Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Two Companies Walk Into A Bar...

One of my prior mentors had some very powerful insight... He said, "there are product-driven companies and there are sales-driven companies". I really didn't understand what he meant until after some reflection. His point: only a company that has true revenue powering it, will succeed. And do you know why? Risk! 

Selling Enterprise SaaS or PaaS software requires one to understand the benefits of a solution when presenting to a customer. Good sales reps understands how the API generally works and where the gaps are in the architecture of the technology. He or she understands the features now, and the product road map. Great sales reps can speak to the risk the customer as well as the his or her company will take. The best sales reps can work within their org to advance the risk/reward potential by modifying the sales process to meet the needs of the company. Need more clarity here? I do... 

My family has a deep Native American background. They owned a trading post in the Navajo nation in New Mexico, and when I think of the stories my Grandmother would tell about the herders and hunters of the tribe, I think about how, almost each day, a hunter would modify their herding and hunting process to meet the reality on the ground. For example, if there were no deer to hunt or fields to graze on, they had to innovative their approach. This meant that the tribe had to modify. Thus the hunter or herder lead the group, based on a solution developed, or problem solved. 

A sales driven company manages shared risk (meaning the tribe may have to modify their expectations, and there is a reward to the group) and focuses on external rewards. A product-driven company focuses on the tribe, and continued internal development. The difference is subtle, but if you think about it a product-driven company will look internal for improvement and modification to succeed, where a sales-driven company will look for opportunities to drive innovation and revenue. Either one can work, which one are you? 

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