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Comprehension vs. Commitment

Comprehension vs. Commitment - Lean Startup Experiments by @TriKro

I love smoke tests. They’re a great way of testing whether or not there is any serious demand for our value proposition. But as much as I like smoke tests, I hate premature surrender. That’s what happens when the signal we get from the market is NO, but we don’t truly grasp why.

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I like Emily's illustration and pun!

And I like the concept of a comprehension test.

Run a comprehension test. It’s a simple test we can do that usually takes less than one hour:

  1. Write out our value proposition in 1-3 sentences.
  2. Show the value proposition to a participant for a few moments, just enough for them to read it. Then take it away.
  3. Ask them to explain the value proposition back to us in their own words.

If the participant’s explanation is roughly comparable to our own, we count that as a positive result. If not, then it’s a negative. For this sort of test, we generally want a sample size of about 20 people and a positive conversion of about 80%.

The conversion has to be very high because regardless of what our value proposition is, people should understand it.

I agree!  How many B2B websites do you go to where you read the entire home page and go....."????" 

Yeah...pretty much every one I coach I have to figure out what they're actually selling.

Is it extra hard for a b2b company to explain simply what they do?

Or does it just take practice?

You are good at asking questions. :)In my opinion people don't push themselves hard enough to read their copy from the customer's vantage point.

Wow, it's amazing any of them survive in business!

I think it's particularly common in B2B because those startup founders likely have deep industry experience. The same experience that allows them insights into an industry is usually coupled with highly specialized "expert" vocabulary which many of their customers won't be as familiar with.

e.g. a B2B startup I'm currently worked with used the term Customer Lifetime Value in their product, only to start getting customer support calls asking, "What is Customer Lifetime Value?"

I guess the key is to avoid getting caught up in one's own jargon.

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