Running a business is hard work, especially for small business owners who frequently wear multiple hats at once. The excitement of a sale might quickly fade as timelines are set and deliverables have to be met to get the product out the door on time. Then as another sale comes in, the cycle repeats itself. It can seem a struggle to stay afloat. While this is the daily reality of many in the business world today, the story doesn’t stop once the product leaves the shop or even once it arrives at the customer’s doorstep. In some regards the most important aspects of continuing to grow a business come once a product is being used by the end user.
For products with multiple use cases across industries, end users can help define growth and expansion opportunities. While companies know exactly what their product does, end users can give more clarity and a better perspective that the selling company may not have noticed. For example let’s look at Pedialyte. The rehydrating drink originally made for sick babies and children has been given a second life and new lucrative market as their team realized through research that the product was also being used as a hangover cure by young adults. The product didn’t change, the benefits of the product didn’t change. The company just realized they could sell their benefits to a different audience and marketed accordingly.
Business to business companies can learn from this lesson as well. For a more industrial example let’s imagine your business makes a cleaning solution that cleans parts for smoother running and less machine downtime. Your product’s benefit is to save businesses time and money but talking to end users can help your sales team paint a better picture. The key benefit for the food processing industry could be better machine runtime and better efficiency while a concrete manufacturer may be more concerned with rising maintenance costs. Being able to talk to specific industries’ pain points can greatly increase the chance of solving them with your product. If a product does have to be slightly adapted when entering a new market, new soak time or changing dilution for example, knowing how to shorten the learning curve for a sales team can help set up the next prospect within the same industry for success.
No matter what benefits your product provides, you need to be asking customers what industry they are in, and specifically why they bought your product. This may seem like closing the barn door after the horse is out, but in actuality it is arming your company and your sales team with invaluable information. If a customer in a new market buys your product to fulfill a pertinent need you can almost guarantee others in the marketplace have a similar need you can meet as well.