fighting the lack of good ideas

the failure of the technical sales cycle in enterprise software

Specifically in the realm of data center management and automation software, but applicable to all other niches, sales people are too focused on this quarter, their commission, and getting ink on the page.

In the broader context of the software companies producing tools / products, there is a general focus of getting to the next customer – forgetting about the ones they have now – so they can use previous sales as pressure to get you to buy, too.

And there is a perennial problem with having “products” which are at best half-baked trying to be shoehorned into a role for which they were never intended, or that the customer really doesn’t need.

For example – the growing prevalence of “cloud computing”. Cloud computing – which is really utility computing, an idea 60+ years old – is a useful endeavour … for some companies in some contexts. On-demand creation of compute resources to handle busy times, testing software, etc is a wonderful idea (all of the *aaS acronyms come in here – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DBaaS … what have I missed?). However, hopping on the cloud bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it is dumb.

Not everyone needs cloud computing and services. Some/many may and should employ them, but they’re not for everyone (an unpopular statement at this particular date).

Some companies will not need the “on-demand” aspects of ‘cloud’, and therefore should not have cloud-specific tools.

For example, if you want to do long-term provisioning (greater than, say, 6 months), you are not doing “cloud”, you are doing normal provisioning. If you want this to be subscription-based (like cloud offerings usually are), use a subscriptioning tool – don’t use cloud provisioning software.

Sales is an important part of software development – without sales (of some kind), there is no way to pay for development.

But it is absolutely vital to understand a customer’s environment, needs, wants, and abilities before selling them anything! Does a mom & pop shop with 8 systems need management tools? Maybe…but probably not. How about a company with 30 servers and 100 desktops? Possibly – but “enterprise” solutions will most likely be out of their budget.

Sales folks: learn your customers, become their friend, a trusted advisor – someone they want to write large checks to.