Customer Development

SKMurphy, Inc. offers customer development services for startup entrepreneurs. We are a small team that provides sound strategy and a workable plan to grow your business. Our focus is on early customers and early revenue for technology and expertise products.

Customer Development: Are You Building an MVP or a  Death Star?

Empires Build Death Stars, Rebels Build X-Wing Fighters

At SKMurphy, we prefer helping entrepreneurs master the challenges of a startup business to wrestling with the politics and bureaucracy of large firms. We want to work with small teams who plan to change the world, creating more opportunities than they started with.

We are inspired by

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

We Help You Generate Leads and Close Deals

“Sean is a clear thinker who can frame complex problems in new ways. His unique mix of technology, marketing, and strategic experience are the perfect match for entrepreneurs struggling with formative business ideas. He’s great at keeping you focused and making sure the customer’s perspective is always at the fore of business planning.”
Terry Frazier, CEO, NearLine Publishers, Inc.

Founders want leads and deals. Any tactics or strategies we propose we have to connect the dots explicitly to how this will generate new leads or help them create opportunities or close deals. We also understand the difference between the sales methods needed for new product introduction and those for a product that has many satisfied customers, proven collateral and messaging, and a clear target market.

Founders sell to keep the lights on, meet payroll, but primarily because–in the beginning–no one else can. We work with you directly to rehearse, ride along and support, de-brief, and in any other way that we can make you more effective. To be able to hire a good sales person you will need to demonstrate that they have a working product, a lead generation process that works, and satisfied customers that can be used to substantiate their claims and address the doubts that can block deals from closing.

A Deal Is An Integration Test For Lead Generation & Negotiation Strategies

We are a generalist firm that can look holistically at the new product introduction and implement–often with the help of partners–tactics across a wide range of lead generation techniques with an eye to assist in the negotiation to close of opportunities that are uncovered. We do content development for websites, email campaigns, newsletters, articles, and blog posts. We develop scripts and decks for presentations: live talks, webinars, or videos–and we provide rehearsal and coaching to refine and tune them. But these are all tactics in service of lead generation and preparing for negotiation to close of complex deals.

We look at a closed deal as a successful integration test for the lead generation and negotiation strategies that were employed.

Typical Clients and How We Help Them

If you have demonstrated domain knowledge and expertise, a plan for having a significant impact on a customer problem, and are in the process of exploring the early market for your offering or trying to build on a handful of early customers, we can help. The majority of our clients are teams of two to five engineers or scientists who are bootstrapping, but we have also helped larger firms–even some in the Fortune 500 as well as large non-profits–where they wanted help exploring a new market.

Our “Startup Stages”  model spans the pre-incorporation idea stage to scaling. We have helped  a number of teams come together and assisted them from idea stage to open for business stage to finding and focusing on a niche. We often see a progression from service to system integration to stand-alone product: this allows them to explore the market with MVP’s earlier in the development process in a way that allows for rapid iteration on features.

We are very comfortable helping teams refine their product concept with discovery conversations, probes, and experiments. We help them make sense of the information they have, build models, and craft a plan of action for next steps. In particular we help with lead generation and negotiation to close of early reference accounts for new products. A typical client has a goal is to sell to businesses in a subscription or long term relationship model where the three year value of their new customer is at least $25K. The initial deal sizes may be less but their goal is to provide enough value to justify that price or higher.



SKMurphy workshopsIdea to Revenue
Great Demo
Validating your MVP
Customer Development
Getting More Customers
Engineering Your Sales Process
Learn more

Startup Advisor

SKMurphy Startup AdvisorMastermind
Leaders in Tech
Book Club for Business Impact
Learn more


SKMurphy Early Customers & Early RevenueLeads
Learn more

Quick Links

Bootstrappers Breakfast Link Startup Stages Clients In the News Upcoming Events Office Hours Button Newsletter SignUp