FOSS Sales Pt 2: Referral Engines

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This is part two in a series. If you have not read the first part you can do so here.

The Buyer's Journey

"Businesses that are thriving in today's market define and understand their buyer personas so they can deliver personalized content at the right time in the buyer's journey." [1]

Let's assume that everyone alive is a potential buyer. Erase everything else you know -- geographies, currencies, governments, education, everything. Start with that premise. Okay, there are certain countries you cannot do business with so feel free to remove those, but continue on with the premise. Now randomly pick a country you have never done any business in and look at its specifications like government stability, currency, GDP, etc. See if the World Bank has a rating on the place. Now come up with no fewer than five different customer roles that could reasonably stem from such a place.

Test Case

Let's walk through a test case here assuming that our randomly chosen country is Burundi[2]. Some quick facts:

Referral Engines

When developing our profiles we do not want just anybody. Instead we want people that we can refer to as 'referral engines.' These are people who are ten times as likely to refer your services than the average person because they perceive it to be integral to some goal of their own. Remembering that we are talking about Open Source software solutions in the laboratory informatics space in Burundi. Here are some profiles with that in mind:

Tell Me About the Money

Oh yes, about the money. You have to be a bit daft if you really think that a poor country's inability to directly pay for your product/services has any bearing on whether you could make money working with them. The World Bank has been coordinating grants to Burundi. People are literally giving them money, which means that positioning your offering closer to the monetary sources, appealing to them, and establishing success metrics for those sources is key to getting paid. Will that mean setting up an office in Burundi or nearby? Possibly. But in a country like this the salary rates have to be incredibly low so finding local resources could be affordable.

Sum Up

Profiles are not random thoughts about people who, by themselves, might want your product or service. Research shows us that most people are followers, not leaders. That is, before they make decisions they look around to see who else is doing the same or seek validation from outside of themselves. You must appeal instead to leaders, people who have the capabilities to make things happen. Often these people already have initiatives underway. They are working toward something; these people do not believe they deserve to live without some goal to tackle. Your goal is to provide sufficient reason for them to adopt your product/service as a key part of the solution they are trying to bring about. This means that your profiles are essentially based on the pressures they are experiencing. Get to know their challenges and their personas as well as where the money is coming from. Once you have all that you simply need to set up a booth where they'll see you; get an introduction; or drop by unannounced and ask if you can meet with them. Do whatever it takes to associate your product/service with the success of their initiatives.


Go Back

Citation: FOSS Sales Pt 2: Referral Engines. (2015). Retrieved Wed May 23 10:57:10 2018, from;iid=readMore;go=1426865370