By automating your sales and outbound lead generation processes, you can target a new market/ industry in a very short period. Within 2 weeks, you can engage in conversations and then the rest of the investments can follow. Let’s say you’d want to target the Telecommunications industry in the UK. Within 2 weeks, you’d be able to target 250-500 companies and start having dialogues. Whether or not a sale comes in depends on whether you’re a product-market fit. You’ll definitely get objections, rejections, tips and insights from the prospects with whom you speak. That is one of the biggest benefits because normally a company relies on several channels to generate their leads: inbound, referrals, AdWords and more. But before you commit your investment and sales people on multiple marketing and sales channels, you can first reach out to the market and find out if there’s even a business potential there. If there is, then the follow-up investments are justified. If there isn’t, then you’ve just avoided a big risk.
Although the outbound lead generation through automation doesn’t necessarily help you get a product-market fit, it does help you try out new territories and determine whether or not and to what extent you’ll have a product-market fit with a given market.
Let’s assume you are targeting market A and you want to know how well your product fits in the new market. You can achieve this is by observing the market and interacting with it through conversations.Targeting the market in a real way will not only help you understand needs but also identify opportunities.
Case study: IBM’s voice to text recognition software
In order to better grasp the importance of pinpointing and understanding real market needs, I’ve selected a well-known example: IBM’s voice to text recognition software.
In the 1980s, IBM wanted to create a voice to text recognition software and to sell it to executives. They phoned up over 1000 executives and told them that they were working on this software and that it was almost market ready and asked them if they’d buy it if it cost them this much and this is what it would do. A very big part of the sample size said that they would buy it.
Then IBM asked themselves how real the response from the market actually was. In order to find that out, they performed the mechanical turk test where they employed a few women that were extremely fast at typing and put them in a room with a speaker. Then they invited several executives to test the product. They told the latter that the product was ready and that they could buy it after testing it. As they spoke, the executives could see the text appear on the screen. When asked if they wanted to buy it, nobody wanted to. The main reason was that a lot of the information that executives needed to speak up was confidential in real life. Many things that were being typed by them couldn’t have been spoken out loud. This is how IBM avoided a lot of investment to develop that product.