For corporate real estate tech startups: How to launch and execute a pilot with a corporate client in 3 months

Five ways CoREtech startups can help corporate real estate teams overcome bureaucracy, uncertainty, and risk aversion to launch a successful technology pilot

This is the second piece of a 2-part series. In this part, we focus on what CoREtech companies can do to accelerate innovation within a large corporate environment.

As mentioned in the previous article, the rapid evolution of real estate technology is transforming the physical workplace into a digital experience. Reasons companies should consider embracing these technologies are to 1) keep their employees engaged and productive, 2) attract and retain top talent, and 3) realize the efficiency and cost savings these new technologies can offer.

So why are large companies so slow to adopt?

Based on our research at CrowdComfort the leading reasons for delays include bureaucracy, uncertainty, and risk aversion. We’ve laid out five strategies below to overcome these challenges and shrink a traditional pilot timeline by 75% or more.

  1. Know your goals
  2. Assign yourself a champion
  3. Define and document goals
  4. Set a weekly cadence
  5. Create a community of super-users

1) Know your goals. Time kills deals…and it also kills startups. Don’t be afraid to ask some difficult questions during an introductory call. Find out if they have a budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT). Find out if they have done a project like this before. See if they can clearly articulate their goals and priorities. If they can’t answer these questions with confidence then they may be kicking the tires. Move on and find the next prospect.

2) Assign yourself a champion. A true champion is a business leader who will advocate for you and your team throughout the project ensuring you don’t fall victim to inertia. They are your guide through this process and will be by your side from the initial introduction to procurement, then through the launch and evaluation period. If the company you are working with does not provide one, you should definitely ask for one, listing a few of the reasons mentioned above.

Once assigned, leverage this champion to the fullest extent. Ask a lot of questions about the culture, the process, and the stakeholders involved. This is the person who can identify the objectors and what their objections are. This is the person who can help get you an exception (if needed) during the procurement review. This is a person who can help you prep for every meeting based on the stakeholders present in the room. This is the person who will make or break the project.

3) Define and document the project goals. A project without goals that are defined and documented is destined to fail. How can you justify an expansion if you cannot support the argument with data? It’s critical for the sales, operations, and customer success team to engage the corporate client to collaboratively develop the following items

  • Define at least three goals
  • Document theses goals
  • ID ways to measure success
  • Summarize results

The results summary is a critical part of the process here. You’ll want this to be in a simple short-form format that is easily shareable. You want to arm your champion with the collateral necessary to advocate for you and the expansion opportunity. At the end of a project the champion should be able to say “here is what we set out to do, here is what we did, and here is the data to justify expansion”

4) Set a weekly cadence. Similar to the previous post, the weekly cadence is an excellent forcing function to keep the project on everyone’s radar and moving forward. Setting ownership and action items is key to make sure there are transparency and accountability throughout the process.

5) Create a community of super-users. The more people you have advocating for you the better your chances of success. A champion often has the ear of the decision makers, but so does the aggregated opinion of the general office population. Try to be on-site for product launches and regular check-ins. Engage the community, get them enthused about your product, and address any troubleshooting with efficiency and professionalism. The more users you have and the happier they are the stickier the product becomes. Win over the people and you will win the project.

There’s obviously much more to cover here, but consider this a CoREtech starter pack. Whether you’re a startup looking for additional info or a corporate entity looking for some guidance on working with startups, please reach out to me at kevin@crowdcomfort.com

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