The Answers Are Not in This Room
In 1999, I had raised venture capital for my first company, and our team was sitting in our VC’s office one Saturday afternoon in Boston.
We were filling the whiteboards with great ideas, which were then being transferred into our spreadsheets and PowerPoints.
I was pleased to see our board member, David Fialkow, walk into the office. I was sure he would be pleased with how hard we were all working on a Saturday.
He stepped into the room, looked around, and asked a few questions. We jumped at the chance to describe to him all the great work we were doing.
He seemed mildly interested. He then said something I will never forget: “Guys, one thing to remember. The answers are not in this room.”
And he was right. All the brainstorming in the world was not going to teach us what customers would actually pay for. For that, we would have to leave the building.
Fast-forward 16 years, and the same principle applies. No amount of brilliant architecting substitutes for actual experience with customers.
When I arrived at XANT in 2014, I was resolved to determine for myself exactly what challenges our customers faced, how they were experiencing our products, and where the actual fit was between the reality of our products and the reality of their situations.
I figured if we could understand that, we could better develop, package, and market our solutions.
The more time we spent with customers, the more we learned. And the more we learned, the more we learned we still needed to learn.
It seemed in the emerging space of sales acceleration, not much had been figured out yet beyond the initial founding hypothesis of our own company. The field is ripe with opportunities to dive in, understand, and solve critical problems facing sales teams.
Enter Team Momentum. In May of this year, we formalized our efforts to pursue what I call “outside-in” strategy.
We commissioned a team whose sole purpose is to live with customers, work with them on solving their hardest problems, then feed the resulting insights back into product designs, process definition, and best practices understanding.
It is amazing what we are learning, working with our most strategic accounts:
- With Zenefits we began to decode the essence of cadence — prescriptive cadence to drive conversion rate of leads.
- With ADP we are learning about the motivation of millennials and how to channel that for a lift in sales.
- With Apttus we learned about structured time management for a sales floor and the impact that can have on results.
- We are now tackling cross-sell / up-sell dynamics, coverage models, and global considerations of an inside selling team.
- Next up will be field sales and account management.
I will blog learnings as we go. But … the answers are not in this room, nor on this computer, so I’d better get back out there!
Team Momentum offers a customized consulting experience designed to help organizations improve sales results.