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Consumer Teams: Why They Exist & Methods to Begin Yours

COMMUNITY STRATEGY, CORPORATIONS // Consumer teams might help you ship an incredible buyer expertise. For those who’re desirous about beginning one at your individual firm, you’re in the proper place. Do not miss the 8-question framework to doc your consumer group technique.

Consumer teams are as soon as once more turning into a central a part of enterprise’ buyer relationship methods. For a lot of corporations, consumer teams have lengthy been an enormous a part of constructing a stand-out buyer expertise. They’re an effective way to get product suggestions, assist your customers, and discover enthusiastic advocates. For those who’re desirous about beginning one at your individual firm, you’re in the proper place.


Consumer teams weren’t initially firm ventures. They sprang up organically – the shoppers’ reply to an issue. At present, that reply has developed to learn each customers and companies equally.

Earlier than we get too far, what is a consumer group, technically?

Consumer teams join folks to share methods and finest practices round a given product, typically software program. These customers are normally from totally different corporations or organizations. Consumer teams are typically location-based (i.e. Marketo Customers of Atlanta) or role-based (i.e. admin-level Salesforce customers or buyer success managers utilizing ChurnZero). The consumer group isn’t all the time related to a corporation itself; it may be shaped by the customers independently of the group.

The primary consumer teams have been launched within the Fifties when folks utilizing expertise, like mainframe computer systems, shaped free golf equipment to assist one another, unfold finest practices, and share concepts. From there, software program and expertise consumer teams grew in significance and numbers, turning into a serious drive behind the voice of consumers for right this moment’s software program and expertise corporations.

With COVID-19, geographically primarily based consumer teams have gotten much less and fewer essential. Folks wish to join by way of similarities of their business and background, fairly than by location. Many corporations choose to maneuver their consumer teams on-line due to the elevated flexibility and the flexibility to attach at any time digitally.

The advantages of energetic consumer teams are simple. Learn the way investing in consumer teams might help differentiate your enterprise and enhance enterprise metrics – and the eight issues to bear in mind earlier than you begin one.


Many corporations have discovered that investing in software program consumer teams is a comparatively low-cost strategy to ship an incredible buyer expertise. Expertise and software program corporations typically select to spend money on buyer consumer teams for 3 key causes.

1. Consumer Teams Allow Higher Listening to Keep away from Product & Advertising Misses

You possibly can guess your govt group is trying on the 12 months forward and pondering, “What can we do to create extra worthwhile merchandise for our market?” A consumer group can inform that query. Consumer teams give corporations direct entry to prospects’ wants and conversations and create constant suggestions loops through the product growth course of.

With a consumer group, entrepreneurs and product managers can take a look at ideas, positioning, and messages with prospects all through the product lifecycle. The consequence? Services and products that higher clear up the issues your prospects are keen to pay to have solved.

Prospects, particularly B2B prospects, are extremely progressive and educated about their industries in addition to the merchandise they use. In a consumer group, prospects like this typically shock and delight each other with progressive workarounds that clear up their friends’ issues. They might even give you new methods to make use of merchandise that your organization had not thought-about.

These options and concepts are invaluable additions to the assist your buyer assist group offers. Workarounds and different concepts from consumer teams can be carried out instantly, with out further product growth or funding from your enterprise, offering extra worth to your prospects at no further value to your organization.

Whereas software program consumer teams are artistic find new methods to leverage your present merchandise, they are often much more useful in the event you’re keen to dive into product growth with them. Ask for consumer group members’ opinions on potential product enhancements and new options so you may proceed offering extra worth. Your consumer group’s enter will seemingly provide help to construct merchandise with fewer assist points and extra market relevance.

However right here’s one huge caveat. These consumer teams NEED to remain member-focused. Advertising/product groups shouldn't use these teams to inundate customers with questions. The best strategy to maintain your consumer group engaged and thriving is to all the time assist the customers really feel just like the group is made for them, and never for the corporate. The corporate can profit, in fact, however the customers have to really feel just like the group is being considerate with what they ask and share with the group.

