Tried and Tested Ways That Help Innovators Sell Their Innovations
Business innovation is a hot topic of conversation these days and it’s becoming more and more important for organisations that operate in all industries. That is why now is a perfect time for innovators to sell their new technology and solutions to drive their projects forward and solve organisational challenges.
If you’re an innovator, you’ve probably slaved over your new idea or solution for days on end and now that you’re happy with the finished product, it’s time to sell it to a business. However, this is easier said than done, because innovators need to differentiate themselves from their competition, ensuring that their idea or technology gets picked over anyone else’s.
Whilst organisations can be huge advocates of driving transformational change and supporting positive disruption within their respective industry, they still have to focus on risk, cost and return on investment (ROI) when it comes to business decisions about funding innovation and initiatives. It becomes less about the buzz word and more about how it can make money. Therefore, innovations need to be held up in comparison to other possible uses of capital and justify themselves from an investment point of view. Can the organisation gain more from it than what it costs?
With this in mind, we’ve outlined 4 tried and tested ways that help innovators sell their innovations, but first, let’s get back to basics and define business innovation and why it’s important.
What Is Innovation In Business?
To thrive in a competitive landscape, businesses must open and adapt to change, and innovation can help them do just that. Innovation in business is when an organisation introduces new or improves existing ideas, processes, products, services, workflows or technologies.
Your next question is probably ‘why is innovation important in business?’ - well, for many reasons. Placing innovation as a core part of a corporate strategy has many benefits, including:
- Solves problems - business challenges need creative answers and in this day and age, it’s probably going to be a digital or technological solution, requiring a lot of thinking outside the box
- Boosts productivity - innovation can help streamline processes, enabling businesses to work smarter, cut out time and resource drains and reduce costs
- Presents new opportunities - integrating innovation into a business strategy can unveil an abundance of opportunities that are hard to pass up on, such as penetrating new markets, merging with or acquiring other organisations, or opening a new avenue for growth
- Gives a competitive advantage - when businesses think innovatively and creatively, it makes it easier to beat the competition, remain relevant, stand out in the industry and keep ahead of the curve
- Increases revenue - the value of innovation is second to none and all of the above factors combined will contribute to higher profits, driving business growth and success
For the above reasons, it becomes irresistible for businesses to adopt innovation. If you have a solution to a business challenge, you could reap the benefits, whether they are financial goals from selling your innovation or personal aspirations to drive forward a project.
Next stop, how to sell your innovation.
1. Target The Decision Makers
Lots of companies already have innovation champions who actively seek out new ideas and technology to solve their challenges and it’s these people who you need to get in front of as they’re the ones who will be able to make the investment decisions.
Networking is important now more than ever and you’ll want to aim for the middle; bypass the gatekeepers, but don’t shoot for the top dogs as neither of these are everyday decision makers. Connect on Twitter and LinkedIn, attend (virtual) conferences or join an open innovation network.
2. Tell Your Story
Meaningful storytelling is important when it comes to getting something new off the ground, differentiating yourself from the competition and ultimately, gaining buy-in from investors. After all, people and businesses don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Obviously, an innovation needs to solve their problem, but your story will help you get there and your efforts can generate curiosity, empathy and support. Whether your story focuses on the idea generation or the development or scaling of the innovation, there are a few compelling paths you can take:
- Serendipitous discovery - you took advantage of an unexpected opportunity or created something from chance
- If at first you don’t succeed - showing tenacity and diligence through not giving up after failure
- Persistence is key - having a clear vision, winning others round through persistence and challenging the status quo
- Best beats first - your innovation is better than everyone else’s, gain buy-in from being cunning and eliminating the established competitio
- Harnessing the winds of change - adapting to changes in the industry and positioning your innovation according to market trends
- Master of reinvention - you experienced and accepted a failure, causing you to start from scratch and create something new and better
If your innovation solves a business challenge and your target organisation can empathise with your story, then you’ll do well.
3. Don’t Lose Sight Of The Problem
If you have worked long and hard on your innovation, it’s easy to focus on that in your pitch and lose sight of why a business needs an innovation. Instead, demonstrate to organisations that your solution is disruptive and a perfect fit for their challenge. Show them that you understand their problem and you can solve it faster, better and/or more cost-effectively than your competitors.
They will also want to know how seamlessly your solution fits into their way of doing things and by focusing on the right selling points, you’ll be able to unseat your competitors. Businesses are essentially your prospective customers and your innovation is the product that will meet and satisfy their needs.
4. Think Business With Your Innovation
Just like with any investment, organisations need to work out what return will be guaranteed and if you and your innovation will still be relevant in time to come. Make sure you de-risk your innovation. If you can prove to them that you can solve a challenge, remain relevant against the competition over time and secure them a profitable return, then they’ll invest. This will then be the start of a successful journey together as organisations will want to grow with you and your innovation.
It would also be sensible to manage your own expectations when it comes to the buying process. Decision making within an enterprise can take days and even months, especially in highly regulated sectors, such as the financial industry. As such, it’s important to understand business timelines from the outset. A lot of innovators sometimes secure smaller clients to aid with short term cash flow.
How Can LEO Help You?
As a business innovator, it can be tough to sell your innovation to a large corporation, especially in such a competitive market. Selling to enterprise companies can be a long process as well, but success results in a big payoff.
Understanding the importance of innovation in business, targeting key decision makers, networking as much as you can, telling your story, remaining focused on the problem you’re trying to solve, managing expectations and thinking like a business are all ways that should help you sell your business innovation.
LEO is the world's most advanced open innovation platform that connects innovators and organisations together. Businesses can discover the next game-changing innovation and innovations can promote their solutions to a global business market. If you think that this is something that could help you, you can register your innovation for free or contact us if you have any further questions.