For IoT and technology markets, achieving a successful product/market fit is crucial for senior leadership teams defining strategic elements. While innovation and technical prowess is essential, it’s equally important to view product/market fit through the lens of the go-to-market (GTM) strategy. The non-technical aspects of product/market fit, emphasize a holistic customer perspective and the often-overlooked impact of adoption.

Defining Product/Market Fit in the GTM Context

Product/market fit, in the GTM context, refers to the alignment of a product with the needs and expectations of the target market ensuring successful adoption, implementation, and sustained usage over time. It transcends the traditional definition by focusing on how a product fits into the broader customer experience cycle, beyond its engineering capabilities. This is a formidable task when new, potentially disruptive products are at play.

The 3 key GTM perspectives of Product/Market Fit

  1. Focus on the problem

The traditional concept of market fit tends to be broad, often neglecting the actual impact of product adoption. A customer centric view is to understand if the product addresses a known problem with identifiable, known solutions. For example, before Canva bought us graphic design capabilities for everybody, the problem was very well know. Lack of skill, tools, flexibility and time. And we also knew the solutions, such as marketing agencies, hiring graphic designers or getting by with second grade outcomes. As long as it looks more like “a solution looking for a problem” it is very hard to determine a winning product/market fit. Other critical questions are: does the target customer possess the knowledge to create a business case and is there a known way to evaluate options against criteria. If customers don’t have the knowledge and process how to buy makes adoption harder. It is like “falling in love with the problem” and totally understanding it rather than focusing on product feature/functions and benefits.

  1. Considering the entire product lifecycle

Leaders must evaluate whether the customer knows how the product will be implemented, which stakeholders need to be involved, and how it will be maintained over time. Without this perspective, value realisation may remain a promise rather than a measurable reality. This step requires deep understanding of the customer environment and the ability to anticipate the future “what if” needs of the customers. It encompasses an understanding if a product can be easily augmented, integrated, extended, or modified as those needs evolve. Consider the example of IoT indoor air quality sensors that have been deployed in an office building. “What if” the space usage changes from open plan to offices, more people will be in the same space, the utility changes from offices to conference rooms, or legislative reporting needs change. This is all part of a considered product/market fit strategy.

  1. Evaluation of change and impact

When the ideal customer contemplates adopting the product, then change management becomes a critical factor. The market fit strategy must ask questions about the potential impact on people, process and systems: Will the product introduce new processes, augment existing ones, or replace current systems? Will automation replace human manual tasks? Understanding the different adoption hurdles is essential, as they significantly impact the core elements of a business and ultimately result in a different buying process, which in turn demands the appropriate sales approach. Less, evolutionary change is typically easier to adopt than big, revolutionary change. Even the largest ERP systems running our world today started with an accounting system that grew over time into other functional areas. The largest cloud deployments at the beginning of the adoption curve started as small departmental use cases.

Conclusion: Product/Market Fit needs the GTM Perspective

In conclusion, achieving product/market fit in the IoT and tech industry requires a holistic GTM perspective. This approach spans the entire customer experience cycle over the lifespan of the product. By considering the customer’s viewpoint, understanding the impact of adoption, and evaluating change management implications, cross functional leadership teams gain valuable insights that inform product roadmaps. The result is not just a technically brilliant product but one that seamlessly integrates into the customer’s world, ensuring value realisation and market relevance.