Napkin Series: Crossing the Chasm, SaaS, Sales and the Psychology Behind

I’m starting a napkin series – short posts on back of napkins. Here’s the first one for you. I’ve met a friend of mine recently, CEO of a 50-employee company. He was enlightened by the Crossing the Chasm theory as David Balazic of Consalta presented it on a SaaS business workshop and told me a great learning which I’d like to share with you.

Moore's technology adoption lifecycle

I know my CEO friend – let’s call him “D” – for about a year. He has a technical background, he’s getting into CEO land by now, but still, he has techie roots. As such, he realised that he needs a good sales manager into his company, a guy who wears ties and can speak black belt business language. As far as I remember, he has already eaten 5-6 sales until he found the best guy who’s with the company for a year now. Let’s call this guy “L”.

Now, my friend D told me his story … “Although L is a great sales, in the past few weeks I’ve been disappointed by his performance. It happened recently that L was visiting a startup (but growing) company who wanted to look at our e-Commerce/CMS product. L met them twice and then he gave up on them. He said that I need to meet them instead. I wasn’t happy about it as getting rid of the sales role was my top priority for the last year. I didn’t understand it either, because L is so great in sales, I saw him in action many times – how on earth he needs me? I met the potential client, spent some time with them and enlightened. After a few conversations, I found that the CEO of this company was in the Early Adopters segment in Moore’s adoption curve. He didn’t care about sales, he wanted the technology, the Cloud and all advantages that come with it. L wasn’t a good fit as he’s used to deal with Early/Late Majority, larger established companies. L spoke about costs, benefits, business case and the like and this startup was annoyed by these. From now on, we know that L is perfect for medium/larger, established companies while me or someone else will have to take care of the Early Adopters who value my techie past and speak the language that they understand”.

I thought to share this with you. Since then, my friend D has split his company into 4 different groups of which surprisingly align well with Moore’s segments. Crossing the Chasm, personality matches, psychology and consciously pulling the right strings for the right client is what it’s about … Comments?

Linkedin David Szabo, Intrapreneur at Microsoft. Startup-addict, blogger at http://cloudstrategyblog.com and LEGO serious play facilitator. Follow me on Twitter!

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