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5 Most Critical Elements of a Successful Contact Center Launch

Contact center implementation is an art and a science, and over 24 years in business, we’ve learned exactly what it takes to make the smoothest transition possible. Every milestone and every moving part is integral to a controlled acceleration towards a seamless transition that results in a positive customer experience. On top of that, the implementation phase – where collaboration is key – is what sets the tone for the duration of your strategic partnership.  No one wants a rocky start to jeopardize the whole thing.

If you’re getting ready to outsource or to launch a customer service RFP process, here are critical factors for a successful launch. (And brace yourself, it’s not a “sign the agreement and watch from the sidelines” situation. Every one of the critical factors requires the investment of time and resources on both sides of the client/outsourcer equation.)

A Comprehensive, Clearly Articulated SLA and SoW

Our SVP of Corporate Services frequently reminds us that stress and discord in business relationships (or more generally… in life) almost always emanates from misplaced expectations. Basically, “It’s not what you got. It’s what you thought you were going to get.” From a spouse not knowing they were supposed to make your coffee this morning (shouldn’t they be able to read your mind?!) to your customer care partner not knowing you expected a zero percent abandon rate (let’s get realistic, folks), successful relationships are founded on clear expectations.

Understanding with complete clarity which measures of success are most important to your organization is the most important aspect of the contact center transition. If we don’t know what success looks like to you before we get out of the gate, we’re guaranteed to fail. It’s that simple.

We need to be on the same page about KPIs and metrics, call volumes and forecasts, training, scheduling, and more well before that magical go-live date.

A Structured Launch Plan

A successful contact center launch isn’t as simple as flipping the switch and 3-2-1 blast off. It begins with a carefully constructed implementation plan that identifies deliverables, owners, dependencies, and timelines. All milestones and objectives need to be clearly defined and assigned to accountable resources. (In your RFP process, when you ask for an implementation timeline, Milestone #1 should be “Build the Implementation Plan.” Don’t mistake the proposed plan included in your RFP response for the firm and final plan. That comes after you’ve awarded the business.)

Adherence to Communication Plans

“Houston, we have a problem.” You never want to hear words like that in the middle of your new customer service program launch, but the famous scenario does emphasize how important communication is. Frequent – and transparent – communication is essential to a smooth takeoff.

Who should be communicating with whom? In our experience, a frequent cadence of communication between leadership on both sides of the equation, as well as between functional area managers on both teams, is critical. Implementation meetings should occur at least weekly, if not several times a week or daily.

Smart Resource Allocation

A successful program launch cannot happen in a vacuum. Implementation often depends upon the unhindered efforts of different functional resources from both teams. Key resources simply must be able to make the customer care program transition their top priority to ensure success. If executive buy-in is needed to clear the way to meet milestones, a reorganization of priorities has to happen in advance. If your tech team is too caught up in other deliverables to meet with your partner’s tech team, for example, the launch is likely to be negatively impacted.

Strategic Partnership

Overall, launching your outsourced contact center for long-term success requires a highly strategic partnership with your outsourcer. Two critical factors behind this partnership are, simply, trust and cultural alignment. You must be able to trust your contact center partner, their experience, and their processes. Of course, to have that confidence, you need a partner that is transparent in their capabilities, expectations, and track record. Once established, trust will facilitate effective communication throughout the implementation process.

For example, we always tell our prospective clients, we’re going to drop the ball at some point. It is inevitable that something will go wrong, however slightly, along the way. How we handle that with our clients is the important part, and our approach is to resolve issues through transparency, proactive communication, ownership, and action.

Cultural alignment is equally important. When the mission and values of both organizations align, it is much easier for the outsourcer to embody your brand when interacting with your customers. Strategic agent hiring and training is also key here, so that your brand experience is delivered seamlessly to customers from the moment your outsourced contact center goes live.

Will Your Contact Center Launch Be Successful?

A smooth launch is paramount to the long-term success of your outsourced contact center program. If a solid foundation isn’t in place, things will fall apart quickly. Clear expectations, frequent communication, detailed plans, dedicated resources, and strategic partnership are all must-have elements – on both sides of the table.

