Reduce activation friction as much as possible. Without this, it will be hard to get early cred. Can increase friction as the product / brand / credibility grows. Understand the buyer, position the product as clearly helping buyer from being fired or helping them get promoted.
Chartbeat let users experience the product on someone else's data without having to sign up themselves, although when I've seen task management tools do this it's been less compelling.
Try With Other People’s Data
Money Back Gaurantee
Case studies and a good sales team
Good Sales Team
Does the prospect know they have the problem? If so, using testimonials from successful customers who also had the problem and now don't is the fundamental play. If they don't know they have the problem then marketing to raise their awareness is critical
Reduce initial friction extremely until value is realized and have an acquisition loop that pushes people to check out the product in some non-commital way (frequently word of mouth from people that have experienced the long term, though at Pinterest we did this through SEO).
Trial in some way
If B2B and the value is measurable, a) make your pricing a function of the value created, b) defer the cost of activation that you and the customer incur and c) recover it over time. Ideally b) is funded with vc $ and not needed after there is enough proof for prospects.
Price = f(value)
Buy now, pay later
Ammortize activation cost over time
Does the upfront activation energy have to be by the customer or could you augment that with services and bake that in? In general, this is a hard problem since it leads to adoption challenges (especially if the activation time investment isn’t a one time deal)
Activation through a service
In this scenario sense of urgency (FOMO) likely won’t work - as the value is not obvious. But MVC: minimum viable commitment may work - which makes it risk free to use the product. And then artificially increase touch points during that “demo” period.
High touchpoint demo period
In B2B world, one can try to solve a bigger problem with expertise and in that process show the value of the software. At DataRobot customers would say my data wasn’t clean - so ML wouldn’t help. And we would use automated ML to iteratively clean the data at low cost to demo DR.
I think you have think about driving the product to tipping point of usage/conversion. For food delivery, it’s typically order 3 (that’s why first few orders are highly subsidized). For FB, it was 10 friends in 7 days of sign-up and was a manual focus of their growth product team
Help them use the product until they get hooked
There also ofc classic marketing ways of reducing activation friction with customer testimonials, community. Or plg things like interactive product demos or partial free products that are low cost to activate . Or sales tactic like white glove onboarding etc.
Partial free product
White glove service
Get "an expert" with an audience to use your product and post reviews, e.g., on YouTube. This is why there are so many product giveaways and so many product review channels. Marques Brownlee's channel is an example but there are tons of others.
Performance guarantee, Money back guarantee or opt out contracts. These are some of the sales strategies which might work in this case.
Money bak guarantee
Opt out contract
Consider a pricing model that bundles the software and services if possible. The goal is to minimize resource allocation/planning for the customer. From customer’s POV, the value of baking in services outweighs extra costs to avoid the implementation headaches.
Bundle product and service
Experts and industry/niche power user testimonials. We used this tactic to crack the pro photog and video markets with
back in the day
Industry experts influencer
I’d find the customers that have the lowest switching costs and focus on them. Create a customer base that can vouch for your product to those who have higher cost of switching. Optimizing pricing for the low friction customers helps too
Target customers with low switching costs
Solve a parallel problem for them and cross sell
Enhance the product to solve more problems
Invest in expensive extremely high quality content! If B2B, rely heavily on case studies that quantify the extreme value in more obvious/approachable ways.
I think it depends on how much activation energy? I would say a really strong pilot program but obvi the upfront energy part is tough if that is super expensive and time consuming. It also depends on the total contract value but if high enough pay for the pilot and integration
Strong pilot program
Services heavy pre-sales model
Services heavy pre-sales model
Do a free PoC with one client and use that experience and feedback to get other clients in same industry. Companies that lack imagination - which is most of them - will at a minimum copy their competitors.
Target customers in the same industry
Double your money back if not satisfied.
Customer success stories.