2. Consumer Teams Assist Prospects Succeed

When your merchandise are efficiently used to satisfy enterprise targets, each executives and in-the-trenches customers are blissful. Consumer teams exist to assist prospects discover extra success with a sure set of services or products. And not using a consumer group, corporations have restricted perception into buyer satisfaction and in the end, buyer retention.

Consumer communities can sign alerts for when your prospects are struggling, looking for particular info, or aren’t engaged. You wish to see and tackle these considerations properly earlier than prospects determine to finish the connection. A group provides your buyer success managers new perception into every buyer’s journey.

3. Thriving Consumer Teams Differentiate Your Firm & Assist You Personal the Dialog

Buyer acquisition and retention endure when consumers can’t see the distinction between your product and different options out there. When a prospect is deciding between two corporations which have comparable options, the corporate with the energetic consumer group has a bonus over the answer supplier that's solely providing a product.

Spotlight the power of your consumer group through the gross sales course of to face out from the competitors. Software program consumer teams are a comparatively low-cost “characteristic” of your answer that helps your prospects succeed. Whereas rivals are all the time including new options and companies, the differentiation {that a} dependable consumer group delivers is tough to duplicate.

So in the event you’re purchased in and able to begin your consumer group – what occurs subsequent?

Use the next 8-question framework to create your consumer group technique.


Regardless of the worth in consumer teams and the expertise folks have with them – expertise professionals are sometimes members of consumer teams – there isn’t all the time a transparent roadmap for beginning one. You is perhaps questioning:

  • How do you host a consumer group assembly with out in-person occasions?
  • Even in the event you do host an occasion (digital or in-person), how do you proceed the dialog past that assembly?
  • Ought to your organization run the consumer group or ought to or not it's independently run by your prospects?

A part of the explanation that folks fail to get the inexperienced mild for launching a consumer group is their capacity to tie consumer group engagement to core enterprise methods. The opposite cause you may wrestle to get executives enthusiastic about your consumer group plan is an absence of readability about what consumer teams appear like and what form yours will take.

Speaking each the worth of an energetic consumer group and the truth that you will have a plan will provide help to get your senior administration on board. Use this framework that will help you with each of these gadgets.

Query #1) What's the function of launching a consumer group?

Mature consumer teams provide customers an array of alternatives to study and interact. Slender your fledgling consumer group’s deal with the areas the place your prospects and firm will get essentially the most worth. To that finish, sketch out the aim of the preliminary model of your consumer group.

  • Is the aim of your consumer group to construct stronger bonds with prospects by internet hosting periodic in-person conferences?
  • Are you making an attempt to maintain prospects extra knowledgeable about your services?
  • Is your organization trying to your consumer group to mixture the voice of your buyer and supply ongoing market information and product suggestions to validate concepts and prioritization of recent options?

Deciding on the first actions that your software program consumer group will take part in is the muse to your group’s roadmap.

Query #2) How will your consumer group meet?

Assembly in particular person hasn’t been potential for a lot of this 12 months, and it isn’t all the time possible to your prospects (even when there’s no pandemic).

Constructing an on-line group to assist your consumer group to satisfy may be an efficient answer. Your customers can join each time they need in a digital area, extending the dialog a lot previous an occasion. Plus, you may simply add in in-person or hybrid occasions when the time comes by directing customers to observe up locally and even constructing a devoted occasion group. One profit is even your customers who can’t attend in-person occasions will be capable of take part digitally.

When conversations occur on-line in your consumer group group, your workers can participate or observe the conversations to get product suggestions, assist prospects with questions, or get insights into their wants and the business.

One essential side of constructing an internet consumer group group might be to develop a powerful on-line group engagement technique.

Query #3): What's going to your consumer group’s occasions appear like?

When occasions make sense once more, listed here are some issues to your consumer group occasions:

Relying on the dimensions and maturity of your consumer group, you’ll want to find out in the event you’ll host one consumer group convention in your major nation or in the event you’ll additionally produce smaller conferences for states or areas. It's possible you'll wish to even develop a global convention program to handle customers in areas akin to Asia, Europe, and Australia, relying on the place your buyer base is located.

Whereas folks take part in consumer teams to get the newest information about your product, the largest member profit is the chance to community with, study from, and share concepts with different customers.

