Startup Institute

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Tips for Making Sales in the Tech Space: Know Your Early Adopter

As a salesperson in the startup space, you're pitching innovation to potential buyers. Your product is new and may solve a pain point your customers don't yet know they have. In order to succeed in disrupting your industry, you need to focus on your target market. In tech, that often includes the early adopters who won't just be the first to try your product but will become evangelists for your brand. Here are some tips for becoming a great salesperson in tech by identifying and communicating with early adopters.

1. Know Their Motivation

Early adopters take risks, but they know their stuff. Psychological research shows this group of buyers will pay more in order to experience innovative technology and enjoy the status that comes along with being the first to use the next big thing. They won't just be satisfied with a shiny new object, however. Early adopters do their research. As a salesperson, you must provide information about how and why the product works and what makes it important to the future of technology. A tagline won't cut it for an early adopter -- you've got to back it up with facts and evidence.

2. Know Where They Are

In B2B tech sales, there are a few large companies that are known early adopters. Big name brands such as General Electric, Starbucks, Burberry and Pepsi are the first to use new content marketing platforms, for example. There are early adopters in your industry as well. Do a bit of investigation to discover who is driving change, and put them on your list of sales targets. You can take some tips from the consumer space and look for early adopters at trade shows and industry events.

3. Support the Transition

Even early adopters struggle with an innovative product that is too far ahead of their current needs. In order to keep the client interested, go beyond generating excitement and demonstrating reliability through evidence. Show your potential client the ease with which they can transition to your product. This will alleviate fears of lost productivity due to inevitable hiccups during new product implementation. If you find even your early adopters can't quite imagine using your product yet, ask yourself if it might require more time in development. As a salesperson, this may be hard to deal with, but there's always the chance your company is ahead of the market curve.

4. Interact With Prospects as Individuals

Purchasing teams are made up of people. For that reason alone, selling to them is not very different from the B2C process. Early adopters fit a general mold, but each one is slightly different. That goes for people as well as brands. Even though GE and Starbucks are both early adopters in the content marketing space, their brand voice and motivations are very different. Understanding the general persona of an early adopter is the first step. In order to nurture a strong lead, you need to get to know the individual brand. Further, its purchasing team has ideas about where they want to take the company. Know this trajectory and speak to it in every conversation.

Ultimately, closing a sale with an early adopter is no different than completing any other B2B transaction. Early adopters have a distinct set of motivations, desires and expectations for a new product. When you demonstrate that your product has what they are looking for -- or didn't yet know they needed -- you're well on your way to landing an important client.