Tag Archives: sales cycles

The first 30 seconds of your “demo day” pitch – sell to the heart, mind and wallet

There are 2 schools of thought that most people assume are contradictory.

First that, people buy from other people – so folks buy because they like the other person and if they like the person they will buy anything (or everything from that person).

The other school of thought is that people want to buy from a trusted brand, so even if the individual goes away the business remains to support what they bought.

Actually they are both true.

People dont just buy from other people, they buy from people they like.

Which brings me to the demo day pitch. If you dont create an emotional connect with your audience quickly enough (first 30 seconds) you are likely to be perceived as wooden, robotic or impersonal.

The best entrepreneurs realize they are saleswomen and show-women first and CEO’s next. That does not mean they are “watch your pocket near them”, sales people.

One of the things I learned very early in my sales career was that you need to appeal to the “heart, mind and the wallet”. That means, you have to emotionally connect with your buyer, then appeal to their brain, by solving the problem they have and finally ensuring they are willing to part with money to solve that problem.

Hopefully if you solve a problem that they have, then parting with money is an automatic, but if you dont appeal to them emotionally (or to their heart), then they will likely try and make the decision purely on the merits of your product, company, website, etc.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for some people, but if the emotional connect does not exist, then they will look for reasons to not want to do the deal, if it does not meet any of their criteria (or “features”).

The first thing your audience at the demo day is trying to do is answer the question – “Is this worth my time, or should I go back to looking at my smartphone and get distracted for a few minutes”?

The best way to answer the question is to appeal to them with a problem they likely have themselves or ensure they know someone with this problem.

After that they are evaluating if the problem is large enough – market.

The last thing they try to assess is if you are the right team to solve it.

Surprisingly all this happens in seconds if not minutes.

I have seen many investors decide in the first 60 seconds if they want to “Work with the person” and then do their “due diligence” over the next few weeks, months or quarters to consummate the deal.

So the best thing you can do for yourself and your startup is to tell a personal story that appeals to your audience, with something they can relate to.

See to their heart first, then the mind and finally their wallet.

An early trend that I am noticing in B2B startups in India

Something interesting is starting to happen among the B2B companies that are starting / getting funded in India. Companies that have a larger price point (> $1000 per month for e.g.) are all either a) moving to the US (company founder, key employee) or b) they are hiring larger inside sales (telesales) teams and teaching them how to sell outside India. There are exceptions (Visual Website Optimizer) but I am seeing more companies moving to US to seek faster adoption in the early stages.

By B2B (Business to Business) I mean companies that sell to other businesses, either small or large. There are enough documented issues selling in India to businesses, some of which include:

1. An extreme focus on cost by Indian businesses, which results in much lower (or non-existent) profit margins.

2. The inability to find good, trained sales professionals

3. The “request” by many “decision makers” to be paid a kickback, which if not paid, results in unpredictable sales cycles

There have been many company founders (OrangeScape, InterviewStreet, Mobstac, etc.), who all started in India, sold to their first few business customers here in India, but have now either moved to the US or are focusing on the US market alone.

Besides the fact that early adopter companies are largely there in the US, many or all of the issues listed above tend to go away bringing mostly issues of upfront investment on sales resources as the primary barrier to a US only distribution strategy.

So what does this mean for new entrepreneurs looking to start B2B ventures in India?

1. Dont. Seriously. Find easier and more fun things to do than sell to Indian businesses (This is a personal opinion alone).

2. If you still insist on doing that, get an awesome sales director / manager from a kick-ass company to head up your sales efforts sooner rather than later and help create a detailed training plan to hire, train and manage new sales professionals.

3. Look to partner and ride an existing distribution channel that exists. Tally has an excellent list of re-sellers / partners who you might want to talk with.

One last thought – Entrepreneurship is hard. Dont make it harder by choosing a distribution strategy that’s even harder.