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Follow the Sales Guys

Want to build the next big personal productivity application, communication platform or X?  Follow those that have the most to gain from it.

With any new technology, the users on the forward edge of a trend are the people who stand to benefit most.

Follow the sales guys

Those that benefit most from improvements in personal productivity are sales people. Sales jobs have the clearest correlation between personal output and compensation among any role inside a company.  This direct correlation leads to millions of sales people across the web searching for any edge they can find to increase their sales (and therefore their compensation).  Make twice as many calls in one day – make twice as many sales.

Jawbone, Blackberry, Xobni, Virgin America’s WiFi enabled flights – all of these products helped sales people be more productive.

I like building stuff for sales people because of how clear their incentives are.  To understand a man, understand his incentives.

Follow the marketers

The people that benefit most from improvements in communication technology are marketers.  In no other role is success more closely tied to getting your message heard by more people.  Get your message heard by twice as many people – drive twice as many visitors to your product/website/store.

Twitter, email, Facebook – whether it be marketing a product or marketing themselves, the people that have the most to gain from new communication technologies are marketers.

Want to build a new startup in the personal productivity space? Listen to the sales guys.  Want to build the next big communication platform?  Get to know some marketers.

I guess this is all just a corollary of knowing your customer.  But I thought it was important to break it down just the same.

What do you want build?  Who are you following?

  • Craig Daniel

    Good post. I totally agree. At my startup, VisibleGains, we've tried to follow both, which is nearly impossible. Now, we're focusing on the marketer and it is beginning to reap some benefits for us.

  • Siminoff

    What about PhoneTag:)

    Good post, you are right, following the sales guys is a great way to get a tool out there. They will always pay for productivity.

  • brezina

    Hey Jamie, of course PhoneTag is a perfect example. I'd love to hear if the sales guys were your earliest customers and biggest evangelists.

  • Siminoff

    For sure they were. They were always the easiest sale as they all would say
    that they have lost sales to not receiving voicemails in time. For $30 a
    month they thought it was a bargain.

    Compare that to a normal person who would look at the $30 as expensive
    because they could not calculate the quick ROI.

    That is the best thing about sales guys they eat what they kill, give them
    the ability to kill more and they will happily give you a percentage of it.