Mentor Archetypes – Corporates

007Know Them by Their Suits

Startup people are often quick to label corporates and often negatively. This is a mistake. They can make great partners, great customers, and great mentors. Like us, they can take getting to know. Look past the suit to discover what they have to offer and what they want.

Look Past The Suit to Judge The Individual

The suits may all look the same, but so do our hoodies and sneakers. Ask where they’re from in their organization. Sales? R&D? Innovation? HR? Business development? Each has different things to offer and different things they want. Despite what Monty Python said, they are all individuals.

Corporate sales people can be very valuable for their insight into how to sell to corporations. They are usually expert at the long game. They don’t mind it waiting for the customer to pay, especially when they can get a long-term contract that is easy to renew. They can teach you a lot about how to manage sales processes and what to expect from different customer types.

They’re not just good at sales

Yes, you need revenue and you either want them to buy your stuff or help you sell it, but they can offer more than that. The corporate HR people trying to recruit developers from your startup co-working space may be able to teach you a lot about on-boarding or retaining staff.

The R&D specialist scouting trends may be able to get you a whole new level of access at big events. Their innovation coordinator may get your startup into a trial they’re running or access to their hardware.

Instead of Laughing, Start Learning

These guys are often really good at skills you need. Laugh at their suits, but they usually wear them for a reason – money. The suit may match certain customer expectations and big companies are good at knowing what their big customers want. Matching those same expectations may make or break your startup.

Follow the Benjamins

Corporates make lots of money, often absurd amounts of money. They do a lot of things right, or they wouldn’t be in business. We may think software-as-a-service is new, but tech didn’t invent the subscription sales model.

These guys invented big, multi-year sales, complete with ‘add-ons’, ‘lock-in’, and much more that have earned them massive profits. People stand behind all the logos and branding. People are what make corporates go, just like startups. Used properly, their knowledge can help you make lots of money too.

Do they wear sneakers? Who cares.