Where should a start-up with an enterprise application focus initially?
Unlike consumer applications where the long tail is a given, enterprise applications in the cloud have an enormous opportunity to grow quickly by capturing the attention of fat tail clients.
Where the long tail delivers a large volume of small returns, the fat tail is the reverse. These are details with high returns but there are much fewer of them. The long tail works well for self-service business models like consumer retail sites such as Amazon. The fat tail is at the core of traditional B2B businesses and works online as well as offline.
Sure, the fat tail takes a bit of extra spadework, and this shoe-leather sales approach is probably anathema to the software-as-a-service pundits, but the long tail has been very good for our business.
Floktu is an on-line event management platform that has found its niche in corporate events. And, from the start, we took a fat tail focus first.
The figures speak for themselves. Comparing this year to last, the company has achieved a 159 growth spike in sales orders; it’s gone from from $120,000 to $19 million. And we continue to grow rapidly. Did I mention that it’s only a 12-month old product? So, for us, the fat tail clearly works.
If you’re aiming for enterprise sales, here are a few things we learned in the past year.
Just because you’ve had a win, doesn’t mean you’ve won
You know your product isn’t perfect.
Just because you’ve sold your product to a client in its current form and they love it, doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
So, when this happened, instead of kicking back and relaxing, we worked very hard at improving our product. We let our early clients set the standards, not our egos.
Our first release was more what we thought the industry needed than what our corporate clients actually needed.
Someone wise once told me that before you write an ad, rent a contact list or send out a press release, fix your
You simply cannot afford half-baked solutions when selling to the C-suite. There is too much at stake for the guy who is going to approve the deal. So, we listened and listened and listened and, we continue to listen.
We continue to assume our product is less than perfect and this forces us to keep improving.
For instance, we recently engaged a user experience specialist to refresh the administration workflow after hearing from several users that stuff was hard to find. We are also lab testing the product with our market – corporate event organisers.
The inch-wide, mile-deep marketing mindset
Early on, we adopted an inch-wide mile deep mindset rather than mile wide inch deep to our marketing.
This means we zeroed in on specific functionality for a handful of early adopting clients such as the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Dimensional Fund Advisors and Conexus Financial.
By going all out for the ARU, we secured the ticketing transactions for the corporate hospitality during the British Lions Tour this year.
We now have a product that is hand in glove for any large sporting body corporate events. And, you guessed it, we are starting to make in-roads into the sports corporate hospitality market because our product is a fit and we’ve proven it works.
Find a bleeding artery
What also worked to grow our business is taking the position of being problem solvers rather than software vendors.
We demonstrated to our corporate clients how we could fix their problems across the entire events process, from launching an event to reporting on it.
While most technology pitches are about the features and functions, Floktu has been about finding where the bleeding artery problem is for the prospective client. Then, we focus on how we can fix it.
For example, in one instance, we demonstrated to a large Sydney venue how we could grow its customer database by ten times, at negligible cost.
To be a problem solver takes a bit of research and fact finding before engaging with a potential client. But, it pays off. The deal sails through when you are seen more as a problem-solving partner than software vendor with yet another ‘red-hot product’.
Sure, it’s not a ‘software as a service’ approach to sales, but it has worked. We now have a product with a prized niche and the opportunity to scale globally.
If like most start-ups, yours needs big revenues, and fast, then provided your product is in good shape, consider the fat tail first then the long tail will follow.
(Image source: Bigstock)
Jeremy de Constantin is the CEO of Floktu, a late entrant to a busy “ticketing” market. Floktu has carved itself a niche with well-known corporate clients through its commitment to customizing its product around client needs as well as some breakthrough innovation for events generally; such as in-built gamification which is gaining wide attraction for its ability to engage greater involvement and engagement of attendees at any type of event.