Speedinvest Blog

3 Hacks to Build a Customer-Centric Product in Industrial Tech

July 9, 2020


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Niklas Fip

Seeing Through the Lens of Customers

Placing your customer in the center of your business and product development strategy is crucial for long-term success. It can truly become a key differentiator — now, more than ever. In search of advice and answers, Speedinvest and Aster Capital brought together an expert panel to discuss strategies that will help you build products your customers love.

Moderated by Heinrich Gröller, Partner of the Speedinvest Industrial Tech investment team, and Raphaëlle Martin-Neuville, Senior Associate at Aster Capital, the panel discussion included:

You can listen to the full discussion below. But if you’re short on time, here are the top three hacks you need to know!

#1: Differentiate Between your User and Buyer Personas

“Users and customers are often not the same,” states Charlotte Nizieux, CMO at Finalcad. “They don’t have the same needs and expectations,” she continues. This is often true, especially in Industrial Tech or, as for Finalcad, Construction Tech, where the customer is often only the buyer of a product which is then, in turn, used by the people on the factory floor or construction site. Hence, focusing on the user is just as important as focusing on the customer. By being obsessed with usage-metrics, building empathy around users and even linking team compensation to user NPS, enables you to build a deeper understanding of your buyer, as well as reap the benefits of a more customer-centric design and development process. The end result is greater product adoption and happier customers. Listen in below at 8:00 min.

#2: Think About How you can Charge your Customer (not How Much)

“How much can I charge for it?” is a question that Othmar Schwarz, Partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners, frequently gets asked. However, for innovative companies, it is more important to know in what way you can charge your customer rather than how much you can charge. For this, Othmar presents several examples of innovative, customer-centric pricing models. One of which is a German wind-turbine manufacturer. Usually their maintenance service for sold wind-turbines was paid on a per-instance basis or annual fee. However, to increase customer value, the company started offering a shared value pricing model; if the wind blows strong, service costs are higher and vice versa. So more wind, higher yield, higher prices. This model was not just aligned with the customer value, but was also aligned with the costs of the company. Listen in below at 20:00 min.

#3: Start with the Problem not the Solution

“The biggest risk of a product is that you build something that no one needs,” emphasizes Markus Müller, former Head of Product at N26 and Circ. And with many companies building a key without a door, there is the need for an important paradigm shift in thinking. First, it is crucial to understand your customer and their problem before building a solution for it. In order to do so, you should ask and listen to your customers, and actually start to believe in qualitative research. For Markus, Henry Ford was wrong when he said, “If I would have asked people what they want, they would have wished for faster horses.”. In fact, you are responsible for translating your customer answers into actionable insights. Thus, doing user interviews, writing down the user quotes, and mapping them to core problems can be an effective way to build a solution that your customers will love. Listen in below at 30:00 min.

Listen to the whole talk here:

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About Aster Capital

Aster is a leading early-stage European Venture Capital firm based in Paris with offices in London, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Nairobi. For over 20 years, Aster has partnered with visionary founders driven by the ambition to transform the mobility, Industry 4.0 and energy sectors.

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