The Ultimate Guide to Market Validation

Table of Contents Market validation is a crucial aspect of any startup’s success. It involves finding out whether there is a market for your product or service, and if so, how you can make it stand out.   What is the Labs Program? The Whistle Labs program is designed to help founders find the shortest possible path to success by connecting them with design partners and real market feedback. In this post, we explore the various steps involved in the Whistle Labs program, including the Total Contactable Market, Ideal Customer Profile, Channel Validation, and the Survey & Market Validation Report.   Step One (A):  Total Contactable Market The first step in the Whistle Labs program is to assess the Total Contactable Market (TCM) and understand how many buying contacts exist in the market. This involves estimating the size of the total contactable market based on existing contact data across the most popular databases, tools, and websites. This will give a fair evaluation of the total findable buying contacts in a certain market. The Whistle Labs team will run a report across the most prevalent databases and tools, as well as online search engines, to determine the TCM.   Step One (B): Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) The second step is to refine the TCM using filters based on the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) criteria of the  companies. The exercise also allows the founders to create criteria by which to target their buyers. The ICP criteria include location, company industry, company size, company revenue, company headcount, company age, company type, seniority, experience of contact, contact title, funding size, tech stack, and other custom criteria. Refining the TCM using the ICP criteria helps to identify the most relevant buying contacts for the startup.   Step One (C): Channel Validation The third step is to understand how contactable the Ideal Customers are and scoring them. This involves the availability of accurate contact information for the ideal customer, based on the above filters/targeting. The Whistle Labs team will score the contactability of the ideal customers based on the likelihood that they will respond on each of three primary B2B outreach channels: Phone, LinkedIn, and Email. The phone channel will be scored from 1-3 based on whether the person answers the phone directly (3), the phone number reaches their personal voicemail (2), or if there is a gatekeeper or extension path with no direct answer or voicemail (1). The LinkedIn channel will be scored 1-3 based on whether the person has a fully built profile with over 500 followers and has had activity in the past week (3), if the person has a profile built with less than 500 followers and activity in more than the past week (2), or if the person has no profile or hardly any activity on LinkedIn (1). The email channel will be scored 1-3 based on whether the email is accurate and we have a read receipt (3), whether the email is accurate but we don’t have a read receipt (2), or if the email is inaccurate (1).   Step One (D):  Report The final step in the first phase of the Whistle Labs program is to provide a report that summarizes the TCM, ICP, and Channel Validation. This report helps the founders to identify the most relevant buying contacts and the best outreach channels to reach them.   Step Two: Survey and Market Validation Report Step Two of the Whistle Labs program is the Market Validation Program, which includes a comprehensive survey and validation report. The first step is to confirm the need for the product or service through buyer surveys, which will provide valuable feedback to the team. The Whistle Marketing team will then work with the founders to develop a strong and effective core message, followed by the segmentation of lists and creation of a feedback survey based on the needs, timing, current solutions, and openness of potential buyers to learning or attending a sales call. The program will also include A/B testing on the core messages of the founders to gauge relatability and understand which messages are resonating with the audience. Additionally, the team will work to understand the purchase process for the ideal customer by discussing with prospective customers how they typically evaluate and purchase similar solutions and receiving their feedback on the proposed business model. Reporting will include transcripts of calls, word mapping, and contact sample separation, including those in the market, open, and anti. The team will generate a report sent to the founder and VC on TAM and Total Contactable Market, as well as recommendations based on market feedback regarding problem identification, targeting, market readiness, messaging, and interest level. The third step in the Whistle Labs program is the Hubspot CRM setup and reporting. As a Platinum Hubspot partner, the team will assist the startup in setting up a discounted Hubspot Sales Professional license (for eligible startups) and create properties, workflows, dashboards, and reports to track campaign performance and responses. They will also help with creating sequences and messaging for A/B testing and guide and train the startup on Hubspot best practices.   Key Metrics for Success: To measure the success of the program, the Whistle Labs team has identified key metrics that they will track.    Defining your ICP The first metric is understanding how to define an ideal client practically, finding them, and providing recommendations for getting in touch with them.  Message building and testing The second metric is building and testing messaging, providing feedback, and optimizing the message to understand the words and interests of ideal clients.  Communicating The third metric is communicating with and learning from the ideal clients to understand their challenges, goals, interest level, and support for the venture. Evaluation  Lastly, the team will evaluate how successful the startup is in meeting with ideal clients to drive design partnerships or understanding why rejections for a meeting from ideal clients occur to prepare for future go-to-market activities.   The Whistle Labs program is designed to help