Sean Ellis’s CatchFree recently released a product called MustHaveScore.com. It’s a “concierge MVP” at this point, but I’ve been using it with all of my consulting clients and have had amazing success.  The reason it’s successful is that it’s a shortcut to helping you understand what the most important benefits your customers are seeking are.  My goal in this blog post is to help you understand how to use it gather the results, and how to apply the results to your business.

Gathering results
Since the purpose of the Must Have Score is to divine the important use cases and double down on success, it’s important to gather data from customers who are successful with your product.  Here’s my recommendation for the survey distribution, based on business model:

  • Freemium  Dedicated email just to paid customers. It’s these 1-5% of your customers who you want more of, so you want to find out what features they care about and get more customers like them.  It might also be helpful to get results from some free customers who you think should be paying but aren’t, as their results will help you understand why they aren’t paying.
  • SaaS with a free trial.  Include the questionnaire on the dashboard when free trial users first login. A quick way to do this is to use KISSinsights – you can create a one “question” survey which appears and asks the user “Could you take one minute to help us better understand your needs?” with the only answer being yes, and they are automatically directed to the survey when they click yes.

Interpreting results
The must have score process helps you understand your customers’ must have use cases.  However, a use case is not a benefit. Therefore, you have to translate the must have use case into a benefit that you can promote in your marketing activities.  As an example, I run a side project called Ultimate Blog Security which helps people make their WordPress blogs secure.  When I ran the Must Have Score survey, I got the following result: As you can see, there is a small group of people for whom one use case is the “must have”.  The Must Have use case is “Reminder of Security Issues”.  As you can imagine, we can’t exactly create a headline on our home page which says “The Best Reminder of Security Issues for WordPress”.  Instead, we have to interpret the results. What it turns out is valuable is a small feature that’s included in our free plugin for WordPress.  It exists in the admin toolbar when you’re composing a new blog post and looks like this: It turns out that being constantly reminded that a blog is not as secure as it could be, and therefore the blog owner’s hard work could be lost, is super valuable.  While I always thought that was a neat feature and knew our customers liked it, I didn’t realize how important it is relative to other features.  As a result, we’ll be orienting our marketing and product development around that feature since we know it’s important and it will help us grow. While I can’t publicize the specific work I do for clients because it could compromise the competitive advantage I’m building for them, I can tell you that I have seen dramatic increases in conversion rate from adjusting marketing messaging based on the MustHaveScore results, but only once I interpreted the results in such a way that I understood what the customers were trying to tell me.

Objections
I did run into one friend who thought the content of the survey was “objectionable” because he didn’t like the question “How would you feel if Ultimate Blog Security was no longer available?  Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere”.  In survey.io, this question is asked without the “Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere” part, and I’ve had people call me up asking if we’re about to go out of business, etc.  To me, this was a great sign that they really depended on the company and wanted to see it succeed.  If you’re worried about your customers leaving you because you asked them this question, then they’re likely going to leave you anyway, and it’s that much more important that you make them want to stay.

Conclusion
The Must Have Score is one of the most powerful marketing tools that is available right now, and when it’s used correctly, it will help you understand your customers much better and help you dramatically increase your sales.