Selling to Startups

As a market, they don’t respond to a well-thought out strategy. No amount of research will reveal any hot buttons. And tactics that seem to be working at any point in time are really simply a matter of luck.

They’re like fingerprints, every one a unique identity. No matter their age, capitalization, ownership structure, industry, revenue, or profitability, there’s no way to build typical customer profiles. Executive titles and experience levels often don’t matter. And sometimes they do.

They’re personality-dependent, have complex decision-making processes, and don’t fit neatly into any sales cycle. At times they respond immediately to several inquiries, at others they won’t respond after several weeks of inquiry. Sometimes they’re completely rational and logical, other times they make no sense at all.

It’s their money unlike other organizations where no one truly owns the place. It’s their life unlike other organizations where the work is only a part of it. It’s their soul, revealing more about their ideals, values, principles, and beliefs than anything else.

Marketing strategies don’t work with them and only one sales strategy does: treat them like peers, respect their idiosyncrasies, build trust, focus on the relationship, and take the long view.

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