I said that I would get a few blogs out of the fantastic Cybere 101 boot camp that we held last month. Here is the second.
The format of the event was quite different to anything that I had been before, with a mixture of presentations and mentoring. It was a game of two halves, with a focus on sales and business development in the morning and a focus on business function on the afternoon.
It was pitched this way on purpose as a business is nothing if it doesn’t understand the products it is selling. We had four mentors, Justin Souter from the North East LEP, Tom Fairfax from SRM Solutions, Carsten Staehr from Cintra HR Payroll and Andy Williams from Global Transatlantic. Each gave us a 15 minute presentation on the subject after which we broke into four groups of companies, which each group having a mentoring session.
Justin started us off talking about developing a value proposition. He showed us wall charts to help identify what your business is trying to do for the customer. What pains are we trying to solve and how do the customers feel about them? Although I have worked with Justin on many occasions he made me think whether CyberNorth was trying to solve anything and does it have any products to sell? I’ve set some time aside to think about this later this month.
Tom was up next to talk about market validation. Again he made us think by asking us questions. Do your customers feel the same way about your product or proposition? What are you doing this for and why? What market are you aiming at? So what?
Carsten talked to us about strategic sales and marketing. He described how sales is an emotional experience and you have to love what you do. You need to push the solution, not the sale and be prepared to walk away if you can’t deliver what is asked for.
Finally, for the morning session, was Andy who works with the Department for Trade and Industry to help cyber security companies in overseas markets. 80% of UK cyber SMEs that try to export either give up or fail to sell anything in two years. You need to be in it for the long haul. Companies that have specific products or platforms are most likely to succeed.
And that was just the morning!