Defining a successful customer

Over the past year Designers in our Product Division have focused much of their research and analysis efforts on building out a set of foundational research artefacts; forming a comprehensive picture of our customer personas, their Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) and our current (as-is) value propositions.

This was an invaluable piece of work that has helped us to baseline our products and develop a renewed perspective on our customers, their needs and potential opportunities for improvement, expansion and growth.

Whilst there is more work to be done here to both iterate on (the job of Discovery is never done) and extend these artefacts across the wider portfolio, our focus this year, particularly for those working on our solutions (DB DevOps and Database Provisioning) is shifting to how we might better enable Redgate’s customers to reliably succeed with our solutions; realising the value they were sold.

A model for customer engagement

I’ve used the LAER model for customer engagement (below) to illustrate how we (the Product Division) will have a key role to play in helping Marketing and Sales to both Land and Adopt our solutions. Where Adoption is likely to include everything from a customer’s initial onboarding experience, all the way through to them being able to realise the value for which they purchased our solution(s).

LAER model for customer engagement.

Essentially, before we can look to up-sell or cross-sell to our customers or drive a successful renewal, we have a responsibility to ensure they are able to experience the value promised and furthermore, are able to make demonstrable progress towards their desired outcomes.

Our approach

This year, we’ll be focusing more of the research and design efforts of those working on our solutions, towards identifying where and how we might need to prioritise our activities in 2020, so as to help more of our larger customers succeed on their journey to value realisation.

To that end, we’ve identified the following goals:

  1. Establish a deeper understanding of the organisational-level (vs. end-user) proposition for both DB DevOps and Provisioning customers, as well as an articulation of their key jobs (JTBD) and associated pains and gains.
  2. Conduct a detailed analysis of pre and post-purchase customer journeys to identify different organisational segments, the path to value for these segments, and any significant gaps, pains or blockers that impede or hinder their adoption.
  3. Provide an assessment of where the highest value opportunities are for us to focus on (by customer segment) and some understanding of how we might move them along the journey from procurement, to value realisation, to engagement.

Organisational Value Propositions

As we shift more of effort towards bigger customers and start to position our products externally as solutions, we need a better understanding of what our solutions need to do or enable for these larger customers. Inherently, those involved in purchasing and evaluating our solutions have bigger organisational objectives they are trying to drive or challenges they are looking to overcome.

It will be these types of triggers that initiated their search and why they came to Redgate looking for a solution.

Traditionally, we’ve taken more of a bottom-up approach to product development, frequently engaging with the end-users of our products to understand and design for their functional needs. Moving to a solution model that seeks to deliver value to enterprise customers, requires that we also consider things top-down.

What would our solution have to deliver to ensure we also meet the needs and expectations of more senior folks in these organisations? How do we help them and by virtue, the organisation, succeed with its objectives?

Our job, therefore, is to understand how they are trying to make progress and what motivated them to seek out a solution, such that we can design and build to serve the needs of multiple actors in more complex organisations; addressing both what’s important to the buyers/decision-makers and the end-users.

To do this well, we need to explore and validate our propositions at the organisational level. We need to engage more readily with technical decision-makers to understand the blend of jobs, pains and gains that resonate and should inform our decisions about where to iterate, overhaul or extend our current offerings.

Illustration of value analysis by segment and by maturity.

In the above illustration, we’re using Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas as a schema for defining what value should look like for an ideal organisational profile. We’re working on the assumption that we should be able to define a master or canonical version of that canvas, within which we hope to discover the existence of different organisational segments; grouped by a yet to be defined set of attributes (e.g. vertical, size, approach etc.).

Each segment would have a different subset of jobs, pains and gains that are a priority to them and therefore, shapes their expectations around what value looks like and what they would need from a solution to be able to realise that value. Furthermore, their journey through the solution and their maturity over time (from novice to expert) is also likely to look slightly different.

One segment, for example, might experience mastery, by leveraging just a subset of the solutions core capabilities. For these organisations, the solution will have delivered on its promise. For others, however, that profile of value might look quite different, requiring the adoption of a more advanced set of features, that some folks wouldn’t necessarily get any additional value from.

Customer Journey Mapping

Once we have a definition of desired value and what that might entail for different segments, we need to understand customers’ actual experiences with our solutions. What was life like for them beyond the promise of our Sales and Marketing efforts? How easily can organisations roll out and adopt our solutions and do some struggle, or worse still, never get a point where they experience value?

To understand this we need to build out a picture of typical journeys for these different segments; following customers’ interactions with Redgate all the way through from an initial product demo or Proof of Concept (PoC), to them getting demonstrable value. In essence, did the desired proposition marry up with the actual proposition they experienced?

To document and analyse aspects of both the pre and post-sales experience we’ll use Customer Journey Mapping.

This will involve detailed analysis of customer data across various channels including interactions with Marketing, Sales, Support and Product. Gathering data from various sources to build out a picture of what a typical customer experiences when interacting with Redgate to procure, deploy and utilise one of our solutions.

The intent, once we have these journeys, is to be able to identify pains or potential blockers our customers are likely to experience when they are trying to extract value from our solution.

Illustration of Journey Mapping from a ‘Desired’ to ‘Actual’ value proposition.

As you’ll see from the illustration, our hope is that these journeys will also provide a level of fidelity that will enable us to start mapping out when we might reasonably expect a customer to achieve a given job or address a significant pain, as a result of utilising a particular feature or capability within a solution. This will allow us to better evaluate what we might need to do to help more of our customers along their journey to value.

We believe this level of analysis will help us to eventually answer questions like: How do we help more customers make progress with the jobs they value? What are the specific sets of interactions we can support them through to help get them there quicker? How do we encourage different segments of customers to move to the next maturity tier, adopting more of the key features or capabilities that map to their value profile?

From definition to measurement

Longer-term, once we have these definitions of value that we can map to specific interactions (product or otherwise), our hope is that we can start to layer the telemetry on top of this, giving us the ability to quantify the experience across a larger sample of customers.

With this, comes the ability for us to start to measure the degree to which they are getting value and whether, given what we know about that segment, they would be more or less likely to lapse. As such, we see this piece of work and those that follow as laying the foundations for a more analytical approach to design in 2020 and beyond.