Selling Disruptive Technology: The Five Secrets to Bringing New Technology to the Market

When selling new, disruptive technology, you’re up against a number of challenges, even though what you offer upsets the game. Many entrepreneurial companies have brought extraordinary, world-changing technology to market yet failed because they ignored these five secrets. Read on to learn how you can successfully sell your new, disruptive technology.

Have More than Enough Marketing and Sales Budget

Entrepreneurial companies invest millions in research and development and then budget a few thousand dollars to take it to market. And incredibly, investors think that this is a good idea.

How many entrepreneurial companies have you seen that were woefully undercapitalized when it came time to market? Most of them?

The ideal situation is to invest a third of your capital into technology development, a third in marketing, and a third in customer development. Many will argue with me on these ratios, yet more companies run out of gas because they’ve burned through the investment without returning a single dollar because they ignored the marketing and customer development budget.

Why customer development? You’ll most likely have to teach your customers how to buy what you’re bringing to market. When marketing a new, disruptive technology, your target market won’t know what to search for on the Internet. You’ll have to capture adjacent searches and educate them on what you do and why it’s better for them.

Other customer development tactics include public relations, magazine articles, trade shows, public speeches, educational videos, workshops and classes, and lots of one-on-one time with prospects. These require time, money, and as much attention as the technology development.

If you don’t have a sizable war chest to go to market, you’re going to waste your technology investment. Sell what you have to a bigger company with a strong marketing department.

Make Your Disruption Undeniably Valuable

Often inventors believe that their technology has disruptive characteristics but the market doesn’t see the value to the disruption.

For example, the QWERTY keyboard that you use with your computer and smart phone was designed to slow down typists so that the mechanical typewriter wouldn’t jam. You’d think that decades after we’ve moved beyond clattering typewriters that a better, more efficient human-to-machine interface would be in wide use. There is the Dvorak keyboard, radically improving typing speed and accuracy. The problem is that too many of us don’t want to take the time to learn a new typing style — we are just fine with how we do it now, thank you.

The real disruptive human-to-machine technology is voice recognition and yet as good as it is (three times faster and more accurate than my typing) it’s not widely adopted because most people are trained to go from thought to fingers when composing content.

Instead, your disruptive technology must be perceived as valuable enough to make customers want to make the change required to adopt your product. Ideally, the significance will be instantly obvious and compellingly convincing.

Sometimes, what excites the tech team becomes totally lost on customers. You’ll figure out what grabs buyers by working with key customers and watching how they adopt, adapt, and use what you’re bringing to market. In addition, work with marketing professionals adept at researching and identifying key value propositions for your target markets.

Target Early Adopters

Approach prospects with a propensity to purchase cutting edge technology. You can’t sell new ideas to those who are threatened by change. No matter how good you are, if they’re not motivate, they won’t say yes.

Instead, find those who embrace change or will quickly recognize the value of adopting the technology.

The most disruptive technologies solve age-old problems with elegant solutions. One of the best examples is GPS-based navigation units mean that men never again have to ask for directions or pretend that they’re not lost.

So if you can help a professional solve a common problem in their field, expand their perceived expertise, or make their job faster and more accurate, you’ve got a winner. This is especially true when you can approach younger professionals who value those outcomes and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo.

You can identify early adopters by connecting with other companies who have recently been successful at a disruptive technology launch and approach their customers with your offering.