Updated: Nov 12, 2021
How to Launch a Product that Can Scale to $10m/year
Step #1: Market Fit (Need + Pain)
Identifying if the market is worth your time Pick a Market: the more narrow the better. Abstracts kill companies
Do the following Research:
I) Rapid Market Research: What are your strengths in the market? What are your weaknesses? What are your opportunities in the market? What are the threats to your business in the market? (hint. It’s not we have no threats). What is your value proposition? What are the job titles of the key decision-makers you talk to? What section of their budget is your product in? What’s their current pain? What’s their desired outcome? What is a big shift in the market that your product addresses? Why should they buy now? Why should they buy from you? Does your product address any concerns that relate to their performance in their role or company? ** Look up 25-100 profiles of your target & take note of common keywords or phrases they use to describe themselves, their positions, and their accomplishments
II. Create your Ideal Customer Avatar: Who are they? How do they feel about their work? How do they feel about their lives? What keeps them up at night? What are they worried about outside of work? Does anything about their personality affect the way you market to them? How does your product affect them? What parts of the product affect them? Be specific. How does it make their life better? Does it satisfy a need, uncover truth, alleviate pain, or increase pleasure?
III. Is the market big enough? (10k-100k people at least)
IV. Can you reach it? - The number of results on Linkedin Search results will suffice as proof.
V. Market Growth Rate - Do some research on Industry, Adoption, or Position growth rate
VI. Pain - Peruse around Quora, Amazon, Facebook Groups, and Reddit. You’ll be surprised how candid people can get online vs in person.
Language Deep Dive: An easy way to internalize their language patterns is to go read 100 Linkedin Profiles of your ideal customer avatar. I have people copy-paste them into one document and run a word and phrase analyzer on it for good measure.
Step #2 Message Fit
What does the market say about its problems? Does it care enough to fix them? Test Message: Scientifically
This is the toughest part for most entrepreneurs. Most companies die because of what they believe they know about their markets. Every market development, go to market, marketing plan is based on some fundamental assumptions that are rarely true. Why? The market is constantly changing, people lie, numbers lie.
People forget this but some % of your company drinks, does drugs, has depression, is busy, makes mistakes. These compound into a distorted view of the market.
If you’re wondering why people aren’t buying your product and why adoption rates aren’t following projections… it’s because your assumptions are static.
The way to increase revenue is to sift truth from untruth by:
a. Benchmarking your assumptions
b. Creating revenue-generating growth experiments to prove or disprove your theories.
c. Coming to a conclusion.
d. Not taking your conclusion as the truth.
e. Collect $$ from the market. Repeat steps a-d.
Benchmarking your assumptions:
The largest problem I see is not in the execution of marketing but in the assumptions behind where your customers are and what they do online/offline. Our students use the TCS document to rank channels, conversion, and sale methods and identify which they believe will work best. Then we get them to test that assumption. Over time the numbers are updated and get more and more accurate.
This is because marketing execution is a function of Active Market discovery * biases, * level of interest in approach.
Creating growth experiments for messaging To combat your internal biases, interest, and level of activity we’re going to implement a system to bring you closer to truth and away from myth. For each marketing activity that you run, use the following to sift between the two.
What do you think will happen? What channel, what conversion method, what sales method?
Design the experiment - test some channels and once you have success double down.
Did it work? Was the market interested? Did you notice any language patterns or pain? Did it generate calls?
4. Conclude (and Repeat)
What’s the truth about the channel? Where’s the bottleneck?
Setup Direct Messaging Channels
Why do you need the right message to hit your market?
If your market doesn’t get the answers to four questions...you'll never succeed:
What do you do?
Why are you relevant to them?
Can you prove it?
Great, how do we get started?
Since most of the learning is learning definitions of words and phrases, if you want to be an expert in your market...learn their definitions of words and phrases.
Doing this continuously will change your sentence structure and unlock the barriers they have put up to keep most of the world from wasting their precious time.
Once you’ve completed this… answer those 4 questions above.
As you go through this process you'll notice that they'll repeat some of what you say with phrases.
Ongoing Convos/Sales Development
As you begin to interact with the market, keep track of what gets people to respond, converse, hop on a call and buy. It’ll be priceless when you begin to hire or outsource lead generation. We’ve got our own templates for this but each market has its own nuances.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t revisit the mindset necessary for interacting with the market/strangers. It will be tough. There will be days that you don’t want to do it. If you treat it as the gym or meditation you’ll be fine. If you treat it as regular work… you’re going to be in for a surprise. Switching costs for this kind of work are extremely high.
Step #3: Product Fit
This one is boolean - is your market in enough pain to pay during your sales calls?
Over the years sales has gotten a bad name because it became more about how much money was generated rather than how many problems were solved. Money is still the main objective of Product Fit, but symptoms need to be outcomes of systems rather than goals. Goals, though heralded by the self-development community as the end all be all of performance, are counterproductive. In all honesty, most people have a limited knowledge of a system’s inner workings and are therefore completely blind when it comes to estimating outcomes. Attacking sales with this blind hubris leads to bloated valuations, disgruntled employees, crappy sales/company culture, overspending and worse: depression. Do not set expectations for yourself with goals. Identify the truth of a system and tweak it accordingly. The answer we seek here is simple: does your product fit in with the market?
Use the following experiment to identify whether your product fits in with the market or not.
Run the message fit system again and again until you get 3 sales of your product. Any assumption, test, plan is not complete until you get 30 calls, 10 offers, and 3 sales. Do not deviate until you do. There lies one more step between getting 3 sales and having Business Fit. After the sale, Followup to find: Did they achieve the desired outcome? If they didn’t you run the risk of building vaporware...adjust your pitch or delivery process. True product fit is if they have achieved their desired outcome and they are referring you new business. If they refer before, they are simply helpful or enthusiastic people. Do not take this as an indication of Business Fit.
Once you’ve achieved business fit it’s time to promote your product to the market. This will be done through Channel Fit, Content, building an Inside Sales team OR enterprise sales team.