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How do you recognize and fix a market traction problem?

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You have successfully developed and launched your product. Congratulations! Now you may be working with initial lead customers or you may be well past that stage, but something is just not right. The sales pipeline is thin, deals are taking forever or aren’t closing, and maybe sales team turnover is high or you’re hearing complaints the product is hard to sell. What is going on!???

This is an all too common a situation for many early stage tech companies and it is often identified as “poor or lack of market traction”. In addition to the symptoms noted above, the condition of “poor market traction” can be experienced in many ways. Here are some examples:

  1. Your pilot projects with initial innovator/champions were wildly successful in producing strong business cases. Despite this, you’ve been repeatedly stalled trying to close the deals to have the pilots converted into production systems.
  2. You have a deliriously happy initial customer. Other target customers seem less interested.
  3. At the outset, your sales close rate was quite high and is now rapidly slowing.


So, what is really going on? In fact, each one of the above examples had a unique set of circumstances that were ultimately explained by:

  1. A systemic barrier in target organizations that means they only buy that type of solution as an add-on from their primary system vendor
  2. Work processes and tools that were unique to that customer and not universally applicable to others in the same industry
  3. Business relationships and programs that could not be easily replicated in other regions.


Regardless of the cause, the results are poor sales and a barrier to growth.

If any of the above seems to match your situation, that brings us to “how to fix” or more accurately, what specific steps should you take to correctly diagnose the problem leading to “how to fix”?

This is where a Customer Discovery initiative can generate the insights you need to accurately determine what’s going on and to gather actionable feedback that can lead to a suitable fix. A Customer Discovery process, as we at Evidology Group define it, starts with changing your perspective from what you’re trying to sell to what customers want to buy; it involves using simple templates to articulate your current customer knowledge, then a methodical approach to validating and filling gaps in that knowledge by securing and conducting highly structured “customer conversations”.

For more information, I invite you to contact us at the Evidology Group. We’ll share the templates, provide a more detailed description of the process, and a guide on how to structure effective discovery conversations. Of course, if interested, we would be happy to learn about your business, share our experiences, and discuss whether we may be of assistance.

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