Workshop Top Tips — Product Development

In case you don’t know, workshops are a regular feature of our programmes here at CyLon. The past couple of weeks of the current London programme have focussed on product development and value positioning — refining the product and getting it in front of the right audience.

In this blog, we’ve distilled a few top tips from some of the recent product development workshops run by cyber industry folk for our companies. A few snippets of wisdom from industry gurus!

Now for a well-deserved break for our London teams as they head into Detox Week and take some time to follow up on mentor connections and start learning that pitch deck!

“How to get your product adopted by medium-sized businesses” — delivered by the CISO of a medium-sized VC

  1. Target the right stakeholders

It sounds simple, but it’s one of the most over-looked things we see: when targeting a business to sell to, make sure you approach the most relevant person within the organisation, not just the first person you stumble across. You need to sell to someone who already has an understanding of the problem. Don’t necessarily only approach CISO’s; look at how your solution might effect other aspects of the business and try and get these teams and decision-makers on board first.

2. Focus on technical detail

Once you have found the right person to sell to within the organisation, ensure you provide them with enough technical detail about how you are solving the problem, rather than focusing too hard on what the problem is. The same goes for any white papers or blogs you might publish — focus on how you solve the problem technically and what makes you different from your competitors.

3. Don’t always target the biggest companies

FTSE 100 companies tend to have much longer procurement, compliance and tendering processes. Equally, they tend to be more risk averse and use trusted suppliers they have a history working with. Non-FTSE 100 companies account for a much larger share of the economy, so it might be time to focus your efforts here instead.

“Selling yourself to the VC” — delivered by an investor at a prominent VC

  1. Fine-tune your deck

This VC encounters up to 2,000 businesses per year, and only offers 8 term sheets. Due to this, when sending a deck to an investor, make sure the deck is comprehensive in explaining the problem and the solution you are solving. While the phrase ‘less is more’ does still apply, and you shouldn’t overload the slides with text, it’s important to get across your core proposition and your key differentiators clearly and concisely.

2. Get your armour ready

The whole investment process can take anything from two weeks to nine months. Get prepared with all the usual materials (financial statements, sales pipeline, sales agreement, founder’s agreement) in a Dropbox folder which are ready to be shared to the investors the moment the due diligence process starts.

3. Multiply out

Try to line up multiple term sheets at the same time. That way you can pick the one that is the most favourable to your company.

“Procurement process in the energy sector” — delivered by the head of procurement at a large European energy company

  1. Consider working with your target’s existing providers

Due to the significant hurdles in getting your product/solution adopted by large corporates, consider working with the company’s existing suppliers instead. If you integrate your product/solution into their partners existing service, it could prove a quicker route into the company itself.

2. Ensure you are up-to-date with the latest standards

It is crucial to make sure your business is up-to-date with the latest industry standards and regulations, and any upcoming legislation changes. The energy sector is often a highly regulated sector, and startups will need to prove they can keep up with changes and provide a seamless solution that navigates the regulatory landscape without fault.

3. Make the right connection

First off, ensure you connect to the relevant procurement specialist at the company. Following this it’s essential to get registered as a company supplier as soon as possible. This makes for a much easier process if and when you go through a tendering process with the business.