How can you tell if digital product will sell?

We like to run a best-case and worst-case product sales scenario.

The best-case scenario is we’ll capture 10 percent of the market over the product’s life. It’s impossible to get the whole pie. We cannot get all 90,000 potential customers. So, we estimate a conservative 10 percent. That’s doable.

We examine the adoption rate by innovators, early adopters, and the early majority. We say, “Let’s go for the first chunk, the innovators and early adopters.” These are the people who give the least resistance. They love new ideas. They want to learn new things. And they are 10 to 15 percent of the audience. That’s what we want to achieve. We don’t have any history to go on so we estimate.

We can’t get the entire lifecycle right away. There can’t be laggards and late adopters until we get those early adopters first. The innovators and early adopters, they’ll influence the rest.

We set an estimated average monthly sales as a milestone. In the first month, we’re not going to sell much. It takes time. There’s silence for a while. We don’t know how long that is. But when we cross the average-per-month threshold, we know we’ve got a winner.

This is a real-world market test. We’re collecting data which influences our product offer. We may go back and change our objectives. that’s called a pivot. We need to find out. The way we do that is by introducing an MVP product. We need a product we can introduce fast. Mining your existing content is the natural thing to do.

Can we find sales trajectory based on early adopters? How long did it take to get to that point? We then look at the curve and say, “Well, if it took us X months to get to that point. It means the life cycle is many years. Based on a short period, we extrapolate what happens next.

What’s the worst-case scenario? Well, the product fails. Why would it fail?

One reason is the lack of credibility.

Communicating credibility enhancement is our specialty. Credibility consists of three things:

  • trustworthiness
  • expertise
  • enthusiasm

The other reason is lack of awareness.

It’s not because the audience doesn’t need it. We’ve discovered they need it. But how do we increase awareness? Social media may be one way. We don’t know what channels to use immediately. Are there conferences? Are there journals? Are there blogs? How do we get the word out? Often we build a hand-compiled email list. You go for the leaders, not the whole list.

You tell audience leaders, “Here’s a new thing. Would you disseminate this information to your groups? Because they’re going to find it valuable.” And what you’ll find is, they’ll post it. It may be social media or a Facebook group, yet they communicate. They might not buy it themselves, but they influence others to tell. You’re part of the group. How would you communicate to the group? How are they communicating now? Can we tap into those resources?

So, the worst-case scenario is we have no credibility and no awareness, then we have no sales. Even if you say at the end of the year, “Well, we only made a little. It’s what we wanted to make in 1 month,” dang, it’s still not a loss.

When we go wide, it dilutes our resources. When we stay narrow, it becomes manageable. We find success.

There are 3 selling components.

They’re weighted equally in industrial marketing, business-to-business marketing. They’re each 33 percent, a third of the decision-making process.

1. List quality. These are qualified leads.

2. The offer. Our price, the terms of sale. Is it a subscription? Special discounts or payment plans. For example, in the toy industry, it’s 2% 10 NET Christmas. Pay half down, and you pay the other half in 90 days.

A business-to-business product passes costs along. It’s not as price-sensitive as a consumer product.

3. Design. This about the website and the way the product looks. Speed is the most important thing for mobile website user experience. But people aren’t conscious of it. They’re only conscious of a slow site. But once they get past that, they make a subconscious decision on the aesthetics. It bypasses logic. It goes straight to their reptilian brain-stem. In 50 milliseconds, they make an emotional decision whether they like the site. A bias effect is created. It’s called the halo effect.

They say, “I like this place. I’m at home here. This is talking my language and I feel good.” From then on, you could put a button in the wrong place – and they’ll forgive you for it. They’ve already decided they like you.

If you have a good offer and a good list, even though the design sucks, you’ll have success, not as much success. The same thing if you have a good offer. Many people think, “If I have a beautiful site, I’ll succeed.” No, no, sorry. you can’t put all the weight on design aesthetics.

And you can’t put all blame on that either if you fail. If you have a bad offer and a bad audience, or a bad list, even the world’s most beautiful design isn’t going to move the needle.

If let’s say you had a good list and good design and the offer was kind of so-so, you’d still make sales. As long as you’re hitting two of them at 100 percent, you’ll have some success. Our goal, of course, is getting it right on all three. But we can’t skimp We can’t say, “Well, the list quality isn’t that important. We’ll go rent an email list. It’s got 100,000 names on it. Shoot it out there.

That’s no good.

4 parts of a qualified sales lead.

If you know these 4 different parameters, you can do a sales forecast. Then you start a lead tracking and reminder emailing strategy.

1. timing

When we get a sales inquiry saying, “I’m interested in your product,”
We ask, “When do you want to buy it?” that’s the timing. If they can buy it today that moves them up in sales-lead quality.

If they say, “Well, I have to wait for a budget cycle to complete. And then a committee approves the sale.” The sale may be out a year. That lead moves down in sales potential.

2. correct application

Do they have the correct application? If somebody matches timing and budget and purchase authority, but they’re a plumber – and we’re selling software for aircraft. They don’t have the right application. Not a qualified lead.

3. budget

A budgeted purchase means having approved funds. “Do you have $400 budgeted for this purchase?” And they’d say, “Yeah, we do,” Then, we say, “Thank you for letting us look in your wallet.”

Most digital products are bought through PayPal or credit cards. That’s what we want. We don’t have to negotiate the price.

4. purchasing authority

Purchase authority: Some have to go ask a committee. “Mother, may I please?” If they must ask someone, then the quality of the lead drops down.

We want to keep product introduction as lean as possible. This improves our chances of getting the project done in a timely way. CRM is where we want to go in the future. It’s not necessary from the start. There are lots of different ways to solve CRM problems. There is no one right solution. We see CRM as a separate project.