Tag Archives: Marketing

Enterprise Mobility

“Waiting for Godot”

I have a Google Alert for Enterprise Mobility.  It’s left over from a time in my career when I thought, along with a lot of so-called visionaries, that mobile devices would replace laptops for most large company employees.  The promise of providing access to business data, CRM and ERP functions, etc. was touted as being just around the corner by CEO’s of software vendors and the many analysts they paid to agree with them.  Even the CEO I worked with told us at one point just before our Chapter 11 filing that we were in a “tornado” market.  Yea, OK.

So here I am.  Nine years after drinking the Cool-Aid and four years after giving up on pushing the Enterprise Mobility Jell-O up the enterprise decision making hill.

And what are the headlines from today’s Enterprise Mobility Google Alert?

The Enterprise Mobility Conundrum: How to Control the Data?

Enterprise mobility now more of an “apps play” in Australia

IT Managers Increasingly Pressured by the Growing Complexities to Deliver Enterprise Mobility

Majority of enterprise mobility usage described as ‘entry level’ or ‘opportunistic’

Microsoft asks What is Happening Inside Enterprise Mobility?

These headlines are very familiar.  If I went back into the archives, I’d imagine I’d find very similar headlines in 2008, 2009, etc.  The only one missing is, “iPhone will overtake BlackBerry in the Enterprise”.  That headline drove a lot of people’s heads into the sand.  This included our CTO who wanted an iPhone deal before he would put an engineer on building an iPhone version.  Like BlackBerry, we had a hard time learning from the likes of Polaroid or Kodak.

Why did I bother to write this post when my business is helping companies grow their revenues?  I wrote it because I care about the salespeople and sales management that are sometimes sold a bill of goods by analysts, software executives and journalists that talk and write about unrealistic market opportunities.

As salespeople, we’ll never really know if the hype will lead to revenue.  Just because some Angel Investors throw their disposable capital into a venture (over and over) does not validate a start-up or a market.  And based on the Enterprise Mobility market, even VC money may not be enough.

Salespeople and sales management need to dig deep to understand if the company’s solution is a fad or a trend.  Understanding the difference and where the market is in its evolution is critical.  And if you find that the hype is not matching reality, get out.  Your talent will be appreciated by others with real market potential.

Finally, if buyers of a solution view implementing your technology as a burden and have questions that can’t be answered, beware.  Apparently 2017 is no different than 2008.  The Enterprise Mobility market is still “Waiting for Godot”.

When does a start-up become a company?

I’ve worked or consulted for start-ups since 1984. Back in ’84 we called a new company a Woman_Holding_Globe“new company”. That’s because it was “a company”. It had a product, personnel, funding, sales, a market and people operated it. It was kind of like IBM, AT&T or any other company, but new and smaller.

Fast forward to 2015 and it’s not exciting enough to work for a company. If you want excitement and challenge, work for a start-up. But when does a start-up become a company?

I spent six years working for a SaaS provider that called itself a start-up. When I joined, the company had already been in business for eight years. Start-up? At 14 years old. If it was a Jewish boy he would have already been Bar Mitzvah. In 1984 we would have called it a failed company with some really uninformed investors. Not a start-up.

A lot of people in the start-up community believe that a company that relies on VC money for operating and growth capital is a start-up. And they behave that way.

Many start-ups that think like start-ups, rather than companies, forego spending time on the basics. Things like sales strategies and process, marketing strategies and plans are secondary to building a culture to attract the required technical talent.

A start-up IS a company. Start-up CEOs must give equal time to sales, marketing and other functions of their company. Concentrating on providing a fun culture of challenging coding problems is only part of the responsibility of a company’s CEO and Exec Team.

If you think and act like you’re running a company instead of a start-up, especially at 14, you’ll find the road to being self-sufficient somewhat smoother to navigate. And perhaps sometime before deciding you don’t need the VCs any longer, you’ll call yourself a company rather than a start-up.

If someone winks at you at a bar, do you tell your friends you got married?

Woman WinkingAt what point does Marketing become a fantasy?

Software companies often build freemium business models. Those who may or may not work for well-known brands have the ability to subscribe to use the software for free. Marketing, in its quest to achieve credibility, scrapes the logo of that major brand from the site and posts it on the software company’s site to announce the major brand is now a happy client.

Where does this fall on your integrity spectrum?

Imagine that you work for H&R Block as an IT Analyst and you subscribe to a free version of a SaaS solution. Would you want to assume the liability associated with the use of the H&R Block trademarked logo?

Now fast forward to a sales rep’s conversation with a new prospect who’s just reviewed the vendor’s web site. How does that rep respond when asked about H&R Block’s use of the software? Is it ethical to put a sales rep in a position to have to justify Marketing’s position that a free “user” (and I use that term lightly) is an actual “customer”?

Sales reps are often in very challenging positions. Their employers are obligated to provide strong, credible support and collateral materials in an effort to support the sales process. This provides funding for all functional areas of the company.

Don’t compromise the integrity of your sales department in an effort to impress analysts or investors. It’s simply not good business and of course, should you be discovered, good luck explaining the significant benefits the national brand is realizing.

One free user does not a customer make.