Sustaining sales growth and software revenue acceleration
So you have finally found a salesperson that can produce real sales growth to accelerate your software revenues. As we examined in the first series of blogposts, that is often very hard to do when you have a groundbreaking software product. Knowledge and understanding of the product are often limited to your own development staff. Prospects, customers, partners, and even non-technical employees all lack the deeper understanding needed to either buy or sell a product that introduces a new way of doing things.
But you finally got over the hump, or crossed the chasm, if you will. Revenue is accelerating, validating many man years of development and hard work. Founders and investors bring out the "hockey stick" – projecting explosive sales growth over the next five years. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin, as Leonard Cohen sings.
Two years later, that euphoria is often followed by deep frustration. As it turns out, finding successful salesperson Two, Three, and Four is just as difficult as finding salesperson One. But hadn’t we fixed that problem? One knows his/her stuff now - shouldn’t knowledge transfer be easy? Sometimes, yes. But very often, that "knowledge" isn’t expressly formulated. It might be more of an individually developed, almost intuition-based method that the successful salesperson has implemented in a trial-and-error way.
So the early, or maybe stubbornly achieved, years-in-the-making, success might not be easily replicated to new salespersons. Even if the sales approach can be consciously described, salesperson One might not be very good at teaching or otherwise transferring expertise.
The predictable result is software revenue figures with poor acceleration, year after year – despite expert sales hires and tons of very hard work - leading to deeply disappointed founders, investors, developers, salespersons, and partners. Sometimes careers and/or relationships are destroyed in the process.
But that makes the companies that truly succeed in accelerating software revenue that much more interesting to examine. Stay tuned for a real-world example that led to billions of shareholder value being created.