As part the 2012 series of lean events, Thousand Seeds are hosting two half day workshops on 1st and 2nd May focused on practical ways to be customer centric to achieve sales. Delivered by Brant Cooper (author of ‘The Entrepreneurs Guide to Customer Development’), the sessions build upon the earlier successful events hosted by Thousand Seeds. Enterprise Ireland sees these events as supporting entrepreneurs who want to grow and prosper, bring as they do, key actors to Ireland to share their experience.
More information and registration for the event is on EventBrite. Places are limited to 50 participants per workshop. Thousands seeds also share their knowledge on their blog.
This in-depth, hands-on workshop is designed for entrepreneurs, corporates and SME’s who want to be customer-centric and to raise their odds for building successful products, OR CEO’s, CTO’s and consultants who work with getting products to market. As well as including a pdf copy of Brant’s book, the workshop will cover
- Learn how to Get Started
- The difference between listening to customers and doing what they say
- How Customer Development fits into the Build -> Measure -> Learn framework
- The Stages of Customer Development
- When NOT to do Customer Development
Praise for Brandt , the workshop host, from a previous Thousand Seeds Speaker;
“Brant is one of the foremost experts in the emerging science of entrepreneurship. I’ve seen him teach about customer development and it’s practical, action-oriented, and persuasive. I’ve had the pleasure of hosting Brant at several conferences, and he always delivers.”
- Eric Ries, Author, The Lean Startup
More information on EI’s Lean Engagement for Software Companies on BestConnected.
This is a guest post from Niamh of MarketSprint.com (LinkedIn) Niamh (Twitter @ TechResourcesUS) is CEO of MarketSprint, that works with Irish companies to get a foothold in the US Market. Given the amount of Irish activity in the US this month, she wanted to share the best way of engaging American clients.
How do I talk to potential customers?
Believe me, early sales are pure relationship sales. You’re the visionary, they’re the early adopter and if you have what it takes to sustain this dynamic the sale will happen.
A genuine and persistent curiosity about your customers’ work is a great starting point but the magic happens when you’ve figured out how to translate your solution into a solid prescription for their pain.
It takes time and experience to perfect customer conversations but hopefully the below is a useful guide for those of you just starting out.
- Sell your vision – The vision is always more important than the nitty gritty of the product so make sure you’ve connected with your customer on the vision first, the rest will follow.
- Establish your street cred – You don’t have to be an industry veteran or even an industry insider to have credibility with a new customer. Early on, tell them about yourself; where you’ve worked recently, big name clients or innovative projects you’ve worked on, investors you’re working with and anything else that will help establish you as successful and capable in their minds.
- Come armed with value – Before each potential customer meeting, research the person and their company. Then sit quietly for a moment and ask yourself – what can I say or do to bring value to this person immediately? What insights can I deliver to them, what resources can I share with them? How can I help them right now?
- Ask a little, listen a lot and then pitch – Establish your customer’s key pain points or motivations for the discussion first. Then customize your pitch using examples that are compatible with their worldview and experience.
- Show don’t tell – It’s important to steer clear of formal, lecture like presentations. Instead, look for opportunities to use a visual aid like a demo, an infographic, a photo or a pie chart, or even a couple of customer logos to emphasize a point of importance.
- Be confident – You might not be an expert but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something of value to discuss. Be well prepared, respect your customer’s time, ask the “stupid” questions you want to ask and enjoy the smart exchange of ideas.
- Ignore initial objections at your peril - If not, they’ll come back to haunt you in a never-ending sales process death spiral! If yours is a hosted solution and your potential customer says, “We generally like to keep applications behind the firewall” do yourself a favor and find a new potential early adopter customer. There’ll be time (and resources) enough to tackle this particular opportunity again later.
- Understand your customer’s buying process early – Develop a clear and realistic view of the hurdles involved in selling to this organization as soon as you can. Try asking about other solutions they’ve purchased, young companies they are working with, the steps they would follow if they were interested in engaging with your company. Active listening will help you immensely here, not only to get a sense of the sales cycle but also the potential of the person to bring the deal over the line for you.
- Talk money without fixing a price – The topic of money brings lots of focus to a conversation. Its helpful to get some sense of the value you’re offering even if you’re still figuring out your price or pricing model so talk estimates, ranges, and potential payment structures, then pay close attention to the verbal and non verbal reaction.
- Always be open to learning something new - Take the time to explore outside the realm of your solution to get a deeper insight into your customer. Ask them about other solutions they are buying or would love to buy right now if they had the budget. Be genuine in your desire to understand their work.
- Act human – Use humor, anecdotes and personal insights where appropriate to allow the relationship connection to be made quickly and solidly.
- At every moment be professional - A high level of professionalism and consistency in your communications will give your customer the confidence that you can deliver a winning solution regardless of how many road bumps you both hit on the way to the finish line.
Here in Enterprise Ireland we work with the full range of Irish Companies – from startups, to more established companies, to those ready and able to scale rapidly in global markets. Our clients have also demanded that we fill a gap in our portfolio; Companies that have been trading in the Irish Market for a number of years, who are ready and able to take the next step and win sales in export markets.
