Using Market Research to Identify Product Market Fit
Since 1982, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has been on a mission to reduce the global impact of carbon emissions as an advisor. Recently, RMI moved to become an influencer in the space by creating a 50 by 20 initiative to reduce the cost of deploying a community scale solar project. Since RMI did not have a dedicated sales development rep or market research team, ScaleUpOnDemand (ScaleUp) was brought in to interview industry leaders to:
- Identify the potential customer buying process
- Document common challenges and objections
- Analyze value propositions responses by market segment
Without a sales development rep or market research team and a new product coming into the market, Joseph Goodman (Principal) realized the need to obtain market research on how to design a product that reduces the cost of solar, solves a customer problem, and identify foundational needs for their future sales strategy. There was also a need to leverage the market research to prioritize key features of the product development and design.
The timeline to complete the market research was tied to a design charrette which allowed for two months to complete the interviews and deliver the report.
“We recognize the timeline was tight...at times we’ve had challenges…but we’re exactly where we need to be today” - Kareem Dabbagh, Project Manager
In preparation for collecting information, several hours were spent with the RMI team gathering a comprehensive understanding of RMI, The Shine™ Team and 50 by 20 initiative. Through these meetings, a series of questions and survey was created as a framework for conversations with interviewees. Over a six week period, 17 interviews were completed to provide feedback on product messaging, features, and buying processes of potential vendors.
In addition to completing and managing the calls, there was a need for ScaleUp to reach out “cold” to industry leaders to create an interest in the program. This showed the value of a early stage prospecting strategy that could be implemented to develop sales pipeline.
Ultimately, ScaleUp leveraged the feedback in the interviews to provide RMI an analysis of product features and value propositions which resonated or did not appeal to the individual market segments. The final report consisted of recommendations of:
Quotes from interviewees
Prioritized value propositions and features
Prospecting and sales process feedback
Risks to long-term success
ScaleUp’s recommendation became a key asset for the team at RMI and was included in the pre-read for the design charrette. The introduction of a sales process is a new concept for RMI, there is an opportunity for ScaleUp to partner with RMI, once the product has be developed to:
Generate sales pipeline
Leverage sales velocity to determine which market segments could have short term or long term impact to revenue
Develop sales process within CRM tool
Create a management operating rhythm for sales forecasting against sales targets
“This is exactly the type of insights we need to have on our fingerprints” - Joseph Goodman, Principal