Develop your business by leveraging your community of products’ users
Providing credibility to prospect about High technology solution is always an issue. The complexity of the solutions and the level of investments make the choice often quite difficult for future users. This is specially the case for middle and small size companies not seen as risk-less solutions. It’s seen as more secure to purchase leader’s product than the innovative smaller size provider. Building trust with you customers is essential to leverage the value proposition of your solution to prospects.
User groups, key step of building a user community
Having a user group is one of the most important actions to build a user community.
Why it’s important for users:
- Sharing the best practices of product with other users
- Meeting with experts from the company to have advices on features and use
- Networking with other skilled people within their market
- Find innovative solutions to their problems
- Increase the ROI of the purchased solutions by adding new use cases
Why it’s important for the company:
- Collect information about perceived value of your solutions
- Collect new use case that can be pushed to market as increased value
- Have customers pushing the benefits of the products to the whole install base
- Increase the number of possible reference customers for new prospects
- Have a very good flow of innovative product improvement suggestions
- In summary built trust in the real value of the company
6 rules for success
- Give the lead to customers, just coordinate and highlight the interesting cases
- Leave time for customers to feedback freely and don’t make it a push marketing meeting
- Include some product updates that can be valuable for customers
- Build real trust by opening all discussions, prepare answer to known issues
- Welcome positive criticism
- Make it professional but fun!
A sales tool
The ultimate target of having customers’ trust is, of course, to increase the sales. As a very good example, I know a start-up that, on the last phase of decision making from an important customer, invited him to the user group as a special offer. They said “you will see how valuable our solution is, you will be able to discuss with users, and have a true opinion about our solution”. This requires, of course being confident on the community! Showing openly the few defaults of your solution is starting to build a level of confidence that, probably other competitors will not have.
Social media extend user community after user group meeting
Social Media is a perfect way of keeping the community active between meetings and leverages your value with word of mouth.
Globally building a user community is critically important for the future of your innovative solution and the increase of your revenues. It leverages the benefits of your solution to the market. And furthermore, contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers are less likely to bad-mouth the company when employees point out their own mistakes and show improvement plans.