Looking to transition your contact center? Check out our list of contact center RFP questions, or request pricing directly today.

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4 Essential Resources to Read Before You Craft Your Contact Center RFP

You’re no stranger to RFPs. Love them or hate them, the undeniable truth is that they’re crucial to making informed business decisions about future vendors and partners. The purpose of a contact center RFP is no different: it’s an essential process to use when choosing an outsourcer. However, the contact center RFP is unique and can’t be modeled on the same old RFP template used for other services your company may procure.

Your contact center partner owns a huge part of your customer experience. And customer experience comes with complexities not found in other service offerings. And your outsourced partner is going to act as an extension of your own brand, so their employee experience, hiring philosophy, and corporate culture truly matter. Thus, crafting your contact center RFP takes thoughtful preparation. Here are our most popular resources to guide you in crafting an RFP that will address the unique challenges of selecting a contact center partner.

1. Sample Contact Center RFP Timeline

We get it: you urgently need a new contact center outsourcer. But despite the time crunch, sending out an RFP with a short deadline is unlikely to yield the reliable results you need.

The right partner, the one that will serve your business best in the long run, goes through a deeply collaborative internal process to collect the information you request. The most helpful RFP response – one that is thoughtful and custom-tailored to your unique business scenario – can only be attained through an equally thoughtful RFP process and timeline on your side of the table.

Definitely check out this article for more guidelines on the contact center RFP timeline.

2. 51 New Contact Center RFP Questions

Your boilerplate RFP template might be a reliable, time-tested resource for other industries and services, but the contact center industry is unique. That said, the process of figuring out the right RFP questions doesn’t have to be stressful. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of questions for you to use.

These contact center RFP questions are designed to effectively compare vendors while digging deep into details that will drive your decision. For ease of use, we divided these 51 questions into six categories, including: company overview, agent hiring/training, contact center reporting, project management, and pricing.

Don’t stress. Rely on this article to help put together your RFP.

3. Writing a Contact Center RFP? 10 Mistakes to Avoid

Speaking of stress, even armed with the right questions and backed by a thoughtful timeline, there’s still room for mistakes to be made and decisions to be compromised. It’s just an unfortunate part of the procurement process (we’ve all been there).

We’ve compiled a list of the mistakes we see most often in the contact center RFP process. These are areas that are frequently overlooked amidst the urgency and complexity of your needs. Don’t neglect these crucial parts of your RFP. Read on!

4. 5 Top Procurement Tips for Seeking an Outsourced Contact Center

This resource looks at the big picture of contact center procurement.  We recognize that seeking an outsourced partner is one of the biggest undertakings for any procurement professional. It requires a thorough understanding of an industry that even the best RFP response can’t necessarily communicate. A truly exhaustive evaluation of contact center options also requires an intimate understanding of your own company and its culture and brand.

The more complex your customer service scenarios, the more you need a trusted partner over a generic service provider. At Blue Ocean, we take that partnership seriously. It’s why we put together this article examining the 5 steps to building that relationship from scratch. We’re all about sharing valuable insight and keeping your best interests front and center. Can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Take the Stress Out of the Contact Center RFP

We’re big on partnership, starting from the very first interaction you have with Blue Ocean. That’s why we’re not shy about sharing our perspective, knowledge and experience with you before anyone signs on the dotted line. We hope our expertise will help you ease the stress of crafting your contact center RFP.

Got questions? Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to chatting.

The Contact Center Buyer's Guide eBook Download

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Sales Agent opportunity, seeking insight and advice

One of my vendors wants me to partner up with him to sell his products. The reason he wants me is because he's terrible with computers (he doesn't know how to email or Excel) and his English is non existent. But...he hustles hard. He's built his business without education, I mean literally, he didn't even finish primary school.

I would rather act as an agent for him because I have my own business to run. But he'll pay for my plane ticket to trade shows, while I pay for my lodging.

The industry is stones and minerals and products that can be manufactured from them.

He's offering me a take 30% of net profits of sales that I make but he's open to anything I suggest. I'm thinking we should calculate my take based off gross profit for simplicity. In addition, I don't know what is a fair percentage of gross sales to suggest.

