Spray and Pray to Find Potential Customers

He spent too much time squawking about how his...
Image by wildphotons via Flickr

Testing a thesis and iterating quickly is one of the central tenants of lean startups. One of the ideas that lean startups should also employ is reaching out to many different potential types of customers while they build the product with feedback from a core group. Spraying and praying, based on educated guesses, isn’t employed as much as I would have expected.

The idea is pretty simple. Take the core value proposition of the product, with feedback from the potential prospects who’ve helped guide development, and start reaching out to other groups that might be a good fit. Ideas to try include:

  • Related industries/verticals
  • Different job titles within those industries
  • Factors like revenue size, number of employees, and geography

The idea is to pick out chunks of 25 contacts, pulled from LinkedIn/Jigsaw, in each potential area and start talking to people. Over time, patterns and fruitful opportunities will emerge. Once momentum has been achieved in an area, double down on it and maximize the value.

What else? What are some other ways to find potential customers?

One thought on “Spray and Pray to Find Potential Customers

  1. I agree, but would exercise caution. It can be difficult to determine if initial sales in a vertical are caused by randomness or are truly sustainable. For very early-stage companies, it may also be too distracting to focus on multiple “experiments.”

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