Customer research  August 5, 2022

A framework to help you discover and leverage your customers’ pain points when selling

A framework to help you discover and leverage your customers’ pain points when selling

How often do you highlight a prospect’s personal pain point vs. the organisation’s when prospecting? Do you track which has been the most effective for you in getting engagement?

In this article–using a company selling a KYC solution to compliance departments as a case study–we will classify personal pain points vs organisational pain points and explore how to use them in your outreach. Google Sheet template available.

The why?

Potential buyers will only want to “talk” or “learn more” when a picture forms in their heads of an unmet need that affects them personally, their customers, partners or their organisation

The fastest way to achieve this in less than 100 words of email copy, is to have clarity on the pain points affecting the four groups of stakeholders. 

You also need to know how to classify the impact the problem you solve has on your prospect. These fall into three categories:

  1. Financial impact: are they losing money?
  2. Time impact: are they wasting time on things they can change? Can they gain more time?
  3. Process impact: as presently constructed, are their processes inefficient?

Pain point mapping

I found an interview with Katherine Noall, the CEO of Sphere Identity, a company that provides a blockchain identity storage solution, aimed at companies’ Know Your Customer (KYC) customer onboarding processes.

Here’s her overview of the problem Sphere solves.

So let’s map out Sphere Identity’s customers’ pain points from the screenshot. (Thereafter, you can use the same process on your own product)

What is the pain point/problem your product solves?

Sphere Identity’s blockchain product allows companies to onboard clients without requiring filling in sign-up forms with identity info. Here are the pain points they solve:

  1. Friction in customer onboarding (heavy administration burden on customers during onboarding)
  2. Customer onboarding takes a long time and is tedious due to KYC

What is the impact of this problem/pain point?

For Sphere Identity’s potential customers, the following is true:

  1. Products and services are less attractive to buyers due to onboarding friction
  2. Customer abandonment rates increase during onboarding
  3. Loss of revenue because of high abandonment rates
  4. Compliance (KYC) costs increase due to long onboarding periods

What’s the process/department experiencing the problem your product/service solves for?

The process of impact is customer onboarding KYC. For some products, it might not be as straightforward to tie pain points to a specific process.

For example, video agency Finance Shoots creates animated product explainer videos for financial services companies.

In their case, the marketing department is probably leveraging the product explainer videos as a mini demo to pique the interest of potential customers, who might then want to get on a discovery call.

So indirectly, their product impacts the sales process, but their ideal customers are marketing departments. Don’t fail to make this distinction if your product/service impacts two groups of people.

Who does this problem/pain point affect?

  1. Customers: they cannot access vital services fast
  2. Marketing and sales department: they work hard to create demand, close a sale, then lose it all when customers abandon the product during onboarding
  3. The organisation: the loss of revenue from high abandonment rates affects the bottom line, plus, compliance costs increase
  4. Compliance heads: get complaints from sales and marketing who feel like their efforts are wasted; this probably creates conflict. Compliance teams are also overworked, having to juggle onboarding data and documents all day.

The sheet below shows what this looks like when mapped out. 

Here’s the link to the Google sheet template.

You can add a column for the frequency of occurrence, the number of people affected in a given time (e.g. every quarter) and the monetary cost of the pain point/problem.

With this type of overview, crafting sales messaging is easier cause it gives you a clear understanding of who, what, where and when your problem/pain point is experienced.   

For example, from what we’ve learnt about Sphere’s customers’ pain points, we can be specific with the messaging:

Subject: phew, your onboarding

“Jerry, wondering if you track how long it takes for new customers to go through KYC when onboarding into your trading app?…

This is an agitating line; it highlights a pain point/process. And sets you up to educate your prospect about the impact (financial, time, process) of a problem they may not be aware of. 

Also, it helps you move the prospect from their current state of mind (just checking emails while drinking tea) to thinking about the pain point you solve. For more info about agitating lines and how to use them, here’s a great read: A fintech’s guide to email copywriting.

See you in the next article.

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Gabriel Onyango
Gabriel Onyango
[email protected]

About Me

A writer, in a marketer's skin, wearing a cold emailer's floppy socks. The unorthodox combination of these is what you've probably experienced in this blog. Freelance cold email manager; open to working with teams on cold email campaigns, copy, ICP research (snooping()and custom list building. Connect with me on LinkedIn

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