Can there be Product-Market fit when the Value Proposition of the product (or service) doesn’t yet match the targeted underserved market need? Isn’t that the whole definition of it?
There may be some occasions where this mismatch can be resolved by other means, and I am thinking of the Channel.
While the Channel is usually thought about as a way to reach a larger market and expand our sales efforts, they can actually come into play in a variety of ways. Here are some:
- Reach a different -and better fitting- target market that wasn’t available without the channel. I have seen this happen many times in the Latin American market where products with scaled-down feature sets that were not getting much traction in the US, started killing it in this market, with the help of the Channel. Watchguard comes to mind.
- Add-on services or integration that make it possible to have a better fit. Some products are just not meant to be sold without services, but building a services organization with a large presence can be a tall order, and associating with partners to provide these services can be a shorter route to success. This is what we are seeing with most smart home applications that are just way too complex to be installed by the user and that have found a viable avenue through home security and Internet access vendors. AT&T seems to be in every new development.
- Entering a Managed Services motion with a partner. The example above is also good for this one, where a seemingly high investment is spread out through time by means of a low monthly subscription.
Channel can be so much more than just a sales vehicle.