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Build a Community Around Your B2B Product

Coming from an engineering background, my instinct is to build something and put it in the hands of users.

Tristan Saunders
Cofounder & CTO

Coming from an engineering background, my instinct is to build something and put it in the hands of users. But we spent months building a community around Userled before writing a single line of code. Here’s why 👇

Why start a community around your B2B product?

Yann and I previously cofounded a business that leveraged a community as part of its offering. It helped us learn and grow our user base. We learnt the ins and outs of starting and growing a community along with what they’re good for and some of their challenges/limitations.

It’s safe to say that the challenges Yann and I faced day to day in our previous jobs were catalysts for what Userled is today, and that our learnings from our last startup have directly influenced our approach to building Userled: validate ideas before building, lean on domain experts for help, get regular feedback and overall → speed 🏃‍♀️.

The Userled community is crucial for us to achieve this.

How to start a product centered community?

At its essence, a community aims to bring people around a common area of interest.

Now, you may be thinking “but Tristan, that is so vague…”. It’s vague on purpose because to start a community it’s better to start simple and not overthink things.

If you’ve identified a problem and want to build a product to address it you should be able to identify a niche group of people who are facing said problem. This is usually enough to bring these people together to meet and talk. 5-10 people is enough to start and having a small group is actually better to build stronger bonds. Slack and Discord make it very easy to invite people to a single space - and they’re free.

Want to know the best part? If you’ve managed to do this you’ve actual run your first test towards validating your idea 👏. If you can’t convince 10 people to join a Slack group then how are you going to convince them to pay for a product?! ⛔️

So that’s what we did.

The Userled community

We reached out to hundreds of people we thought were facing the same challenges as us and invited them to join our Slack workspace. We grew to 75 members at which point we stopped sourcing manually. Instead, we created content from the community interactions that we shared with the outside world (primarily LinkedIn). All posts linked back to the community. This naturally attracted others interested in this area.

Today, our community counts 400+ members and keeps growing organically with no cost associated.

Our members primarily consist of Sales, Revenue Operations and Growth leaders. But it is open to anyone interested in our space so we also have Product folks, Customer Success, Marketing and Founders/Execs.

All are invested in making their buyer’s experience simpler and smoother by transitioning to product-led sales (hint: Userled helps you with this 😉).

What value does our community drive?

Our members talk daily and support each other through questions/answers, sharing content, networking and much more.

It gets better! As the community delivers value to our members they are always keen to help when we reach out to them 🤝.

  • Learn about the space
    Everyone is tackling different challenges but encountering the same problems. The diversity of opinions and approaches help us understand where there are opportunities in the market.
  • Get close to our buyers and users
    Our community consists primarily of the types of profiles we either sell our product to or who are direct users. Our interactions with them influence our product direction, the content we create, the team we hire and much more!
  • Optimise for feedback
    If we had started by building a product it would have taken us months to get an MVP in the hands of our customers before getting any feedback. Instead, we send weekly updates to our members with progress on the product. They give us feedback that helps us iterate towards a better solution.
  • Reaching social proof
    Not only has the community helped us get early traction but we took it a step further to gain social proof. We created design partnerships with 30+ companies in our community that fit our ideal customer profile and work closely with us as we build Userled. These partnerships have provided invaluable feedback, case studies, testimonials and networking opportunities that have helped us raise a sizeable pre-seed round in a shaky market.

As we grow our customer base this community will evolve to become a central hub where our users to discuss all things Userled. They’ll have access to direct support channels, company updates, feature change logs, insights into how others are using the product to address their challenges, etc.

Building communities is hard

I’ll be transparent. Communities can be quick and easy to get started but it can be a challenge to keep members engaged. You need to constantly find new and creative ways to engage your members which means they tend to demand a significant amount of time and attention.

We chose to create one as it provides a centralised hub for us to do a lot of the work we would have done anyway: talk to customers, get feedback, meet new people in the space, etc. The time we invested in our community is valuable hours taken away from building our product. Yet, we are seeing the value and will keep investing in our efforts.

Have you ever built a community around a Product? We’d love to hear your learnings!

Before you go:

Thanks for reading! ✌️