Partnering with large corporations can often be foreign territory to startups. Many founders may have worked for large companies before so might have an idea of how things work inside, but on the other side of the coin things can be quite different.
We’ve put together a list of a few things startups need to make sure they’re prepared for before entering a partnership with big businesses.
1. Sufficient Investment
Having enough investment as a startup is key to survival – especially when working with large companies. Corporate partnerships can take a lot of time to complete, long enough that a small startup could run out of money. It is important you plan your financials for the longest potential time possible and don’t underestimate how long it will take to finalize your partnership.
Not only that, but having enough investment to cope with the prospect of rapid scaling is also important. Corporate clients can put a strain on startup resources, for example things such as servers and development. Having enough investment will prevent you from crumbling under the weight of a huge company and keep up with the needs of your partner.
2. More than one lead
Running your sales with just one lead is never the right thing to do. Leads fall through all the time so relying on just one can be an obvious problem. You don’t want your one lead to fall through and be left with no one to sell to at all! Different companies also have different processes which means a variety in the length of the sales cycle. Some may take a very, very long time so being able to close some beforehand will be beneficial and allows you to continue using your efforts wisely.
3. Make sure everyone wants it
Sell to every department! Just because the marketing team love your new software doesn’t mean that the tech guys will. Anyone involved in the process can stall or stop it completely if they don’t like what you are doing. Bring everyone who “touches” the product into the sales process and get them on board if you want to have a smoother sailing experience. Many often forget that it is not just the main user of your product that can stop your sale – there are multiple people involved all over the company who can do just that.
4) Have one key point of contact in your company
Give your potential partners a go-to guy or gal in your startup. If they have a question or an update for you it should automatically go to that person. This allows you to build a personal relationship through familiarity and means that there is one person in your company who knows exactly what is going on during the partnership process who can provide accurate updates.
5) Find your champion
Having a champion within your potential partnership company can make your life a lot easier aiding your process by promoting you internally. People within the company are more likely to trust a familiar face than a stranger from a startup making it easier for a champion to promote your ideas as good ones.
6) Know your price – no freebies!
Don’t give away anything for free otherwise you will never know if your product is actually of value. People will always say yes to something free if they think it’s even a little bit cool or interesting. Products of true value need a price and corporations agreeing to that price also show their committal to your deal.
And don’t undersell yourself. Going too cheap can be just as bad as giving your product away for free. Too expensive might stop your deal from happening so make sure you test the waters across multiple clients to find your right price point – and don’t be afraid to increase this if your credibility starts to rocket!
7) Don’t go into meetings blind
This may seem like one of the most obvious points on the list but knowing your product before heading into meetings is crucial. But it isn’t about just knowing what your product can do, but knowing specifically how your product can help that individual you are talking to. Know their problems, know their figures and targets, most importantly know how your product improves all these situations for them. Research, research, research. And research again for each individual prospect.
Got any more tips for startups? Share them below!