dear advisor: My MVP Demos are not converting
Originally published in November 2020, updated for relevancy in May 2023
Your MVP is live, your customers demos are going great -- and your customers are excited about the product... but no one is converting. Why? Here are some possible reasons.
(I have to ask...) Does the MVP work? Does the demo work virtually?
Product Value not Clear
Is the value proposition clear to your ideal customers? That is, do they understand how your product solves their problem, adds value, and explains how long it might take?
Your customers typically don't care how you solve their problem -- they care that you solve their problem.
For advice on how to figure this out, please see: Dear Advisor: I have a startup idea, now what?
Are you using your customers' words to describe the outcomes they should expect, to resonate better and build rapport?
Example from my consulting practice:
When I first started out, I used to say "I help companies use data to make decisions", but that's not my customers' lingo.
Then I started using my customers' words, explaining that "I help companies improve their product market fit by helping companies identify the most valuable and loyal customer base -- burning "white hot", to improve the product and scale the business".
Spoiler alert: we'll still be using data and analytics/AI, but the value proposition to my customer is now more clear.
Hard to Try
How easy is it to try the product for free?
(Lots of friction) Do they need to schedule a demo?
(A lot of friction) Do require a log-in to try, and they can only sign-up by giving you access to their email/social media credentials? or completing a (long) on-boarding survey, where it's not clear why certain personal questions (in required fields) are getting asked?
(Some friction) Do you require a log-in to try, and your prospects sign-up by creating an account?
(Less friction) Can your prospects try the product without signing-up/signing-in? And have the option to sign-up at the end?
Is the on-boarding journey as simple as possible?
Have you gone through the flow yourself in incognito mode?
To see what can be improved and what can be scaled: how are your metrics around the 14 customer journey paths, as described in Phil Libin's talk? When and where are your prospects bouncing?
Too Long to get Value
Do your customers know the roadmap -- where they are, and how long it will take -- to solve their problem with your product?
Don't forget to follow-up with your prospects and ask for feedback. They cared about your idea to see a demo!
Sample question to follow-up with, on a call: What is 1 thing we're doing now, that you would like us to stop doing in the MVP?
More advice here: Dear Advisor: I have a startup idea, now what?
Don't forget to track how your product is changing, as part of your overall strategy to improve your product market fit
Are you looking for help on improving your product? I'd like to help. Please find a time that works for you to have a complimentary, 30-minute, NDA-free strategy session.
You may also like:
How behavioral science can boost your conversion rates, by Kristen Berman
How to Use Messaging to Improve Your Conversion Rates, by Pedro Cortes
The road to nirvana, or how to figure out your B2B GTM, by Caroline Clark