In helping our portfolio companies access new customers and potential revenue opportunities we have seen a lot of excitement from new technology buyers. At first this seems incredible, our companies get excited and then ultimately the lead doesn’t convert. Big company CEOs today know they need to be smarter about technology and this cascades down to the CMO, CTO and CIO level. As a result there is a flurry of activity today in the market. When the lead doesn’t convert we ask ourselves a lot – why did this happen? Did we sell too hard? Did we not qualify the lead enough? Were we talking to the right person? In many cases you are left puzzled as the CXO will be an active participant in the community, speaking at conferences, writing thought leadership, acting the part and generally “talking the talk” about new technology. Recently we’ve had a fair amount of success with a single question that helps differentiate a prospect and tell a founder whether the lead is on a research mission or actually interested in buying new technology.
What new vendors have you worked with in the past year that you are really excited about?
The question is rarely posed but incredibly powerful. You’ll get an amazing point of view of how the company views “new” technology just from hearing about the vendors they are working with. You’ll get a great understanding of why they are excited and what the organizational key needs and pain points are (presumably that this technology is solving). Most importantly you’ll get a high level view of whether they actually are a buyer of new technology tools, totally full of it and just a mouthpiece, or averse to even thinking or talking about new technology. The world is wide open for new business software entrants who want to disrupt traditional models but it is now more important than ever to focus and understand who is actually a buyer and open to new tools and who is a talker and not actually going to change.