After a lot of work, we’re proud to announce the addition of a new Potential Exporters Division and a new programme of supports to get more Irish companies exporting. In this new group, we will
- Identify more exporters and providing focussed targeted supports to these companies
- Provide supports for 1800 companies in 2012
- Achieve an increase of 60% in the number of companies which will receive the Going Global grant in 2012, compared with 2011
Our “Get Export Ready” range of supports are aimed specifically at pre-export and early stage exporting companies and include the new supports for exporting companies:
- Workshops, seminars and training across the country
- Mentoring and advocate support
- Access to market information
- A new website with “how to” guides, links to relevant information, self-assessment tools and templates
- A dedicated helpdesk
- Access to advice from successful exporting companies
- Access to a range of Enterprise Ireland financial supports
At the Launch in Dublin Port, Minister Bruton said:
If we are to see the jobs recovery we so badly need, we must create a powerful engine of indigenous enterprise. While exports continue to grow strongly, we must ensure that we achieve a substantial improvement in the export performance of Irish businesses. That is why, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, we are overhauling the way Government supports companies who have potential to trade in foreign markets, creating a new Potential Exporters Division to focus on improving export performance, and implementing a range of new supports to help these companies as they seek to export more.
For more information, visit the Enterprise Ireland Get Export Ready website.
We’ve covered Open Data Development before, but with the next ISA workshop, Open Data is moving into the mainstream . It has the potential to spur the development of mobile apps, software products and services – not just for the Ireland, but designed for the European and global markets. It has the potential to drive efficiencies and cost-savings for central and local Government.
The Irish Software Association’s Public Procurement working group will hold its second workshop on Open Data on Feb 28th in IBEC 84/86 Lower Baggot st, Dublin11am – 2pm. If you are interested in attending, please register via www.software.ie/events or contact Patricia.Keogh@ibec.ie , 01-6051582 .
Open Data is the second of six workshops set to take place over the coming months. The ISA Public Procurement working group has met with senior technology specialists at CMOD, Revenue, Agriculture, Social Protection and LMS (formerly LGCSB) to identify the key ICT requirements within the public sector and to investigate ways of improving pre-market engagement with local suppliers. The specialists identified 6 areas of technology, which are of particular interest to them, which form the basis of the ISA’s planned Public Procurement workshop series taking place in Dublin over the coming months.
||Opening Address & Introductions
Chairman of the ISA Public Procurement Working Group
|11:10 – 11:35am
||Dublin Region’s DUBlinked initiative
How businesses can benefit from Dublinked’s
Open Data initiative.
Assistant Head of IT,
Fingal County Council
|11:40 – 12:00am
||Case Study: Nathean Technologies
||Case Study: Placr, UK
|12:30 – 1:15pm
Chaired by: Tim Willoughby, LGMA
Panellist: Jonathan Raper, Placr
Panellist: Ciaran Gilsenan, Mypp Media
Panellist: Maurice Lynch, Nathean Technologies
Panellist: Ronan Farrell, NUI Maynooth
Panellist: Dominic Byrne, Fingal County Council
||Networking & Tea/Coffee
This is a guest post from Andrea of BatCat Games, who is also involved in putting together the Dublin GameCraft event. For more news follow Andrea on Twitter @RoundCrisis. More on what EI is doing in Ireland with the Games and Software Companies is here.
On Febraury 25th 2012, a collection of hobbyist, student, independent and professional game developers will be placed together in a room in DIT and gently coaxed into a game development frenzy. There will be sweat, there will be tears, there will most likely be zombies, and after eight hours of intensely profound game development acrobatics, there will be games.
Dublin Gamecraft is a single-day game jam event that has been put together to encourage Irish game developers to gather in one place in order to create a game from scratch in just eight hours. Choice of platform, development tools, and team size is completely unrestricted. Use whatever you’re most comfortable with. Teams are allowed and encouraged, and can even be created on the day, although this will cut into your game development time. This is a bring-your-own-hardware event.
After exactly eight hours, you can submit your masterpiece to our panel of industry experts, who will come up with a list of their favourite entries. We hope to have some fantastic prizes for the best games, including, but not limited to, the respect and admiration of your peers. Breakfast and lunch will also be provided courtesy of our generous sponsors, Open Emotion Studios, JetBrains and Swrve.
If you don’t want to create a game on the day, come along just for the networking. You might gain some new contacts, or learn a new trick or two.
We’re really excited about this event. There’s a real buzz around the game development scene in Ireland recently, which is evident in the large number of registrations we’ve received already. We hope that game jams like this one can help our burgeoning local industry into the global limelight. Hope to see you all there.
This is a guest post from John Caulfield, Solutions Director Oracle Ireland and member of the Irish Software Association (ISA) Executive Council. This is the latest in the series of Irish Software Association and Techbrew events that EI is proud to be associated with.
As a compliment to the work that EI and the ISA have done in helping software companies use partners to win export sales, we’re focusing the next TechBrew (Thurs 9th February @ 7.00pm) on the area. Held at 4 Dame Lane Dublin 2, TechBrew is an informal gathering of software company management and technology leaders, getting together to chat over a bite and a beer.
