Business Development · Tech startups

What does business development do if technology is still in development?

Armand Sepulveda Co-Founder & CEO at Dycap Media Solutions, Inc

January 5th, 2016

When the technology of a start-up is still in it's developmental stages what should the business development side do?Our technology is a few weeks from being salable to distributors that we already have lined up but in the mean time I do not want the business side of the team (sales, marketing, partnerships, etc...) to do nothing and lose steam.

We have been bootstrapping and want to raise money after we make our first sales, which will give us more leverage and higher valuation. The nature of the company is embedded systems that will work with cameras to make live event filming more quality and cost effective by using machine intelligence to operate cameras instead of a manual operator.This is frustrating because as a business co-founder I want to do meaningful hard work that will push the Dycap Media Solutions forward but not sure what to do.

Matthew Mellor EVP of Innovation at Zelis Healthcare

January 5th, 2016

ABC--Always Be Closing.

Presuming that you're selling to other businesses (versus consumers), there's no reason why your business development team can't be selling based on a future feature set. Sales cycles can be long, so the sooner you start, the sooner you can be closing. The other advantage is that you may get valuable feedback that could influence design, features, or even whole new markets.

Cristopher Lang MBA Candidate 2015 at UCLA Anderson School of Management

January 5th, 2016

Hi Armand, There is a few things that BD should be doing in the mean time, for what you describe you are a few weeks away to have a MVP, at this time BD should be focusing on building a healthy lead pool. You should be: - Finding suitable companies for a starting phase (define the customer profile optimal for the first version of he product and identify potential customers based on it) - Probing a few of them (find out who is the decision maker, have a few introductory conversations to build that relationship and most importantly learn about their business and your market) - Find databases or other tools that will help you feed your lead pool based on your findings. - Build your sales pitch and test it with a few potential customers (identified before) - Finally after you have managed to build a lead pool (and talked to a few of them to understand them in depths and improve your pitch), start classifying your leads in order to prioritise the work to be done once the product is ready for sale. Those first potential customers are key to retrocede your processes, to learn and to build a reputation. You should develop strong relationships with them and make sure they have a great experience with you and your company. Those relationships will provide important information about the rest of your customers and feedback on your product. Consider them your constant market research and your R&D experts. You should develop a relationship with them to the point where both can share sensitive information about each other in order to improve your businesses as partners (under NDA of course). I hope this helps. Best!

Thomas Kaled Business Development Consultant @

January 5th, 2016

Clearly they should have suspects converting to prospects and prioritized relative to expected close.

They should have well qualified prospects buying influences likewise identified so they understand closing timelines and have tactics prepared to overcome objections.

They should be slowing or stopping the purchase decision of prospects by providing competitive advantages of your product versus the one they are considering.

They should be holding focus groups with prospects to identify along with Product Development future developments for your technology.

They should be building one very thorough CRM.

They should be identifying congregation points for suspects, prospects and get them budgeted.

Srinivas Penumaka Seasoned marketing executive (product, leadgen, digital, channel, social)

January 5th, 2016

It is great that you have a sales and marketing team while you are building the product and bootstrapping. The value of BD at this would be to ensure that you have enough pipeline of partners and distributors who get the value and have given you enough idea on the value prop to them and the necessary business model and economics. You definitely need a way to demonstrate the tech and prove the viability and intended benefits, but you can use a prototype of sorts to do that in the initial stage, share the roadmap to get them excited and also create the right value prop messaging by working with partners and in addition, take the prototype and concept to a few customers through your partners.  You can certainly gauge the interest and commitment of your future partners to vet them properly and after your tech is ready, they will become your first beta customers to help  you iron out all the kinks and make the product ready for customers. 

Burke Franklin

January 5th, 2016

I presume that you have a business plan that will coordinate all of your moving parts! While I agree with everything said so far, you want to build a machine around your processes. Best to invest some time in designing your company with everyone's input, including what you learn as you explore your prospects.

Patrina Mack Experts in global commercialization

January 5th, 2016

I second Matthew.   My most successful products and clients were because we were shopping a demo of the solution long before it was built.  It was part market research part biz dev because we invariable found things that wouldn't work and could easily be fixed at that stage.  The other important piece is to be selling to the decision make, influencers and users so that you're surfacing objections and rapidly responding with lessons learned about how to overcome the objectives especially at at time when product features can still be changed and business policies can be revised to better serve your company.   This is also true with consumers - you can be putting product in the customers' hands for beta testing even if it's not in go to market form.

Max Rosenthal Strategic Sales Professional Harnessing Tactical Fortitude To Capture New Business

January 6th, 2016

When you say business development I am assuming that is the sales folks. Very simply stated, you want them to do their job. They are prospecting and qualifying prospects and moving them through the sales cycle. They are explaining that its a new product and that based on their research and discovery of the prospect will provide them with X and Y and at the same time eliminate Z. That since it is a new product we are looking for some select customers to pilot and test the product and as a result we are willing to provide a discount of __ and a guarantee that if its not doing X, Y and eliminating Z we will _____ as a result. Look, there is going to be a lull in the process of on boarding early adopters and its better to get into and past that lull now versus the product is ready to ship, everyone is excited and then the lull occurs. If you enable them with the moxie (and the you have the confidence) you could even sign contracts contingent upon X, Y & Z.

Terry Mullane Visionary Founder Financial and Operational Expert - The Business Plumber// Chief Exectuion Officer Mentor Mash

January 7th, 2016

Based upon the development stage you have reached you Business Development team should be out securing deals now not waiting until you have a nice product sitting on the shelf. Always drive revenue since it pressures everyone within the firm to deliver - sales, marketing, product development, testers. Easier for a firm to push a delivery date than the costs associated with development if you have no customers. 

Eyal Feingersch

January 6th, 2016

I remember a client (I work at a dev firm, 'crazy projects department', i.e. MVP's) who was pivoting like crazy during development.
These changes were results of deals and sales that he made, including a lot of promises he made without consulting first.
This way, he had more money to pay for extra development, which my firm was happy to accept.

So start working toward selling if you can.
You might face some furstration from your developers though.

Dennis Bernstein Business and Organizational Development

January 5th, 2016

Have the distributors you have lined up signed LOI's to purchase the technology or are they waiting to see it work. The marketing side of your firm should be leveraging public relations to develop more momentum for your product. Your BD folks could be talking to potential investors. Has your sales team exhausted all of their leads, if not they should be talking to all of them on a regular basis. There is plenty to do.