Most B2B organizations get started the same way. They identify a niche problem and develop a solution. Then they do it again, and again. This formula might work for years. But eventually products commoditize, markets shift and the law of diminishing returns kicks in. The ideal time to re-route your growth strategy is before your growth starts to taper off.
Here are seven things to consider to keep your growth in high gear.
1. Go Vertical
Even though your products may be horizontal, a vertical market growth strategy will aim your organization at the market segments that are spending the most money on your category of products and services. Sometimes, it’s as simple as positioning, marketing and selling your value in the context of each vertical market.
2. Change the Conversation – From Market Problems to Customer Goals
If you’re following a horizontal product model, your entire organization has tunnel vision on tactical problems and products. There’s no focus or knowledge on the criticality of those problems in relation to the strategic goals of the customer. If you’ve launched new products that received a lukewarm response from the market, this is why. You solved a real problem, but it just wasn’t that important!
3. Communicate in the Customer’s Vocabulary
This is probably the hardest cultural shift any organization will ever go through. The more time you spend with customers, the easier and more natural it becomes. Try it. Amazing things will happen!
4. Change What You’re Validating
Stop validating new product ideas and start validating the business goals of your target customers and the biggest obstacles standing in their way – at all levels of their organization. You’ll know exactly what to build and why. Validate your implementation of the solution to ensure usability that delights.
5. Stop Doing Product ROIs and Start Doing Market Segment ROIs
In B2B, product ROIs aren’t relevant, especially in a vertical market model. The value of each product isn’t the revenue and cost of the product itself. It’s the extent to which each product works with other products to eliminate bigger business obstacles than any one product can eliminate on its own, and the subsequent growth you can achieve in each market as a result.
6. Market & Sell Your Industry Credibility
Convince your target customers that you understand their industry dynamics and business strategy as well as they do, and better than the competition, and they’ll assume your solutions are superior. Use your products and features as proof points to reinforce their perceptions.
7. Structure Product Management/Marketing to Mirror the Business of the Customer
Some part of product management/marketing has to focus solely on the business dynamics that are driving your target customers from the top down, so that the collective product solutions and the people that own the products know exactly what to aim for and why.
The things that got you to $10 million won’t get you to $50 million. And the things that got you to $50 million won’t get you to $250 million, and so on. The one surefire way to achieve sustainable growth is to understand who your target customers are, what they’re trying to accomplish from the top down, why, and the obstacles standing in their way. Stay focused on removing their biggest obstacles – and your growth goals will take care of themselves.
Proficientz has the one and only product management, product marketing and sales enablement framework and training programs that support a vertical market growth model. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow faster – with less effort.