A Comprehensive Guide to the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

Prabhath Kidambi
September 13, 2023
A Comprehensive Guide to the Jobs-to-be-Done Framework


Key Takeaways

Most SaaS companies build ICP documents in detail about their ideal buyers, right down to how their buyer persons would spend their free time. This demographic or psychographic information about them is useful and can help them map correlations with other buyer segments. However, it is easy to get tunnel vision and place utmost importance on who your buyer is and lose sight of researching why they would want to buy your product.

Why is the Jobs-to-be-Done(JTBD) framework effective?

JTBD(Jobs-to-be-Done) is a theory that states that customers don't buy products or services for their features or benefits, but rather to achieve a specific job. By understanding the job that your ICP needs to be done, you can create marketing and sales materials that are more relevant and persuasive.

JTBD framework pulls focus away from the customer and onto the customer’s needs, which is more likely to inspire a purchase.

The three areas where JTBD can give you clarity,

  • Your customer’s job like their everyday tasks and not just the high-level definition of their title
  • Your real competitors. When you accurately identify what job(task) your customer wants to complete, you might notice that your competitors could be in different categories and not just products that have similar features and messaging.
  • Your product roadmap. There is space for very little ambiguity when you have a clear framework to guide you on which features will help customers get the job done better.
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Who should you build it for?

Your ICP document will give you insight into,

  • Your Ideal Buyer/Decision Maker
  • Your Ideal User
  • Your Ideal Influencer
  • Your Ideal Internal Champion

It is important to build JTBD for all four of them since their pain points/needs would affect the purchase decision. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that your offering not only meets the technical requirements but also aligns with motivations of these four individuals.

Components of the JTBD Framework

For every persona, the following must be defined,

  • Core jobs
  • Related jobs
  • Desired outcomes of the core jobs
  • Desired outcomes of the related jobs
  • Their Key Performance Indicators(KPI)

The term ‘jobs’ here refers to what they’re trying to achieve. As an example, for Head of People persona, his core job is to set up processes to hire anyone from anywhere across the globe to have a diverse team and the related jobs would be plan global HR policies, set up local entities, create global onboarding programs etc.

For each persona, you should also map out the journey as stages/phases and place the jobs and related jobs across this journey. For the example we discussed earlier, the jobs can be mapped into stages like Define, Locate, Prepare, Confirm, Execute.

For more complex jobs of your ICP, you can break down the journey into more phases so you don’t miss out any key insight or challenge.

It’s also useful to include qualifiers in the JTBD journey which refers to specific criteria or conditions that need to be met in order for a persona to move from one stage of the journey to the next.

How to conduct fool-proof research to fill JTBD

Conduct interviews

Reach out to existing customers and potential leads for one-on-one interviews. Ask open-ended questions to understand their challenges, goals, and motivations. Focus on moments when they've hired a product/service to solve a specific problem.

Send our surveys and questionnaires

Utilise surveys or questionnaires to gather quantitative data on pain points, needs, and preferences from a larger pool of respondents. This can help validate and supplement insights gathered from interviews.

Analyse customer feedback

Review customer reviews, testimonials, and social media comments to gain insights into what they value, what they struggle with, and what outcomes they expect.

Identify JTBD statements

For each persona, create JTBD statements that capture the core problems they are trying to solve. These statements should be focused on the functional aspects of the job.

A commonly accepted method is to write a clear and concise 4-part sentence, following this structure:

  • When I… (context)
  • But… (barrier)
  • Help me… (goal)
  • So I… (outcome)

Looking at a fit tech app, they might complete their JTBD statement as follows:

When I want to maintain a consistent workout routine, but I struggle to stay motivated and track my progress effectively, help me by providing personalised workout plans and real-time performance feedback, so I can achieve my fitness goals with confidence and dedication.

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Validating your JTBD findings

This is a critical step to ensure that the insights you've gathered accurately represent customer needs and can guide effective decision-making.

Run A/B tests

Implement A/B tests to compare different solutions or variations of your product. Measure user engagement, conversion rates, and other relevant metrics to determine which solution resonates best with users.

Analyse key metrics

Analyse usage metrics and data post-implementation. Are users engaging with the new features in the way you anticipated? Are they achieving the desired outcomes?

Circle back to customer interviews

Re-engage customers you initially interviewed to present the changes and seek their feedback on whether the solutions align with their needs and expectations.

Developed JTBD in action

When the hard work is done, only the benefits are left to reap and here are three ways you can put this framework to use from day one:

  • Leverage JTBD insights to personalise your outbound efforts. Tailor email campaigns and elevator pitches to resonate with each ICP segment, even on a cold call.
  • Equip your sales team with JTBD-based talking points, objection-handling strategies, and success stories to improve their effectiveness in engaging with ICPs.
  • Create content assets such as blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and videos that speak directly to the pain points and solutions identified in the JTBD statements.
Prabhath Kidambi
Prabhath Kidambi
Head of ABM | TripleDart

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