Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eating your own dog food

Often in companies in which I'm involved, the quote, "eat your own dog food" occurs. The etymology of this phrase is apparently based on a circa 1970s Alpo dog food commercial where Lorne Greene professes the benefits to be so great he feeds it to his own dogs. This allegorical cry for using one's own products and services is neither appropriate nor in many cases doable. For instance, if you're Lockheed Martin you likely don't have a real need for a drone helicopter missile launcher, no matter how much you would like to use it on your competition. Closer to home, in my last company we built an enterprise software package for business activity monitoring (coined by Gartner as BAM). Using the software in a small but growing concern the size of Dante Software would be complete overkill where a simple spreadsheet would suffice.

We're in another round of similar discussions at CI and in this instance it seems altogether appropriate. In the current business we baseline, measure, and analyze the impact of word of mouth on a company's industry, products, and services. In this case, eating our own dog food is not just an exercise forced upon some unsuspecting corner of the organization, it is critical to our survival and growth.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

success at sales

Just concluded another sales call this morning. Seems like I'm doing more and more of this as my career progresses. There's an inherent need in any technology company to be able to communicate the vision of the company and the industry in a comprehensive and credible way that co-opts the customer into a sense of purpose. Having been the evangelist and not the closer I've had an interesting vantage point into the selling process. I was talking to Glen Springer about this process today and here is what he outlined as the successful sales genome:

- Keep your promises
- Follow up on time
- Ask open ended questions
- Ask for the order

He also said that he had heard 78% of sales people never ask for the order. That's a fairly amazing statistic given how obvious the advice is, but I believe it's likely to be true. A great sales person has a killer instinct and knows when to go in for the close. I think most people in sales are just really great at socializing and while they do perform well they never become great. Having been in and owned startups during the bubble this was especially obvious. Selling in the bubble was like bobbing for water. Anyone without hydrophobia could do it. Once the bubble burst only the great sales people survived.

pull your banner ads until google does a better job