After you have defined your value proposition and built your first prototype, it is now time to bring the first versions of your product or service to the customer. But how do you get your first customer to buy your product or use your service?
Your previous conversations with potential customers should serve as a starting point, with which you can get going. If you solve a relevant problem, there will be people looking for a solution. But, where are they looking for it? On the Internet? At trade fairs or in the local branch? If you offer something for which potential customers have not yet developed a problem awareness or do not feel a need yet, you must look for ways to sensitize them.
Your first customers might not care if you exist or not
»These are tough times for B2B startups. Nobody wants to work with you. Nobody understands what you do. It does not matter if you exist or not. To test our first offer, I talked to several hundred companies. That needs perseverance! «
Andreas Brenner, Avrios
Your first sale does not need to offer a finished product
It is not necessary that you offer a fully functional product! You can just pretend! The feature can be simulated by a video, a clickable presentation, 3D printed designs, or static input masks on your website that lead to a predefined result. The goal is to generate so-called leads, which are later converted into active customers, or directly trigger pre-orders for your offer! »Time to market «, which means to show a presence in the market as quickly as possible, is extremely important. In many cases, landing pages and simple websites can be enough.
Move on to knowing instead of believing
If so far you are still in the stage of “believing” that your product is worthwhile buying, you will now start knowing it by collecting relevant market data! Keep track of your (digital) customer interactions and check out what converts and what doesn’t. Be systematic!
»As long as there’s no data, decisions are based on gut feeling. Gut feeling is important, but do not be surprised if you’re wrong. If you make everything measurable early on, it will help make better decisions later. «
Simon Schmincke, Creandum
Is there a fit?
Your goal with the Go to Market is to achieve an optimal fit between your offer and the market. If you have previously identified a problem that is worth being solved (Problem Solution Fit), you then need the product that is worth buying (Product Market Fit). As long as this is not secured, it makes little sense to expand your startup further. However, this product market fit is not just about the product or pricing alone, but also about the business model behind the product.
Learn more about the eighth module „Go to Market“ of the Startup Navigator in the handbook.