I noticed something new standard that enables startups to close large contracts, fast.
These founders and early employees successfully overturned the entire traditional, notoriously slow business sales cycle by moving the customer’s “wow moment” from the end of the sales cycle to the beginning. Let’s explore the world of “unauthorized” pilots.
It’s widely accepted that the faster your product can give customers that “wow” feeling, the better. But today, too many products take forever to provide that opportunity. Business sales happen through a long slog of sales calls, procurement, contract negotiations, and technical integration.
All of that happens before a prospect experiences that wow moment and believes with confidence that a product will work for their use case. In fact, it’s a miracle any business marketing is close to.
The catch-22: “I’ll give you my data if I know it works with my data”
There is a reason for this. In business software, products often require your customer data to function. How about doing demos with fake dummy data? That’s like watching someone else drive a car at the dealership. It’s more exciting to try driving it yourself.
But most prospects won’t give their employer data until they’re convinced it’s worth their time. Getting the green light to share or integrate company data with a third party involves jumping through hoops. Prospects must expend social capital along the way, first to gain internal political support, then to navigate formal approval.
On the other hand, rarely do customers go “wow!” before they see your product used in their own specific context — that is, with their own data. You’ve got yourself in a catch-22.
To break out of this vicious cycle, let’s think instead if your product can show a customer what the experience looks and feels like when used with their own data, in their context, HISTORY they spend any time on sales calls, procurement, legal, integration, etc. That changes everything. . . .
Enter the unauthorized pilot
This is where the unauthorized pilot comes in. This is a cheat code that sets the customer’s time-to-value to zero. This is your tool to overcome customer skepticism, and do it quickly.
An unlicensed pilot is a product demo that uses public, customer-specific data to deliver an immediate ‘wow!’ chance.
With an unlicensed pilot, you shift your prospect’s wow moment from end in the process of selling to goodness GETTING, the same time they first heard of your product. You don’t need them to agree or configure anything before the demo works, so “no permission.”
So what is it? An unlicensed pilot is a product demo that uses public, customer-specific data to deliver an instant wow moment.
How to create a pilot without permission
The three basic steps to an unauthorized pilot are: