I had the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural group which was selected to be part of MaGIC e@Stanford in December. The course was very benificial for me and our company. Among the thing I learned being there was about the importance of neutralizing the competition.
Geoffrey Moore the author of Crossing The Chasm was part of the faculty on the last day of our course, having been introduced to his books only very recently starting with Dealing the Darwin. I am a fan of his works. The method prescribed in Dealing with Darwin works best when applied to service based and consulting business IMHO while Crossing The Chasm hit the spot on for a lot of enterprise B2B software and SaaS model too.
One key takeaway from the half day session was the need to neutralize the competition always. This is very important to allow a software adoption to go beyond the tech enthusiast and early adopters.
A lot of enterprise software was initially built to just focus on key groundbreaking features but as you talk to more and more customers they would require some features they are used to with a legacy software which you would need to neutralize. Its very important to keep this feedback loop very open at the very early stage of your software.
We could apply this thinking very well into one of our spin-off company product called Slurp! In its first year adoption of Silent Mode’s Slurp! was quite slow as we were very resistant to adding the required changes into the software, We believe we had a groundbreaking technology here which would require our customer to adopt to what we have instead of the other way around.
But once we started listening to our first five customers and just deploy whatever feature sets they requested we started to have very good traction with the products, we grew from five outlets in Q3, to quickly adding another 15 outlets in less than 2 months.
This is because our prospective customers could no longer discount our products by saying we don,’t have this or that feature. It makes the job of selling the products easier. Plus our first five customers started to recommend Slurp! to people in their circle too.
Also another key thing about neutraizing the competition is to always build it good enough, fast enough especially in its first iteration. More on Silent Mode’s Slurp, here: GetSlurp