How to Position Your Startup to Impress Chief Innovation Officers

Launch your partnership with enterprise CIOs

Enterprise chief innovation officers (CIOs) are tasked with the responsibility of driving forward innovation and bringing disruptive change to the traditional corporate environment. One of the ways to do this is by collaborating with startups.

Running proof-of-concepts with independent software vendors is a great way for enterprises to rapidly adopt new technologies, and a great way for startups to prove that their solution works on a large scale.

Here is how startups can position themselves to impress enterprise CIOs looking for innovation partners.

What CIOs Want

The most surefire way to catch the attention of chief innovation officers is to build a product that disrupts the market.

CIOs often seek to disrupt, and many times recognize that it will be difficult to do so with the manpower and resources they have within their company. That is why startups who have creative solutions that challenge traditional norms and have the potential to disrupt the market are at an advantage when looking to collaborate with enterprises.

While everyone wants to disrupt the market, not everyone can.

Fortunately, there are other things startups can do in order to position themselves in a way that will make their solution appealing to chief innovation officers.

Provide a Clear Value to Consumers

Many products may offer the same solution, however the ones that will stand the test of time are those that offer consumers added value.

In today’s market, technological products and services are viewed as commodities. As a result, it is critical for companies to differentiate themselves in ways beyond just price in order to secure market share.

While everyone wants to disrupt the market, not everyone can. Click To Tweet

One of the ways startups can create a solution with a clear value is to focus on the needs of their prospective customers rather than the solution they have come up with. By seeing a solution through the eyes of potential consumers, startups are able to understand more effectively how the product will be used, the impact it will have on the consumers, and the need companies will have for it.

Once a startup is able to create a solution that meets specific needs of consumers, they will become more appealing to CIOs who will be able to rapidly validate and scale their solution thanks to their resources.

Startups can also create value by focusing on customer experience. Having a strong word-of-mouth referral system, high retention rates and overall positive reviews can help startups get noticed by CIOs.

Have a Dynamic Solution

Today, technology changes rapidly and drastically. As a result, companies that want to succeed in the long-run need to have a solution that can quickly react to new changes and adapt accordingly.

Change Direction

For startups looking to position themselves in a way that makes them desirable to enterprise CIOs, it is important to create a solution that is dynamic enough to change when the market demands change.

While it is not possible to create a solution that predicts market changes, it is possible to design a solution that is open enough to enable modification and integrations down the road.

By having an agile solution that can evolve with new technologies down the road, startups are able to position themselves as desirable to CIOs, increasing their chances of running PoCs and gaining long-term success.

Build a Winning Team

Enterprises today recognize that what can propel a company to long term success is not just a disruptive product or innovative solution, but also a winning team.

Many CIOs have open innovation programs because of the can-do attitude startups are so well known for.

Winning Team

That is why startups looking to appeal to enterprises should place as much importance on their team as they do on their product.

According to John and Patrick Collision, the co-founders of payment processing startup Stripe, the way to do that is by spending time finding the right people and not settling for the sake of filling a spot.

The Collision brothers also reserved 10% of the company equity for their early hires, knowing that this would help them bring the top talent they needed to drive their company toward long term success.

Interestingly enough, all of their early hires were former founders themselves, showcasing the importance of hiring intrapreneurs.

Finding the Right Person at the Right Time

Ultimately, running a PoC with an enterprise is a lot about timing.

A company with a dynamic solution that meets consumers’ needs, offers them added value and was built by a winning team will not necessarily be accepted to a PoC if the enterprise is not looking to run one and if their ecosystem is not ready for it.

That is why startups looking to woo CIOs should focus on enterprises that have recognized a need to work with external companies.

The best way to do that is by joining prooV, where enterprises and independent software vendors actively seek out proof-of-concept collaborations and carry out the entire technology testing process on one platform.

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