8 answers you would like to know.
Imagine you consider entering a new geographic market. You have a service or a software solution, which is successful in your current markets. You would like to repeat this success in more countries.
What would the answers to the following 8 questions about the situation in the new geographies mean to you?
- Are there competitive solutions serving the same needs as your?
- Which Value Added Resellers and/or Systems integrators are active in your solution environment?
- What are the value propositions of the competitive solutions?
- How satisfied are the customers with their current suppliers and their solutions?
- Do the clients plan to replace or complement their current solutions?
- Are there pain areas, which are unresolved by the existing solutions?
- If no competitive solution exists, then how latent is the pain scenario, which is required to generate enough interest for your solution?
- How easy/difficult is it to get access the highest possible decision making level with your current value proposition?
We call the answers to these questions for a Market Assessment.
The objective of the Market Assessment is to map the competitive environment and the demand pattern for your solution before you make decisions for entering the market.
The Market Assessment is performed based on a series of interviews with your potential clients meeting your Ideal Client Profile. The Market Assessment will provide the basis for designing the most productive qualification, contact, sales and closing process.
The outcome of the Market Assessment will enable you to maneuver more effectively when you start qualifying and setting up meetings with prospective clients. Meetings and appointments may already be scheduled during the Market Assessment phase as an outcome of the interviews; however, this should never be the primary objective.
The Market Assessment activity provides information on a specific market situation in a new geography based on a number of in depth interviews with key potential clients and/or a web based survey. The information provided from the interviews should include (per customer):
- Name and contact information of key decision makers
- Information on competitive solutions used or considered
- Description of the current situation, plan for changes and budgets available
- Information on potential system integrators, value added resellers etc. operating with the companies interviewed.
- Pain scenario for the solution in question
- Potential purchase activities/sales opportunities with the companies interviewed
You should prepare a brief presentation of your Customer Value Proposition and your Value Chain and a questionnaire including the most important questions. This package should be prepared in local language and in a format, which can be distributed to the interviewee candidates. You should let a 3rd party execute the Market Assessment and your identity should not be revealed in this information package. Candidates for interviews are more willing to participate, when they know that they will not be under siege from a an army of sales people immediately after the interview is over.
Identifying potential interviewees
Based on your Ideal Customer Profile, you can identify 30-50 potential customers as potential interviewees. This should ensures that you will get 15-20 completed interviews.
Organizing interviews can be made through e-mail and follow up phone calls. Guaranteeing anonymity allows for the highest fulfillment rate.
The interviews should be conducted by senior persons who can get access to C-leves executives. Interviews should be individual based on the personality of the interviewee as well as the specific situation in questions. For some customers several persons should be interviewed.
Assuming that your customer value proposition, your ideal customer profile and your value chain are well defined and documented, a market assessment should take no longer than 4-6 weeks to complete.