Crossing the chasm is one the best books I ever read. I go back to the book several times – what bothers me, is I seem to forget the main objectives of the book.
But could “The Chasm” be a sales model? An input to a “new-market” sales-team? It seems like the model suits to the Software+Services (SaaS, red.) business very well, as many vendors and suppliers actually is right in the center of the chasm. And we now a few facts:
- Buys from a specific market/segment, buy from vendors/suppliers in the same market. Example: Small Business buy from small business.
- A vendor/supplier can though marketing, act as a different market/segment. Example: Microsoft does a good job in selling to small biz.
- People react to people that illustrate themselves. Example: Innovators like to buy from a innovative sales man.
- Salespeople can be divided by the bell curve – as followed by rules of (1) and (2). Example: Selling to laggards typically is though key account management, opposite to innovators whom buys from the internet.
So crossing the chasm is about understanding if your buyer is a follower or a leader – first mover vs. second mover. You could actually divide your sales staff in the same area of competency.
So my point is to understand the area where the customer is, you will need to understand where you sales people are.
From the detailed image above, we could argue that #1 can happen even though we supply bad product marketing. Just by being the first in the market, will actually sell a solution. Looking at #2 our product and staff must meet the customer expectations, and 50% of the buyers will be comparing prices, as the other 50% will be looking for comfort and support.
The #3 block will narrow the selection, and only a face-to-face meeting, a complete solution-selling approach to understanding the pain of the customer; will end in a closed deal.
Summing up, you can actually cross the chasm by setting your expectations to the sales staff, do better product marketing, and by reading the book 😉
A hint: If you own a market for a given time, you probably is located before the chasm. Be aware that is could help you move by helping you competitors – resulting in the commodity and mainstream market – which is big enough to the both (or several) of you!