July 13

Customer Validation — Selling Your Product

Customer Development has four steps — Customer Discovery, Customer Validation, Customer Creation and Company Building. Here we look at step 2, Customer Validation. But remember, step 1 and step 2 are a cyclical process until product-market fit has been found.

Understanding Customer Validation. Anastasia eloquently sums up the main benefit of Customer Validation as helping you “avoid building a product that no one wants.” This stage is about building and refining a business model and validating assumptions about your customers before too much money is spent. These include assumptions about the market, the existence and weight of the problem and how impactful your product is/will be. The process for Validation includes defining your hypotheses and testing them in various channels. Perhaps even more importantly it includes generating real monetary transactions, i.e., selling your product.

Develop your value proposition and business model using Customer Validation.Expanding on the Validation process mentioned above, MaRS explains that at this point you must question whether you have sold enough product and have identified a sustainable business model. The answers to these questions will govern where you go next — scaling your business, doing another round of Validation or jumping back to Discovery to refine something there.

95 ways to find your first customers for customer development or your first sale. Steve Blank once said: “no plan survives first contact with customers.” You have already committed to getting out of the building, but where do you go exactly to find potential customers? Jason Evanish lists many online as well as literal ‘out of the building’ sources.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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