Especially in B2B, you can really sell anything before writing a single line of code

As a product-focused founder, I approach new ideas and opportunities primarily through a product angle. I ask myself, what gaps in the market exist and what USP can be defined on a product-level to solve a relevant problem.

One of the strategies I deploy is selling products and services that do not yet exist, which by itself is not a new idea, but one recent learning is just how far one can go with this approach, especially with B2B software.

In my current role, I'm collaborating with an ex-founder who just recently sold his company for €55M to a Nasdaq-listed firm – and he used this approach of selling first and building second to the extreme.

The metric he always optimized for is signed MRR which means he would get signatures on offers where the customer agrees on the product's functional requirements – before a single line of code is written. Of course, the story towards the customer is that the product has to be configured and deployed, which would take 3-6 months. But in reality, it would start getting built or extended at this point.

However, once the requirements are met and the product is live, money starts flowing.

In a nutshell, what it takes to deploy this strategy is

  • Super well polished sales material including a sales deck, company deck, offer template and website
  • A solid story on the grand vision of the product – sell the dream
  • A person who can sell (ideally the founder, but a business consultant in tandem with a sales person can also work), and
  • A shit ton of confidence

Adding a flexible cancellation policy does wonders, if needed. Try to get commitment by the customer, but also give them confidence in (i) you being exactly the right partner to work with, and (ii) if things don't work out, to get their money back (or not pay in the first place).

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