What are your thoughts?

submitted by /u/ThinkMoreDumbLess
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Debate : is good sales person a good manipulator ?

Draw the line !

submitted by /u/groschef2256
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Disabling copy option

Is it wise to disable the copy your content option on your website, to try to prevent stealing your website content?

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Should I "no-index" Pages That Can’t Rank in the Top 100?

I've got an affiliate website with user reviews (legit, mind you) on some merchants. Some of these pages have hundreds, sometimes thousands of reviews yet, they can't rank anywhere in Google's top 100 results for "[merchant name] reviews".

I understand that Google doesn't see much value in these pages so should I set them to no-index to improve the overall quality of my website while I work the review pages to add more value?

submitted by /u/PuffPuff74
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Today’s Brands Require A Female-Lens

Today’s Brands Require A Female-Lens

Let’s hear it for our Fathers. All of them – from our fathers who save lives in the emergency room, to our fathers who program in A.I. and our fathers who market in business. We know the fore-fathers we learned about in University and the founding fathers who developed the practice of law and the many men who captain industry and become the chiefs. Whether inventing the steam trains, stepping foot on the moon or building color televisions – our fathers have left their name and influence on history.

From an evolutionary perspective this was the natural order. It is an undeniable truth that our fathers’ began laying the tracks upon which we have arrived at this destination. They developed the transport systems, fought the wars and farmed our crops. They used their XY chromosomal gifts to construct our bridges, plant our trees and build our cities. We have recorded men working tirelessly at the coal face and in the words of Thomas Carlyle: “the history of the world is but the biography of great men”.

Why It’s Men’s Business

The business world we know today has likewise been erected by great men: we have received the tablets from their mountains, been instructed in their methodology, received lessons and scholarly counsel. Men created our learning institutions, take Cambridge, dating from 12th century and one of the oldest and most respected Universities, where females were accepted as students but only after 640 years had passed. Back then such little resonance did women have that they were denied validation for the degree they studied for. It was late 18th century that female matriculation and graduation was eventually granted.

Next consider our reading lists – books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad (but not Rich Mom, Poor Mom). Napoleon Hill and later Warren Buffet, taught men how to think and grow rich but no female equivalent lives. We have the Tools of Titans, but not the Tools of Goddesses. In most facets of our profession, the male lens is the only model for the indoctrination of incoming generations.

The history of brand management dates back roughly seventy-five years, built in a time where men were men and women were housewives – formed through periods where the principles and doctrines of their thinking became the constructs and established practices still preeminent today. An era where women had a very different undertaking and role in society without the right to vote and deprived of much voice in shaping our future.

This cycle of male-lensing has continued in a virtuous circle for centuries but now a slew of data is changing our future. We value that which we can measure – and now we can access and illuminate a new intelligence and proof of female influence.

Different Good, Not Different Bad

In utero hormonal chemistries show the moment the developing fetus becomes male or female. There are brain studies and MRI scans that show distinctive patterns in the hemispheres of M and F brain activity when exposed to the same stimulus. Neuroscience shows us dissimilar trace lines between the genders when tested with exactly the same piece of communication.

This science and data has shown us what different quadrupeds men and women are which may explain the global divorce rate at 44%! There’s nothing wrong with being different but there is something wrong with not acknowledging the significance that these differences have.

Designed back in 1930’s, revisiting segmentation seems an essential step forward. As the Father of Segmentation, Phil Kotler advises, “in order for a segment to be viable, it must be measurable, substantial, accessible, differentiable and actionable.” Well it would seem then that gender checks all of these boxes.

So why is it that we do not use sex difference as the first point of segmenting analysis? Let me bring back the evidence in the earlier part of my discussion. Fore-Fathers ‘built this city’, not Mothers. The legacy lens in modern business practices has been bias to one lens only – and not yet privy to the inception of the female lens.

Consider if you were selling a gender-neutral product like aspirin, consumed by both men and women. Before starting the market segmentation process understanding the macro-purchasing behavior in the category makes sense. Ergo, if women are the main purchasers of OTC pharma at 90% F to 10% M; then surely gender is going to be a big factor in segmenting markets on the meaningful, actionable grid? It would also factor in the way products are developed, marcomms are advanced and media is purchased.

