Now that you've read the The Complete Guide to Customer Research Interviews, you know that gathering intelligence from customer interviews, market analysis, online research, win/loss analysis, is critical to developing a strategy that drives product-market fit and growth. But once you have accumulated all your customer and market insights, what do you actually do with it? Here are 5 immediate steps to infuse your strategy with intelligence in practice.
1. Clean up the detailed notes of each interview and send them to your closest stakeholders.
I would take the time to clean up the meeting notes, in detail, and then e-mail them to the stakeholders that find this most relevant (possibly: the product team, marketing team, certain execs). It takes time to clean up the notes but it is worth it to help you think through what you just learned, what was most important, as well as helping others get detailed insight so that they are seeing the same thing you are. It also serves as a great reference for later, even years later, when you can go back to the details of a specific interview. It also shows great initiative and marks you as a leader.
2. Maintain a problem database
Remember you are surfacing problems, especially problems that are urgent, pervasive and that people would pay for. You or your whole team should be maintaining a database of these problems, which could simply be a spreadsheet in a google doc. It's not 1 entry per meeting, it's 1 entry per problem identified. Try to rank by urgency, pervasiveness, and willingness to pay, and more characteristics as well if relevant to your business, so that the top problems bubble up easily.
3. Present findings to leadership in a way that engages head and heart
After a solid round of customer interviews, you should feel kind of exhilarated. You learned so many new things, you see patterns and path forward. But your leadership hasn't seen any of this yet. They weren't there. Moreover, if you just repeat to them the facts, it may not be enough. They didn't "feel" what it was like when 5 out of 10 customers each had a passionate moment where they explained how important this one particular problem was to them. They weren't there.
I can't overstate how important it is to present findings to leadership in a way that helps them empathize with what you just learned. It truly has to be a summary that speaks to the head (intelligent, well summarized, supported by facts) and the heart (with customer quotes, photos, etc. whatever helps them feel the same customer pain points and same passion that you felt when you were live in the moment).
4. Get into the habit of constantly quoting interviews
Of course you can give a presentation and e-mail your findings, but you can't set it and forget it. You have to get into the habit of continually referencing the interviews you've done and the data you've brought back to the company. In a debate over a roadmap, cite that customer quote again to remind people why you've prioritized your roadmap a certain way. When evaluating marketing messaging, remind everyone that "the message is only going to stick if we say X, Y and Z, since 80% of users interviewed told us that was the most important thing!". Support everything you say with facts learned from the interviews.
5. Shape Your Strategy Based on Your Findings
At the end of the day, there are lots of ways of encapsulating user feedback into your plan. Personas "humanize" the voice of the customer. A roadmap communicates priorities that should be inline with what problems were most critical. A go-to-market plan should touch each key point surfaced from your learnings.
If you truly learned from customers, prospects and others in your target markets, via well-prepared and well-executed interviews, and shaped your strategy to the problems surfaced, you are on your way to executing with results.