2 Sucker Sales Fails New Execs Make in Energy & Industry

I see startups make repeated mistakes when they scale in the energy & industrial verticals. Here are a few sales “No-Nos” to avoid…


Energy and industrial firms broadly act like critical infrastructure providers. These firms are process oriented. Most of these companies thrive off of hierarchy, structure and process. Budget in these verticals for new technologies does not magically appear over night. If there is going to be budget for a real contract, there ABSOLUTELY will be budget for a Proof of Concept. If you are developing your sales pipeline and cannot identify the budget with your champion, move along. (And yes, I recognize that in some other industries a non-paid PoC can generate a contract more easily) In my decade within the early stage energy & industrial market, I can count on one hand the number of free pilots that expanded into an enterprise deal.

#2 Do NOT move your cloud provider for the promise of customers or a re-seller agreement.

I have seen some very lofty customer introduction and reseller promises from the cloud divisions of Google, Amazon and Microsoft. Every one of these firms will say something like this:

“Jeez, we have a Fortune 100 energy company that is asking us to help with their broader tech adoption. Those firms trust our recommendation. We would love to make that introduction for you, but you have to be on our cloud…”

These statements from the cloud sales execs are effectively hollow bribes.

And early start-up execs fall for it, subsequently invest a huge amount of money into transitioning their cloud provider… only to get crickets. You, Mr or Mrs. Start-up executive are the customer, not the provider. Unless they promise you years of free compute, stay away from these discussions.