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Don’t Build a CRM Without Thinking About JTBD

As a CX and digital agency, Highland regularly uses the Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) framework to help our clients gain a deeper understanding of their customers. This framework helps us understand the progress people are trying to make in their lives, along with the push and pull forces that either move them forward or hold them back.

“Jobs” can be organized into three different categories:

  • Functional: Accomplishing a goal

  • Emotional: Bolstering a belief or feeling

  • Social: Increasing human connection or social standing

When we’re articulating the “jobs” we’ve identified, we often use this framework:

Help me/free me/give me [NEED] so I can [GOAL].

When you’re making a major purchase — like say, buying a house — it’s easy to see the entire spectrum of jobs at work.

  • The functional job of home-buying might be something like help me find a place to live so I have a place to put my stuff.

  • But the emotional job might be help me provide a safe place for my family so I can feel like a good provider,

  • and the social job might be help me feel rooted in a community so I can connect with people like me.

As the Director of Highland’s CRM Practice, I regularly start our discovery sessions with clients with some version of this question:

“What problem are we trying to solve?”

Another way of asking that question might be:

“What ‘jobs’ does your CRM need to accomplish?”

This clarifying question helps the client and our team focus on what’s most important. Narrowing our focus to the jobs we’re trying to accomplish can mute the background noise and bring team members together around a clear purpose.

Most business software (including CRM) is designed to make our lives easier by accomplishing all kinds of functional jobs. These will come as no surprise to you, and will include things like:

  • Help me build a reliable pipeline report as a single source of truth so I can better predict future sales.

  • Help me organize my prospects so I can be sure to follow up with them in a timely manner.

  • Help me track service tickets so I can mine product insights.

  • Help me measure my sales teams’ productivity and efficiency so I can better support them with training and collateral.

One of the basic functional jobs of a CRM is to help you track your sales funnel | Image from SugarCRM

It’d be easy to assume that all of the jobs a CRM addresses fall into the “functional” bucket, but that would be oversimplifying. It’s important to consider the social and emotional jobs a CRM is responsible for as well. This kind of holistic thinking can help us avoid pitfalls and confusion in the implementation process, and help speed up adoption once the CRM is launched.

Accomplishing Social & Emotional Jobs with a CRM

Given that CRMs are all about relationships, the social and emotional jobs of a CRM are incredibly important. Here are a few examples of some social jobs that a CRM can help accomplish.

Give details about my customers’ experiences so I can better understand their deeper needs.

As the single source of truth on your customers and opportunities, a CRM should be the place where all customer information is stored. By capturing what you learn into the CRM, it makes this information more accessible and easier to use. These customer interactions can also be tracked to new R&D work, helping you develop new product offerings over time.

Give me a holistic picture of my customer so I can help them solve problems before trying to sell something.

Getting the whole picture is important — which is why having a CRM that connects the dots between marketing, sales, and customer service can help you create more tailored, personalized experiences for your customers. This makes for happier, more loyal customers, and also gives your entire team a 360° view into the customer experience. That way, when you have a customer who has outstanding service issues, you’re better equipped to engage that unmet need first before trying to expand the relationship.

Help me connect with my clients and prospects as people so I can build long-term relationships.

The data stored in your CRM may include details like birthdays, anniversaries, and the names of children or significant others. Mentioning these other high-priority relationships in your clients’ lives will emphasize the basic human connections we all share, and help you build stronger relationships.

Help me increase my confidence when interacting with a prospect so I can close more deals.

This can be accomplished when the prospect’s details are immediately available on our smartphones and tablets, instead of haphazardly jotted on sticky notes. Thanks to CRM mobile apps and high-speed data connections, this information can be instantly available to your team when you’ve got the right CRM in place.

Help me centralize and standardize data in one place so I can feel confident in our ability to hit our sales goals.

The transparency that CRM reports provide to management can address the worry Sales Managers may feel when they cannot see a complete sales pipeline picture in one location. Tracking Open and Closed Deals by region, product, and/or sales rep will answer the daily questions that Sales Execs have for their teams.

With all three categories of JTBD, you’ll find limits. A CRM can’t do everything — nor should it. But defining where those boundaries are can be helpful. Of all the jobs that could be done, it’s important to prioritize based on what’s most important for you to get out of your investment.

The next time you find yourself sitting in a meeting at the beginning of a new CRM project, take a moment to ask yourself and your colleagues:

What problem are we trying to solve?

What jobs need to be done?

Are they functional, social, or emotional?

What solutions might we propose to do those jobs and solve those problems?

By taking a moment at the beginning of the project to think beyond the functional jobs of a CRM can help you design and build better, more impactful software.

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