CTO Ferret Video Nikita Zabalotsky summarized the experience of his startup with expertize of mentors/speakers of international acceleration programs and contests and compiled it into a general recommendation on how to maintain a B2B deal and what to be prepared for.
When you try to sell your innovative product to a business, it turns out that small and medium-sized businesses often do not have budgets at all for experimental solutions let alone large budgets. While the price of $200 causes a lot of doubt and discussion, the profitability of the transaction is going down rapidly.
Therefore, you decide to go to large companies. However, such corporations are characterized by intense inertia and a large number of events that have already been planned. Cutting in this already planned and agreed schedule can be quite difficult, and they tell you: “We will end the project at the end of next month, there will be a week interval until the next. If the head of the department will not on vacation, then you be sure to come”.
One of the biggest problems when working for a large company is to ratify a deal with all interested parties. That is usually how it goes.
You find a decision-maker on LinkedIn or at a conference and successfully present your product to him. His key challenge is time. Usually, you should talk to such a person not about how you help to earn more, but about how to remove part of his day-to-day difficulties. It is also important to show your technology complexity and product innovativeness. If everything goes well, the decision-maker will say that he is interested in your product, but he is not involved in such projects, and he will give you the contact of the head of the local department.
Then you go to the head of the local department and present your product for the second time. His opinion is extremely important for you, as he may delay the deal indefinitely. For this person, your case is the order from above and extra responsibility. His key challenge is performance. Tell this person how your decision will improve the performance and what beautiful reports he will be able to show to his bosses. Then he will definitely help you.
The head of the department you have impressed recalls that they will soon have a project where your solution can be implemented and directs you to a technical specialist to integrate your product. The key challenge of the technical specialist is personal growth. Never tell him how you use artificial intelligence, blockchain, smart bots with a semantic core, and other technologies that he himself had long wanted to learn, but there was no reason. Most likely, you will receive a large number of technical questions, and then he will immediately inform his management that he could make an attempt to recreate your product with his team. Even if they fail, the chance will be missed. Instead, tell him about the huge amount of boring and routine work you had to do to make the service work, as well as how to quickly and conveniently integrate your product into their ecosystem.
The technical specialist confirmed to the manager that the integration went successful, and the company’s lawyers request a contract from you. Remember that lawyers receive money for verifying documents. Therefore, if a specialist looks through your contract and says that it is totally fine, it means that he does not work. That is why no lawyer will approve your contract immediately. You will receive a list of corrections and clarifications per the company’s policy. It is important to be prepared for this and not to delay the phase of editing changes as it all can go on much too long. Many companies even deliberately make several gross violations in contracts to immediately correct them after receiving answers from lawyers and close the deal.
So the contract is signed. The team rejoices and adopt the solution for the client. Everyone expects the flow of money, but it does not come quickly. The fact is that in the reconciliation chain there is another hidden element–it is the accounting department. It is they who will decide how to add you to the financial plan of the company. It is likely that payment for your product will be transferred to you only in the next month or quarter as the plan for this is already closed. It is also possible that a gloomy person with a corporate mailing address will contact you and say that you need to win the tender.
All the above-mentioned may seem a bit upsetting, but there is a good side: if you were strong and managed to go through all the stages of harmonization, then it is likely that you will be bought again. And all subsequent deals with them will go much faster and easier. Moreover, if your competitors come to this company, there is a high probability the company will not work with them since they also do not want to repeat this experience.