graphs I came across this great article from 2016 that looked at the Gartner Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies. Of about 200 technologies that have emerged in the last 20 years, only 50 of them have stayed around. The startup I currently work for felt like it could’ve hit they wayside. Three years on, it’s legitamately going from strength to strength.

This is the third startup that I’ll go public with and I encourage people to consider startups at least once in their career. Given there are loads of tech startups, I thought I’d put together ways to reduce the risk when considering a sales role in a startup.

Understand if the technology solves real problems

If it can solve real problems, it will allow you to have genuine conversations with prospects and create a pathway where the technology can deliver true business value. These pathways simplify revenue generation or drive down the bottom line or make it easier to comply to regulations within their industry. If you can solve one, great, if you can solve all three 🤯.

Understanding also means contextualising where they fit within their competitive technology landscape and what that means from a product roadmap lens. The CRM and Mar-tech space is very mature whilst the jury on blockchain is still out there. Understanding how the technology, the landscape and how they intent to take on competitors is a great indication of a startups viability.

Understanding the competitors validates the biggest competitor of them all

Economist always talk about how great competition is. It validates the products and implies market awareness. However the biggest opportunity (and where the money is) is chasing after the largest competitor - indifference.

Things still existing in macro laden spreadsheets, processes still require people to take out the staple in the corner of a piece of paper. The safety checklist ends up on a piece of paper in the overalls that went through the wash. Because that’s how it’s always been done. The risk to reward ratio when it comes to challenging this competitor is limitless.

Understand the companies executives and their relation to the GEO-VP’s

Executives are responsible for delivering outcomes. In order to minimise risk, they hire people they’ve worked with in the past. With the help of Google and LinkedIn, you’ll be able to see the relationship between an executive overseas and your local manager. Understanding this relationship is a window into leadership style, working culture and people. This will add colour to generic questions around local strategy, pathway to success and why they decided to join the company. Whilst people argue that culture is most important, if the technology can create real value, it allows innovation in your sales approach.

Get an upfront idea of what the OTE package looks like

Australia has a massive skills shortage. From the local coffee shop looking for a barista, through to PWC looking for accountants, the Reserve Bank’s response was has been to raise wages. You should qualify early in the discussion what the package looks like and what the negotiations would look like.


If the technology can solve real problems, you have competitors in the same space, you can understand what your work culture looks like and know how much, I think it’s a good place to start.

Anything else, let me know!