? Perhaps one that reflects the way people really buy. What if you utilized a jobs-to-be-done flywheel to create demand-gen?
I like the flywheel concept because a buyer can enter at any point based on what they need and where they are in their purchasing journey. Plus, they can jump around. So, they might go back to the start to learn about something that solves another problem. Following are the four steps of this process:
1. Capture the customer’s attention
Marketers obviously have to attract the customer’s attention. You know a marketing team is doing well when people hear buyers say things like You guys are everywhere I go. Strategies such as social media saturation and industry event participation, when done well, establish a positive perception with the customer so they move to the next steps.
2. Educate the customer
Once a prospect is intrigued, the next step is to educate them about solutions. This is not an ego-pumping exercise. We’re there to empathize with buyers. The more this is done the more it shows the marketer cares about their situation.
Salespeople often try to skip this step. They rush to deliver the sales pitch before they educate the prospect. But a buyer usually wants to learn more about a product first to see if it’s right for their organization. If it seems to be a good fit, they ask for the pitch. Conversely, they leave if they feel they’re being given a “hard sell” off the bat.
Compelling educational materials differentiate your business. This is especially true if you pique their interest in a product for which they don’t have an obvious need. With the proper jobs-to-be-done mentality you can create that need with an educational spin.
3. Engage the customer
Since the first two steps of the jobs-to-be-done flywheel are passive, we need to engage the customer in a more active way.
Engagement captures the personally identifiable information (PII) of our customers: They send an email, fill out a form or call us. Technology like HubSpot is incredibly useful at this stage. It allows marketers and salespeople to keep track of interactions from first contact to conversion.
4. Convert the customer
The conversion from potential to an actual customer is normally where a lot of sales funnels stop. Buyers sign up for an offer or make a payment. Whether you’re the marketer or sales representative, it’s extremely critical to establish who you are and what your goals are in each engagement. Salespeople may have a revenue target; marketers might have engagement metrics designed to gauge customers’ brand loyalty.
The flywheel and SEO
There’s an additional advantage to the jobs-on-the-flywheel approach: When done right, it doesn’t require massive SEO saturation. When you produce useful content, you will (organically) rank higher in search engine results. In my opinion, it will be difficult for a similar company to knock you down without doing the same kind of work you did to get there.
To win at marketing and generate demand you need to ignore what you’ve previously learned about the industry. You can no longer sell first and then establish a relationship with the customer. You have to identify the problems and generate the solutions long before engagement.
It might be difficult to adapt to the jobs-to-be-done practice at first. However, as you refine how you capture, educate and engage the customer, you’re likely to see lasting returns. And increased revenue is just the beginning — with the jobs-to-be-done flywheel, sales are self-perpetuating.
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