After speaking with hundreds of founders and product leaders, we’ve learned which pains indicate a deeper product problem. The following pains are common, and they stand out to us because we know how to solve them.
Discover which product pains you should pay attention to, why they matter and how to solve them.
1. Your product isn’t sticking.
“Product stickiness” is something product leaders long for and work diligently to achieve. We hear product leaders say this when they experience a high churn rate and users stop using their product.
If your product isn’t sticking, you may have:
- Poor user experience. Inefficient or outdated UX can result in a high churn rate. Users become frustrated by cumbersome workflows, unnecessary features and a cluttered interface. Though they may temporarily tolerate poor UX, they certainly will not enjoy it. Likely, they will find a different product with better UX.
- Misaligned product marketing. If users are falling off after only a few months of usage, you could be targeting the wrong audience. More than one type of person uses your product, and each user persona may use your product in different ways.
To make your product stickier:
- Have conversations with your users. Find out:
- Who is using your product?
- What problems are users solving with your product?
- Which features actually matter to them?
- Leverage user feedback to inform your product marketing. This will ensure you’re speaking to the right people in market and attracting buyers that will find the most value in your product.
- Leverage user feedback to improve your product design. Listen to your users, find out what they need and modernize your UX to exceed their expectations.
2. You are struggling to sell.
Founders and sales teams often find themselves struggling through hours of product demos and education to land a customer. Sometimes, prospects still don’t understand what the product does (even after a painstakingly long education process).
Startups often seek to solve sales problems with headcount, but more salespeople messaging the wrong way won’t improve sales.
If your sales representatives are struggling to sell, you may have:
- Misaligned product marketing. Without successful product marketing, your sales team is wasting time educating the wrong buyers with messaging that doesn’t identify the right pain points or values your product offers.
As a result, your sales process will take too long and you won’t sell as effectively because:
- Your sales reps lack the proper sales enablement tools to efficiently convey your value to the right audience.
- The positioning and messaging of the product is unclear or inaccurate. You haven’t claimed the right position in market, so your sales team doesn’t know how to sell your value or handle competition.
To streamline your sales process:
- Revisit your product marketing strategy. Ask yourself:
- Do we have a clear strategy for how we talk about ourselves?
- Is our product marketing strategy aligned with our business goals?
- Attend positioning and messaging workshops to build an effective product marketing strategy and learn best practices. Ask yourself:
- Are we speaking to the right buyer pain points?
- Are we speaking to the gap in the market?
- Complete positioning and messaging exercises to activate your product marketing strategy. Once you’ve solidified your product marketing strategy and claimed your position in market, ask yourself:
- Are we educating prospects thoroughly on our site?
- Is our sales team equipped with the right messaging and tools?
3. Your customer success team is swamped.
While an overwhelmed customer success team could signal a shortage of team members, it most likely means you have a product or product marketing problem. If your product isn’t built well, or your prospects don’t understand how to use it, your customer success team will bear the burden of solving problems that design and product marketing should prevent.
If your customer success team is swamped, you may have:
- Cluttered UX. If your product is poorly designed, users will struggle to navigate, locate certain features or accomplish tasks. They’ll get frustrated, and reach out to your customer success team for help. The more you scale, the harder this becomes to manage.
- Poor education. If your buyers aren’t well educated before using your product, you may see an influx of customer success requests. If you don’t clearly articulate your product’s value, users won’t understand what your product does. They may look to solve problems with features that don’t exist.
To free up time for your customer success team:
- Treat design problems with the same priority as defects. Making your product easier to use and onboard will have exponential effect.
- Activate your positioning and messaging in marketing and sales enablement tools. Clearly articulate the problems you’re solving and the value users can expect.
- Gather user feedback consistently, and update your product in real-time. Prioritize and clarify user issues early and often.
4. You aren’t bringing in enough qualified leads.
If you’re bringing in low-quality leads, you aren’t speaking to the right buyers in the right way. You need to educate your buyers earlier, before they start actively considering your product. If you fail, buyers will form assumptions about what your product can and can’t do, with no one to fill in the gaps. Remove the guesswork — tell them what you do, clearly and directly.
If you have low-quality leads, or you’re not getting enough leads, you may have:
- Ineffective product marketing. Effective product marketing helps buyers understand and believe in your product. If you can tell a buyer what to expect before they form their own expectations, they will self-select whether or not your product is a good fit. Help them self-select by articulating your value prop in the right way to speak to the right buyers.
- Weak brand. Successful branding will establish credibility and help you stand out in market. If you’re struggling to convert high-value customers, your brand could be turning them off. A quality brand forms emotional connections between your product and your buyer. Think about any successful B2B SaaS company you’ve seen (like Slack). Slack would have struggled to capture the attention of high-quality customers if they were terribly branded. If you look good, you are more equipped to sell to better buyers.
To bring in more qualified leads:
- Create relevant buyer personas. Research to discover who your buyers are and what problems they face. Build buyer personas that accurately represent your target buyer.
- Speak directly to buyer pains. Using your buyer personas, resonate with high-quality buyers by clearly communicating how your solution addresses their pains.
- Revisit your brand strategy to ensure credibility. Dive deeper into your brand assets and activation materials (website, pitch deck, brand guide, etc) and check for consistency, credibility and differentiation.
Hopefully, this article helped you identify what’s hiding behind the pains you’re feeling day-to-day. If you resonated with any of these product pains and are ready to take action, schedule a call with me and we’ll fix it together.
If your product isn’t sticking, you have poor UX and misaligned product marketing. To solve:
- Have conversations with your users.
- Leverage user feedback to inform your product marketing and design.
If you’re struggling to sell, you have weak product marketing. To solve:
- Revisit your product marketing strategy.
- Attend positioning and messaging workshops.
- Complete positioning and messaging exercises.
If your customer success team is swamped, your UX is cluttered or outdated and you’re not educating your buyers. To solve:
- Treat design problems with the same priority as defects.
- Activate your positioning and messaging in marketing and sales enablement tools.
- Gather user feedback consistently, and update your product in real-time.
If your leads are low quality, you have ineffective product marketing and weak branding. To solve:
- Create relevant buyer personas.
- Speak directly to buyer pains.
- Revisit your brand strategy to enhance credibility.