I cringe a little whenever someone says they have a "great" product, particularly in tech. It usually (but not always, so liberties are being taken here -- apologies to the original poster
) means that the product was carefully developed to take advantage of the best of the available technology, to the highest possible spec, by the smartest engineers. The resulting product will be darn impressive, but vanilla.
Vanilla means that the product is "one-size fits all." It works, but there's nothing about it that makes it work especially well for any single person, business, or industry. This makes the product difficult to market. Segmentation seems arbitrary (it is) and founders get hit hard with FOMO (again, for good reason). Vanilla also makes the product vulnerable to competition.
Many in this thread commented that they find themselves in a similar situation:a product that seems strong but isn't bringing delivering revenue. What to do?
First, if you have customers, keep them happy. Regardless of the size of your company, someone should be assigned to every customer so that the customer's needs are anticipated and fulfilled. Second, if you are in a cash flow crunch because of low sales, consider whether or not your existing customers need/want custom work or consulting. (Check your feature request log first.) In a typical situation, this work would be a distraction. In some cases, this work is a blessing. Finally, if you are able to do so, sell more to those existing customers. Are there more divisions that aren't using the product? Are there product extensions that they have not adopted but should? Make sure the customer is 110% delighted with your product and get in the game.
If you do not have customers or are in a dire financial situation, figure out what your timeline is exactly for bring in revenue. Don't skip this step. Everyone needs to know what that date is so you can prioritize your next steps.
Then you need to take a look at the great product that won't sell as if it's a widget or a service you know nothing about. This is not fun and not easy. Many teams can't do this on their own, especially if they're small and tight knit. Their DNA is coded to love the product. What needs to happen now is to start breaking it down. It is vanilla. It is melting.
In a perfect world with a lot of time, I would recommend that you first take your product and research all of the products that are _technically_ similar. In tech, I often see products that were cutting edge when teams began building them. They don't stay up-to-date during the build and are gobsmacked when they find out another team has built a thing like their thing. This is inevitable. It is not the end of the world.
What you need to know about those products right now is not that they exist (they do, almost without exception), but the following:
- What is the value position?
- What market segment is targeted?
- Are the above approaches working? How well?
From that information, you'll be able to determine if the whole category is vanilla and flailing about -- or if you have a unique problem.
If your problem is unique, you go back down the customer development path. This post is getting crazy long, but if anyone wants to explore just holler. You want to determine what market segment (if any) will get the most benefit from your product and be willing to pay for it. Sometimes that will be the market segments that one of your existing customers is in. More often, it will not be one of those.
If the problem is industry-wide, you're probably in an industry that is very new or very broad. In that case, you'll need to do more work at a primary level, reaching out to potential users and understanding more about their specific use cases. You may have to make small changes to your product to address their specific needs.
Buyers/users need to have a clear understanding of why they should use/buy your product rather than (a) the competition's product and (b) nothing. It's your job to provide the tools to get them there.