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Entrepreneurial Sales

Course Overview

Charles Eesley

on 17 February 2018

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Transcript of Entrepreneurial Sales

Entrepreneurial Sales
Professor Chuck Eesley
Stanford University
Key driver of global economic growth Different type of process than starting a small businessAdvancements can be either … Revolutionary (“brave new world”) Evolutionary/Incremental (“faster, better, cheaper”)
Major Differences Between Internet and Biomedical Opportunities
Key Takeaways

1.) What is the customer development and lean startup approach?

2.) How is it applied in different sectors?

3.) How is it different from traditional methodologies and what are the risks/downsides?
Electronic Brainstorming and Group Size. R. Brent Gallupe, Alan R. Dennis, William H. Cooper, Joseph S. Valacich, Lana M. Bastianutti, Jay F. Nunamaker, Jr. Source: The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Jun., 1992), pp. 350-369
Comments from:

Spencer Tall, Konstantin Guericke, Scott Reynolds
Spencer Tall

Managing Director, Allegis Capital
General Partner & Co-Founder, APV Technology Partners
Co-Founder Asia Pacific Ventures
14 Years Venture Capital Experience
Former Operating Executive (Asia and US)
serves on the boards of Allegiance, EMN8, IMVU, Solera Networks and Symplified.
investments include E.piphany (EPNY), Web TV (acquired by MSFT), and One Touch Systems (acquired by Hughes Satellite).
Mr. Tall was a co-founder and General Partner with APV Technology Partners for three funds over 10 years.
Prior to APV, Mr. Tall, fluent in Japanese, oversaw U.S. sales operations for Marubun Corporation, a Japan-based billion dollar components trading company.
Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Japanese from BYU.
Konstantin Guerickie

a social architect with a passion for exploring the intersection of psychology, sociology and computing.

My functional experience spans product management, marketing, sales, international and business development. Most of my industry experience is in consumer Internet-based communication services and social networking, but my background also includes on-demand business software (SaaS), graphics and rich media.

My technical concentrations at Stanford were in artificial intelligence and reasoning under uncertainty. I grew up in a small town in northern Germany. I have studied, lived and worked in Japan and traveled extensively in South-East Asia.

My proudest professional accomplishment so far is co-founding LinkedIn, but I also believe you learn at least as much from startups that didn't work out as well.
Scott Reynolds

Managing Director and Director of Product Management at Bloom Energy
GE Solar, Medsite
Morgan Stanley
UC Berkeley, MBA; Hamilton College, BA, Government, Economics
IMVU Case Slides
Venture performance = product development + customer development + team building + luck
How do we know what product to build and what customer to target?

Venture performance = learning rate + product development + customer development + team + luck

Unknown Market
Unknown Product
Unknown competitive dynamics
Large companies

Known Market
Known Product
Known competitive dynamics
Unknown Known?
Entrepreneurship = discovery process
Unknown Known?
Scientific Method!
Entrepreneurship is a search/learning process

Startup Transition Large Co.
Search for a business
Scale up
Execute Known Business Model
Business model canvas/diagram
Where is the risk?

How do we go about reducing it?

Where should you begin?
Think about your own venture...

Which aspect of your business model is the most unknown? The most novel or risky? The most important to get right?
In Startups, the steps of:

1) Realizing you had a failed experiment or false hypothesis
2) Trying again with a new hypothesis

... is known as the
Traditional Product Development Model
How do you do background research?


Facts are outside of your building!
Talk to customers
Talk to industry veterans (mentors)
Talk to potential partners
How do you design experiments?

Consider the ordering
Lowest cost, quickest way to verify/falsify the hypothesis
Could be to build the website and show it to people
Could be to buy Google adwords
Could be to ask for money
Why is this so difficult?
What happens when the hypothesis fails?
Requires being both flexible and rigid
Optimistic and paranoid
That customer didn't get it!

Find a different one!
Something was wrong in our hypothesis

But we didn't fail, we learned something!
Elevator Pitch
Sales is a Search
In some ways, listening to customers is obvious advice, but...

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." - attributed to Henry Ford

Apple/Steve Jobs

Radical new products (i.e., the computer)
Several notions mixed up together:

Rapid iteration
Lean / raise minimal funding
Don't spend frivolously
Hypothesis testing
Show energy!

