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The best questions to ask your customers to help you position your product more effectively

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Chances are when a prospective customer visits your site for the first time, they have a specific problem in mind that they’re hoping your product or service will help them solve.

The challenge we face as marketers is creating messaging that clearly communicates we can help you solve this problem, here’s how, and why we’re better than competitors in the 15 seconds buyers spend on your site.

Luckily, you’ve already got access to the number one competitive advantage you need to create messaging that connects with new buyers. Your customers. In this post we’ll share the best questions to ask your existing customers to gather the insights you need to position your product more effectively, helping you unlock more sales.

What problem does our product or service help you solve?

Often as marketers we get caught up in solving our own problems, or problems we think our customers are trying to solve. But, often our perception of the challenges customers face doesn’t align with their reality. Simply asking your best-fit customers “What problems does our product help you solve?” will help you ensure that you and new prospective customers are on the same page. When they can easily identify with the challenges you've articulated, they'll be more likely to buy your product.

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • Why customers decided to purchase your product

  • New problems your product solves you haven’t considered

  • How your product fits into your customers day-to-day activities

  • How indispensable your product or service is to their business

  • How they associate value to your product or service

Example we love: Mailchimp

Mailchimp’s main value proposition is one of my favorite examples in the B2B space. In a few short sentences they’ve clearly positioned their marketing automation platform for small businesses who are ready to grow, and want a flexible solution that will grow with them. Their site is full of great positioning examples that have clearly been developed with a keen understanding of their customer’s challenges. It's this connection to their customers that has helped them grow.

2. How were you solving those problems before?

Your biggest competitor is often not another company offering similar services to the your target customer, it's a competitive alternative., Simply put competitive alternatives are the patterns and behaviors that prospects use to solve their problems before they become a customer. Asking your customers “How did you solve these problems before?” will help you understand competitive alternatives in the market so you can effectively position your product or service against it.

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • What tools, behavior or resources they were using to solve these problems before they purchased your product

  • Direct and indirect competitors you may not have considered

  • When your customer decided that the alternatives they were using were not going to work anymore

  • Where your product or service fits into their priorities (were they willing to pay to solve other problems before they considered your product/service?)

Example we love: Slack

Slack is one of my favorite examples of positioning effectively against competitive alternatives. If you've never used Slack you're likely collaborating with an outdated intranet, phone calls, meetings or the dreaded reply all email threads you just can't escape. It's not hard to see how that time adds up across your team. Slack does a great job positioning their product against these other forms of collaboration that can eat up a lot of your time, giving you a compelling reason to explore their product.

3. How would you describe the value you get from our product or service?

It’s so easy to get caught up in industry terms and jargon that you think will connect value to your product since these terms are part of your day-to-day vocabulary. But, messaging is most effective when it can be stripped down to its simplest form. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your customers “How would you describe the value you get from our product or service?”. Hearing them describe this value in their own words will help you find the simplest terms to help new buyers see the same value.

What you can learn from asking this question:

  • Terms that customers actually use to articulate value

  • How they define the value they receive from your product or service

  • Why they continue to use your product or service

  • If the value you’re promising in first interactions with your site or sales team aligns with the value customers receive

Example we love: Unbounce

Unbounce’s value proposition is effective because it's succinct. It's easy to see in a few words exactly what buyers can expect to gain when they subscribe for their products, better conversion rates. By connecting their product to something their customers value, they make it easier for new site visitors to buy.

Love everything that you've read, but need some help getting started or refining your product positioning? Fill out the form below, our team would be happy to help.

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