The process

"You know it when you see it.” That’s not exactly helpful when pursuing product-market fit. Using a simple four-question survey, you can measure and engineer your way there.  

Clearcut uses a methodology created by the best growth hackers in the world. It asks the following four questions:

Each question is purpose-built to help you measure product-market fit, create and understand your ideal customer profile, and know how to improve product-market fit. Here’s how the process works.

Step 1. Send the survey out.

To maximize responses with the best data, send out the survey in a short, crisp email to every new user once they’ve had sufficient time to to use your product. For example, send the survey 3 weeks after a user signs up.

If you want to survey existing users, that’s totally fine, too. You can “backfill” those users once and then survey new users moving forward.

Step 2. Segment to find and build your ideal customer profile.

Once you have 10-20 responses, you can start to see patterns. What percentage of users say they’d be very disappointed vs. somewhat disappointed vs. not disappointed to no longer use your product? You want to dive deeper, though, and make sure you’re paying attention to the right type of customer and measuring product-market fit accordingly.

Analyze your very disappointed users in a few ways: (1) what’s the main benefit most of them cite?, (2) how they describe the type of person that would benefit from your product, and (3) demographic data (like role or company size). Combine those two answers to create your ideal customer profile (ICP). You will use this ICP to segment your results.

How to create your ideal customer profile using product-market fit survey data

Step 3. Use your ICP to establish a product-market fit baseline.

Now, segment all your responses by your ICP. What percentage of these types of users say very disappointed vs. somewhat disappointed vs. not disappointed? This is your product-market fit baseline. You want to increase this metric to at least 40%, at which point you may have product-market fit.

Step 4. Define what you need to do to improve product-market fit.

To increase your product-market fit baseline, you need to increase the number of users who say they’d be very disappointed to no longer use your product. The main way we’ll address here is using survey data to improve your product and, thus, making more people love it.

Keeping your responses segmented by your ICP, look at the main benefit your very disappointed ICPs mention. Dedicate 50% of your building time to making that main benefit even better and more delightful. Next, look at your somewhat disappointed ICPs. What do they think you can improve upon? These things become the other 50% of your product priorities.

How to use product-market fit survey data to build your product roadmap

Step 5. Ship improvements, keep surveying new users, and repeat.

Continue making your way through your roadmap and continue surveying new users as they begin using your product. You should see new user cohorts perform better than older cohorts and should see your product-market fit score increase as a result.

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