Sometimes, you come out of a networking event with the business card of a key person at a huge company that is a potential client for your product. It's in the bag! you think. Then you get back to them and meet up. They're still excited. Brilliant. You meet them up again. Yes, everything sounds great.
Six months later, things are still sounding great and not happening. What's going on? Are you being trolled by a large corporation? Sometimes, it really feels that way!
The Favo.rs blog outlines some of the signs that a potential big customer is going to take way too much time to close:
- They refuse to pay for a pilot.
- Your product isn't core to their business.
- Your main contact isn't a decision maker.
- The company is known for rolling out technology slowly.
- Another department is proposing a different solution.
I could go on, but I'd bore you and myself. Instead, I'll highlight the common thread: if the decision maker doesn't feel an urgency to deploy your product, you're probably chasing a white whale. An early-stage startup can't waste time on these clients. Come back after your series B.
What if all your prospects seem like white whales? That's a sign that you haven't found product-market fit. You shouldn't have to force the product down your customers' throats.
Large companies that take forever to decide are just as much of a distraction as toxic customer, but, unlike toxic customers, they can be tamed once you have the spare capacity.
But it's important not to spend all your time chasing large companies before you can afford the up-front sales effort.
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