01 September 2020

Customer-Led Growth Framework. How And Why I Built It.

The process I used to create a framework to guide my customer-led growth strategies, the examples I followed, and the dangers to avoid.

The unknown is stressful. Repeating things over and over allows us to understand processes better and optimizing them.

Putting these in writing will only make this understanding faster.

But the best way to get to the right process as fast as possible is to look at how others are doing, use that the first time, and adapting it to your specific needs as you are repeating it.

The Basecamp Example

In my previous newsletter, Customer-led Approach To Internal Process Optimization, I already talked about multiple things you could do to improve your company and optimize it for growth.

Basecamp has a lot about their processes written down and it's rich in insights.

  • Handbook. Everything employees need to know when they start at Basecamp.

  • Guide to Internal Communication. A great, concise guide on how Basecamp communicates internally. One of the best resources for internal communication in my opinion.

  • Shape Up. How they manage software projects. There's a lot of great things, but I think it lacks some information on how they do customer research.

Be Informed, Not Driven

Writing things makes you think about them and make them clear for everybody. But once it is in writing, it does not mean it is set in stone.

I love data, I love frameworks, but I am not driven by them. It only informs my decisions.

Prioritization Framework

Let's take an example. Prioritization is hard. That's why using a framework to decide what to work on next is going to make things a lot easier.

There are plenty of techniques: ICE, RICE, Kano, MoSCoW, etc.

But putting too much faith in the method isn't going to get you the best results. It's the case for RICE, an acronym for reach, impact, confidence, and effort.

  • Reach: How many people will be affected?

  • Impact: How much it will impact users?

  • Confidence: How confident are you about the reach, impact, and effort?

  • Effort: How much of an investment is it?

Let's say a task has a very high reach but the confidence is low. It will still get on top.

Using reach can be dangerous in another way because all your customers are not equal. But with this framework, you value everyone the same.

I personally use ICE nowadays (same as RICE without reach). But I don't start a new task if confidence is below 80%. If it's too low, I will do more research until I'm confident enough.

Planning Framework

OKRs and roadmaps are taken too seriously. And it eventually gets toxic. Forcing hyperbolic objectives on people is only going to misfire and burn them out. Taking shortcuts to keep up with roadmaps will surely lead to sub-optimal experiences.

Being driven by OKRs and roadmaps will lead to problems. Being informed by them is a much better approach.

For my growth experiments, I use GIST, an acronym for goals, ideas, step-projects, and tasks. It's a mix of the best ideas of different techniques and I like it a lot.

Customer-led Growth Framework

In order to create good customer-led growth strategies for the clients I am working with, I came up with a framework.

I tested different techniques to see what delivered the best value, iterated on them and built the following framework. Here's a summary.

  • Insights Bank. I have my insights bank I fill anytime I do interviews, surveys, competitive intelligence, online search, or data analytics.

  • Ideal Customer Profile. I talked about it on a previous newsletter, Potential Customer vs Ideal Customer.

  • Strategic Positioning & Messaging. The insights are organized into my positioning & messaging canvas.

  • Customer Journey Map. I use journey maps and link insights to steps in the journey.

  • Experiment Tracking Sheet. I use ICE and GIST for experiments based on the goals my clients currently have.

By writing down this process, I was able to see how I could optimize the framework and increase my productivity.

I am currently working on a version I could share with everyone and I will talk about it more in the coming months.

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