Five strategic marketing tips for getting B2B technologies off the ground

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Its never too early to talk to prospects

I have a friend currently marketing a software concept that doesn’t exist. They have spent nothing on logos or patent attorneys but are actively talking to very senior individuals around the country about what it does and postulating the value to the prospect. They know how to build it and intend to use pilot revenue as ways to fund its development. So they probably won’t need outside investment either. And best of all, customers are essentially designing the application that suits them best founded on the same software engine so it’s scaleable. Its never too early…

Focus on narrow markets

The best definition I ever heard of a market was as a ‘self-referencing group’. Young firms either don’t make a distinction at all or talk about one or more   sectors, vertical or horizontal, that they see as their market; rarely do they ever think in terms of individual buyers and the job they do. But successful companies are those whose brand dominates the mind of a buyer when hiring technologies like yours. So it makes sense to build a business on market segments rather than sectors and to conquer each one in turn rather than all of them together. After all, you just don’t have the resources to address them all at the same time.

Follow the money

Cash-flow is key so unlocking wallets is the name of the game.  But rather than focus just on the commercial exchange itself, it’s smart to understand  the origin of the money. Companies and their executives don’t spend money on new technologies without a motive but often this is invisible to sales people. Understanding these motives and what internal and external factors led to them becoming customers will yield enormously valuable insight into your market. Which in turn helps you shape your go-to-market strategy

Fail fast fail cheap

It’s obvious really but holding on when we should have let go earlier is a common human problem. So it is with marketing early stage tech as they have to learn about their market and their place in it. Investing in technology and investing market activities are your two priorities but making sure you invest in the things that make a difference to customers and yield a return without risking too much is often a problem. Setting clear goals and timeframes helps teams manage the learning process

Be clear about the long-term

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” (Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll)

Companies get built by people who know what they want to achieve, why and how. Strategy is about making choices about how to get there but this requires discipline. Knowing when to say ‘no’, knowing who to hire, knowing what sort of business it needs to be, how money works, where and when to invest all these key decisions rely on you knowing. Living off short-term actions without a framework for the long-term will not only confuse your colleagues but the market too.

Francis Wyburd

whereyoustand is a London based insight and advisory firm. Our combination of ‘hidden voice of the customer’ research and strategic advisory services helps entrepreneurs get new technologies off the ground

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