Defining a Core Business Problem for Technology Companies

June 24th, 2014 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

It has been a while since we wrote a post, so I thought I would outline why I think that you, as a technology vendor, probably have a unique technology, but have an adoption problem. What you think is a technology adoption problem is really a buyer adoption problem.

As a buyer, I bet if I read your website or marketing materials, I would not be clear on what strategic business problem that you solve or what changes in behavior are required of the buyers to adopt your approach. But I can hear you say:”Wait. You don’t know what I do. How can you say I have a problem without looking at my stuff?”

I know because this is the core existential problem for almost every technology company and because adoption is so difficult to overcome quickly. Technology by definition is change. Newer is better, different. If it ain’t new, it ain’t technology. Even “old” technology is referring to something that was new at the time and now is obsolete. So, the business of technology is the business of change.

Now, this may not be a problem for you today if your sales and marketing is on track; good leads, good conversion, and hitting your revenue targets. A lot of companies can overcome challenges in adoption and not miss a beat. Others, not so much. There is a lot of good technology companies fighting uphill to get market attention beyond their core wins.

We think the buyer’s approach to adoption is the real cause of growth issues for technology companies. We have continued to evolve, ourselves, in understanding how buyer’s approach adoption differently and based upon what I can see across all the technology companies that we have looked at recently, I believe this may be biggest contributing factor challenging technology companies today. Here is what I mean:

  • In looking at your company online, you probably have some unique IP in your market; if you didn’t have something different, your approach would be a me-too play. That is obvious. I probably will I understand what you do, but the challenge will be as a strategic buyer is that I probably won’t really understand what problem(s) that you solve for my business and the associated business process changes that I will have to adapt to absorb your innovative technology to get the value described on the website.
  • The degree of difference in technology also works for or against you. One key fact that we have learned in looking at how buyer’s approach adoption of new technology in markets is that the more disruptive the innovation (to their business), the more complex the adoption for the buyer (and seller). Cool new stuff, really hard and complex to buy.
  • This micro-level business impact and challenges in changing a corporate culture and behavior to leverage a new technology is the direct cause of the challenges technology companies have in their macro go-to-market.
  • By introducing the problem and getting agreement to the changes in behavior before requiring a new buyer to understand your innovation, you are able to better target buyers who have that problem, dramatically simplify the sales process, and eliminate a good deal of the cost of market development. This is dependent upon anchoring everything in a problem that the strategic buyers will relate. Don’t understand problem, hard to get comfortable buying really cool technology unless I am a really technical geek who gets it.
  • The other interesting challenge that we have found is that companies conflate marketing’s role in market coverage with buyer adoption. Completely different approaches. Completely different cost of market development.

We follow our own prescription in that this isn’t some sell-you-something, but rather simply to explain a critical business need for a select group of executives and the change in behavior required to fix the problem for them. The approach is anchored on the problem before introducing the solution.

We put the “adoption problem” into a concise 5 slide deck that outlines the approach - Reconciling Technology versus Buyer Adoption. Read it, tell us what you think, call us if you think that you need our help.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at or contact him directly at