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4 Steps My Startup Took to Land a Fortune 100 Client in 3 Years | Entrepreneur

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When starting a business, it’s natural to strive for small customers: it generates revenue, sharpens the offer and means that you can make mistakes on a smaller scale. But this isn’t the one technique to develop.

My company was three years old once we signed our first multi-million dollar contract with an American telecommunications company – we had fewer than 10 employees on the time. Landing Lucky 100 client may appear to be an extended shot once you’re a startup, but it surely’s possible.

The total market capitalization of Fortune 100 firms has reached an all-time high $33.2 trillion in 2023 – a rise of 48% in only one yr – with a complete profit of USD 1.8 trillion. Getting even a small percentage of this business pays off big for any startup; nonetheless, this requires strategic planning and perseverance.

Here are 4 key lessons I’ve learned from getting deals with among the biggest firms on Earth.

Related: 6 ways small businesses can beat big corporations

1. Create a compelling value proposition

In the wireless industry, firms compete only on product and price. Signing a serious contract meant facing global tech giants who’re hard at work subsidize your products or mix costs with other service models. We would never have won on these outlets alone.

We knew that to be considered, we needed to create a compelling value proposition that will solve problems our competitors weren’t set on. For this, we went to the source: the client. At each large company we targeted, we asked their support team what probably the most common paint points for his or her customers were.

It then turned out that the shopper can be cut off by the service provider if he didn’t use a certain variety of minutes inside a certain time period. Another common problem was with battery installation: it was illegal to ship devices with pre-installed batteries in those days. So they’d arrive individually, causing confusion amongst end users.

Once we knew what our potential customers’ biggest problems were, we were in a position to customize an answer that solved the entire problem: a fast start guide that addressed configuration issues and automatic reminders to make use of a number of minutes before the cut-off date.

We now not competed with incumbents on product and price, we offered an answer that nobody else had – one which not only met specific requirements, but in addition reduced call center costs and customer churn.

When you are a start-up, finding creative ways to compete on value can’t only offer you the boldness to win big customers; can set you other than competitors with long-term relationships.

Related: 3 suggestions for contracting with big firms

2. Identify your inner champion

Selling to large firms is time consuming. Outdated policies and bloated organizational charts perpetuate inefficiency, and alter is slow, especially in the case of onboarding recent partners.

Not only is it difficult to assemble all of the vital decision-makers in a single room, but additionally they should be brought together: domestic politics becomes a significant component on this process. I’ve seen billion-dollar projects go to waste because one CEO didn’t wish to be overshadowed at the corporate’s expense.

For this reason, it is amazingly vital to construct strategic relationships with people contained in the company who’ve the ability to support your proposal and guide you thru it Office Policy.

Look for individuals who ask logical questions in the primary meeting – this means that they’re engaged, understand the strategy and will be willing to support. in case you can persuade these folks that your small business can provide significant value, they will turn into strategic partners and aid you close the deal. Even in case you miss the primary one, maintaining these internal relationships can result in further flow of transactions.

3. Offer services in white gloves

Big firms often do bad customer support and here startups have a bonus.

In a big corporation, just identifying the particular person liable for resolving a customer’s problem can take days, and once found, they will not be authorized or encouraged to take motion. When you are constructing a team of 10, it is a challenge you haven’t got to navigate.

If an issue arises with considered one of our clients, we quickly unravel the issue by maintaining exceptional communication with the strategic partners we have now built inside. If the request is out of scope, we let , but often proceed to assist resolve the problem if it means maintaining the longevity of the connection.

As a startup, it’s in our DNA to rush and exceed customer expectations. Offering a level of service that our larger industry partners cannot compete with has enabled us to realize a 100% retention rate – an achievement almost unattainable for smaller businesses.

Related: 6 suggestions for working with noisy clients

4. Set the terms of the contract prematurely

I often say that I learned more from the 1,000 things I did improper in business than from the 100 things I did right. One of those key lessons is how vital it’s that the terms of the transaction are clearly spelled out within the ironclad deal up front.

When working with SMEs, transaction terms are generally well understood by key decision makers. Paperwork is very important, but there’s less risk of a deal failing since the SOP has not been approved by an unnamed stakeholder.

Multinational corporations can have dozens of stakeholders involved in closing a single deal, and if none of them log off, on a regular basis spent constructing relationships and negotiating a deal could possibly be wasted.

C level CEOs leave firms and projects are canceled when leadership changes hands. That is why it’s so vital that you simply don’t engage in any speculative work. The excellent news is that when you sign a big contract, a big corporate culture of slow change works in your favor, leading to less churn and better revenue.

There’s no perfect litmus test to evaluate whether you are ready for large business or not, but in case you don’t take risks, you may never realize the reward. If you see every mistake as a learning opportunity and do not hand over on perspective, you may compete for world-class customers and your small business will come out stronger.

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