Strategic Way to Think About Client Growth
There is a tension that happens when you are no longer a small, new and fresh company. New companies are going to attract their first set of customers who are all going to be early adopters. Those early adopters are attracted to a new, fresh company doing new, fresh things.
On the flip side, you’ve got the late majority and the laggards. They are an audience that wants a very proven system. They want low-risk, low investment from a time and disruption standpoint. They want a complete system that has been thought through.
One of the ways to think about client growth is how to attract those late majority people when you are no longer the new company.
This idea is all laid out in a book called Crossing the Chasm. The idea is that there’s a strategic way that a company needs to approach crossing the chasm. The book talks about trust builders to cross the chasm. I have taken some liberties with how I present them, but the ideas come from the book.
Trust builders to cross the chasm:
The first one is about a really clear, differentiated, compelling message. Does your messaging stand out? We talk a lot about this here.
There needs to be confidence in both your company and your product/solution. Think about social proof here – awards, affirmations, trusted partner endorsements, referrals or references. You want to create a position within your industry.
- Confidence in the solution – This means having a strong ability to demo your product or service. It’s also the ability to tailor the use cases to the needs of the business you’re talking to.
- Confidence in the company – This comes down to alignment with people and making sure that relationships are being built. This means face-to-face meetings, dinners, trade shows, appointments and showing up.
3. Low Risk and Effort
How much effort will it take from your buyer to adapt your product or service? Scrutiny by procurement, legal, IT, infosec, and finance has dramatically increased here. This creates risk. This is what Amazon did so well. They said, “hey, we’re going to be frictionless e-commerce. That’s how we’re going to go from the innovators that are going to buy anything online or try anything to the early majority that isn’t willing to risk.”
4. Low Financial Risk
What this really means is a financial risk that is adequate to the value that the product is bringing. Even if your value is exponential, if a company has never budgeted or spent money like this in this category, then you’re going to have to adjust. How do you have an easy entry point with maybe tiered pricing so you can get them in and then grow with them? Is there a way to have pricing in the implementation (that’s maybe more or less than what they would pay ongoing)? So how can you simplify it for the customer and bundle it?
If you’re no longer the new company, have you gone through each of these stages? Which one are you stuck on? Which one can you focus on in the next quarter?