Do you have an “interesting product”? In the second of his startup success series, Nick Kingsbury alerts entrepreneurs to an unexpected danger!

The signs:
• Your white papers are actually being read by people
• You are being asked to speak at conferences (without having to pay!)
• Getting customer meetings is not hard
• You are dealing with the tech team at the customer rather than the business users

If this is happening to you, watch out. You’re in this for sales not to educate the market. Amadeus investor Nick explains how to avoid thought leadership trouncing sales.

Check out the video and see Nick’s Q&A below for more.

You suggest it’s not good  to engage with innovation teams at the customer; what is wrong with that?

Nothing wrong per se but remember part of their job is to educate themselves in new technology that could be relevant to their organisation. One of their KPIs could be “number of new products assessed”.

The critical thing is to ensure business line managers are also involved and that any Proof of Concept (PoC) projects are paid. Agree defined success criteria and a return on achieving these, i.e., a large order. It will not be contractually binding but it creates a moral obligation. It will also give you a reason to ask to be introduced to the procurement team as the project is proceeding. Publish project plans that extend beyond the PoC into the first phase of full roll out.

How do I persuade a customer to pay for a PoC?

You need to be artful. Tell them that “the board” insists or that that you have a number of customers wanting PoCs and that you must prioritise those who pay.