Don't build a product if you can't have a Sales Development rep explaining it
By Gadi Shamia, Chief Operating Officer Talkdesk, a call center in the browser, without any need for phones, hardware, and long implementation.
I met a founder this morning with a bright idea and a great technology. Without exposing too much, his team is building a self learning algorithm that will allow enterprises to find abnormalities across teams. The idea sounded great but I couldn't think of the specific buyer for it: is it the CEO? CFO? CIO? Who is the one person that you can make more successful in a company with this product?
This is your number one rule in enterprise product development: can you identify an exec or a C level buyer that you can help becoming more successful with your product? Box solves a problem for the CIO. Talkdesk allows the VP of customer service to provide better service and achieve higher customer satisfaction. Both specific to an exec that can be more successful if they use these products.
Now for the number two problem: can an SDR (Sales Development Rep) explain your product to the identified exec in a short email? The original idea I heard required a deeper discussion and abstract thinking to understand. Having a more vague use case is often not a hinder in the early days: this is the time your board and friends introduce you to the first "design partners" and they will spend disproportional amount of time with you to understand your product. But at scale, you'd find yourself employing 22 years old SDRs, that will have to explain your value proposition to a prospect in one sentence, 50 times a day. If the product is not narrow and specific enough, it will not work.
So if you are thinking of your next enterprise product, spend few minutes and write an email that your prospect will open. If you can't do it, go back to the drawing board.
Here is my imaginary email for my imaginary product:
RE: Prevent expense report fraud in your organization
Once you get over the 1000 employees mark, you are exposed to 5%-15% of expense report fraud and inaccuracies. Current approval processes are focused on policy compliance but are not effective in finding misuse or fraud.
Ex-Act was designed to analyze your expense reports and highlight fraud or misuse. We developed a patented algorithm that will scan your data and highlight the issues in real time. Most of our customers reported 10% reduction in expenses 3 months after implementing Ex-Act. Can we set a 20 min call to discuss?
Can you write one for your product?
Gadi Shamia is Chief Operating Officer Talkdesk, a call center in the browser, without any need for phones, hardware, and long implementation. He is an experienced product and operations executive at both large and early-stage companies. A 3-time software startup founder (the first was acquired by SAP and is now a $100s millions a year global business) with a passion for business-related products, growing teams, and scaling operations. Twitter handle @gadishamia