If you sell to B2B customers then you know hard it is to get that purchase order. Even for pay as you go SaaS products there can be a lengthy evaluation process before you get in the door.
It goes without saying that it helps to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer to try and see how they perceive your company and product. What would their concerns be? How would they go about evaluating this opportunity?
I recently introduced a portfolio company’s product to a large, established prospect. They quickly came back with a short and insightful analysis based on the questions below. They answered these questions for themselves. I thought it was a great framework for thinking about how customers think about a startup’s product.
What does it do?
- · This question describes in plain language (not marketing speak) the purpose of the product.
What problem does it solve?
- This question looks for bullet lists of benefits from the point of view of the customer. These should tie into product features
How important are those problems today?
- · This question asks for a ranking of the above problem solutions relative to internal priorities
What KPIs might it impact?
- · All great companies are data driven. If a company is to adopt something new there must be a clear, measurable benefit hitting an important key performance indicator (KPI)
How might we solve this problem ourselves?
- · Classic build vs. buy analysis.
Does this “fit” with us?
- · This question considers the solution’s functionality from the point of view the impact on a company’s brand and its own product or service.
What important questions/unknowns exist?
- It is a given that if a company is evaluating a startup’s offering then many unknowns exist. These could be whether that startup has enough cash, existing customers, ability to provide adequate support, etc.