I was in a meeting yesterday in which mentors were demonstrating techniques to help early-stage companies build sales and teams. The mentee company founder explained his software company as one that monitored employee workflows with the goal of smoothing them out and making things more efficient and productive. My words not his. His explanation was more cumbersome, acronym filled, and, as is the way with coders, rather technical.
One of the questions I use in my brand strategy practice came to mind for the three mentors during this exercise. It has really helped me over the years when interviewing technical people. The question was born of work for Capgemini many moons ago.
It was meant to be asked of salespeople but works for founders. “If you had only 30 seconds with a CFO, what would you tell him/her about your product in order to get a meeting? Craft the answer as if it were a cold voice mail.”
If you have ever spoken with CFOs, you know a couple of things about them. Numbers are their jam. They’re revenue and expense driven. They aren’t big students of the FM (fucking magic) or technology undergirding product management. They also don’t take kindly to marketing bullshit. So, when crafting your 30 second speech, get the Is-Does right – what the product Is and What the product Does. Explain your key benefit — don’t benefit-shovel. And solve a problem with pent-up demand. You just may get your meeting.