Tag Archives: Users

How Do You Maintain Momentum as You Grow? Seven Factors

Interview with Ishveen Anand, CEO, OpenSponsorship.com

Situation: Emerging stage companies that get early traction must maintain momentum and strong growth. This is particularly true if the company is competing in an established industry where innovative and new solutions are not the norm. Early adopters fall back into old, comfortable habits. Filling the pipeline with new prospects takes a lot of energy. How do you maintain momentum as you grow?

Advice:

  • Find a familiar, respected example of an existing service that is similar to yours. Match.com is widely recognized. We use Match.com to describe how we connect athletes with potential sponsors. Our service is free in the early stages and focuses on introductions. It costs nothing unless the parties decide on a deal. It’s up to the parties to decide whether to go out, form a relationship, and later end up together.
  • Map the stages of a sale for your offering, and select progressive KPIs that represent these stages. For example, early on it may be users. Later it becomes messages between users. A sale is closed when messages produce deals. Once you have progressive KPIs you can focus on tipping points between the stages and facilitating movement from user to message to deal. Set metrics and timeline objectives at each stage of the transaction.
  • Closely monitor conversation rates between users, messages and deals. Watch the momentum of conversion between the stages and test interventions that positively impact this momentum.
  • Match social media channels to the personalities of each of your stages. Twitter is a great metric of sales success and LinkedIn helps us to understand the reach of OpenSponsorship. Instagram is a great tool for those selling products, so slightly less relevant to us, but still necessary. Use the appropriate channel that will best bring potential users into your sales stream. An advantage of social media channels is that these provide additional insight into your transaction stream and what users are saying about you.
  • Understand what’s right for your users. Early on you look for elements that will create buzz and feed viral growth. Target special events and opportunities which offer high visibility. For us, a big event will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. For another company it may be a large convention like CES or SxSW. Plan in advance and make the most of these opportunities.
  • Know your users’ seasonality. What are their peak purchase seasons? Do they have special seasons? What are their off-seasons? How can you take advantage of this knowledge to offer them new opportunities? Populate your web site with the right pages and social media marketing efforts linking to these pages to drive usage and business year-round.
  • Important pieces of momentum are staffing and investment. Early on, these seem almost like distractions to a CEO. The CEO is more engaged in the product or service being provided. However, personnel and fundraising decisions critically impact the future of the venture and must be taken seriously. Success will depend upon the CEO’s being able to move seamlessly between conversations about product and service, staffing and fundraising.

You can contact Ms. Anand at ishveen@opensponsorship.com

How Do You Reach High-end Users? Three Thoughts

Situation: A company has developed a disrupting technology that will allow OEMs to produce high-end circuits at a fraction of their current cost. A non-exclusive OEM partner is using this technology but doesn’t have a channel to high-end users, and the company is too small to reach these customers themselves.  How do you reach high-end users?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Your dilemma is having a disrupting technology in a market with a strong division between OEMs servicing the low/medium-end market and those servicing the high-end market.
    • Your technology collapses the division between the low/medium and the high-end markets and OEMs and proposes a full-scale technical shift.
    • This shift disrupts the current business models of either group of OEMs, as well as their technology development plans. This is why you are finding resistance.
  • Therefore, you need a channel partner that is either:
    • A low/medium-end OEM who is just as much a disrupter as you are – highly promising but not yet well-established – and who is capability of developing a high-end sales and marketing effort; or
    • A high-end OEM that knows the market but is collapsing under their current strategy and needs an entirely different solution to revive their prospects.
  • Your near-term task is to simply gain market capability – both manufacturing and marketing/sales – and to use this capability to gain early market acceptance.
    • Your investors want to see early “Blue Chip” partners, but given market realities, this may not be the wisest strategy.
    • If, over the next 12 months, you can begin to impact the market shares of the high-end OEMs, this is the surest way to gain their attention. Once you start to gain share, a likely outcome is that one of the high-end OEMs will buy you to lock up your IP.
    • Another company recently used a similar strategy entering a new market by collaborating with a high-visibility partner.
      • In one year, they took 30% market share from the market leader.
      • The next year the market leader bought them because “it was less expensive to buy you than to spend the marketing dollars that we would have had to spend to compete against you.”