Successfully converting scouting into participation: a more technical process than you might think

– By Lucas Colney

 

 

These days, startups are in great demand and simply don’t have the time to respond favourably to every request.

 

Getting in touch with a startup and convincing it to participate in your open innovation project is a job in itself.  

 

At Centech, we’ve developed the expertise, processes and tools to simplify this task—working more efficiently and effectively.

 

The results of one of our previous projects demonstrate how remarkable performance can be achieved by employing the right methods:   

0%

Response rate after contact

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 Conversion rate

 

This article outlines the essential steps for making this process a success, based on the expertise we’ve acquired and developed in this specific field.

First and foremost, converting scouting results into participation is generally a two-step process.   

Preparation   

Before contacting startups, it’s essential to draw up a game plan and a list of arguments. We only have one chance to convince them, so preparation is key!    

Clearly define the technological challenges in a coherent manner

The technological challenges prompting us to call on startups must be defined clearly and concisely. An explicit description of the problem enables startups to identify the issues at stake and confirm whether their technological solutions are suited to the problems raised. If the subject is too vague, startups may not relate to it. On the other hand, if it’s too specific, there will be few potential solutions. 

Highlight the benefits and share the timetable

It’s important to highlight the advantages that startups will enjoy by overcoming these challenges. This can include long-term partnership opportunities, access to a specific market, funding, technical assistance and more. These days, using the name of a large, well-known company is no longer enough.    

What’s more, setting out a detailed timetable so that startups know the key dates and next steps can make all the difference.    

Initiate contact

Once the groundwork has been laid, it’s time to get in touch with the selected startups

Initial contact

When contacting startups, personalizing your interactions is the way to go. We recommend using LinkedIn as a contact tool rather than email. Send a personalized message to entrepreneurs detailing why you believe their company is capable of meeting the challenge in question. 

Furthermore, to increase your chances of success when making contact, make sure to target the right people in the company.    

Initial interview

Once contact has been made, an initial interview should be scheduled. This is an opportunity to convince startups of the potential benefits of collaboration and to clearly convey all relevant information concerning the challenge, expectations and potential benefits. This includes highlighting the company’s resources, financial support, access to a specific market and long-term growth opportunities. Creating an open environment where startups can ask questions and express their concerns is also essential to building trust.  

Applicant follow-up

Following up on applicants is an important step in the call for projects process. A startup’s questions should be answered promptly and additional information provided where necessary. Follow-up should be proactive, demonstrating an ongoing interest in the startup’s proposal and thus clarifying any misunderstandings. Perseverance and responsiveness are essential to keeping startups interested throughout the process.   

 

At Centech’s Collision Lab, we support our partners throughout this process as part of their open innovation projects. We help them pinpoint the right companies to collaborate with, and assess their maturity and the relevance of their solution. Our team can also take care of making contact and converting scouting a startup into securing their participation.    

 

Would you like to take advantage of open innovation to grow your business?

Read our white paper or contact us to find out more!