Leading Customers In Through The Back Door

In a recent episode of the School of Greatness podcast, Lewis Howes interviewed Ryan Smith, the CEO and co-founder of Qualtrics. To set the stage a bit, Qualtrics is a platform that helps gather and analyze data and conduct market research. From the research side, Ryan talked about how they initially saw universities as being early adopters for their solutions. He shared an interesting story about making assumptions about our customers…

As Ryan shared, originally Qaultrics approached universities and tried to sell them their software and services. They had no luck, so they dropped one rung lower on the ladder and began approaching the business schools within these universities. Still no luck. Dropping one rung lower, they began approaching university marketing departments. No luck there either.

Then something interesting happened…

A lone professor, Angela Lee from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, began using Qualtrics. It was not the high-level, university-wide entry point that Qualtrics had envisioned, but… Angela shared Qualtrics with her department head, who shared the solution with the business school, and eventually, Qualtrics was back to pitch the entire university on their offering.

Their offering had not changed.

They just found a new door.

This is one of the conversations we have with clients all of the time. When you’re thinking about your customers, what doors are they using to come in? What entry point (or points) are the easiest for them to access your product or service through?

We want to generate more leads.” We hear this almost every day. It’s the universal reason that companies invest in marketing. What they really mean when they say that is this, “We want to have more people walking through our doors.”

Those doors can be very diverse. In some cases, we’re literally working to drive traffic through a brick-and-mortar front door. In other scenarios, the front door is digital – a website or social media presence that lives online. Taking it in another direction, that door can be represented by a phone inquiry. Whatever call-to-action we’re trying to cultivate, the goal is always connecting customers and prospects with open doors.

Often, what our clients believe is their front door can be replaced by a convenient back door that is more attractive to their customers. With this in mind, we need to constantly challenge our assumptions, create paths, and test new entry points. And sometimes, like Qualtrics, we need to accept that the back door is really the front door.

Challenge your assumptions. Yes, the entry you believe is your front door may be just that. Or, you may discover that what looked like a back door (or no door at all) is the opening you’ve been looking for the whole time. Poke around a little bit, and your customers will leave clues for you – you just need to look hard enough to find them.

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