This morning, I had the misfortune of having my car’s transmission conk out while I was on the freeway. Fortunately, I was able to exit the freeway and park on the street, where I could safely call GEICO for roadside assistance. But this post isn’t about the $2,000+ I’m going to have to spend on … Continue reading The $2,000 Customer Service Call
Entrepreneurs are passionate, but this passion can be their undoing. One common mistake entrepreneurs make is to say too much. It’s easy to understand why. First, entrepreneurs know a lot about their space and their product. Second, they love the subject so much, they’d happily expound for hours. Finally, they can’t help wanting to show … Continue reading Say Just Enough, But Not Too Much
One of the big frustrations that startups face is the disconnect between the customer-facing and product-facing sides of the company. From time immemorial, engineers have complained about the wild promises Sales makes, while salespeople complain that engineers have no idea what the customer wants. The thing is, both sides are right. Sales doesn’t understand the … Continue reading The customer is always right (but not in the way you think)
As a startup guy, I always seem to find myself selling against the evil empire. The empire is always changing (in my own career, it’s gone from Microsoft to Google to Facebook) but the story remains the same: You’re always outnumbered, and you’re always outgunned. Yet despite these facts, my companies have been able to … Continue reading Let The Customer See You Sweat
Sometimes, the best salesperson is an error message. One question that often arises for SaaS companies that sell to the enterprise is whether they should funnel customers through salespeople, or offer a self-service product. Usually, the partisans of the two sides are like opposing factions in a holy war. The Church of Sales insists that … Continue reading Talk To The Software
One of the big questions entrepreneurs ask me about is how to price their product. 99% of the time, I tell them that their product is underpriced. But this begs the question, how should I price my product? The advice I tends to be very specific to the product and industry. For example, I urge … Continue reading Three foolproof ways to price your startup’s product
Both Dropbox and Jive are successful companies that are much in the news recently. Jive just filed its S1 for its IPO, while Dropbox raised its first major round of funding at a $4 billion valuation. What’s most interesting to me is that they represent polar opposites in terms of business models. They illustrate the … Continue reading Bought vs. Sold (Why Jive is a dinosaur & Dropbox is the future)
The classic story of nice guys who can’t sell against cutthroat competitors is a perfect illustration of the fundamental dilemma most founders eventually face: Does the company serve the needs of the founders? Or do the founders serve the needs of the company? If you’re lucky to be in business long enough, you’re going to … Continue reading Do Companies Serve The Founders Or Vice Versa?
“A drug user is not buying drugs. He’s buying happiness. Know what you’re selling.”–Anonymous Software Executive Always keep in mind that software and drugs are the only two industries that refer to their customers as “users”!