New product B2B software sales different in kind
Hiring 202 Partners allows you to have a 90-120 day window to validate whether or not your product and services are going to be embraced by the market.
New products, new markets in enterprise software
Startups, and mature software companies launching new enterprise software products into new markets have a lot in common, especially where it’s emerging technology and early markets.
- Classic startups with strong ideas and engineering looking to launch, grow organically or get to or expand from a “series A”
- Mature companies looking to “pivot” or “restart” with a new direction
- Mature West Coast companies looking to launch into the Federal Space
- Mature international companies looking to launch in the US
By new products, we really mean new - new engineering work, or a disruptive twist or re-packaging of on an old formula, not simply the next update to an existing line of business. By new markets, we mean a market where your company is new, or if truly innovative where you are creating a new category and in all cases challenging “big box” incumbents and their partners, from journalists, to analysts, integrators, channels, customer executives, to staff with proprietary certifications.
Picking the right model
Just about everyone knows how consumer products are brought to the market, especially with crowdfunding, web sites and apps. It’s the stuff of movies, popular TV entertainment and get-rich-quick “click porn” across social media sites.
Many industry veterans are familiar with execution-focused sales models for mature products in mature markets, with visions of commoditized inside and outside reps with quotas, established collaterals and scripts punching data about X calls, Y meetings and Z closes into well-oiled CRM systems.
Many such veterans have worked at “big box” vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco or Symantec, completed business school classes with case studies around companies like GE or P&G, or they just googled it!
The challenge of all of this knowledge is that it doesn’t necessarily fit the new product and new market area. If it did, the failure rates of startups, folks trying to establish in Federal, launch in the US, or just get new products out the door would not be so high.
In truth, the Microsoft or Oracle of 2015 are nothing like the scrappy players they were two generations or 40 years ago, when they were struggling to compete with the giants of the day -- DEC, Sybase and Informix (DEC was the genesis of Windows NT, Sybase became Microsoft SQL server and Informix lives on inside IBM)! The mountains of data available for GE and P&G, easily amenable to number crunching and analysis, just aren’t always available in this specific arena.
In the business book industry, “In search of excellence” was great for the 1980s, the far more insightful “In search of stupidity -- 20 years of hi-tech marketing disasters” was already out by the mid 2000s and Kindles today are filled with “airport business classics”, from “0 to 1”, to the “Hard thing about hard things.”
In academia, Harvard Business Review, called it way back in 2006 in a great article called the “Sales Learning Curve”, making clear the important distinctions between launching and later managing the scaling of a product with an en established product-market mix.
The proof point that many companies confuse these distinct sales scenarios can be seen every day with the same outfits hiring and then firing sales and marketing VPs, directors and reps every 6-12 months, quietly missing goals, or having product management as an afterthought, not realizing that they weren’t hiring or leveraging bad or lazy people, just not getting the right types of people in (and the wrong types of people out of the way) for the specific needs of new products and new markets.
To use a military analogy, special forces are small, elite teams that can get a specific job done, or soften up hard targets so that conventional forces can move into to carry out bigger tasks like holding towns or airfields. Similarly, it takes specific skills to launch new products that are different in kind than simply executing an established sales model.
Once the product-market mix is there and the chasm is being crossed, conventional models begin to come back into play.
How can 202 help me?
We aren’t business professors, with deliverables of classes and papers, or consultants looking to maximize billable hours and write reports, instead we focus on execution within the specific niche of new products and new markets, especially in the areas of cyber security, mobility and cloud.
Rather than bringing book learning and theory to the table, we bring specific expertise and experience, with a performance-based and deliverables focus, typically in the areas of:
- Review positioning and roadmap
- Review pipeline, sales process and tools
- Review existing customers, proofs of concept, pilots and success criteria
-Focus on feedback
- Create or update marketing collaterals and engage media partners
- Web, documents, videos, white papers, ROI calculators, social media, marketing campaigns, conferences, events, analyst and investor briefings
- Build prospects and partners pipeline from our existing networks
- OEM, Carriers, Managed Mobility Services and Systems Integrators
- Government, Healthcare, Finance & International Customers
- Channel Partners for GSA, 8A and access to specific markets
- Emphasis on logos, usable quotes, referrals and most especially feedback, not just P&L
- Assess compliance with relevant security standards and ability to scale
About Simon Hartley
Simon is a founder of 202, a specialist in enterprise software sales, marketing and product management, focused at the confluence of cyber security, mobility and cloud for DoD, civilian government, finance and healthcare verticals with seasoned and start-up IT companies. He is a veteran of four startups and four multinationals.
About 202 Partners
202 Partners is an American consulting partnership based in Washington, DC. We specialize in highly regulated enterprise software sales and business development in the areas of cyber-security, mobility and cloud for DoD, civilian federal, finance and healthcare enterprise commercial organizations. 202 was founded as way for seasoned and start-up IT companies to take advantage of mature tactical and technical advice in emerging technology, early markets and in dealing with the Federal Government. Learn more at 202partnersllc.com.