Anyone familiar with the work of Eric Ries in the Lean Startup or Steve Blank’s books know the concept of the Minimum Viable Product. Their works focus on the need to for rapid experimentation, learning, and improvement in bringing new products to the markets.
For years, I’ve been a proponent of “Just Good Enough,” as a sales or marketing strategy. Perhaps in today’s context, Just Good Enough might be called The Minimum Viable Sales/Marketing Strategy.
Too often, I think we fail to change and adapt rapidly enough. We’re a business culture of careful planning, risk avoidance, fear of making mistakes, analysis paralysis, fear of change, “if it ain’t broke,” or just plain complacency. Choose whichever descriptors that fit.
Yet we’re surrounded with data that says we aren’t meeting our goals or we are not relevant to customers. So something isn’t working.
The concept of minimum viable product is appealing because it’s rapid, real world learning—with customers. When you think about it, it’s such a natural approach to growing and improving our ability to engage customers. Why not make the customer part of our continual learning and improvement process? Why not engage them, their ideas and feedback to rapidly tune our strategies to more effectively engage them?
Over the past year, I’ve seen so many “massive efforts.” One organization I spoke to had spend 4 months evaluating their sales process, analyzing the best way to engage customers and to improve their effectiveness. They were still months away from a launch–a pilot at that. Or the marketing team that a year ago discovered it’s lead gen efforts weren’t producing the needed results that is still struggling with how to improve them, right now they are thinking about SEO. The poor sales team is starving for leads–so they’ve decided to do their own thing.
I see examples of this everyday. I understand it–kind of. Resources and funding are scarce. We can’t afford to waste them. Too many organizations have cultures that don’t tolerate mistakes or failure–so people are afraid to change or study things to death.
We need to radically rethink what we do. Rather than striving for perfection, we need to strive for Just Good Enough. We need to develop cultures which embrace thoughtful experimentation, rapid learning, continuous improvement.
No strategy or program is ever perfect. We refine and improve them through learning what works and what doesn’t But we don’t do that in task force meetings or internal strategy sessions. We can’t learn and improve without the customer.
So let’s start growing, let’s start changing, let’s do that with the customers. Adopt a strategy of Just Good Enough. Build the Minimum Viable Sales/Marketing Strategy. Realize it’s just the starting point, learn from it, improve it, learn, improve……. execute!