Notes from Rob Bailey’s #StartupBD Keynote

10 Bizdev Hacks
Rob Bailey, CEO of DataSift

1 – Ride the wave
More fun than swimming
Think about underlying trends your company is riding (not creating)
Think about partnerships that can attach you to waves
(e.g. Datasift w/ Twitter, Twitter w/ iOS)

2 – Get to know your partners
What are their strategies?
Backchannel on where they’re going (birthday parties, events, meet ups)
Position yourself as helping them get to where you know they’re trying to go
(eg. Datasift finding Marketers will invest more the more they understand the channel. So Datasift spent time explaining twitter to CMOs)

3 – Ask a ton of questions
Know police interrogation techniques
Either to use them, or avoid them being used on you
(Hey your revenue’s around $10M right? gets you a lot better than “what’s your revenue?”)
Former usually gets you at least a “higher” or “lower”
Questions let you not reveal your position.
2-3x more questions asking than answering

4 – Use social to stalk, er, learn.
LInkedIn is great, but people are more guarded.
Everyone should have LInkedInPro (best is everyone who’s seen profile)
eg. Which VCs most interested? If 5 VCs had seen his profile, but were saying they weren’t that interested, that’s prob just negotiating tactic
eg. a VC of one of their competitors posting a pic of new office space
Follow your clients/competitors’ bosses on Twitter
Watch who’s tweeting AT a company, see their clients
Spikes in pos/neg sentiment
Hiring: Looked for BD people in SF with Klout score >= X
Jobvite posts – VCs like seeing you’re hiring
They’ve definitely used Instagram, twitter, Facebook for subtle

5 – Learn from smart engineers
Ask your smartest engineers who their smartest engineer friends are
“Jam sessions” with engineers, UI people on product have been “most productive hours of his life”
Helps to understand the tech side of business

6 – Hire an expensive law firm.
They have 2 law firms. “Honda” and “Rolls Royce”.
Almost always use Honda
NDAs, normal stuff.
Big deals, corp structures, limitation of liability, etc: Orrick
Difficult to agree on a term: Called Gunderson (his lawyer at the time) – who’s the best smartest person on X at the firm? 16 minutes in, he nailed it.
Use their awesome conference rooms if they’re in the city
In general – think about side things you can get out of your vendors

7 – Find unconventional ways to open doors.
Twitter is in its quiet period pre-IPO
He posted big blog post about importance of twitter IPO
Timing worked out such that media asked him for quotes and such
Twitter really appreciated it, even though they couldn’t have asked them.
Twitter competitors called him up to talk about what Twitter was doing.
Basically just take advantage of every angle

8 – Get everyone pulling for your deals
Eng, product, legal, office manager, everyone should know why you’re doing it
eg. Eng planning before deal, not after.
Engineers could also get drinks with other engineers, end up finding out useful info
Like how interested they are, what aspects are important, what’s feasible technically

9 – Look at every BD deal for M&A possibilities
Urban Airship deal with SimpleGeo came out of nowhere
Big company M&A can take years to build relationships

10 – Have fun!
Think it’s stupid and obvious
But you work really long hours
Remember you’re doing what you love, working with really smart people


Q: Any companies that seemed like competitors but ended up doing frenemy/coopetition deals?
Factual – started out competing on places DB, ended up convincing execs that building their own places DB was bad idea.
Talked with their BD guy, met Elad Gil at a conference randomly, that’s what ended up working.

Q: How do you decide deal terms?
Align incentives
Look at similar deals elsewhere?
“fair is where you end up”
Start with what you think will be representative, rebalance as you go to represent value being exchanged

Q: Reaching out?
Host or go to events, hackathons
Blog posts
“I want these 30 companies to call me. What do they want to hear about?”
Webinars (e.g. with Guy Kawasaki who was one of their investors, or other big name you’re connected with)
Never cold calls.
Sometimes a big company in their space closes massive investment round, they might send a whiskey bottle and say we should talk. But it would come from CEO, not a sales guy.

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