The Fastest Growing Economy Is Female

E&Y predict that by 2028 women will influence 75% of household discretionary spend. BCG published ‘Women Want More’, based on a global study of women with fast facts and numbers showing the growing force of female-spent dollars. Women are earning their own income as well as spending their family budget. Yet the status quo in business is the one that men developed. Long story short; we are still indoctrinated with a legacy model and lens that was developed by fore fathers.

This makes the financial upside of gender-intelligence a really difficult, often avoided, political hot-potato. It gets confused and mixed up among all the other equally important social-issues around feminism, sexual identification and equality. Under a pile of gooey-gendered political-correctness is a commercial value not being realized. We are not considering the facts around category influencer, overall spend and share of wallet when it comes to female customers.

The Blind Spots

Gender-neutralizing, gender streamlining, and gender homogenizing our world has culminated in valuable design and product requirements being overlooked. Worse still it ignores essential brand behaviors that women desire. While some categories would have thought they are market-oriented to female; many are left with a vacuum.

Look at the business disruption in Feminine Hygiene where the last product-innovation took place a century ago until recently. A disruptive new-player burst on the scene knowing that just because the category might have been “female” it was still guilty of male-lensing. THINX started soaking up the dissatisfied dissonance by clearly focusing their female-lens with market-oriented insights and subsequent solutions that leave many a leak in the old legacy lens.

The female-lens in business is disrupting categories seemingly from nowhere. From ride share to shopping for cosmetics without counters to customizing designs for women’s physiological differences to changing the landscape of the athletic-wear category. The new world order is here.

Irrespective of the gender of our workforce – growth happens when both men and women employ this female-lens to better understand their booming and influential female market. In a flat and tough market this should be the best tool of strategic advantage.

Women are a Renaissance-like opportunity but where we once saw Michelangelo’s Creation of Man, we now need to deliberately paint in the image of woman and start recognizing the world from her perspective.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Bec Brideson, Founder, Venus Comms

The Blake Project Can Help: Accelerate Brand Growth Through Powerful Emotional Connections

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5 Things You Need to Do Before the Old AdWords UI Is Retired

5 Things You Need to Do Before the Old AdWords UI Is Retired
Allen Finn
Last updated: June 20, 2018

It’s official, people. July 10: A date which will live in infamy.

Per an email sent to advertisers last night, starting on July 10th, 2018, “the new AdWords will become the exclusive way to manage your account…

new interface old adwords ui

...and access to the previous experience will no longer be available.”

We’ve all had access to the new UI – with its sleek transitions and moderately useful visualizations – for some time now, though its use was by no means mandated. Instead, there was a neat little CTA stuck in the corner of ye olde AdWords that suggested taking some lightning-quick new tool for a spin in the name of improved productivity.    

cta old adwords ui

In mere weeks, getting more done will no longer be optional. Weep, luddites.

If you’ve been familiarizing yourself with the new AdWords UI for months, its nested layout and slew of new features (many of which were never given a home in the old UI) will be old hat come early July. For those old dogs unwilling to learn new tricks, though, I’ve put together a list of everything you need to do before old faithful rides off into the sunset.

#1: Take the Guided Tour

Things I enjoy: museums, historical homes, breweries.

Thing I do not: moving through them at someone else’s canned, pre-programmed pace.

Following and listening to tour guides isn’t for me, and I’d wager a fair number of you don’t love it either. For something as complex – and, you know, tied to my credit card – as the AdWords Experience™, though, I am willing to make an exception.

get started old adwords ui

(Mostly due to the fact that it’s only five steps long.)

The tour gives you an idea as to where important stuff lives within the new UI. It points out the locations of:

  • The navigation panel, which allows you to jump between active/inactive campaigns and ad groups of a given type (search, display, video, shopping, or all of the above.
  • The page menu – for my money the most important new feature – which allows you to bounce between everything from extensions and adjustments to audiences and change history.

  • The new home for tools and reporting.

  • The help icon (really useful!).

  • And finally, the overview tab, which serves up piping hot account-specific insights for your viewing pleasure.

Quick. Concise. Useful.