How will you make {that a} central a part of your consumer group? Will you present alternatives for peer-to-peer engagement by means of in-person occasions? Or will you give consumer group members a strategy to keep linked with one another all year long on-line?

Query #4) Who will run your consumer group?

Subsequent, assume by means of whether or not your consumer group might be a company-run consumer group or an unbiased consumer group. Choices made concerning the consumer group in company-run consumer teams are made by workers of the corporate, whereas unbiased consumer teams are autonomous separate corporations (normally nonprofit membership organizations, like associations).

Each are well-liked fashions. Nevertheless, we advocate for sustaining your consumer group, particularly in case your group principally meets on-line. Why? One huge cause: The info. Attending to know your prospects and your business by means of your group is invaluable. Collaborating and studying from the conversations your prospects have on-line each day can rework your organization, serving to you create higher merchandise, hone your advertising and marketing, and beat your rivals.

Once more, although, you need the customers to really feel a way of possession for the group. They might help you average, create content material, submit discussions and questions, and really feel prefer it’s their area. You possibly can host the on-line group platform and handle the group, however work to make your consumer group group a user-centric atmosphere.

Query #5) Will your consumer group have chapters and sub-groups?

Will your consumer group have state chapters or sub-communities? It normally solely is sensible to create a chapter or particular curiosity group (SIG) construction if folks use your product in numerous industries, roles, and geographic areas.

Managing chapters and different teams provides accountability and governance to managing your consumer group. Nevertheless, you need the worth of collaborating in your consumer group to be as related to your prospects as potential. If internet hosting separate discussions, useful resource libraries, and occasions for various chapters or SIGs would make the advantages of membership extra precious, this mannequin could also be proper to your consumer group.

For those who go for this mannequin, select an internet group platform that can provide help to create separate, organized group areas to your totally different consumer teams.

Query #6) What's going to your consumer group’s volunteer management alternatives appear like?

Impartial consumer teams are normally run by a volunteer board, whereas your enterprise makes many of the selections for a company-run consumer group. Nevertheless, by nature, even a company-run consumer group has a volunteer management construction.

  • Will your consumer group have a governing board?
  • Who might be on the board – prospects, companions, members of your organization?
  • How lengthy will board members serve?

Past the board, many consumer teams depend on committees to handle tasks starting from planning your consumer group’s convention to producing content material and assets to your consumer group.

Query #7) What are your customers’ expectations?

What's going to customers anticipate out of your consumer group? Consider this query by way of communication, entry to different customers, and what they'll get out of collaborating.

Will probably be tough to reply this query with out doing consumer analysis, so we advocate performing some buyer interviews. Try these pattern interview questions:

  • How did you determine to change into a buyer of [org]?
  • How do you employ our merchandise/companies?
  • Are there options/companies you employ on a regular basis? How?
  • Inform me a few problem you’re experiencing as a buyer of [org].
  • If we began a consumer group, what would you anticipate it could be like?
  • What would you hope to get from the consumer group?
  • What sorts of issues would connecting with different customers provide help to clear up?

Query #8) What are your organization’s expectations for the consumer group?

If you launch a consumer group, assume by means of the way you’ll align your consumer group along with your management group’s priorities. As an example, what objectives and measurements will you employ to speak the consumer group’s success? What would your organization hope to get from a consumer group? Interview key division leaders to grasp how a consumer group may assist them.

Pattern interview questions:

  • Inform me about the principle targets of your function.
  • Inform me a few problem you’re experiencing in your function.
  • What expertise instruments are you utilizing to get these jobs achieved now?
  • What’s the ultimate consequence you’re making an attempt to attain?
  • If we began a consumer group to attach our prospects, what would you hope to get out of it?
  • What sorts of issues would connecting our prospects on this method provide help to clear up?


Consumer teams assist your enterprise make your prospects profitable, whereas gaining invaluable buyer perception. Your prospects, in flip, get to construct a community that they will use to be extra profitable along with your services.

With primary steerage on the framework for the choices it's a must to make, you’ll set your organization on the course towards making a sustainable consumer gr