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A Discovery Foundation Growth Essential Program

Presented by Bruce Stuart

The process of finding and developing routes to market for products, services or technologies (the offering) is expensive and time consuming.  In fact most emerging and mature tech companies spend more per year on finding, developing and managing routes to market then they spend annually on R&D.

What do we know?

A successful route to market strategy is required to create a viable business model, defined as “lifetime value of customers exceeding the customer acquisition cost.”

The earlier a tech company starts thinking about creating a viable business model by solving their routes to market problems, the higher the probability that they will successfully grow and expand.  Like many things, the earlier you start working on the problem the earlier you solve it.

Startups benefit immensely from early attention to routes to market strategy as it helps them frame the form of product, service or technology they need to create in order to have a chance at scalable commercial success.

In many emerging and mature tech companies it takes more time to research, develop and execute a new or re designed routes to market strategy then it take to create the product, service or technology that they wish to take to market.

What do we need to be thinking about?

What have we got?

There are some very basic questions that need to be asked as a manager or management team attempts to put together new or improved routes to market strategy. Is the offering going to be sold to a commercial, industrial or consumer market? Is the business model underlying the sale of the offering going to be based on transactions (like buying a car) or recurring revenue (like using CAR2GO).  Is the form of the offering going to be tangible product, an intangible service, or a bundle made up of products and services or a collection of IP?

What is it?

Right from the get-go it is important to think quite specifically about what you have to sell.  Is it a product, or a service or a technology?  Is it a tangible offering or an intangible offering?  Is it a point product that needs no system or is it a component product that is integrated into a bigger solution.  Is it a technology, or a process that causes raw materials to change form?  Is it an integrated solution comprised of products, services and technologies to solve a problem or series of problems?  Are all the pieces of the solution yours?

Who wants it?

This is another way of framing the question of target markets for the offering you have to sell.  Do consumers use the offering?  If so what segments and sub segments of the consumer market?  Is the offering desired by industrial users, if so what industries and what types of organizations in each industry?  Do governments consume the offering? If governments consume the offering, are they international, national, state, provincial or civic governments?  What departments in the various types of government want the offering?  Is the offering used by the military and if so, is security clearance required to sell it and if so, what level do the security clearances need to be?

Where are they likely to buy it?

There are a couple of poignant sayings in the business of designing routes to market strategies:

“You want to sell the offering where the target customers are likely to buy it.”


“You want to sell the offering the way your target customer wants to buy it.”

Doe the potential customer want to buy the offering directly from the producer?  If so, does the customer want to engage in a face-to face transaction or an online transaction?  If it is to be an online transaction, is the transaction based on outbound calling, or inbound transaction processing model, or both?  If the transaction is to be processed indirectly through a third-party, how many steps or tiers will exist between the producer and the eventual consuming individual or organization?

What is the purchase pattern?

Is the purchase of the offering by the target customer going to be a non-routine new purchase prefaced by extensive research and detailed proposal review?  Is the purchase of the offering going to be a straight rebuy, driven by a professional purchasing organization based on price at a specified level of performance, or is the purchase going to be a modified rebuy that allows the producer to deviate from the purchasing specs if a viable “give to get” proposition can be shown.

Part 1 of the Routes to Market problem

Five very fundamental questions about routes to market strategy can open up a lot of avenues for thought and action:

What have we got?

What is it?

Who wants it?

Where are they likely to buy it?

What is the purchase pattern?

If as a manager of a startup, emerging or mature tech company, you asked each one of your key managers to answer the thirty or so questions posed in this article, what do you think would happen?  Do you think that all of your managers could answer all of the questions posed?  Do you think that that is a problem?  Are there some questions that absolutely all of your managers should be able to answer, and answer with the same or very similar responses?  Try it.

As a Board Member to a startup or emerging, or even a mature tech company is it important for the management team to be able answer the thirty or so question about routes to market strategy posed in this article.  After all, this area of the business accounts for 20-50% of all expenses and consumes anywhere from 1.5-3.5X the amount invested in R&D.

About the presenter

Bruce R Stuart Founding Partner, with Margaret Stuart of Channelcorp

Channelcorp is a Vancouver-based independent advisory firm.  It is a leading global Routes To Market (RTM) channel consultancy and strategy education firm.  Channelcorp specializes in consulting with, and educating the management teams of software (cloud and on-premise), hardware and telecommunications firms wishing to change or augment their business models with a shift to a recurring revenue model.

Notable RTM consulting and channel education clients of Channelcorp include: Apple, Adobe, Alias/Wavefront, Autodesk, Avaya, Avnet, AT&T, BEA, Comcast, Cisco, Compaq, DEC, Extreme Networks, Fiserv, Glory Global, Hitachi, HP, HPE, IBM, Intel, Informix, Juniper Networks, Kodak, Lucent, Mentor Graphics, Microsoft, McCaw Cellular, Mitel, NCR, Northern Telecom, Oracle, Plantronics, QMS, Radiant Technologies, SAP, Symantec, ScanSource, Star Micronics, Tektronix, Trimble, Unisys, Verizon, VMware, Wachter Industries, Xerox, Zebra Technologies.

Bruce and Margaret have delivered consulting and executive education assignments “on the ground” in 25 countries in NA, SA, Europe, Middle east and Asia including Japan and China.  He has written 13 books on technology RTM issues and more then 700 articles.

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