My kinda tour.

#2: Ensure Your Filters, Rules & Reports Are In Working Order

While your data and most of your reporting will be pulled into the new UI, there are a handful of reports and rules that were altered or nixed entirely. For example, the dimensions tab (a personal favorite) now lives within the reporting icon and goes by “Predefined Reports.”


Rules-wise, any rule that relies on a column no longer available within AdWords will cease to function within your account. I’m not going to list them out because there are a few dozen, but further details can be found here. Note that filters that make use of these columns will not imported either.

reports old adwords ui

Reporting that’s going kaput includes:

  • Destination URL performance report
  • Managed placement performance report
  • Automatic placement performance report
  • Placement report

Reporting that will continue to exist but with significant changes includes:

  • Reports containing columns that no longer exist.
  • Reports containing child accounts no longer managed in your MCC.
  • Reports using columns not yet supported by Report Editor, like: Historical quality score, Landing page experience, Exp CTR, and Ad relevance.

You should also note that reports currently in .XLSX format will be transformed to .CSV format.

#3: Wrap Your Head Around New Features

As I mentioned before, Google has been rolling out new features since the end of last year that never surfaced in the old AdWords UI. Smart way to save resources and entice users to give the new interface a go at the same time, huh?

  • Bid adjustments for calls - Ensure your call extensions show more often!
  • Showcase shopping ads - Present your products in a new ad format that groups related items together for juicy SERP dominance.
  • Audience manager - Aligns targeting options across display and RLSA.
  • Promotion extensions - Append limited offers and discount codes to your search ads.
  • Ad variations - A/B test without having to write a million and one headlines on your own (then roll with the top performer).
  • Outstream video campaigns - Reach audiences with video beyond YouTube.
  • TrueView for action campaigns - Add CTA’s and headlines to your existing video creative.

As you’ve probably guessed, some of these features are little more than window dressing (looking at you, outstream video campaigns). Others have the potential to be absolute game-changers for your account.

promotion extensions old adwords ui

For example, our research has shown that Promotion Extensions more than double CTR when compared to that of regular search ads. I know the learning curve might be steep, but make sure you take the time to educate yourself on the feature that didn’t exist in the old UI (as well as reacquainting yourself with the ones that did).

#4: Commit the Quick (?) Reference Map to Memory

The first thing you’ll notice in the new UI is that the layout is a drastic departure from what you’ve gotten used to. There are means of navigation oriented both horizontally and vertically; right out of the gate, that it is not intuitive.

Fortunately, Google has assembled something of a map to make it clear where things live and how to get there:

new layout old adwords ui

As you can see, navigation is divided into 5 unique segments, each of which is loaded with its own suite of subnavs. You can download a printable one-pager that outlines the location of key features here. (I recommend printing it out or leaving it up on an extraneous monitor until you’re comfortable with where the tools you lean on live)

#5: Start AdWordsing Already!

You’ve looked, now it’s time to leap.

logo old adwords ui

Switching over to the new interface is daunting, but once you get the hang of it, the nested features and navigation become pretty manageable (I’ve been switching back to the old UI to do larger tasks, so I’ve got some intuiting to do, too).

Allen Finn

Allen Finn writes many things at WordStream, where he reigned as fantasy football champion for some time. He likes marveling at funky beer labels, every beat on Liquid Swords, most cuts of beef, and New Hampshire.


Introducing VerticalResponse Pop Ups

Building your email list just became a whole lot easier. We’re excited to introduce VerticalResponse Pop Ups. Now you can enhance your website or landing pages with customized pop-up forms that capture email sign-ups and sync seamlessly with your VerticalResponse contact lists — so you can quickly follow up with new subscribers.

What are VerticalResponse Pop Ups?

Everyone has some experience with pop-ups — the smaller windows that appear while you’re browsing a website. As a business owner who needs to grab readers’ attention, you can count on Pop Ups to put your message front and center and help you achieve your marketing goals. In addition to delivering timely information to website visitors, Pop Ups are a powerful list-building tool. Having a fresh, robust email contact list helps you reach prospective customers. While there are so many ways you can go about list-building, adding a Pop Up to your website is one of the quickest and easiest options.

