Are you a Product Startup that is keen to sell!
Innovation accompanied with evolving technologies has led to so many product startups worldwide along with India. Product startups particularly try to solve a major customer pain point, and What do you think is the biggest challenge in this space? Is it the new idea, the innovation itself? OR Is it the product development?
Well here is the surprise, it's the finding, connecting and retaining the actual users or CUSTOMERS.
For startups at an early stage, or while growing fast it is important to have a deep understanding of customers , their perceptions, expectations to initially generate an enthusiasm and eventually to acquire, retain customers in the long run.
Research and experience have repeatedly shown that for a product startup to remain in business a great product with exceptional user experience cannot guarantee long term success if it is not able create an exceptional customer experience. Studies reveal that more than 20% of customers will leave an organizational product/service with one negative experience with serious ramifications on trust, and around 30% will share the experience with peers online or through word of mouth. No wonder we see soo many product startups sink in first year of launch because they are not able to sell and redeem the basic cost as their customers do not stick to them or they are not able to generate a positive traction for their product.
Customer Experience Management for Success
For a product startup, “customer experience” is more than an engagement across various touch points for positive word of mouth, referrals and loyalty. It involves a focussed customer strategy through understanding of customer behaviour, customer perceptions & expectations to create a meaningful association through usage of the product for the customer across the complete customer arc or lifecycle that is right from discovery, initial evaluation, purchase, usage to after sales engagement.
Customer Experience can increase your chances of success at the early stage and is the necessary growth strategy for survival. You might be having a wonderful product which is important to your customers, but it is worth to consider answering following questions –
Is my product actually solving a customer pain point? I think so, but did I ever use any feedback to validate the thought?
Why the “customer” will want to try or use my product/service. There are enough choices in the market already.
Did I ever consider having customer feedback to understand the expectations and how my product is bridging the gap?
I have two or three big ticket customers, but why I’m not able to increase the number of customers through referrals.
Why is my customers not coming back to me easily?
How do I connect and reach my customers to understand their behavior and expectations to provide the products/ service as per the need.
Should my growth strategy be different from Customer Experience strategy?
Customer perspective is an important dimension for “Product startups” to attract and retain customers with a strategy that generates trust, positive emotion, and causes low customer effort with in time and informed decision
The four dimensions for your “Customer Experience Strategy”
Our conversations with many “Product startups” at initial and growth strategy has led us to share few strategies that could help you address most common questions that you try finding answers for your startup. Through a series of blogs which we will publish every fortnight, we will outline a challenge in your startup and how “customer experience management” can help you to survive and grow through that very challenge.
We will in consequent blogs outline for you
Can I increase my app downloads through a customer experience strategy?
My product is B2B, what could be the right strategy to become B2C.
In my business, I work one on one with my clients and I know them. But growth is a concern. Where does Customer Experience fit into it?
At which product stage, Can Customer Experience Management tools and strategies can be leveraged?
How do I quantify the benefits (ROI) for my “customer experience strategy”?
The first in the series is a plan wherein we have handy guidelines for your “Product Startup” for the first phase post product development. A great product with relevant sales strategy tuned with Customer Experience Management will give you a differentiation and an edge to thrive and grow.
Some questions you might be pondering and what we usually hear are:
-Who is the person to contact, which function or department?
-Will my product suffice the need?
-Is my product going to be accepted in the market?
-How do I pitch it to sell?
Here are few simple guidelines:
First things first – Preparation
Clearly document the ‘NEED’ this product of yours is going to serve. This will give you an idea of specific audience to reach out to. Mapping and understanding customer expectations and perceptions will help you in this.
Make a pitch deck and demonstration ready data/environment. Any pre-launch feedbacks you may have gathered, beta test outputs, the analytics or case studies are always helpful to reflect upon the outcomes.
Make sure you are clear about the segment, industry you need to target. Is it going to be startups, small enterprises or medium or large enterprises. Is there a specific sector or industry we need to focus on.
Always be very clear on the influencers (who you are going to pitch to) vs. the end user (the department / function that is going to use it). The pitch could be driven from either of them but the selling content has to be very different. While the influencers focus on the financial aspect, the real saves in terms of efficiencies or revenue or cost while the end user will have a lot to do with effort required, change management, the reliability of outcomes and ease of use.
Go to Market – Be fearless!
The products are best sold when they are demonstrated and spoken about. So as a strategy we should look for opportunities where we can interact with our audiences directly and share our product features. Some of the quick ways to do the same are:
Finding summits/conclaves that are relevant to our segment and participate their as delegation, panelist. It is very helpful to invest in a kiosk or time on podium to present your product.
Call for consumer forums / roundtables with your target audience. Setup a small meet up where the selected mix of people, the influencers or end users could gather and moderate the discussion on the needs that this product is currently capable of or potentially could deliver.
Promote through free trials for short term and offer any assistance or direct co-ordination with consumers. Suggest a pilot for a small team or a department for certain period of time.
Stand out as an expert in the domain you are addressing. You can do this by creating a group on social media like linkedin. You could also conduct virtual events like webinars talking about the problem that you are addressing with your product and soft launch with the attendees.
*All the above strategies help you in two ways, you establish first level contact with your leads and also gather first hand customer feedback for the product that could help you further in your sales.
Important thing to remember here is that in no way we are saying you should not go with cold calling, generating leads through mail campaigns or basic networking but once you have your product ready you need to be fearlessly reaching out and showcasing it as much as possible to the target segment.
Let your customers experience the product first hand and be open to hearing the insight! Capturing the expectation, perception and deliverable gap will pave way for further focus in right direction. Investments be it financial or people should be strategic and should help your business grow. May be it will sell with that group or if the product clicks with the real need of the hour, you will find the ambassadors of your product within that group.
If there is any specific question on which you need “customer experience management” perspective, or how it could support your business please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are eager to hear from you.