In my previous post, I discussed the necessity of truly challenging yourself to define and understand your target market so that your go-to-market strategy is focused on the right potential customers. Next, it’s important to think about what you’re selling Visit Your URL. Of course you’ve already put significant planning, resources, and time into creating your product or service, but that’s just the beginning.
For many of us who have launched our own businesses, it can be difficult to take a step back—way back—from the specific features and functionalities that make your offering special in order to really see what your potential customer sees (or wants to see). Of course you know the pain you’re addressing and the ins and outs of how your product solves issues, but have you really taken the time to:
Map your product’s capabilities to both the small and big challenges your customer faces? Doing so will help in a couple of key ways:
- Help potential influential end-users understand why they need to advocate using your solution
- Help senior management understand the greater benefit to their business and productivity
Understand both the industry-specific and client-specific issues facing customers? Doing so will help in a couple of key ways:
- See where your product roadmap should be headed. It’s tempting to hold fiercely to your original vision and where you thought your product would go but never underestimate the importance of flexibility (and the foolishness of stubbornly clinging to a ship that’s sailed).
- See where you may be able to expand your offering by partnering with others to complement, supplement, or otherwise improve your product
This last part is very important in thinking about your whole product. Many companies feel that they can solve most of a problem and not necessarily worry (or not worry immediately) about the gaps. The usual rationale is that they want to get to market now, before their competitors do. This is a mistake. You end up potentially hurting your brand and diluting your competitive edge, not to mention showing your cards to your competitors while giving them an opportunity to message around your weak points.
All this said, I understand that you don’t want to wait forever to go to market. You’ve spent considerable resources getting to where you are now and waiting too long can have detrimental effects of their own. This is where partners can be helpful in filling out your whole product. There are two types of partners:
- Those that are separate partners that come in once a deal is sold to offer additional products, consulting services, etc.
- Those that fill the gaps in your product (perhaps you white label or rebrand their portion). This second type of partner is preferable because they make your offering look more whole.
Entering a partnership as described here is not for the faint of heart. You need to vet exactly with whom you’re working and what you’re both bringing to the table.
Challenging though it may be, I do believe it’s worth the effort. Consider the Apple (and now Droid, etc.) App Store. Apple got its iPhone offering as far as it could with its resources and then opened up the ability for others to supplement and complement its product by creating integrated applications. The customer ended up with more functionality and options and Apple benefited from more loyal, engaged customers that had all their needs met through Apple’s product.
There’s a lot to consider and balance as you go to market but laying the proper go-to-market strategy around a whole product offering makes all the difference.