Numbers tell a compelling story, but I always remind entrepreneurs that metrics are people, too. No matter how many intermediaries lie between a company and its customers, at the end of the day,
Customers are breathing, thinking, buying individuals. Their behavior is measurable and changeable. Even when one is selling to large institutions, as in a business-to-business model, it helps to remember that those businesses are made up of individuals. All successful sales models depend on breaking down the monolithic view of organizations into the disparate people that make them up.
The goal of such early contact with customers is not to gain definitive answers. Instead, it is to clarify at a basic, coarse level that we understand our potential customer and what problems they have. With that understanding, we can craft a customer archetype, a brief document that seeks to humanize the proposed target customer. This archetype is an essential guide for product development and ensures that the daily prioritization decisions that every product team must make are aligned with the customer to whom the company aims to appeal.
The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries