One coveted account in Philadelphia for business-to-business companies is Comcast. And sustainability startup MilkCrate announced last week it will running a paid pilot of its mobile platform with a small but ongoing group of Comcast’s workforce.
“There is no specific [start] date,” a hoarse Berman said over the phone a day after the announcement party. “But we’re launching a second version of the app before the Comcast pilot is live. Maybe early March.”
The announcement can be read as a validation of the company’s decision to pivot away from the business to consumer space and into the B2B world, which came after the org ran into some “pain points” in customer acquisition.
Proud to partner w/ local tech startup @MyMilkCrateApp https://t.co/f8sf3EtLqv
— Comcast Philly NJ (@ComcastPhillyNJ) January 13, 2017
How did the big-league enterprise client come aboard a young startup’s client list? Berman said it all started at a Leadership Philadelphia event where one David Cohen was a panelist.
“He said, ‘I answer all my emails’ so I later went up to him and told him ‘If you can answer my email, I would love to talk about what MilkCrate can do for Comcast.”
A round of negotiations almost a year in the making later, Comcast was on board. Berman shared three tips that helped the company get there.
“The biggest piece of advise is simply don’t give up,” said Berman. Following that first interaction with Cohen, a meeting was set up with a lineup of Comcast execs. “I went in there with the most tricked out presentation I could.” The end result, Berman remembers, was a solid “No, thanks.” But the company pressed on.
Around November of last year, Philadelphia University signed up for a pilot. The East Falls college, where Berman got her masters in sustainable design, would become MilkCrate’s first B2B client, yielding some valuable data on usage and performance of the platform which would help the company make a better pitch to other execs. Eventually, Comcast’s director of sustainability Daniel Marut and Chief Sustainability Officer Susan Jin Davis championed the MilkCrate-Comcast deal.
Now that the deal has been made, Berman looks back in kindness to that meeting where MilkCrate got turned down. She has since been working with a sales coach, from whom she reaped this lesson going forward. “Your job as a salesperson is not to sell the product but understand the needs of people and then help,” Berman said. “Someone asked me for a product demo, and I told her, ‘I want to know how we can help you first.”
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