Creating a thriving business is not easy. We believe that customer-centric business model is vital to your success. In other words, you need to focus on the customer rather than your product, service, or sales. But wait? Why? And especially - how?
It is no news that change is inevitable. The same goes for businesses and markets. Kristiina Heinonen and Tore Strandvik, researchers at Nordic School, state in their article "Reflections on the role of customers in markets" (2018) how the complexity of markets and transparency have led to more factors affecting customers. Customers (read you) have become active players who are trying to accomplish their own goals. They are empowered to choose the service providers that suit them best.
In order to stay competitive in the global market, businesses must rethink their business models and innovate new products. Many companies are confident of their ability to develop innovations, but doubt their ability to commercialize them. What have we learned about selling an innovation when working with them?
Innovation is creation of new kind of value
To start with, what does innovation mean to you? For us, it's always something new (completely new or a change) made to an existing product, service, process, you name it. In addition to novelty, innovation needs to add value to people. We don't call something innovative if it doesn't improve anyone's life.
5 things worth knowing when selling an innovation
- Don’t wait until everything is perfect. To get sufficient feedback from its initial users, it's vital to introduce the product to the market as soon as possible. Why's the deal? Just keep reading!
- Selling innovations takes more time and effort, and you must deal with a variety of objections and barriers. Consumers know way less than you do, so you have to teach them. Teaching takes time, and time is the most precious resource we have. It is also common for consumers to be curious about new innovations, but as the (selling) process continues, they find reasons not to buy (just yet). To win them over, you must understand their goals, concerns and questions.
- The information you provide must feel relevant to your customers. Make sure your message shows you understand what they're feeling, thinking, and facing. Once you gather insights from your customers, it is important to develop ways to communicate with them.
- Most challenges (and big opportunities) arise from using a product or service. It's hard to allocate resources if you don't know what brings value to your customers.
- Engage your customers! To be successful, you've got to have a mutually beneficial goal.
Your innovation might be worth more than you think!
If you're an innovator yourself, you probably faced a problem that needed solving. Yeah? However, what if I told you your innovation may have more value than you thought? Maybe some of your ideal customers don't even buy the product for the same reasons you created it? Knowing not only your customers' activities, experiences, and preferences, but also their goals and reasoning will help you create targeted marketing messages and value propositions that actually meet their expectations. Having tons of insights won't do the trick either before you make changes based on them.
When we start a new project, we use a variety of ways to understand how value emerges for the ideal customer. You can influence customers in so many ways, but your offering must be relevant to them to succeed.
We'll share some real-life examples later. In case you can't wait, just contact us and we can share the stories with you! If you wish to do so, drop us a line here.
More blog posts to read: Here's how we can all support startups and reduce failure rates!
Sources in addition to the writer's own experiences:
Heinonen, K. & Strandvik, T. (2018), Reflections on customers' primary role in markets, European Management Journal, 36 (1), 1-11, this can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2017.09.005.