Startup
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There’s a hole in your funnel, dear founder, and it’s caused by misalignment

3 alignment questions every startup team should answer today

Your startup is doing great. You’ve just raised a nice round, there is a lot of hype around your progress, and you managed to attract great talent. Experienced and resourceful A-players usually don’t sit back and wait for orders, they utilize their talent and creativity and push hard towards success.

However, like any fast rocket ship, just a few degrees off and it ends up in a different planet. Now imagine having a leadership team of fast-moving rockets and ask yourself how much of your precious rocket fuel is going to waste?

One of the areas we constantly see misalignment with damaging potential, is user experience and product positioning.

In this article I will share three guiding questions you should raise with your team ASAP, to prevent misalignment and supercharge your performance.

Question #1: How should your users feel about themselves when using your product?

For some, this might sound like soft and unmeasurable criteria. However, the answer to this question can practically dictate every product decision you make. From the on-boarding process and micro-copy, all the way to the tech under the hood. For example, tech-savvy professionals might avoid easy-to-use software because it’s not “professional enough”. No highly skilled professional wants to use software designed in a way that someone on their first day on the job could easily operate.

Once you answered this question clearly, you should ask the next question:

Question #2: Are your marketing and sales efforts honed to generate the same feelings?

We see many companies that aim to make their users feel smart and good about themselves. They tweak every detail in the product to deliver that feeling. Often this doesn’t come as a tactical decision, but a strategical differentiator from the competition. As we’ve seen in many cases, there is misalignment around this target. The marketing team is not optimizing their efforts around that same feeling, pulling in a different set of users, with a different set of expectations into the funnel. This inconsistency can damage conversion and retention rates, not to mention the qualified leads you missed because of that.

Same goes to the sales process. From the way you express yourself in the initial correspondence with a prospect, to the examples you give during a demo. If there is inconsistency in the way customers feel about themselves, your funnel is not optimized.

Question #3: How did you become misaligned around this in the first place?

Misalignment is invisible. Only its symptoms can be seen. So, when you find misalignment, try not to only tackle the symptom, but find its source. If you won’t fix the root cause of the misalignment, it will manifest itself somewhere else, and it’s hard to predict when and where. Use this guiding question to understand what stopped the message from reaching the relevant people, and make sure it won’t happen again.

Often alignment problems fall between the cracks because it’s considered everyone’s responsibility, which in-fact means it’s no one’s.

In conclusion, if you are struggling with improving your performance, alignment around the product positioning can be a great place to start.

If you managed to build a great and efficient execution machine, alignment can help you reach that step-function improvement you were looking for.

Ironically the good news is that misalignment is everywhere. This means you have a secret stash of rocket fuel just waiting to be uncovered. Once you find some and fix it, you will super-charge your execution, quickly and with the resources you already have

Author

Alon Blum