Start with key questions to determine fit

Whether you’re pursuing customer number five, 50 or 500, the process of determining if there’s a fit remains largely the same.

  • Is your tech displacing an existing product? If so, there’s at least a logical fit from a solutions standpoint.
  • When was the last time they purchased new technology? As a startup, you don’t want to spend months going back and forth before deployment. You want your product in use and generating feedback.
  • Are they forward-looking? Some customers truly want to invest in cutting-edge technologies. Some are just going through the motions because it’s what their bosses expect. Others are just trying to learn or plan for the future. Figure this out early on.
  • Do they care enough about getting it right to spend the time and money required? New technologies necessitate ongoing investment and two-way participation to improve and evolve over time. Get a sense of how effective they would be as collaborators.
  • Have they been burned in the past? Some companies have a tremendous appetite for new technologies but have simply tried too many that haven’t worked. Find out what other technologies they’ve tested, what worked and what didn’t.
  • Are they the type of customer you’d want other prospects speaking to as a reference? If not, they’re not the ideal early customer.
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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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