Ok, I have built the product. Now how do I sell it?
Many challenges come your way as a new founder. Usually, founders know only how to build the product they are selling. The founder comes from a niche background and based on her specialization, she invests her expert knowledge into a new product.
But they do miss the business management skills that are needed for building a start-up: Who should I hire first? How do I hire good people? How do I sell?
Every question that pops up in the process must be addressed and see how you can find the answer fastest: Hire someone full time. Or hire a consultant for a few hours. Read about it. Do a crash course on Udemy. Get a co-founder to complement your knowledge.
Now let’s focus on the following scenario: You have the product ready. Now how do you sell?
Well, usually when you think of marketing at this stage, it’s already a bit too late. The moment you start building you need to put on the marketing hat as well. Do not wait for months or years until you go-to-market. Do this instead:
Validate the need
Even before starting to work on your prototype, find out if there is a need in the market. It’s only obvious that a product will be successful only if people need it. Yet an 2019 analysis of 101 start-up postmortems, 42% of the startups failed because there was no market need.
So find out who your audience is. Start the dialogue early and build based on their needs, not the other way round.
- Become an active member of your customers’ community, meet your customers at events, meet-ups or digital group gathering.s
- Tell them about what you intend to build and listen to feedback. Validate your idea with online surveys.
- Perform customer interviews and go over them with every milestone of your product building.
Define your place in the market landscape
This is the step in which you assess the feasibility of your business idea.
You do a thorough market mapping. Find out who is in the market, how big they are, and what are they focusing on.
And after all this research, we must find the answer to the following question: How do you differentiate?
- Create a business analysis that identifies all direct or indirect competitors to help comprehend their mission, vision, core values, niche market, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Create a positioning document comprising of all your competitors and yourself. Define your weaknesses and strengths.
Set your Go-To-Market strategy
In this step, you need to plan how to engage with your customers depending on the resources, budget, and timeline you have.
- Define your value proposition – this is a result of the first two steps – here you must have defined: A. Core brand items: mission, vision, values, and the main product (s) of your company. B. Product positioning, features ands benefits. C. Define in detail the 3 main personas you are addressing.
- Choose your marketing channels
If you do not know what to focus on first, do a Bullseye Strategy Workshop with the team and find your main marketing channels.
The go-live date does not refer to a finalized MVP. You can launch while still working on your product, actually, that is highly advisable. But the branding is built. Your website is live, your sales deck ready, and your prospects informed.
Most start-ups launch with a Big Bang launch and then silence. This is their point of death. You need to continuously fill your pipeline by capturing the attention of your target audience via your bullseye marketing channel – new content, viral loops, promotion, etc.
As a business owner, the moment you think about building a product, you need to think about how you should market it and start working in parallel on both. Thoughtfully and thoroughly walking through these vital steps gives your organization the greatest chance of success:
- Reduce your time to market
- Clarify the direction and vision of the company for all employees
- Reduce risk or costs associated with a failed product
- Increases your chances of success