What is Customer Development?

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking to drive greater customer satisfaction and increase revenue. To that end, you might consider implementing more effective and efficient measures to ensure that your product or service fulfills your customers’ needs. These measures make up customer development.


Unsure what customer development is? Read on to find out its meaning and the processes involved. This article also outlines the benefits of customer development, typical examples, and challenges facing this modern framework.

What is Customer Development?

Customer development is a framework that helps you identify and meet your customers’ needs. It involves working closely with your customers to figure out what they need and then creating new products or modifying existing ones to serve them better. The framework is based on the idea of agile development, which is all about being flexible and quickly adapting to change. So, think of customer development as constantly testing and refining your ideas until you have a product that your customers love.

What is the Customer Development Process?

  1. Customer discovery: this process involves the creation of potential business models based on the founders’ vision. Then the customer development team tests these models on potential clients and gathers feedback on their experience.
  2. Customer validation: this process tests the business model for scalability and repeatability. If the business model doesn’t pass this test, it means reverting to the first process to make the necessary modifications.
  3. Custom creation: this process generates new customers through customer engagement, demand building, and sales funnel activation.
  4. Company transitioning: finally, the company shifts from its startup status to a full-fledged company implementing a feasible business model.

Who is Involved in Customer Development?

The key players in customer development include the marketing, sales, engineering, and product management team. The founder and CEO also play a vital role in the process as they help build a customer-centric culture within the company. The marketing and product management team develops and implements marketing strategies that help customers interact and develop positive relationships with your company. This rapport helps them assess customer needs and preferences.

The engineering team provides the technical expertise to build innovative products that meet customers’ needs. They work with the product development team to develop and test new products and ensure they’re ready to hit the market. And finally, the sales team brings in new customers and helps them adopt the product. To accomplish this goal, they must be able to articulate the value of the product to customers.

What are the Benefits of Customer Development?

  1. Customer development lets you get feedback on your ideas and make changes before investing too much time and money in them.
  2. The framework helps you to learn about your target market, and what they want/need from your product or service.
  3. Customer development increases your chances of success by testing your assumptions early on.
  4. It empowers you to build a better product by incorporating customer feedback into your design process.
  5. You can improve your customer relationships by understanding their needs and wants

What are the Challenges of Customer Development?

Customer development requires you to be open to feedback and implement relevant customer input. Getting their trust is a crucial part of the process. Customers need to feel comfortable with your company, products, and employees before they will be willing to give their time to help make your products work.

Moreover, getting their feedback isn’t the only thing to do. You also need to take action. Often, this means changing your plans or scrapping them altogether and starting from scratch. It can be tough, but it’s essential if you want to create a product that meets your customers’ needs.


The key to success with Customer Development is communication. You need to constantly communicate with your customers to learn about their needs. Your employees and stakeholders must also be on the same page regarding product improvement. This wealth of information and collaboration across your organic can help you develop a product or service that meets their needs.