Selling Innovation: The Path (chapter 2)
Once you have designed your core product, service or solution, it’s time to plan the optimal path to market. Traditional go-to-market strategies are a good foundation from which to build a path to market for your innovation. But in the innovation economy the exact path or paths to success may not be knowable at the outset. Successful Selling Innovation requires constant listening, adapting, and refining plans as new data emerge – in current lexicon it’s called pivoting.
Perhaps the most important element of your go-to-market strategy is maintaining a high degree of control in order to ensure you have direct access to the data you need as well as the freedom to pivot when necessary. Early partnerships, participation in affiliate programs, adding your innovation to an existing platform or the like may yield early results or appear to provide a rapid scaling option, however much of the data you need to repeat your success may be restricted by the partner. In addition, when partnering with any other company, large or small, their owners and investors have their own priorities and business goals to achieve, which may or may not align with yours.
Technology selection can also play a part in optimizing the path to market. An app built to add value to the Salesforce.com platform, for example, may see more rapid adoption through the AppExchange than a stand-alone piece of enterprise software that does essentially the same thing but is sold directly to small businesses.
As you build your path to market, the most important skill for any innovator is to listen. The second most important skill is to have the courage to be wrong and adjust your thinking, plans and action to what the market is telling you as it engages with your innovation.
- Sales Channels
- Capturing Early Market Traction
- Social Media as a Sales Tool
- Pattern Recognition and Pivoting
image credit: houghtonmifflinbooks.com
Editor’s note: In this 8-part series, we are serializing Ken’s ‘actionable’ resource guidebook Selling Innovation. We kicked off the series with Selling YOUR Innovation. Please stay tuned for chapters 2-6, and the series finale: Start-up Checklist.
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Ken Smith, Business Plan Reviewer and Start-up Coach for Springboard Enterprises, served as Co-chair of CEO Service Committee for the MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge; and is the author of the start-up resource guidebook Selling Innovation
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