Build Sales Pipeline Starting At Concept Design
The SyncDev Customer Engagement Model puts your cross-functional product and business team on the road meeting face-to-face with the decision-making teams of your best customer and partner prospects at their place of business. You start this once you have at least a concept design and you meet SyncDev prerequisites. This creates:
- A funnel of the right prospects who help sculpt your product and business model
- Virtual backlog of empirically-validated, quantifiable purchase interest
- A shared business and product team experience
- Recurring fresh new customer experiences, data, and team discussions that prompt them to cohesively pivot toward a better product and business model
- Real-life success stories that you can tell other customers, partners, investors, employees, and prospective team members
The CEM defines your interaction with customers and enables you to: 1) Get meetings with who you want to know, not just who you already know, 2) Hook them with value propositions and, in every respect, the credibility of your team, technology, plan, and timeline, 3) Build trust by fully disclosing who you are, your development status, product limitations, and a myriad of possible other issues which, as seen through your customer’s eyes, might impact their purchase intent; 4) Demonstrate a professional demeanor and forthcoming candor; and 5) Draw a line on revealing your secret sauce, “I’m sorry, we just can’t go there now.”
Get Customers To Spend Time if You Can’t Yet Get Them to Spend Money
The goal of SyncDev is to create good prospects, understand their purchase intent, i.e., if you build it will they buy it, optimize your business model and product to minimize your cost of sales, and prove your business case early in the development cycle to minimize funding delays and costs.
The problem with doing this is that false positives abound. When you can’t yet get a real order, a statement of interest from prospects is cheap for them but is a potentially expensive false-positive for you. So, what can you do? One, propose paid discovery work. Two, offer services until you have a product. Three, get them to spend their time with site surveys, design reviews, and alpha and beta testing. If prospects aren’t willing to do any of those they probably don’t have a real problem or they don’t trust that you can solve it.
SyncDev is a course of action and a method of study. The course of action is optimizing the business model, including product and service, to maximize the business case. This comes by creating and sustaining relationships with ‘lighthouse customers’ while you develop the product. In turn, that develops the team.
The quantitative measure of success is virtual backlog: your and your customer’s planned-on unit volume, price, delivery dates, and product-and-service specs. That comes by following the Sync Customer Engagement Model which defines ‘How to…’
- Target the right market segments and customers in them
- Specify the right vendor and customer people to attend meetings
- Define and manage to a 90-day SyncDev schedule
- Prepare to meet with customers
- Set up meetings, the single hardest part of SyncDev
- Conduct meetings with customers teams, the heart of SyncDev
- Capture the voice of the customer and analyze it as data
- Debrief debrief with your team after each customer meeting
- Assimilate meeting data, engage with management, and take action
- Select select ‘light house customers’ and develop relationships
The method of study is assimilating from the customer experiences and data your competitive standing, market size, and highest return on effort pivots. That improves your business case and defines actions you can take to improve it.
A course of action, not just a method of study
Compared to virtually every other method of getting customer feedback or guidance, SyncDev is unique. It’s test selling not just interviewing. It uses interview techniques but they’re packed with trial closes to asses purchase interest, when, under what conditions, and in what volume. Most importantly, it creates and advances customer relationships which pivot your business model and product as you develop.
SyncDev is test selling, not just interviewing
Test selling follows the scientific method, the inductive form of logic that tests specific decisions. Interviewing uses deductive logic, which for SyncDev applications is too error prone to be safe.
The SyncDev CEM follows the strategic selling model. It’s congruent with Solution Selling, Miller Heiman, and Question Based Selling, but is especially so with SPIN Selling.
Real pivots, not just responses to customer objections
Even among all sales methods, SyncDev is unique. Sales people cannot change their company’s product or business model when they encounter sales objections. But a SyncDev team, operating under the authority of senior management, can change within an envelop of pre-approved parameters. That gives a SyncDev team far more ability to address concerns and objections than can sales people. Even if customers’ wants are beyond the team’s pre-approved authority, the team can access management and perhaps stretch the envelope.
That authority makes for a lot of moving parts throughout the development, early sales, or M&A due diligence cycle. To accommodate and take advantage of that flexibility a unique customer engagement model and highly capable team are required.