An attractive collection of customer logos is a must-have on the home page of every software startup website. Their goal is clear and significant: if these industry titans have faith in my firm, you should as well.
Despite the fact that these logos are critical in conveying strong social proof, the process by which they end up on a startup’s website is typically significantly less planned. Frequently, companies will use a logo without the owner’s consent (this should never be done). Occasionally, entrepreneurs will offer a freemium service and will list anyone who registers with the company’s.com domain as a “client” (also not cool). Logos are most frequently secured during a quarter-end rush by Sales and Customer Success teams, who email their most important clients and seek for permission to use their logo in a promotional campaign.
Several arguments support my contention that these logo hunting procedures are flawed and should no longer be done in the future.
The most serious flaw in these procedures is that they fail to recognize the significance of your clients’ logo, brand, intellectual property, and so on. The danger of allowing a third party to use their logo is extremely high for these customers. As a result, starting with a fundamental understanding of what they require in order to feel comfortable lending their logo will put you on a far more solid foundation for success right away.
The use of logos is permitted by most businesses despite the danger involved. The following are the three main reasons why people engage in this behavior.
In the financial sphere (customer is given discounts in exchange for logo use)
PR (because of an initiative or a new product, a customer is drawing off the logo of a supplier or partner).
Reciprocity is important (customer has acknowledged the amount of value driven by vendor and are motivated to help in return)
While tactics #1 and #2 are undoubtedly capable of producing brief bursts of success, they are not long-term solutions that overlook the greater potential to align with your customers on the value you bring to their organization.
Instead, aim to establish a method and culture that will allow you to not only continuously gain logo rights, but also to be strategic and targeted in your pursuit of them.
It is critical to be strategic in your pursuit of logos because not all logos carry the same amount of weight. Make certain that each logo has a compelling use case that you can elaborate on in greater detail in future sales presentations. Be conscious of the logos used by your competitors and make an effort to diversify yours whenever and wherever possible in order to better present the benefits of your product in the market.
Managing an entirely new opportunity funnel of ‘logo targets’ is what this entails when it is done properly. Each organization should develop a process that is tailored to their specific needs, however the following are the essential procedures to follow:
Calculate the value that you bring to the table.
Make a map of your organization’s support.
Create a draft of your proposal.
Step 1: Identify the areas in which you may provide value to others.
If you are unable to quantify the amount of value you have created for a customer, you should not be requesting permission to utilize something as essential as their logo. The most crucial stage in getting brand rights is determining the amount of value that your product or service has captured (this could be cost savings, process improvements, etc). It is the next stage to obtain acknowledgement from your customers once you have determined what that quantitative value is. Although this can be accomplished by monthly reporting or quarterly evaluations, ensuring that all parties are on the same page regarding the value being offered will help you achieve success. Never assume that your consumer understands how important your service is to their company; constantly ask for confirmation.
Step 2: Create a map of who knows and who should know about your value proposition.
Generally speaking, it is safe to expect that even in the presence of a champion and demonstrable benefit to the organization, their initial response to logo use will be “no.” This is why it is critical to map and establish support across the whole organization’s structure. If one stakeholder advocates for a startup, it is very simple for Legal or Communications to say “no.” However, saying “no” to numerous stakeholders advocating for a startup becomes significantly more challenging, especially if there are executive voices among the group. Creating your own organization chart of your important clients and identifying areas where you have strong, weak, or even no relationships with them is a straightforward way to accomplish this goal.
Having determined the value delivered and identified areas where you have consistent support throughout the business, you are now in a position to prepare an appropriate proposal for the organization. However, do not rush through this… In order to create support within an organization, patience is required.
Step 3: Submit Your Request
The nature of the relationship between your clients (the buyer) and you / your sales team will play a significant role in determining the appropriate ‘ask’ (the seller). Despite the fact that I have observed a few constant and successful habits throughout the years, including:
Don’t rush things: Your product launch or press event will have little effect on the motivation of legal staff. If at all feasible, do not place a time limit on this request.
Define your use case as follows:
Don’t expect to be able to use your logo indefinitely (no one will agree anyway and it will waste time). Instead, specify where and how long you would want to use the logo, as well as how many times you would like to use it (ie. on a website and whitepaper).
If you get a “no,” don’t be discouraged: legal departments are taught to say “no” to this type of request. This is the standard practice. If you receive a “no” to your first or second request, consider it an opportunity to provide more value to your clients.
Don’t take it personally: Refer to the previous paragraph. It is their responsibility to say “no.”
Never underestimate the importance of branding: I do not believe it is beneficial to link the worth of your product to the use of a logo. Get rights based on the value your product provides, rather than on the basis of a discount.