But slow down . . .
Traction – by Steve Browne

Goal is a replicable, scalable process before founders delegate sales

The three qualifying questions expanded in the chapter on qualifying will help you to target your market:
Why buy anything?
Why buy our product?
Why buy now?
User Base
Registrations (Customers who completed the registration process during the month)
Activations (Customers who had activity 3 to 10 days after they registered. Measures only customers that registered during that month)
Activation/Registrations %
Retained 30+ Days
Retained 30+/ Total Actives %
Retained 90+ Days
Retained 90+/Total Actives %
Paying Customers (How many customers made $ purchases that month)
Paying/(Activations + Retained 30+)

Contribution Margin
Burn Rate
Months of cash left

Customer Acquisition
Cost Per Acquisition Paid
Cost Per Acquisition Net
Advertising Expenses
Viral Acquisition Ratio

Web Metrics
Total Unique Visitors
Total Page Views
Total Visits
While good concepts and engineering are essential, very little happens in the world without the concurrence of other people, and the first essential is getting them to hear you, understand you, and then agree with you. 

What is in YOUR mind matters little, if it does not reach and penetrate THEIR  minds.

--David Morgenthaler, Founder of Morgenthaler Ventures
1. Convinces the “target person” to schedule a longer meeting with you
2. Enables the “target person” to convince others to become interested
3. Resonates; Demonstrates sincerity
4. Communicates a sense of value, empathy, and urgency.
5. Quantifies the value proposition clearly.

Combines thorough Sales and Market Research
Requires no more than 1-2 minutes (starting with the problem you solve).
“All I need to do is make the presentation and give the demo.
The product is awesome; it’ll blow them away.
As soon as I get in the door and explain the technology, they’ll buy.”

“When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in
numbers, you know something about it; When you can not measure it…
your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.” -Lord Kelvin

Quantify the benefits: to understand customers’ economic benefit, you
need to get in their heads and model the effect on their business of
using your product.
Bear in mind that the forces of evil which fight against innovation are rampant, devious, and well-organized.

To justify the risk of change, and of being a small company, you must be at least 10X faster, 10X better, and 10X cheaper than the known alternatives.

Understand how they are currently solving the problem.
Understand how their work processes will change by using your product.
Calculate the change. It must deliver payback.
Your USER may be different from your paying CUSTOMER (Search ads)

A definition of “Sales”:
Understanding Customer Needs -- and Matching Products to Those Needs.
Identifying/Quantifying Current Pain

Customers will feel they have a relationship with you only when they believe that you understand their needs, their situation, their vision, their constraints, their corporate goals, and their career goals.
Sales/Lead Generation Experiments
Consumer Business
Social Media
Your network/Advisers
Associations/Trade Shows
Cold Calling
Alumni network
Unsolicited Email
Lets take a look at Ksplice again and this time think about
the differences between their presentation and what I'd like to see
from your OAP presentations...

What should they have done differently?
Creating Customer Interview Templates

Interviewing Customers/Users
Activity: Interviewing partner (demo it)
Find a partner, interview to discover their ultimate vacation experience.
Examples, lessons learned?
Prototype product (paper)
Fill in business model canvas.
Myth: If you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your doorstep.

Sales is not a PITCH, it's a SEARCH
Mid-course feedback

1) Clearer instructions and guidance on the assignments.
- I will provide more detail on the final OAP
- Questions
- Next year will move the market analysis out of the first assignment.

2) More time; course is rushed.
- Should improve going forward, let me know if not.

3) More founders as opposed to VC's as guest speakers.

4) More mentorship. - coming 2/22
- Feel free to reach out to prior speakers/mentors
- Office hours?
Lots of creative ideas.

Most of the opportunities could really have benefited from a more robust competitive analysis.

Encouraged some to go out there and talk to more people as to what their daily problems were to truly tease out what is a NEED to have.

Bunch of them were clearly taking a college-focused need, but didn’t seem like they were thinking big enough OR didn’t hit answer (at least for me), “Is this REALLY a problem that needs solving”?

I understand the allure of apps but asking the question “what are some of the biggest world problems that don’t have good solutions today?” may be another way to do the idea generation phase.
The students were very bright, and rather well prepared. I also thought the majority of the ideas I heard today had some legs, which is definitely not typical.

Its always a pleasure learning from these amazing students...

I was so impressed with the progress that the students made!

Always fun to hear the innovative student ideas and exchange insights.
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