Thanks to Fuentek’s social media efforts, our inbound leads for client technologies have been going up dramatically, as have the leads coming in through more traditional marketing mechanisms. I get so excited every time we generate a new lead for one of our customers! But as exciting as that is, we always take a step back and qualify the lead.
Regardless of how a lead is generated, the fundamentals of lead qualification apply. Before you invest substantial time and money in trying to win a tech transfer deal, you first need to determine if it is a deal worth making.
Although there are many facets to this, today I’d like to discuss three overlapping areas to consider when qualifying licensing prospects.
You have a clear understanding of the proposed value proposition of the technology, but where does the prospect see its value? For example, when Fuentek qualifies a prospect for a client, one of the many questions we ask is: Why do you want this technology? As you inquire about prospects’ value proposition, remember that their perception is their reality, and it may be substantially different from yours. Understanding how prospects perceive the business value will help you gauge their true interest in the technology and their level of excitement.
Even before prospects submit an income pro forma, ask about their ballpark sales projections and costs so that you can get a sense of deal size and understand your likely ROI. (We’ll talk more about Fuentek’s phased approach to working with prospective licensees in a future post.) If their perception is that the technology’s value is very small and therefore the deal size is small, you may decide not to pursue it. Or maybe a ready-to-sign license would be appropriate. Or maybe you can find a way to change their perception, resulting in a larger deal. (I have an example of this I’ll talk about in a later post.)
Ask questions to understand prospects’ decision-making process and timeline for closing the deal. Having a sense of when the deal is likely to close not only affects how you rank multiple prospects but also helps you plan your involvement on this deal and prioritize it against the other deals in your pipeline.
As I said, there is way more to consider when qualifying prospects. If you’re like Fuentek, you have a sizeable list of questions that you ask to qualify a prospective licensee. The earlier you ask those questions the better. If the answers are not acceptable, you want to find that out quickly, eliminating poor leads faster and increasing the quality of those leads that continue down the pipeline.
What’s a key question you ask when qualifying prospective licensees? If you find the process of qualifying prospective licensees challenging, contact us to find out how Fuentek can help.
— By Karen Hiser