Everyone wants to build a “must-have” software product, but must-have software categories are almost always crowded, usually with large, well-entrenched incumbents.
Most founders end up building “nice to have” products, and then hope that their category becomes a “must have” for the market. From personal experience, I can see A/B testing start out as a “nice to have” and now on its way to a “must have” for online marketers… but this doesn’t happen with everyone.
So, you’ve built a nice-to-have, but you’re facing the obvious pain of prospects responding to your pitch like this:
What do you do now?
The next time you speak with a prospect, pitch your product as a “tactical competitive advantage”. Before speaking about the problems it is solving, speak at length about how everyone else is doing x, and to win in today’s market they need to do x + y. And y is the future.
Show them the vision of how much better they’ll be than their competition, or even better than their current self. Show them the old, inefficient way, and the better, new way as supported by your product. Make them imagine themselves as an “elite” group of trailblazers who’re doing far more advanced stuff than their competitors, and reaping the benefits of it.
Small, relevant anecdote: am currently consulting for the folks at AdWyze and heard of a prospect who, very seriously, said this:
“I’ll buy, but don’t sell it to others in my vertical”.
That’s a pretty good statement to hear, because it’s a strong signal that the product will be accepted by customers as a tactical advantage.
(Also, small prediction: the product that these guys at AdWyze are making right now in 2017… it will be the future of performance marketing reporting. If you spend a lot of budget on GDN or FB ads, you should check it out.)
In software, customers listen to product pitches that solve a well-understood pain point, or a promise of an exciting future. Anything in between has a tough time getting organic demand.