Three tips for selling in an early market, with a particular focus on selling IoT devices in 2017: find early adopters, start with a pilot, and identify partners who understand how to foster change.
A reasoned rule approach is a good first step to managing decisions that fall into common patterns or cases. You identify six to eight variables that are distinct and obviously impact the outcome of the case and normalize them into standard scores that can then be added or averaged to create a summary score.
Customer development–discovery driven sales–requires that you first understand the customer’s problem then present a vision of a solution. If that is acceptable you can proceed to a demonstration that provides technical proof of value.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start negotiating a complex business relationship: for example a software license, SaaS subscription, or a reseller or OEM relationship. Entire books are written on negotiation, I am trying to highlight some questions that can get overlooked.
Our September/October 2016 newsletter explores different aspects of the challenge pricing to value: setting the price of your product based on the value that it offers a prospect.
Here are fifteen quotes that each communicate a different truth about negotiation. I have added some commentary to suggest how to apply them.
Texas Hold’Em offers some useful models for technology startups: pick the right table (competitors) and understand how your cards best combine with common cards (the status quo and adjacent possible)
I have learned the hard way whenever I wish for smarter prospects it means I need to improve my presentation, demo, or proposal: whatever it is that I have offered them that they didn’t understand, or believe, or decide to act on.
You can only capture a share of the value that you create if you want to create a sustainable business. While you need to assess the likely return on investment from your efforts and your probability of success, you also need to look at any deal from the other side of the table. It’s as important to minimize risk for you and your customer as it is to maximize value.
You may have been the smartest person in the room for a long time, but getting into a room with a customer changes that because a key knowledge domain of interest is the customer’s situation and needs. Here are some suggestions for how to keep learning instead of acting like the smartest person in the room.
A recent question from an office hours session on how to handle a prospect asking you to critique a competitor when both of you have new offerings in a new application area.
David Telleen-Lawton has more than two decades of customer development. This blog post on the nitty gritty of setting up customer discovery meetings is adapted from his presentation at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference.
In your early customer discovery conversations to assess demand for a new offering a wide range of customer needs and symptoms can trigger a leap to a solution, which just happens to be yours. Guard against this by probing to understand the root problem–have at least three questions that allow you to dig out the details–and consider questions that would disqualify your solution.
Only ask your customers for referrals, don’t jump the gun and ask prospects to recommend you, especially if they have not even had a chance to use your product.
Our November 2015 newsletter highlights referrals, which we define as an introduction inspired by your ability to help the prospect with a problem or need.
After every Great Demo! workshop we follow up with every participant to learn
- What results have you observed from applying the Great Demo! method so far?
- Do you have any success stories to report or share?
- Are there any questions you’d like to have addressed regarding the methods or concepts? Have you encountered situations where you’d like additional help or recommendations?
Abigail Miller, a Pre-Sales IT Consultant with Agfa Healthcare, a workshop in May of 2015 and wrote this email in reply:
Two key tasks we help early stage teams with are preparing for and executing successful negotiations of complex long-term business relationships. These early sales efforts must foster value co-creation with customers because both parties understanding of requirements will continue to evolve as the product is deployed and gains wider use.
- Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now.
- Assess the current situation and system.
- Ascertain who is trusted and who people turn to for advice, and weave them into your network.
- Guide the change. Consider where global principles apply, and what can evolve locally.
- Design experiments in collaboration with people who are involved in the change.
These same rules are essential to making a complex sale. What follows are my notes on her talk.