Part 2 – What is the difference between “In-market buyers” and for “buyers with a problem that is yet to become a market”

February 8th, 2014 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

In-market – if your industry is half-way through its lifecycle, there may be a lot of buyers who don’t realize there is a category out there for their problem. Or, they don’t see the painful issues they are dealing with in their business as related to the industry. Or, they think they need to build their own homegrown solution to the problem. In short, they may have the problem, but the short-hand is not helping them connect to the industry/category, let alone to your approach to solving the problem. You need to be able to build a problem elevator that connects what they are experiencing to the solution you provide. Take to the basics, build bottom-up from the problem and their experience rather than category down through your feature differences.

Pre “market development” – before there was the industry, there was just a really cool technology. How does that get translated into “we need to fix this problem” for buyers who have no experience with this type of problem before. “It is new to us so we went looking for help in fixing it. Didn’t know your company existed, but I found you.” Love those. But, they are hard to get in-bound. Most early companies leverage their relationships + evangelize like crazy or try to go to broader categories conferences and tradeshows to siphon off people who may be close to the target buyer profile. Ie, they go to broad category shows -“I go to a nano technology show to see if I can sell my unique technology because it could be classified as nano. Rather than I solve a unique problem in steel production with my specialized machining equipment that uses nano-level coating to add precision to the refining process. I need to target companies that specialize in steel production. Or they go to steel manufacturing conferences and try to find the one buyer target in the room.

Short-answer is they both could use a problem elevator. Solution elevators start with “I, mine, we, our, solution, unique, market.” Problem elevators start with “They, problem, painful, challenge, how they know.” Problem elevators are relatively straight-forward if you have plenty of clients and a more established market. You have seen enough problem-applications to have covered the type of different problems the market will encounter and your path to conversion to solution is pretty well thought out. Thinking as a buyer is a valuable exercise to remind yourself that you have more information than your buyers so don’t make assumptions as to their level of knowledge.

Even experienced buyers may have not bought in a while, not understand all the value, or missed some key assumptions around the problem. A lot of times, the buying process get stuck in their organizations because of the disparity of information. For example, we got stalled a couple of years ago in looking at a payroll service. We didn’t have employees per se, just contractors, but our principals wanted to get a process down for managing tax withholdings, etc. We had multiple vendors come in, asked a few of our contacts, and stalled because everyone that we spoke with had a conflicting different opinion. We got lost in the technical minutiae. When I asked them if they could take our list of issues that we were struggling with and help us get answers as to how to solve these, they gave us product sheets. I just wanted a clear model for comparing all of the information and matching it to our particular situation. We froze in non-decision as I couldn’t compare, let alone match our particular issues to what they were saying. I didn’t know  enough to do the mapping. My partners were equally frustrated.

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