HomeBlog The Top Challenges in Understanding Customer Needs

The Top Challenges in Understanding Customer Needs

April 27, 2016 | By Rachel Young

  • Understanding customer needs is critical for innovation and go-to- market success
  • Many organizations lack a consistent approach for finding and using needs
  • A breakthrough approach to identifying and prioritizing customer needs will be presented at Summit 2016

When I work with clients on how to take a persona-based marketing approach, a big area of exploration is the application of the persona needs. Often, we are focused on shifting the messaging from being centered on the product to being centered on the customer need. However, how do we determine the customer need and how do we use it?Top Challenges in Customer Needs

SiriusDecisions research shows that while organizations recognize the importance of customer needs, nearly two-thirds of these companies admit to not having a consistent approach for identifying needs and determining what should be prioritized. Specifically, there are a couple of areas where we see companies struggling:

  • Where do we look for customer needs? Many companies look to existing customers or prospects as a source for uncovering customer needs and leverage surveys, customer interactions and sales feedback to capture known needs. While useful, this common approach limits the organization’s view into the potential needs of current and new target customers that they could address.
  • How can we get marketing, sales and product to agree on a common definition of customer needs? Too often, need is defined as the need for the product or solution. This faulty definition creates a presumptive and myopic view that’s centered on the offering and therefore limits the understanding of the full dimension of needs that exist in every b-to-b organization. I see the impact of this most often in messaging that touts the product benefits instead of the business value.

If these challenges sound familiar to you, be sure to attend Summit 2016 on May 24-27 in Nashville, TN. You’ll be introduced to SiriusDecisions new research, have the opportunity to network with your peers and gain insights that you can leverage to improve your organization’s performance. In the keynote presentation “The Art and Science of Identifying and Prioritizing Customer Needs,” my colleague Jeff Lash and I will introduce a new framework and process that b-to-b companies can use to define, anticipate and address customer needs.

If you’re a client and not able to attend, please contact your SiriusDecisions account team for more details about this customer needs session. If you’re not a client, contact us for more information.

Rachel Young

Rachel Young is a Senior Research Director of Portfolio Marketing at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years of experience in product and solution marketing, demand generation and communications. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @rpyoung_.
Join Us at #SDSummit