In the world of startups, product-market fit is key to success. It’s the process of matching a product or service with a target market that has an urgent need for it. And no one understands this better than Figma. This tech company had early success by targeting other start-ups.

The urgency driver was almost always the desire to be able to get whole groups & orgs moving faster to design with a shared understanding—everyone looking for efficiency wins while fighting with org growth & complexity.

John Lilly, Investor

Figma provided what these start-ups were looking for—something more collaborative than Adobe Creative Suite, and something that could help speed up the process of designing web and mobile products. Let’s break down how Figma found its product market fit through urgency and pain points. 

Understanding Urgency 

Finding product-market fit means understanding customer needs on both a micro and macro level. On a micro level, companies must understand what their customers are looking for in terms of features, usability, and cost. On a macro level, they must understand customer needs in terms of urgency—what is happening for the individual or for their company that makes that pain incredibly important to address, RIGHT NOW. In Figma’s case, it was the need for these mobile-first start-ups like AirBNB and Uber to iterate product design faster than the market.   

Identifying Pain Points 

Every founder and go-to-market executive knows they must identify pain points within their target market—problems that customers want solved but don’t yet have the tools or resources to do so themselves. In Figma’s case, the problem was simple: Adobe Creative Suite was not designed for product design and did not make it easy for the design and product team to collaborate Figma identified this pain point and created a solution that not only addressed it but also offered much more in terms of collaboration between teams and individuals alike.  (Adobe bought Figma in September 2022 for $20B so clearly they recognized the new market opportunity).      

Creating Solutions That Match the Pain 

Once companies have identified customer needs on both levels—urgency and pain points—they can begin creating solutions that address those needs while also offering unique features or benefits that set them apart from competitors in the space. For example, even though Figma offers collaboration capabilities similar to those found in Adobe Creative Suite, it also offers team sharing options so multiple people can work on projects simultaneously without having to worry about overwriting each other’s work or losing track of changes made along the way. This feature alone sets them apart from competitors and ensures that customers will keep coming back for more. 

Hunting for Urgency Rather than Creating It

For years, sellers and marketers have focused on qualifying prospects who have the pain their solution addresses. But often, go-to-market (GTM) teams do not know what was the urgency trigger within their customers that made them BUY NOW. Purchasing software, especially for an enterprise larger than a small business requires internal navigation that is difficult. Not only does the champion need to align with their colleagues, but they often have to achieve buy-in from finance, data privacy, security and others. It’s “minefieldy” according to former Gartner Distinguished Vice President Brent Adamson. To navigate the minefield, the champion has to be very motivated and vendors have to enable these buyers. Discounts and incentives may help, but finding champions who have an urgency trigger is a much more reliable and profitable strategy.

Common Urgency Triggers:

  1. New Leader – change in leadership can slow down purchases, but often the new leader has an agenda or mandate. If your product definitively accelerates his/her mandate, you win. Best case scenario – the new leader has leveraged you previously in another role and you are their winning playbook. New leader can be internal or externally sourced. Track your customers’ job moves and if you have enough customers, User Gems can be helpful.
  2. Market embarrassment – competitors using your solution are measurably winning over your prospect – and they know it. They need a quick fix that can catch them up or give them an edge. You cannot make this up – if you claim that you are the secret sauce, count on people knowing people and asking. Product Designers were happy to share what an advantage Figma was giving them. Customer advocates come naturally.
  3. Looming Deadlines – if a product or launch or initiative has a deadline and is unlikely to make it, people worry about their jobs and their prospects. If your solution can put a project back on track and keep people from looking bad, that’s urgency. It’s personal. IT means your product has to be easy to buy, easy to deploy and easy to use. If it’s not, this urgency trigger is not for you.


By understanding the power of pain and urgency, sellers and marketers can create a product-market fit that maximizes their success and their growth efficiency. Pain helps to locate a target market and urgency gives them the necessary push to invest in your product. It’s up to you as the seller or marketer to make sure you understand both these aspects, use them strategically together and gauge the impact. Remember: pain tells us the needs of your customers, while urgency points to their behavior – when they need it and why they need it now.

Ultimately, pain+urgency = increased conversion rates which is what all sellers and marketers want. Take time out today to validate your product-market fit by finding out what urgent circumstances are motivating your buyers. Use that knowledge as a tool to refine your offering based on current needs. After all, something can be most desired – but no matter how luxurious it may be – if there’s no urgency attached to it, prospects aren’t likely to buy it anytime soon!

Too often, we believe we can CREATE urgency. Urgency exists without our solutions. Either buyers find you because of urgency or you hunt it to help them discover you.

Joelle Gropper Kaufman

Ready to take the next steps? Want to discover the urgency trigger driving your sales? Let’s talk–we can help you find those answers.