As you start to go to market, there are two things to prioritize from early customers that matter more than cash. Feedback and marketing rights.
The feedback matters for obvious reasons. The product is early; customer feedback will help you hew the raw granite of your initial product into shape.
The second may not be so obvious. Every prospect championing a software purchase will be asked by the opponents of the sale and decision-makers: “Who else is using the software?” The more impressive your customer list, the stronger the case your champion can extol. Logos confer credibility.
Software vendors are in the business of selling promotions. And the best way to fight the inertia in sales is to equip your champions. Social proof is one of the strongest influences for buyers and best ways to defeat the preference for buyers to continue as they are. There is safety in conformity.
That’s why logos are worth more than cash. If you negotiate the rights to market some great customer brands, you’ll be able to use them in every sales process, in every press release, in every recruiting conversation. That’s worth much more than cash and larger bookings in the early days.
A great customer logo slide is like a bank account. It compounds its value with time. Great brands attract other great brands. Be sure to invest early in those logos, even at the material expense of bookings.