From gut reactions to actionable insights for Intercom

When serving everyone means you’re serving no-one. How Intercom achieved 500% growth in 18 months by architecting its functions around the progress their customers wanted to make when hiring them

About Intercom

Intercom is an all-in-one customer communications platform. More than 25,000 businesses use Intercom’s platform to drive faster growth through better relationships.

The challenge

Intercom believed its value was in holding customer data in one place. After three years of positioning themselves as an all-in-one solution, growth plateaued. Businesses weren’t using all the features as they’d expected them to, and their messaging wasn’t targeted enough.

Project information

Industry: Customer Engagement Platform
Company Size: 1400+ employees
Use Case: Cross-functional Alignment

Once you understand the job, understanding how to improve your product becomes so much more obvious

Sian Townsend, Director of Research, Intercom

Our approach.

Intercom offered a single product that could handle all of a company’s customer conversations (CRM, helpdesk etc) for one price. A customer would come in and request just one feature, and would be given a heap of others… for free. 

The problem was, nobody was using the entire offering. IT departments wanted it as a help desk solution. But, marketing teams didn’t want–or trust–the built-in CRM functionality. After all, if the company didn’t charge for it, it couldn’t be that good… could it?

Added to this, it became apparent that the messaging about the product wasn’t targeted enough. It didn’t help people understand how they could use Intercom specifically in a way that mattered to them.

The Re-Wired Group was brought in to understand why customers were really hiring Intercom. The team conducted a series of JTBD interviews that would help understand: what did people want to do that spurred them to buy a product to help them achieve their goal? They then created timelines. These provided a deeper look at the journey people took from a critical problem that sparked the desire for change, the touch points along the way, and the specific moment that triggered them to look for a solution. And finally, they revealed the four forces that influence customers to make the switch to and from Intercom.

By understanding the context in which their ideal customers were making purchasing decisions and trade offs, their teams, through cross-function alignment were able to develop new pricing and new packaging using the language of the demand-side that multiple functions could rally around.

The results

They quadrupled traffic to the website by speaking the language of demand-side.

They saw 500% growth in just 18 months and they added an additional 3x in revenue because they charged what the platform was actually worth.

A deeper understanding of the four critical jobs their customers hired them for helped them redesign their product and develop an entire go-to-market strategy.

The impact.

Intercom achieved a deeper understanding of the four critical jobs their customers had hired them for, and used it to redesign their product and develop an entire go-to-market strategy. Their one-product-for-everything turned into four distinct products, one for each job.

No longer does Intercom bucket its customers all-in-one or rely on gut feelings. Instead, functions work together to attract, onboarding and support customers according to their job. There’s real clarity for customers; feature bloat is a thing of the past and onboarding is based on the progress a customer wants to make.

Their marketing changed too.  Previously customers found the one-size-fits-all-problems approach difficult to digest. Now Intercom could dive deep into answering the questions customers had around switching, reminding them why they initially wanted help, increasing the appeal of the change while reducing their anxiety and pushing against inertia of habit.

The JTBD approach has changed Intercom’s entire go-to-market strategy. They now have a clear understanding of the jobs clients want done, which influences how they target and engage with potential customers. 

At Intercom, we made a huge bet on Jobs-to-be-Done, initially as a way to inform our product strategy and later as a way to go to market. Five years later, it’s still the foundation of our product and marketing strategies. We’ve architected the entire company around the idea that people experience problems in their lives or businesses and they buy products to solve those problems.

I can’t think of one area of our business Jobs-to-be-Done hasn’t improved. Product, marketing, sales and support have all benefited heavily from what we’ve learned by focusing on it

Des Traynor, Co-Founder, Intercom

Next steps.

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