In between the networking and beers we’ll cover “Partnering—Is it the fastest and cheapest entry to new markets or does it ultimately cost more?”. Talk to your peers to talk about the best route to market. Find out if you are willing to sacrifice control for coverage. See how you can expand your existing markets, what models work best and identify the best partners options for different markets, and how to managing the channel. Hear practical advice, successes and pitfalls, from those who have gone before you, shared in an informal learning environment.
Confirmed to speak:
- Donagh Kiernan, Founder and CEO, Tenego Partnering, driving international sales for high growth technology companies, through partnering. Donagh helps high growth technology companies drive international sales, through partnering. He focuisses on making current partners effective and securing new partners that are ‘best-fit’ to sell products or services in identified target markets.
If you have some practical experience to offer yourself, why not take ten minutes to share your experiences on the night.
There’s clever and there’s very clever, but we reckon the most savvy thing you can do in relation to what is being termed ‘Smart Energy’ is to get yourself to a free workshop (the second in a monthly series presenting opportunities that Ireland’s evolved electricity market will offer this year) that takes place in Dublin at the start of February.
The reason for the Smart Energy workshop is to stay one step ahead of the competition – smart meters are installed in over 60% of commercial properties and households in Finland, and energy supply companies are eager to commercially exploit this growing industry. As Ireland commences the implementation of its own Smart Energy infrastructure – based on successful recent trials – many opportunities exist in this sector, notably from ICT, demand side management and product development for both domestic and export markets.
The Smart Energy workshop, hosted by Enterprise Ireland in association with Pöyry – a leading specialist in Finland’s energy sector, and the provider of strategic, commercial, regulatory and policy advice to Europe’s energy markets – will provide perceptive insights into this area. If your business is smart meters, and you’d like to learn from Pöyry’s tried, tested and trusted implementation programme (which constitutes a multi million-unit meter rollout), then reserve your place at the workshop as soon as possible. You know it’s the smart thing to do!
The Innovative Energy Solutions and Smart Meters Workshop takes place at EI Head Office, East Point Business Park, Wednesday February 1st, 2pm-5.30pm. Topics covered include the status of smart metering in Finland, Smart Energy infrastructure, and Commercial Opportunities. Places on the workshop are limited, so reservations are recommended. Contact me , Simon.Bradshaw@enterprise-ireland.com for further details before close of business Monday January 30th.
This is a guest post from Teresa Dillon of the Science Gallery, Dublin. Teresa is looking for good Irish Software and Service Companies to take part in ‘Hack the City’ – an exhibition running from June to September. It could be a great showcase for your new App, Service, Mashup or Startup, with potential funding available to help you realise the concept for the event.
Currently more than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. This trend is expected to continue. Between 2025-2030 of the approximate 8 billion people who will live in the world 5 billion will live in cities. Yet the majority of our city infrastructures are based on inherited historical layouts and systems.
Science Gallery’s 2012 flagship exhibition and festival Hack the City will rethink our cities from the ground up through the spirit and philosophy of the hacker ethos – to bend, mash-up, tweak and cannibalise our city systems, to create possibilities, illustrate visionary thinking and demonstrate real-world examples for sustainable urban futures. It will capitalize on Dublin city’s history, legacy, population and infrastructure, transforming the city itself into a nimble “playground” and live urban hack lab.
We’re looking for proposals for experiments, exhibits, events, apps, mashups and visualisations which go beyond Science Gallery in to the city of Dublin and even connect multiple cities globally. Potential venue partnerships include The Ark, Temple Bar, Dublin and international partnerships with ZER01 in San Jose, California. We are especially interested in (more…)
This is a guest post from Brendan Lally from the Work Placement Office at The National College of Ireland in Dublin’s IFSC. At a time where there are more vacancies than applicants in Irish Software companies, Brendan wants to work with you to place an IT student for 6 months in early 2012 within your company.
What is the benefit of taking a student for you as an Employer?
The Work Placement Program at The National College of Ireland is looking for industry partners within Software and Service companies immediately. The students attending the BSc.(Honours) in Software Systems and BSc. (Honours) in Business Information Systems degrees have a solid theoretical base, which they are keen to put into practice.
- Placements provide the ideal opportunity for employers to foster links with the National College of Ireland.
- The opportunity to trial a potential recruit without obligation or target ‘highflyer ’ recruits early.
- Your team can benefit from skilled assistance for specific project work at lower cost.
- Placements can also provide your staff with some valuable people management and mentoring experience.
Where could a student fit into you team?
Some samples of the projects our students worked on in 2011 include:-
- IT development projects
- IT support
- Network administration
- Software development
- Software programming
- Web design and development
- Database development
How do I sign up?
The Placements start in late January 2012 for 6 Months. Our 3rd year IT students are (again) likely to be in high demand for IT related work experience in any sector of industry.
If you are an interested employer, email me at Brendan.email@example.com or phone me (Brendan Lally) directly on 01-4498558. For further details please check out our Employers Brochure on the following link: http://issuu.com/ncicareers/docs/it_placement-2011-w