Met with a VC for coaching last week
The SDForum (which stands for “Software Development Forum — not San Diego Forum 🙂 ) has a nice program where you can meet with a VC for 30 minutes, not to pitch, but to get some advice 1-1. I went to a session last week on Sand Hill Road and thought I might share the advice I got.
Rino: How do I find customers in enough pain to try Frontier?
VC: Target potential customers more. Find customers that are similar to your current customers. Ask your current customers how they market themselves and look there. Have e-mail and phone versions of your hook and elevator pitch. Be aggressive with e-mail.
Rino: What do you mean by aggressive?
VC: Keep e-mailing people every couple of weeks. Don’t stop until they ask you to.
Rino: We’ve got a lot of depth on the software, technical and UI side, but we don’t have anyone with Marketing or Sales experience. Should we be trying to find someone to join our team?
VC: Not at this stage. Your first goal is to find a set of core customers. This is something you can do without a sales person. You need to go out and target your customers very precisely. Figure out who would benefit the most from your product. Understand the value proposition that you’re pitching.
Rino: Our product represents a paradigm shift in the way people manage projects and engineering teams. Do you have any advice on how we might find people who are willing to try something different with a tremendous upside — the people that Steve Blank calls “Earlyvangelists”?
VC: You need to outline exactly what a customer needs to change in order to use your tool. Write this down explicitly. The bigger the change, the harder the sell. If you can find a way to have the tool adapt to the way they do business right now, that’s probably your best angle.