Creating a custom Pop Up in VerticalResponse is simple. Using the same editor you use to create emails in VerticalResponse, you can customize forms that not only collect visitors’ email addresses but also gather other data about your audience, such as phone numbers, geographic locations and birthdates. Embedding the form on your website is easy and doesn’t require any technical or coding experience.

Why use Pop Ups?

Grow email lists and customer intelligence. Use pop-up forms to gather data on prospects or customers such as name, email, birthday, phone number and location. Use that data to get a better picture of who your audience is, so you can provide them with the most relevant marketing content possible.

Generate leads and sales. After collecting email addresses through the Pop Up’s sign-up field, leverage the Welcome Series feature in VerticalResponse to create a lead nurture campaign and immediately engage new subscribers.

Save time. Build and customize your opt-in form in minutes. Once you’ve added the Pop Up to your website, all the data gathered is automatically added to your specified email contact list, so you can start nurturing those new leads right away.

Match your brand. Customize the Pop Up with fonts, colors and styles that match your existing website design. For further personalization, upload your own background image. When you’re happy with your design, preview the form right inside the Pop Ups editor.

Flexible placement. You decide where on your website or landing page the Pop Up will look best. Placement options include centered, left sidebar or bottom banner.

Track Pop Up performance. Know how your Pop Up performs with reports that show how many visitors viewed it and how many signed up for your list.

Here’s how to create Pop Ups for your website or VerticalResponse Landing Page:

Creating a new Pop Up can be done in four simple steps.

Step 1: Setup

Click the Leads tab in the VerticalResponse app, and then click “Create Pop Up.” 

Lead Sources

You have six different layout options as to where the form will be placed on your website: Centered, full screen, top banner, bottom banner, left sidebar or right sidebar.

Widget select

For each layout, there are two template options that you can select from for the starting point of your design.

Select a template

Step 2: Design

Add content blocks, edit content and select the page style in the Pop Ups editor. You have the option to include several different form fields. From visitors’ email addresses to their website addresses, you will be able to collect the information that you need.

Design your pop up block

To ensure that visitors completely fill out forms, you have the option to create required fields. If a site visitor does not fill in a required field, they will see a red error in the form field.

Step 3: Rules

Name the Pop Up (this is for your reference only, and will not be displayed to website visitors), and then choose whether you would like the Pop Up to appear on your own domain or on a Landing Page that you’ve already created in your VerticalResponse account.

Select when the Pop Up will be triggered:

  • When a visitor lands on a page 
  • When a visitor tries to leave the page 
  • After a visitor scrolls down a percentage of the page (you can select between 10% and 100%)
  • After a delay you determine (you can select between 5 and 60 seconds, in five-second increments)

Select how often the Pop Up appears:

  • Once per visitor
  • On every visit
  • Every certain number of visits (you can select between 1 and 10 visits)
  • Only on certain visits (can select between the first and tenth visits)
  • Not on the first visit but on all following visits

Implement your rules for popups

Step 4: Publish

This step confirms that the Pop Up is published and provides the embed code that you will need to paste into your website just before the </body> tag. Even if you chose to use a VerticalResponse-created Landing Page in step 3, you will still need to go into the Landing Page and add the embed code. The code will not be added automatically.

After you add a Pop Up to your website or Landing Page, you can view all of your Pop Ups by clicking on “Leads” in the top navigation. This will let you select the status of each Pop Up (choosing whether to keep it active or not), as well as view the number of visitors and conversions, and the conversion rate.

Popup is published

VerticalResponse Pop Ups help you gather new newsletter subscribers, connect with prospects who want to learn more about your products or services, and collect visitor demographic information that enables you to create more targeted marketing messages. Start creating Pop Ups today.

Spend less time reaching more customers

© 2018, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.

The post Introducing VerticalResponse Pop Ups appeared first on VerticalResponse Blog.


WTF is Product/Market Fit?

Product/market is less intuitive than it should be. When founders ask me whether they’re ready to start a growth team, I often spend the first conversation helping them figure out whether they have product/market fit. Growth teams only magnify and accelerate your business — they cannot create product/market fit for you.