I wouldn’t pay me anything to consult on Java development, if I were you. Why? Because, to be frank, I don’t know very much about it. You are, almost certainly, wasting money.
So why would you separate yourself from a lot of capital, to buy services from someone who didn’t know a lot about your industry? Again, you probably wouldn’t.
The lesson here for entrepreneurs, particularly those in the business to business space, should be clear: if you do not understand the industry you are selling into, you are unlikely to achieve significant revenues from it. Is this always a bad thing? No. Salesforce.com does not need to understand the markets it sells into in particularly great detail – why? Because it’s a highly disruptive offering, primarily because of its low ticket price, which means the customer cannot reasonably expect to have an industry-specific product.
Salesforce.com is disrupting an existing market – not all entrepreneurs start in such a fortunate place. If you have a generic product, with a limited market, and are resource constrained – you need to be doing big ticket deals in order to survive.
My argument for the non-Saleforce.com entrepreneurs is this: you need to create market focus to drive up deal values. What does market focus do you for? Several things:
- Focusses the mind – no more ‘we can sell to anybody / we aren’t selling to anyone’ nonsense
- It directs resource – you need to learn quickly, so learn French quickly – don’t decide to become a specialist in European languages tomorrow
- It creates credibility – I really understand your industry, and because I understand it you are going to trust me to provide good advice on how to drive business performance
- It informs the proposition – a well-researched and targeted proposition unlocks all the stores of value, and increases the likelihood of conversion
So ask yourself this: do I have market focus? How focussed am I on that market – some entrepreneurs achieve a zen-like state where they will happily refuse business from those that are outside their target group, anticipating that in the long term this will result in a superior return.
One to consider…