I’ve been spending a great deal of time lately working on company-wide goals. It is important to keep them simple and memorable. For us, our goals are based on the following items:
- Customer renewal rate - this reflects how well we’re doing providing on-going value to customers, our support team, product enhancements, and overall community
- Recognized revenue - this combines new license revenue, maintenance and support fulfilled (recognized monthly), and services delivered (consulting and training)
- Booked revenue - this reflects how well our sales team is doing, the competitiveness of our software, and the quality of our marketing
The goals are laid out for the current month, quarter, year, and following year. We don’t go further out than the following year (e.g. five year goals) as we like to focus on the most tangible timeframes where we have control.
Individual goals, department goals, and leadership goals build up to the company-wide goals. The company-wide goals are always quantitative whereas the individual and department goals are a combination of quantitative and project goals. With this methodology in place, everyone in the company always knows what we’re working towards and our current progress is reiterated on a consistent basis.
I’ve had the opportunity to develop SaaS products in both PHP/symfony and Ruby on Rails over the past year. Being very popular development frameworks, there have been numerous discussions comparing the two, along with anything else to make web apps. With first-hand experience, I wanted to offer my thoughts from a technical CEO perspective. Here are the pros of both frameworks:
- PHP language – PHP is a mix of a variety of languages like C, C++, and Perl making it is easy to pick up for classically trained programmers and newbies alike
- Developer availability – PHP, an all purpose and wildly popular web programming language, makes it easy to find experienced developers
- Deployment – symfony apps are very easy to deploy without bringing the web app down using rsync, assuming your script caching isn’t checking file timestamps every request (which isn’t the fastest)
- MVC separation – symfony’s approach to the Model-View-Controller is very intuitive and logical being based on OOP and folder structures
Ruby on Rails
- Ruby language – expressive and readable language that has amazing flexibility to do things like modify a class at run-time
- ActiveRecord – extremely elegant Object Relational Mapping that requires very little code to layout table relationships and enforce constraints
- Lines of code – yes, it’s true, you can develop a sophisticated web app in RoR with fewer lines of code that you would expect
- Plugins & gems – RoR’s plugins, as well as Ruby gems, provide a wealth of modular functionality
I’m a big fan of both platforms — you can’t go wrong with either.
So, I’m still on the Patrick Lencioni kick reading as many of his books as I can. His most recent one, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, does a great job articulating the human-side of successful managers. The three signs of a measurable job:
- Immeasurable – if nothing is measured, then nothing can be improved
- Irrelevant – it is critical to know who the work affects
- Anonymity – knowing and caring about personal life is important
I recommend it for any manager.
Building a professional sales organization is one of the most important things an entrepreneur must do. Unfortunately, for me anyways, it is more difficult to build a sales organization than it is to build a product. Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years:
- Sales-ready lead - write down the definition of a sales-ready lead and make sure everyone is on the same page. If a lead is passed to sales and it isn’t sales-ready, it should be immediately returned back to marketing for automated nurturing.
- CRM process - there are many affordable CRMs out there from companies like Salesforce.com and SugarCRM with all the bells and whistles you need. The important thing is documenting what is expected of sales reps and sales manager and defining usage standards. It is very difficult for a company to plan as well as manage growth if the CRM is not truly adopted by the sales organization.
- BANT consistency - a consistent definition of Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline is critical for creating opportunities in the sales pipeline. Too often, different interpretations of these characteristics specific to an individual organization cause serious problems.
Embracing these three tips will result in a more successful sales organization.
I have the honor and privilege to be the next guest speaker for theTAG/ATDC Entrepreneurs series at Georgia Tech this Thursday, February 7th in Midtown Atlanta. Please sign-up and attend.
Two guys I knew from Duke have popular VC blogs online:
Duke isn’t normally thought of as a very entrepreneurial school but has lots of sharp people. Congrats to David and Mark for making their voices heard.
I just finished reading “The Four Obsession of an Extraordinary Executive” by Patrick Lencioni and must say that I really enjoyed it, as I have with all his books. Without further adieu, here are the four obsessions:
- Build and maintain a cohesive leadership team
- Create organizational clarity
- Over-communicate organizational clarity
- Reinforce organizational clarity through human systems
At Hannon Hill, we had a leadership meeting for seven hours straight on a single day last month to create our organization clarity document. It isn’t a document of what we want to be, but rather a document that articulates what we already are, so that we can hold ourselves accountable, and provide a clear position of where we stand as a company. I would highly recommend it for any leadership team.