Jigsaw, Gatling Guns, and the Power of “Combined Value”


gatling_gunLike a lot of inventions, the gatling gun was really just a re-imagining of the existing technology of the day.

(One shot musket) X (lots of shots at the same time) = a better weapon.

And when Salesforce.com issued a press release last week discussing the integration of its recently acquired Jigsaw contact database into the Salesforce family of applications, it served as a fascinating reminder of how in business, the same concept applies:

An old, treadworn idea can take on new life simply by recombining, or re-imagining it from a different perspective.

In the interest of disclosure, our own lead generation team uses Jigsaw’s contact database, and we’ve been impressed with the results. Our dialer software is an incredibly powerful tool for sales and prospecting, but it requires as much good “ammunition” as our marketing team can provide. Without good leads, making prospecting calls becomes an exercise in luck, rather than sales skill and science, and Jigsaw’s database provides powerful ammunition for our dialer “gatling gun” that has helped our team qualify more leads. Jigsaw also continues to be a client of ours, using our PowerDialer for Salesforce system as part of their own outbound sales initiatives, so if I sound like a fan rather than an objective observer, forgive me.

However, setting my personal biases aside, it’s not much of a stretch to see why Salesforce would be interested in Jigsaw’s product—it gives Salesforce users access to a massive, on-demand contact database that can prove invaluable for prospecting.

But even more interesting is that none of Jigsaw’s “core concepts” are new ideas, they’re just old ones recombined.

At its bare bones, Jigsaw is a giant, online Rolodex—but it takes that decades-old idea and turns it on its head by making it hosted, user-generated, and real time. On their own, none of these ideas is particularly compelling; put them together and it’s a home run, as Jigsaw’s 14 million active contacts and $142 million purchase price attest.

Another example: when we built our PowerDialer for Salesforce software, we realized that by itself, a dialer is a good, but not altogether compelling tool. But mix a dialer with a management database and the results are dynamite. Our PowerDialer for Salesforce is the #6 most popular app on the Salesforce Appexchange, which we’re rightfully proud of—but the true value isn’t the dialer itself, it’s the synergy between the two elements (and now we throw in some Jigsaw “dialer ammo” and increase the synergy even more).

Ultimately, the real lesson of Jigsaw is that it gives us 142 million reasons to think about how the best ideas aren’t always “new” or “groundbreaking,” but a re-imagining of something that’s more than the sum of its component parts.

Author: Ken Krogue |
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles

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