Interview with Naeem Zafar, President & CEO, Bitzer Mobile, Inc.
Situation: Starting a new venture is a daunting task. You must determine market need and land your first few key customers on tight timeline and budget. What are the most important foci for the start-up CEO?
Advice from Naeem Zafar:
- The answer lies in what I call the Three Clarities.
- Clarity #1 – Deep Knowledge of Customer Pain Points
- The fundamental point is that your eventual success is not about your technology – it’s your ability to understand and address the needs of your customer.
- Research and talk to potential customers. Ask them about their pain and problems (and not about your product). What makes their job or their lives difficult? Learning these facts takes time, patience, persistent questioning, and open listening both for what they are saying and what they are not saying.
- Once you have a clear idea about their need and can succinctly define it, you must determine whether your capabilities can address the customer’s need.
- Clarity #2 – Understanding the Purchasing Behavior
- Once you have identified your target customer, their need and your ability to meet that need, you must understand their current purchase behavior.
- Have they ever bought from a startup before? What happened when they did? Are they happy or unsatisfied? Where are the gaps in satisfaction?
- Particularly for a start-up with limited credibility, it is critical to identify those purchasers who will take the risk to buy from a new company.
- From what you find, determine how you will frame a personal relationship with the likely buyer – how you will frame both your solution and the buying experience – and build a psychographic of the buyer so that you can quickly determine likely customer candidates.
- Clarity #3 – Understanding the Decision-Maker’s Sense of Urgency
- Who makes the purchase decision? In B2B sales is it the CEO or someone further down the organizational chart? Who approves the purchase budget?
- Why now – do they have their ”hair on fire” so a decision must be made now?
- The essential question is: what are the alternatives to not having your solution?
Key Words: Start-up, B2B, Customer Need, Domain Knowledge, Purchase, Experience, Psychographic, Competition