In this blog post, we will;
- Look at the KEY question that you need to answer before you build your go to market strategy
- Highlight how you can mobilize your business to gain market share early on
Henry Ford once said, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.’ At the time, Henry Ford was experimenting with ways that he could help more people overcome the challenges that came with traveling from A-B. He recognized a gap in the marketplace for a vehicle that could be available to the masses. Metaphorically speaking, in the case of Ford, he was building a business that would put a new line item on the balance sheet with the aim of completely replacing the item labelled horse & saddle. Why does this matter to you?
Ask yourself these questions,
- Is our solution an alternative technology that has well established competitors in the marketplace addressing specific needs? Or,
- Are we providing new technology that has not yet picked up pace and approaches a problem in a new way or, one that addresses a problem that has not yet surfaced?
The answers to these questions will heavily influence the strategies you implement to build and scale your business.
It is well noted that one of the reasons why startups fail is timing – going to market before the market is ready or getting in too late. If you have read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A Moore, there is evidence to suggest that it might be less about timing per se and more about where you are on the Technology Adoption Lifecycle. Moore explains the High Risk, Low Data Decision, which ideally enables companies to cross the chasm – a place of business stagnation. This involves carving out a market segment niche and driving all efforts towards targeting the right organizations, departments and buyers and gaining market dominance in that segment.
Why is it important to know where your current business sits?
Organizations set their budgets months and sometimes years in advance. In order for you to get on the balance sheet it is important to explore if you are seeking to obtain the budget that has already been allocated for a solution similar to yours or, if you are vying for a new budget.
Without horizontal alignment in your business with where you currently sit, you can end up kick starting a firefighting effort that tackles all the symptoms and not the cause. For example, you might choose to double down on sales resources because things are slow, and see minimal return. You may drive more sophisticated – and costly – marketing activity that does not produce the intended ROI. I have even witnessed companies embark on new partnerships to no avail.
No matter where you are in your journey, there are a few things you can explore depending on whether you have a solution for an existing need or if you are in the process of creating a brand new one.
- Brand new – tell the market something they do not know and lead with conviction. Have the “breaking news” effect and prove what you are positioning with a set of hand-picked initial customers who will provide leverage for future sales. Your job is to educate, re-frame and challenge the status quo.
- Established marketplace – Try the “praise and raise” approach. This approach applauds (praises) the overall competitive landscape at the same time as creating a step-change for your target customers with your solution, which helps them raise the proverbial bar. Show that your company recognizes the gaps and limitations of existing solutions and let your product be the evolution of what they currently have.
Right now, we are being forced to change our operating models to navigate these unprecedented times. Think of the long game. For the avid reader, Geoffrey A. Moore’s world renowned book, Crossing the Chasm, helps us to understand where we are in the Technology Adoption Lifecycle. Identifying this is crucial to obtaining a dominant market position. A link to the book can be found below.