“If you build it, they will come” is a great saying, but it’s not the wisest strategy for B2B tech. The only way you’ll have a successful product/service launch is if the market finds value in the concept and trusts your solution more than rival options. B2B Concept Testing lets you know whether or not this is the case.
Here are five indications you should invest in B2B Concept Testing before you finalize your launch strategy.
1. Marketing, Sales, & Product Want to Go In Different Directions
What should be built? What shouldn’t? Does the market want what you’re thinking about creating?
Different internal teams and personas may have very different answers to these questions. Developers might want to build a shiny new chat app while sales lacks confidence that it will sell. Marketing may have doubts about it not being differentiated enough. When your internal teams are not aligned, it’s time to re-center on the buyer.
Via in-depth interviews, focus groups, or surveys, concept testing allows you to hear the untainted voice of potential customers. That way, you can settle those disagreements with an unbiased perspective and move forward with a clearer roadmap for development. By listening to the customer, you’ll ensure the product accomplishes users’ jobs-to-be-done while meeting buyers’ criteria.
2. You Don’t Understand Who It’s For
Concept testing helps you better understand the ideal customers for your new solution.
You can’t possibly know what to build unless you understand who you’re making it for. When speaking to a variety of potential customers, you’ll learn who is the best fit for your solution. You’ll also hear- in buyer’s own words- about their challenges, motivations, and jobs-to-be-done. When it’s time to launch the solution, the voice of the customer can also inform effective marketing campaigns, sales efforts, and future research.
3. You Don’t Yet Have Market Validation
Chances are, you want to broaden your customer base. Perhaps you haven’t validated your concept outside of your organization yet though, or you’ve only run the concept past existing customers. Either way, concept testing with target buyers should be next on your to-do list.
It’s always important to talk to buyers from a variety of relevant segments. If you don’t test the concept widely, you run the risk of missing features that would grow your addressable market.
Let’s say you already have a video conferencing app for the healthcare industry and you are thinking of building a chat app. Current client hospitals and clinics might be really excited by the idea of a new chat offering. But, current customers already have a certain level of buy-in to your offerings: you’re in their vendor database, legal has deemed you’re compliant with relevant regulations, IT knows what it’s like to work with you, and employees have adapted to your user interface. Using the same vendor for video and chat just makes sense.
However, this may not hold true for the wider market. What about all the hospitals and clinics that aren’t customers yet? Are you also trying to win over pharmacies and dentists? What are they currently using for chat? What other systems does chat need to integrate with? How? Are they happy with their current chat solution? What would it take to cause them to consider other offerings? Have they had a hard time finding HIPAA compliant collaboration tools? Do they view HIPAA compliance as table stakes or as a differentiated feature? Will the addition of a chat app to your offerings cause more buyers to consider you?
Your current customers can hold a candle to the important questions, but you need stage lighting. It might be that pharmacies are in dire need of a new chat system, but dentist offices just aren’t interested.
4. You’re Having a Hard Time Deciding Which Capabilities and Features to Prioritize
It’s not just about having the coolest, most innovative features. It’s much more important to deliver and market the specific functionalities that users want. You could end up wasting development and marketing budget if you emphasize the wrong features or launch a product that is unnecessarily complex.
Concept testing takes the guesswork out of prioritizing and refining the components of your solution. You’ll find out which capabilities are:
- Viewed as table stakes.
- Most likely to provide value to customers.
- Differentiated from competitors.
- Nice to have, but not necessary.
Conducting research prior to development can also crystalize what absolutely needs to be in the minimum viable product, what should wait, and what should be scratched altogether.
5. You Need to Justify Your Product Strategy & Budget
It’s expensive to be wrong. Launching a solution no one buys will cost time and money, and your brand’s reputation could take a hit.
Take the Amazon Fire Phone for example. It was a flop from the start. The smartphone launched too late, offered too little, and was too expensive. At the time Amazon launched the first generation of Fire Phone (in July of 2014), Apple was preparing to release the iPhone 6- their ninth smartphone. Amazon boasted their app store had 240,000 apps, while Apple and Google each had about five times that amount. Customers realized that for roughly the same price as the Fire Phone, they could buy the more established, feature-rich iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Barely anyone bought the Fire Phone, costing Amazon about 170 million in Q3 of 2014.
Concept testing helps you find out if you should build a solution and how, so you don’t spend precious resources only to find out it doesn’t meet the market’s needs- or that the market is already too crowded with viable options for your product to be a success.
From Concept To Confidence
B2B concept testing provides validation for existing ideas and illuminates the best path forward. Doing your homework before launching not only will ensure you go-to-market with a solution buyers want, but it will also save you time and money along the way. You’ll create a solution you know will excite and provide value to customers.
Want to ensure the success of your new B2B product or service? Check out Cascade Insights’ concept testing market research services for the B2B tech sector.
Special thanks to Cascade Insights Co-Founder & Chief Research Officer Scott Swigart for advising on this piece.