For 12 years we have been the glue between new technology start-ups and a growing audience of potential customers. These customers could be end-users, smart systems integrators and even investors, who now trust AnotherTrail to deliver innovative technology.
Within our service is the actually act of selling; bringing that first customer on-board and creating the partner pull.
Selling heightens the senses. Selling shines a laser on all the strategic messaging, illuminates the bullshit and leaves you with true naked value.
So what do I think makes the perfect technology start-up?
‘That moment after the initial customer presentation, when the key decision maker utters the classical, earth shattering ‘so what?’ and the ground opens up beneath you’.
The clarity of your initial message builds or destroys buyer trust. This is a combination of website, twitter feeds, collateral and customer presentation. Remember it must be in their language with suitable hooks into their world. Make it real!
That message must articulate:
- Target Customers. Who are they? Show the prospective customer you have done due diligence.
- Highlight the need. What is the compelling event or opportunity and what is the preferred outcome?
Yes, this is 101 sales, but far too often start-ups appear as a solution searching for a problem.
So you have the audience’s attention, now pitch the solution.
- The product name and category(e.g. private software or SaaS service)
- Outline the Key Benefit plus a compelling reason to buy.
Again 101 sales, but if by solving a problem you can show significant savings or gains then you further build audience trust.
- Show market awareness by detailing the competition and reiterate why your product is different to the competition.
Now to properly engage the start-up needs a smooth narrative, a storyline that flows to a logical conclusion.
Lead with a quantifiable outcome and how it can be delivered. Something tangible that a potential sponsor can safely champion internally.
Tell them what you think happens if they do nothing, and illustrate your solution resolving the problem.
Remember you must consider both technical and business prospectives.
If your solution has any security element/influence major on that.
I read an article recently where someone complained that use cases where pure hype. For established companies maybe but for start-ups they are credibility lifelines especially if referenceable.
Paying copious sums of money for sector specific positioning charts may work for the rich and famous, but for the start-up it is a case of digging deep into your contacts list and very selective use of:
- Trusted Independent sites
- Analysts, Influencers and independent 3rd parties
- Professional Associations and Communities
When we engage a prospect you can hear them typing in the url of the start-up in the background. So, in addition to that clear differentiated message and use cases, consider producing one or more short professional videos, 5-10 minutes adding more depth. Something they want to return to.
Also keep the website and videos up to date. It is your shop window!
A slide deck illustrates a vision, but more and more prospects want live realistic demonstrations. When I say realistic I don’t mean 20 minutes investigating the data buffering ingress algorithm. Realistic means highlighting the compelling event and quantifiable outcome on their terms.
Be prepared to describe a minimal viable proof-of-concept, if the target asks to try it themselves. Consider :
- Test Plan : with clear acceptance criteria.
- Common material around security, and business case development.
- Show them you understand the wider picture
- That you will help them justify your product
- Procurement : they might instantly snap your hand off, so understand how to sell.
- Routes to market : who are their current partners? Would they consider a new one?
- Competition : if applicable, who are you up against?
I’m privileged to review hundreds of new technology start-ups each year. Some have me tearing my hair out, or reaching for a beer. It’s not their product but the way they present it. Hopefully this article offers some guidance and shines a light on my perfect technology start-up