Software Executive Magazine

August/September 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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PLAYING THE LONG GAME Meyer didn't build CentralBOS for explosive growth and a quick exit. He has funded the company up un- til this point, and plans to start raising growth capital before the end of 2017. "We're confident in our metrics now. We know how much it costs to acquire a custom- er, how we acquire that customer, how long and how much it takes to onboard that customer, and that our margins are significant enough to ensure a nice return." His background in the military and as a serial entrepre- neur has taught Meyer the importance of running a lean company and staying focused on the outcome. Running lean doesn't mean skimping on the resourc- es needed to grow. For example, CentralBOS has invest- ed heavily throughout the past two years in building a relationship with Gartner. The company gets regular updates from Gartner analysts, and has worked closely with them to explain how its platform is truly different. After all, Meyer points out, websites for competitor soft- ware companies all look the same on the surface. "It's like any consultant, spending the money is the easy part. What's critical is understanding what both sides want from the relationship." Meyer knows the more time he spends with analysts discussing sales and marketing strategy, the more likely the CentralBOS name will be brought up in conversations with third parties and potential customers. These con- versations don't focus on product development — Meyer knows that part of the equation is already working. An- alyst briefings include questions about messaging chan- nel partners, finding efficient ways to market to large enterprise customers, and developing sales strategies. CentralBOS also relies on Gartner to give them a fair un- derstanding of how they stack up against competitors. The company doesn't expect to snap its fingers and end up in a Gartner FrontRunners quadrant overnight; rath- er, the ROI is more qualitative. For now, Meyer has laid the groundwork to help the company be seen as a best in class software solution. "We're early in this journey, and in the early innings of the impact of the movement from on-premise software to cloud delivery. We have the chance to build a really great company. This has the ability to be a very large enterprise. I only worry about one inning to the next, but I'm excited about what the end of this ball game looks like." S money in marketing and by hiring a bunch of salespeo- ple. But you really have to understand how you can sell repeatedly and then determine if that is scalable." A software company can't scale or pivot its sales strategy without the support of a nimble development team. Dan Catan, VP of Sales and Marketing, credits de- velopment's ability to move swiftly as a key advantage over larger, more established competitors. "We can react quickly to the market and provide product road maps that in my previous life at Oracle and PeopleSoft might take months or years. We can crank things out in days and weeks. That's creating a difference between us and legacy ERP competitors in the market." For ex- ample, CentralBOS is trying to get ahead of competitors by adding voice activation features. Meyer knows voice technology is gaining momentum in the consumer space, and he's betting more and more customers will rely on that feature within their software to make their jobs easier. Development didn't dwell on making voice activation perfect, and engineers didn't waste resourc- es trying to build something from scratch when they could leverage existing off-the-shelf technology. Centr- alBOS also worked quickly on deploying an RFID proto- type. The technology was needed to make the software simpler to use for customers, so CentralBOS created a simple feature within a few weeks. When it comes to making product changes or rolling out new features, Meyer's advice is to keep it simple so it can keep selling. At one point CentralBOS decided to delay sales while waiting to implement significant UI/UX (user interface/user experience) changes. "In hindsight, the product was working. I could have kept selling. Instead I pulled back selling the interface that wasn't so sexy or quite so easy to use. I can justify it, but we should have kept selling what we had." His approach to development is simple: Build something that works, and worry about the bells and whistles later. When Meyer was still work- ing at Skylight Financial he recalled another development hurdle to illustrate this belief. The company had a major compliance hurdle to resolve, and needed the develop- ment team to address it quickly. "I'll never forget, it was a Friday afternoon and the developers were telling me it couldn't be done in time. I said, 'This is all it has to do,' and I broke it down in its simplest form. 'Quit trying to think about the other things it could and would and should do; it just needs to do this.'" The development team did just that, and by Monday morning, they delivered the solution. For Meyer, the key to his success as a serial entrepreneur is to help teams refocus, eliminate distractions, simplify problems, and move quickly. Lesson 3 Lesson 4 It's easy to spend money in marketing and by hiring a bunch of salespeople. But you really have to understand how you can sell repeatedly and then determine if that is scalable. 29 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

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