It is a reality that agile methodologies for new product development have taken hold in recent years. Launching a product fast has become a priority. Market maturation cycles have shortened dramatically, and these models allow us to gain agility to not lose the opportunity and adapt our product according to the needs of our customers.
However, when we read literature, listen to presentations, or attend events, we see that many cases and practices are oriented towards B2C environments. This raises questions for companies operating in B2B environments on how to adapt it to their case.
Why is B2B different?
Mainly because product and market maturation cycles are longer, but also more stable. We often come across high-tech products that require time to evolve and mature their value propositions.
Besides, we do not focus on growing a large user base to make our model profitable, but rather on selectively working a sample of accounts to learn how to best capture and retain customers before we can scale.
Also, selling usually requires a high level of technical knowledge, especially in the early stages, when we are figuring out how to develop the product to suit the needs of very different profiles among potential customers.
Market development in four phases
One of the riskiest tasks when launching a new B2B solution is to get the product-market fit right. This involves being able to standardize a high-tech product in a way that meets the needs of a broad market segment and allows us to build a viable business.
Here is where many promising projects fail, due to the lack of focus in their value proposition, trying to adjust it to very different customer profiles and sectors.
For this reason, before growing and investing resources in our commercial operation, we must consolidate 4 phases to ensure that we make the right product-market fit:
Empathy: First of all, we must focus on identifying our priority customer segments and profiles and work on obtaining an initial user base. This path will allow us to validate the hypotheses previously set out regarding: value proposition, business model and the need we want to cover.
Consolidation: Once a user base has been identified, we focus on working on the product's functionalities and road map. Getting the first customers is just proof that we are on the right track. Consolidating a product requires finding the usage patterns that make it scalable to a larger base.
Growth: A product without a business model does not work. In this phase, we work on setting up a structure that supports international growth, understanding our commercial cost, acquisition channels and how to retain customers.
Profitability: Once we have built a machine for attracting, selling, and retaining customers, we turn our attention to optimizing our operations.
Building a viable business
Product and market development go hand in hand. In the early stages, it is essential that technical engineers and the sales team work together to build a company on promising technologies with growth potential.
From very early stages, we must work towards building a viable and profitable company that allows us to finance medium-term growth with our own sales. This is the best indicator of the health of our business. Therefore, before starting to grow, you should focus on understanding very well how your business model should be; What customer profiles will make me grow? What pricing model should I apply? What channels allow me to attract customers? Does the product meet expectations? How much does it cost me to sell and what resources do I need? What company structure should I build?
In conclusion, try to focus focus on a few areas of work but with a lot of added value and that allow us to grow in a sustainable way and with a very light structure.
Agile methodologies allow us to work in an iterative way during the launch of new products, making all the necessary adjustments to find our niche in the market, but this requires a lot of focus on key activities to avoid getting lost along the way and lower risk.