Selling to Enterprise – Yammer

I took some notes from a talk given at Yammer on how to do business with enterprises.

Tl;dr: Lean startup for enterprise.

Product Development

  1. Ask customer about his/her problems
  2. Compare customer conversation with external data. Try to find outside sources of information/data that support or contradict it.
  3. Watch how people use the product (usage data) to see if what you thought was right
  4. But keep larger vision in mind.

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This image below illustrates the divide between you and your customers interests in a feature.

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The typical enterprise software is measured in number of features. But more features != a better product. Sometimes you find you need to remove features, which may raise concerns from a vocal minority.

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Details of testing/developing new features (aka The Lean Startup)

  • Release to small percentage of users (20%)
  • Explain to customer the advantages of A/B testing
  • Long dev cycles 6 mo/3 year could lead to big expectations that fail–no one uses it
  • Short dev cycles provide quicker feedback and end up developing better product that people want to use

Dealing with enterprise customer feature wish list

  • Push back or risk developing something the user doesn’t want
  • Ask questions: Understand the essence or goal of what the feature is trying to accomplish
  • Likely just a vocal minority
  • Keep customer informed of changes (without spamming them with email)
  • Try to find data to take the subjective opinions out of the discussion
  • Create online forum–side effect: happy customers help angry customers

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Notes about getting new users involved

  • ‘Ask’ feature: a fellow user asks you to complete some task like uploading a profile picture
  • Didn’t find a tooltip help guide useful (but it may work for others)

Analytics & reporting wasn’t useful

  • Only small percentage of users would want it
  • Significant resources (engineering, time, money) that could of gone into building something more important
  • Also, analytics was already going into iterating on the product
  • Side effect, they allow other companies to do the reporting (using API) and customers are surprised how expensive is Analytics & Reporting

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