Sunday, February 27, 2011

Startups Can’t Sell To Corporations

Startups can’t sell to corporations. Corporations don’t feel pain. They don’t have needs. A startup can, however, sell to the people in a corporation.

This might seem like a pointless distinction, but more often than not, an entrepreneur tries to sell to the needs of the corporation. Her sales deck focuses on ROI, increased sales, cost reductions, or EPS increases. But a customer will never buy for these reasons. A customer buys a product because it improves his life. It eliminates his pain or makes him happy.

To be successful, an entrepreneur needs to understand how her product will impact the decision maker.

  • Will this solve one of his biggest problems?
  • Will it reduce or increase his workload?
  • Will it make him look good to his boss?
  • Will it make him look unorthodox? Does the company culture support risk taking?
  • Will he need to fight with other departments to get approval?
  • Will he have to struggle for a bigger budget?
  • Will it get him a promotion or could he lose his job?
  • Will it make him happier?

These are the questions bouncing around in your prospect’s head. Take the time to understand him and how buying your product will benefit him. Then craft your strategy and message to discreetly accentuate that benefit.