Selling to early adopters is easier than you think. Honestly! So as you work on a go-to-market strategy — which you absolutely need to do — start with the early adopters if you are in a non-commodity business. Why?
They actively buy
This helps you in your sales process, obviously. Give them what they want, and see what else they are willing to respond to — and what they recoil from. These are, in many ways, your ideal customers. In addition to beginning with a strong sales base from them, you should use them as guinea pigs/litmus tests around what you can effectively sell.
They “get it” even when you’re still working on messaging
Many companies take years to get value proposition, ROI, and central message right. Heck, we were on a call with a relatively-successful brand in terms of revenue and venture capital money received recently. They were about six years old. Most of the people on the call couldn’t speak to their messaging, and they work there! It’s more common than we admit. But as you need to kick tires and experiment with messaging and value prop, these early adopters are still willing to be there because they like the end product/service. So, again, use them as experiments while maintaining a strong revenue base.
They don’t need the discount to buy
Rather, they make yes/no decisions on a new offering of yours. You don’t need to necessarily “entice” or try to “hack” the sales process in some way. Just come at it with “We did this service, and we think the value is X-amount of money.” See what the response is. This will be a good gauge on different product-market fit capabilities as you grow your offerings. They don’t say “we have not budgeted your solution, let’s talk again next year”.
They can live with a product which is 75% finished
They don’t need perfection and understand the back ¼ of features might be on a road map somewhere. They are OK with polishing the turd (ha!) as you go. This is beneficial because it gives you some breathing room in building up the sales pipeline.
They will talk to others
You absolutely need to be using early adopters as referrals. If you’re not, that’s a missed market. Use them as referrals online and in-person. Have them bring friends to small events or showcases you do. Incentivize them for turning more people into adopters; create some type of loyalty or points system that only they can access. (It works better for certain products, admittedly.)