Day 60 - Too comfy, not innovative enough
This was one of the many wise messages Shomila Malik, Head of Enterprise Lab at Telefonica, proclaimed, having met with some of our teams for a roundtable discussion on how to tackle enterprise sales.
Shomila highlighted the importance of understanding any large corporate's procurement process in order to maximise the chances of securing a contract with them. She warned that not understanding the path of least resistance can lead to missed opportunities.
For instance, most companies have a value threshold that if surpassed, can lead to increased layers of bureaucracy and time delays as the higher the contract value, the more due diligence required and the more senior the sign-off required.
Corporates also operate within annual budgets and knowing at what time of the year these start and finish, can enhance your chances of success - leave it too late and the budget has been eaten up by other interests and no matter how good your idea, there's simply no more money available to invest.
Shomila also discussed NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) and commented on how many start-ups insist on having them in place before having any discussions with target corporate. Whilst this might appear good practice and wise from the perspective of the start-up, the reality is that this can lead to significant delays as many corporates insist on Directors/Senior Managers signing these agreements, who can be difficult to get hold of at the best of times. Not always necessary, depending on the content of discussions of course! And how you approach this might change if you are trying to sell into a corporate vs looking for a trade sale.
Shomila advised that finding the right person can make or break your relationship with a large corporate and that often more informal ways (such as using social media) is a better way to engage a busy senior exec, than by relying on more traditional avenues.
Thanks for your time Shomila - the teams really enjoyed having you here.