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Enterprise Pilots

How do you evaluate the value of an enterprise pilot to an early-stage company?

Many in the startup ecosystem say that the key difference is between paid and unpaid. There is some logic to this as a customer giving “something of value” shows that they actually want something rather than just being polite. It works well for consumer products.

I am not convinced that it means much from an enterprise client. In an enterprise, it shows that someone with some budgetary authority has an interest in something that is somehow related to your offering.

But that might not be an interest in every adopting your product but rather part of their ongoing program to understand the world.

So for enterprise sales pilots, I have a different question to ask: “Is there a clear criterion for success that will trigger further adoption?”

Without that, then to me, it is just a Demo even if it is paid. Many Large companies will try “everything” without intent to buy anything. The cost charged for the pilot is inconsequential to them both in absolute terms and in comparison to the costs in time and attention of the staff involved in the pilot.

Without success criteria, how do you that what’s important to you, is important to them? How do you know how to follow up?

In short, how do you know anything?

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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