What are product users and buyers, and how should you approach both?
I was speaking with an entrepreneur recently about how to navigate the sales process when the user and the buyer are different people. How much time do you spend with each? How do you craft the message? Who do you build for?
Users are in the product all the time and want to make their day-to-day job easier. They understand the nuances of how the product solves their problems and provide lots of product feedback. Most product features help the users derive benefit. Making the users job easier creates loyal users, but beware that doesn’t always translate to buyers.
Buyers are decision makers that are often looking at the higher level metrics. Product features that benefit the buyers are often at the reporting/analytic levels. Even if the users say they love the product because it makes them more efficient, the buyer then asks the next level questions to understand the ROI. What did we do with that efficiency? Did we generate more revenue? Did we not have to hire additional staff? The buyer often has to justify the financial value of the product both at purchase time and renewal.
How to approach both
Ideally you want both users and buyers to be raving fans of your product. Really listen to users and help make the product simple and 10x better than what they are currently using. But also take the next step to help the users pitch the buyers for you … give them the analysis/tools to show the buyer how the product is generating financial returns, show case studies of the product value in action, and help make the users look good to their bosses. The more people in the organization who see the value in your product, the stickier it becomes. Another powerful thing can be to create a customer advisory board that pulls users and buyers from multiple organizations. You’ll be surprised at how much they enjoy connecting with their peers.
Make sure you understand both what the users and buyers care about, as well as how to help bridge the gap so they support each other!