My New Products / Features aren’t Selling. Why?

26.05.2020 Comments off

When you know your market, but it is not responding like you think it should

Cause 1: The product / feature does not work good enough. Very often version 1 of a new product misses it’s mark. Customer interviews and/or user analytics are the tools. Existing customers are the pool of people to investigate since they already trust you.

Cause 2: The problem to be solved is too small. Just because a problem can be solved, does not mean it is worth solving. Learning, setup, maintaining, and paying money are all ‘costs’ of a feature/product. Likewise, if new prospects are not showing interest (f2f meetings and web analytics), then focus on existing customers. Why are they not trying to use the product? Interviews and analytics are your friends.

Cause 3: Users/buyers don’t understand the problem or the solution. Educating existing customers is expensive– there are a limited number of messages you can send them before they ignore everything. New Prospects are even more difficult to get attention. This, however, is the one area that messaging/marketing/sales energy can improve. Before you deploy the forces, make absolutely certain that #1 and #2 above area all ok and check to see if there are ways to change the product to lower the education barrier. Eg. Cut back the functionality to the core value.

Your business was built on solving a valuable problem. Your follow-up work, were likely equally strong. However, there are a limited number of attractive problems that your company can efficiently solve. Your job is not to pick the best one, but to only pick the good ones.

Product / Business Phases

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Products and Business areas live and die with defined phases of a life cycle. Each phase has its own optimizations and traps.

Long ago, I worked with an engineering manager (Gregor) with a fantastic intuitive sense for business. One of his product area manager was presenting the budget for the next year and was planning reduced margin and modest growth. Gregor forced the product manager to choose one of three modes and behave accordingly. (and I have used this ever sense)

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Why Subscriptions are So Attractive?

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… and how so many businesses can use subscription thinking

The three phases and the key Metrics

A subscription business runs on MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), however, getting customers to renew their subscription or even upsell them is much, much easier than getting them to sign up in the first place. This is why most subscription companies split the “selling” process into three teams: Hunting (signing up new logos), Onboarding (getting new logos activated), and Nurturing (churn prevention and up selling).

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How to pivot your B2B business away from F2F Field Sales

30.03.2020 Comments off

How to pivot your B2B business away from F2F Field Sales.

#Social_Distancing Here are some highlights from someone experienced in orchestrating transitions from face-to-face lead generation & sales into hybrid and/or fully inside-sales driven companies.    

Skyscanner workers in Senzhen returning to the office– still very different.

Inside sales is the fastest growing segment of sales (along with eCommerce).  When inside sales works, it is far more efficient and scalable than traditional approaches.  That was true long before social distancing became a term in our vocabulary but In a social distancing world, many companies that imagined great difficulty in making the transition find themselves in a need to make an extreme ramp-up for their very survival.  The most difficult transitions are companies that:

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New Market Entry & Metrics

24.02.2020 No comments

When everything is unknown, how can you productively use metrics

Before “lean startup” was a term, there were many of us preaching agile market developmententry into a series of phases Read more…

Controlling Costs in an Agile World

26.06.2019 Comments off

Originally posted on DLabs Medium site by Matt in 2018.  At the time of this posting, there is still not unified thinking in this area.

aka. What every technical and non-technical founder needs to know about running an agile technical team.

Agile Development teams focus on continuous value (to the business) delivery not continuous progress to a fixed feature set. As a result, traditional cost accounting, cost control, and budgeting will not work. This shift to agile changes everything around how founders must do budgeting, cost control, communicating with Read more…

4 Phases of Product Development Re-imagined

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Originally posted on DLabs Medium site  by Matt in 2018, but the concepts are easily generalized.

At D.Labs we’ve looked at agile product development from many angles and written about them on this blog (X Driven Development, When is agile worse?, Controlling costs in the agile world, What marketing agencies can’t offer startups?,…). This is another angle that could get you faster through validation and save you a lot of gray hair.

Most company founders have an intuition about what the market needs and what is wrong with existing solutions. They then start solving a puzzle in their head around what kind of digital product could solve this problem: features, specifications, perhaps even user layouts. At DLabs, we call this “Intuition Based Development”. It tends to be the least efficient and most expensive way to build business value. Not only is the intuition perhaps wrong, but the only ‘good enough’ point is securely in the head of the designer so everything gets built to a relatively high level (Although it never feels that way to the founder in-the-moment).

The high cost of using intelligence and experience instead of being systematic & incremental.

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Raising Prices

13.06.2018 No comments

When and how can I raise prices?

First, let’s start with an assumption that your product is great value and your existing pricing strategy is leaving too much money on the table.  (See other blogs on licensing strategies and setting prices).  Let’s also assume we are talking about a business that has repeat purchasing– like a subscription.

For new customers, you can normally just raise your prices without any unsuspected consequences.  Pro tip: Signaling an upcoming price increase can trigger a sense in urgency in many who cannot otherwise decide quickly.  Legacy customers, however are a more complex Read more…

Be Proud of Your Pricing

15.05.2018 No comments

At the end of the day, the “correct” price is the price where both the buyer and seller agree to a transaction– Everything else is theory, guidelines, and positioning.


How should a customer think about price?

  1. Value.  This is the one they teach you in any marketing or sales class.  In truth, if your customer is pushing back on price, the most likely reason (and most easy fix) is to understand how the customer perceives the value and then question if that perception is correct.  When setting a value based price, make sure to Read more…

Customer Communications in 2018

16.12.2017 No comments

We now have many ways to communicate with customers, too bad they never read or answer what we send

Email is still relevant, but it is easier and easier to get lost in the mountain of communications that your customer receives every day.  Here are a few best practices:

Three emails to get one answer

It is now normal that you will need to remind someone 2 times to get a response.  Assume this is the case and plan your reminders in advance.  You want to Read more…