You have to really be ruthless with your idea; trying to find any reason to disprove it and not being too emotional with what you’re building. – Pete Koomen, Optimizely Co-Founder
The solution interview phase of the B2B customer development process is about learning — learning the value your solution provides and its place in your prospects’ technology mix while establishing deep relationships to learn how to repeat sales.
It’s crucial that you validate early that companies have money to buy your B2B products, and that you’re talking about real business problems. You’ll only emerge from the solution interview phase when you have five lighthouse customers, five customer successes.
Although this phase is also about getting paid for your solution, it’s not about accepting money from any business out there. Your goal is to validate the existence of a well-defined market that can repeatedly benefit from your solution.
For your first customers, honest feedback is more important than sales; you should never force a solution down the throat of your prospects.
With a good personal network, it is possible to ride relationships and land your first five deals selling terrible B2B products without really learning anything. However, riding relationships doesn’t lead to a scalable and repeatable model. At some point, even the best professional networks dry up.
The first customers you seek should genuinely:
- Be willing to spend money for your product;
- Benefit from your solution;
- Agree to endorse your company with a case study.
Of course, not everyone will agree to write case studies. It might take ten to twelve customers in order to get five good endorsements and, that’s alright. You should wait.
Getting B2B Products in Customers’ Hands
The solution interview phase is very time consuming. Don’t underestimate the work and time required to go through it.
You’ll get rejected a lot, but if you’re following the right customer development process, you’ll learn what it takes to reach product-market fit in your target market.
More on B2B Products
- Your Product Needs These 3 Features
- Substitute Products: What Solution is Your B2B Product Really Replacing?
- How to Find the Core Features of Your Product Using a Kano Survey
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