Show me the love and I'll show you the money

I got a call before the holidays from a prospective customer that I introduced to one of my portfolio companies.  He said he loved our product, saw it fitting in perfectly into their platform, but that we were not responsive enough to their needs.  I was able to get a second chance for our team but since deals are momentum-based, I knew that it would be an uphill struggle to win.  While our technology was the best, his guys told him that they were quite concerned about our ability to be there when the shit hit the fan.  In other words, they wanted to make sure that no matter what happened that they could rely on us to be there on a moment's notice to support them and help fix any issues.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, you only get one chance to make a first impression and if you are strapped too thin or chasing too many deals at once, it may come back to haunt you.  You see, many companies that try to partner or sell into enterprises forget that showing the love early in the sales process and stressing the support factor is as big a deal as the technology itself.  I am not saying that if your technology sucks and you are there 24/7 you will win, but what I am saying is that if your technology is on the margin and all things being equal, your ability to support that partner or customer will be a huge deciding factor. So if you want the customer to show you the money, make sure that you show the love pre- and post sale.

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This post was written by who has written 358 posts on BeyondVC.

3 Responses to “Show me the love and I'll show you the money”

  1. Cliff Allen Jan 17, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    This is an example of the “will it scale” challenge that entrepreneurs face in creating a business. Too often entrepreneurs only consider whether their technology will scale (i.e., will the servers handle the load) when they really need to make sure the whole business will scale.

    The target market must be narrow enough to not overwhelm marketing resources. Sales and support resources need to be leveraged so that customers and revenue can grow faster than the resources applied to them. And, the product’s feature set needs to be focused on serving large segments of customers, not just individual high-profile customers.

    Prospective customers have become very savvy at spotting entrepreneurial companies that won’t scale with their growth. That’s one reason why in this Web-based, outsourced, and interconnected economy that entrepreneurial companies need experienced management and leadership more now than in the past.

  2. Chris Kronenberger Jan 19, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    This sounds like a good way to weed out the prospective clients that would be winey and high maintenance.

    Chris

  3. Colin Wilson Jan 30, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    Ed

    Could not agree more with what you have said. If you can’t get it right during the sales phase what hope for the post sales phase! I work with many of the big It companies and it’s not their products or technology that differentiates them, it’s their support. If you expect a company to pay thousands or even millions of dollars for your solution then sure as hell someone in the customer is going to be in for a rough ride if it goes wrong… they may even lose their job and / or damage their career. Therefore, what you need to do during the selling phase is demonstrate that they can trust you… that they can rely on you… that when things go wrong, and they know they will, you will be there to support them… it’s as you say… ‘show me the love and I’ll show you the money’

    The problem I see in many cases with sales is a lack of focus. Less is more. This is particularly true for start ups with long and difficult sales cycles. Your resources by the very nature of where you are in your development will be severely limited… you can’t chase everything… choose your fights and choose the ones you believe you can win and put all your best people on that deal… show them the love and you will win!

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