I Know How to Run Experiments, Now What? (part 2)
Welcome to part two of “I Know How to Experiment, Now What?” If you missed part one, you can read about it here. My hope is to keep showcasing situations that you should keep an eye out for. If you spot these, they are great opportunities in your enterprise where you can apply your new rapid experimentation and customer empathy skills immediately.
Our existing sales / marketing tactics are not working for this new product
I frequently see organizational structures and operating mechanisms that won’t support new products. You have the tools to fix it!
For example: One of your innovation teams in the enterprise comes up with a great new product idea. They conduct some early research, work with customers and determine that it’s going to be your company’s next great product. They build the product and then come to your sales or marketing team to ask you to begin selling the product.
As a result you begin to reach out to existing customers using existing sales tactic and find that your sales numbers are far below that of your existing products. This disconnect is occurring because the sales / marketing processes for each product are unique. The likelihood that your existing product and the new product have exactly the same target customer segment is extremely unlikely.
Use your new found experimentation and customer empathy skills to get inside the head of this new customer and understand what is important to them. Search for the sales or marketing processes, tactics and strategies that will work for this new product. Once you can do this successfully then you can create a reusable process.
Don’t assume that your existing processes will work for new products right out of the box.
We have a new product /service we would like to get to market quickly
In the enterprise, we often see that innovation is handled backwards from how it would work in a startup. We see that teams do a small amount of work to validate that their idea is interesting and then they start promoting it like mad to leadership to get additional time or funding to work on their idea.
The moment an unenlightened senior leader gets excited about the new idea they will immediately start applying their great execution skills to the project. They will begin asking many questions that will be focused on execution: When will this be ready to market to our customers? When can our sales team be trained? How much revenue will this generate during the next fiscal year?
While these are important questions to answer, they are typically asked too early and end up giving the new product team whiplash.
This is the type of situation where you can quickly apply your rapid experimentation skills. You can simply take the questions from senior leadership, convert them to “assumptions”, prioritize them and begin testing them like any other assumption. Following this process will also show the leader that you have taken their feedback to heart and allow you to bring back the answers based on customer-based experiments rather than a creative writing or PowerPoint exercise that we typically get pulled into in large corporations.
There are TONS of great places for you to apply your new skills. Keep on the lookout and hone your investigative skills. You’ll soon see opportunities daily!
Part 3 coming soon…