Why outcome discovery trumps product discovery

Discovery, at the product level, makes a lot of sense. You need to figure out exactly what product needs to be built, so that you build something that will hit a sweet spot for your customer. However, what that customer cares about is NOT your product. It’s the outcome your product helps them achieve. Outcomes are clearest in a B2B context. Almost all enterprise sales are driven by 4 factors: increasing revenues, decreased cost, decreased risk, or improved customer experience. For consumers, this isn’t always clear cut. In many cases, though, there are specific objectives the customer is trying to achieve.

And yet, discovering client or stakeholder ideal outcomes is more important than discovering products. It might sound like an academic distinction that has little practical meaning. But actually shifting from products to outcomes is the most important step in moving from a “my company” focus to a “customer-centric” focus. Because a product is still something that only you and your team cares about. An outcome is the main thing your customer cares about.

By choosing a person or group of people, they will be measuring themselves against particular metrics, such as the average time-to-hire for recruiters. By helping that person with that metric, you improve their life. Provide value. Whether you do that with a product, service, article, app, or anything else doesn’t really matter to them. It matters a lot to you. But to you only.

3. No side effects

You aren’t causing unintended side effects that matter to that person. To counter-balance the previous point, if you significantly do improve one metric but damage something else that matters to that person, then they won’t be interested.