Building Your StartupThe Real Deal

Startup Legend or Left Behind? How Q2 2021 Makes or Breaks Software

By February 18, 2021 No Comments
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Startup founders, good news: it’s 100% go-time for integrating with major accounts.

If you’ve doing b2b sales into mid and large size companies, you can change the world right now. You’re in position.

Bad news: the window is closing in the next 4 months.

Follow my line of thinking, and see if you agree . . . and if you do, you’ll know what to do. It will shift your calendar.

First, the obvious—most companies got a real shake-up this last year, because of COVID.

We all know there were sectors that were winners (for example, e-commerce, grocery, logistics, payments, alcohol) and losers (for example, hospitality, airlines). There were also the “folks in the middle” who just tried to hold onto the business they have, and not rock the boat too much, while they were dealing with making Zoom their new headquarters. Over all, US GDP retreated 2.9% last year.

But now what is happening? 

Here in Q1 2021, it’s quieter. GDP grew ever so slightly Q4. The vaccine rollout is creating some hope-and real margins of safety for the economy. Winter storms instead of elections are dominating our headlines. It feels like a type of peace-maybe even a false sense of security. By the end of 2nd Quarter, most Americans who want to be vaccinated will be.
That reality will open up the US economy as will the stimulus package the Biden administration is nursing through. The economy is going to run hot, by design. Current treasury leadership is not afraid of inflation. Fact: you and me will have never lived through an economy intentionally run as hot as this admin intends to run it. And if America catches a cold, the world still gets the flu. Meaning, when our economy runs hot, we pull on all the strings of our supply chains globally, and the tug heats up rest of the world. (Sadly, in more ways than one, but that’s another story.)

Finally, how does this matter to you, today?

You’re in the quiet before the storm now. The integrations you complete now and in Q2 will be money makers for you in Q3 and Q4, and set you up for acquisitions thereafter. But if you are prepping now to launch Q3 or Q4 . . . Reset yourself. Companies-your customers-that can make money will be making money. They’ll be focusing on executing what is on their plate. They will not be seeking new partners for the most part; they will be profiting from the partners they already have, at a record pace we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.

How can you ascertain how your customer set might react?

You don’t have to. When you can serve a public account, you can get their trend data directly. I realize you know public companies file SEC forms and annual reports, where you can get all kinds of goodies about their strategy and major customers. Many don’t realize they also have quarterly earnings calls and decks. Every. Quarter. Friend Google will bring them straight to you. The quarterly decks from Q42020 have lots of good data on how last year shaped up, and the strengths and weaknesses in your market segments.

For your private accounts, create a little index basket of “public company comparables” that are similar to your customers, so you can get a close read on the major trends and winds in the industries you care about. Use this information to set your new sales priorities.

1. Drive marketing information into your key accounts and prospects based on the growth and sales they can achieve this year thanks to you. Set actual numbers and get that message out yesterday. Activate it with decks, webinars, and outbound calls.
2. Implement those customers by June 30 to make 2021 work for you.
3. If it’s not integrated or at least in the actual process of implementing by June 30 . . . it could easily be put off or de-prioritized by the kind of economy we will be launching in 4.5 months.

In closing, sell.

  • Sell like hell.
  • Sell now.
  • Sell the Christmas puppy and the kids. (JUST KIDDING)

But seriously, if are slow this year, this year will NOT have the wiggle room of the “generally good growth pace” of the past few years.

We have had a forgiving growth pace these last few years. There is such a thing as an unforgiving growth pace that closes the doors to new partners/new relationships/new sales because your customer is already “too busy” making money. Those types of customers are not that hungry to SAVE money using you or see new market opportunities, because the market they have just woke up.

The opportunity-cost of a meeting with you, a young firm, is going to go up starting in July.

Sales is going to get harder. So, make it easier on yourself. Sell now. You’ll be glad you did.