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Enterprise customers want to work with startups. Here’s how to get in the door.

Business people clapping hands during meeting in office for their success in business work

Guest Post: The following post is a sponsored guest post by Perry Light, the Market Connect Lead, North America of Oracle for Startups. All views and opinions represented in this post are the views and opinions of Oracle for Startups and do not represent those of 500 Startups or any of its staff or affiliates. If you would like to join Oracle for Startups, apply and use the code “500 Startups”. 

As a startup founder, you are an evangelist. You mesmerize your audience with your conviction and entice them with visions of a better world that is available through an offering that only you can provide. Rather than salvation, it’s savings you dangle before a rapt audience—a paradise of pain points solved, reduced costs, improved efficiency, better bottom lines—waiting on the other side of a signed contract. 

Many CEOs are excellent evangelists, but long-term success comes through consistent income and expansion into the market, not from showmanship but solutions worthy of a leap of faith. 

The enterprise buyer is rarely a “true believer.” They’ve likely been burned before, so to be willing to go all in, they need reason to trust. Sure, why not? may not be the enterprise mantra, but that is not to say they don’t want to buy the dream. They want to buy in, but keep the receipts. 

Here’s how a few startups have moved beyond the pitch stage and into the boardroom to sell into the enterprise. 

Give buyers something to brag about

Forget “intrepreneurship,” partnerships between enterprises and startups are where corporate innovation actually gets done. Established companies want to work with startups, as doing so proves their commitment to relevance while addressing pain points that enterprise systems can’t solve. But those staid enterprise systems are successful for a reason. What they lack in flair, they make up for in security and reliability. 

Your technology can bring that cutting-edge flash, but not before ensuring that it can hang in terms of product stability. Startups who want to sell into the big guys need to be ready (from an infrastructure as well as emotional perspective) to scale fast and handle bigger-than-expected workloads. If you can pull it off then corporates will be excited to brag that they were the ones that gave you the shot you needed to scale into the stratosphere.  

Brazilian startup Yamí nailed this opportunity with a connection to motorcycle-maker Yamaha, who was looking to revitalize their customer experience. The startup filled specific gaps in Oracle’s enterprise marketing and commerce solution, delivering on the multinational’s CX vision. 

Commercial Director Ricardo Susini of Yamaha Motorcycles Group Brazil says, “Without Yamí, the customer experience would not happen. We had to integrate all the systems involved across the dealerships, with resource constraints, and Yamí had a professional solution that made our lives easier.”  The startup landed a big client, and the enterprise solved a real pain point. Win, win. 

Partner with a well-known brand to establish credibility

Credibility matters to risk-averse enterprises. Industries are often insular, and no buyer wants to get roasted for being the guy that took a big swing on the wrong tech. Partnering with well-known brands in your target market gives you a shot at “instant credibility.” Of course, it’s on you and your architecture to nurture and validate that credibility, but do not underestimate the door-opening power of being a friend-of-a-friend at the meeting. 

Serial founder H.O. Maycotte felt the impact of credibility for his current cloud startup, data virtualization platform Molecula when they partnered with Oracle’s startup program. Maycotte says, “We wanted that instant credibility you get with Oracle. Access to Oracle’s technology, engineers, product marketers and sales teams would provide the exposure, expertise and credibility we were lacking.” 

Since harnessing that boost, Molecula has landed meetings with Fortune 500s, and brands across multiple industries including telecom and pharmaceuticals. 

Commit to product/market fit 

A great opportunity with a big name is only a great opportunity if the product/market fit is aligned. This sounds obvious, but do your homework by researching the audience and technology stack of a few dream customers and then build to align with it. Integrating with tools they already use is a home-run move. 

The Take 

For most startups, life is a tenuous balance of resource allocation and discerning between opportunities is the key to survival. (That’s why taking advantage of offers like free cloud to optimize spend and validate options is a prudent move for startups.) It takes courage to ask the right questions, check for real alignment, and walk away when it’s not quite right, but doing so is how startups optimize time, budget, and energy to be used when the right whale comes along. 

About Perry Light:

Perry leverages experience in direct sales and partnerships to enable startups to reach their business expansion goals. As Customer Connect lead for Oracle for Startups in North America, he creates meaningful connections between startups and Oracle’s global sales teams, facilitating mutually beneficial connections with enterprise customers. 

THIS POST IS A SPONSORED GUEST POST BY PERRY LIGHT OF ORACLE FOR STARTUPS. ANY VIEWS OR OPINIONS REPRESENTED IN THE ABOVE POST ARE THOSE OF PERRY LIGHT AND DO NOT REPRESENT THOSE OF 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS STAFF OR AFFILIATES UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED. ALL CONTENT REPRESENTED ABOVE IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 500 STARTUPS MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE POST. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY OF THE ABOVE CONTENT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL, TAX OR INVESTMENT ADVICE FROM 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY INFORMATION OR CONTENT IN THIS POST, BE CONSIDERED AS AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF INTEREST TO PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES OR REPRESENTATIVES. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYTHING HEREIN BE CONSTRUED AS FUND MARKETING MATERIALS BY PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT INTO ANY 500 STARTUPS INVESTMENT FUND.

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