We started Yesware nine months ago with the single overarching goal of “Improving the professional lives of salespeople.” I’ve been a salesperson for most of my working life, so I know how awesome and how awful it can be. I also know that even if you aren’t carrying a bag and a quota, you can be a salesperson. CEOs are salespeople, Business Development is sales without the quota. Customer Support and all the other farmers are often responsible for the majority of a company’s revenue.
So the goal of improving these peoples’ professional lives was big, but also definable and chunk-able. We could segment, analyze, understand, target and iterate. We’ve made a ton of progress since July, but it’s become clear that having that one simple goal just isn’t enough. In the course of building the business, we’ve had to do things that don’t directly “improve the professional lives…” And that “Improving…” stance doesn’t really talk about what our approach is to building a team or executing on the goal. So here, for your reading enjoyment and possible inspiration, are the “Three Goals of Yesware.”
1. Improve the Professional Lives of Salespeople
Selling is the pointed end of the spear that is your company. It gets stuck in a lot of unpleasant places, it gets dinged up, but it also gets the glory when the battle is won. A mediocre product with great sales can dominate a market. A great product with a mediocre sales team never can. At Yesware, we want to help more salespeople be great. There are a thousand ways to do this, so we’ll examine them and pick off the best opportunities first. We’ll learn from our mistakes and keep iterating on opportunity selection and execution. At each decision point, the primary question to ask ourselves is: Does [X] improve the professional lives of salespeople? If it doesn’t, than it’s got to help us reach our next goal.
2. Build the Yesware Business
Not everything we do is going to directly help salespeople. And it’s a bit squirrelly to say “by doing [Y] we’ll be indirectly helping our customers because [insert tenuous justification here].” Let’s just be upfront about it – We have work to do that is primarily about building our internal capabilities, controls, reporting, knowledge, and so on. It definitely should benefit our customers in the end, but in the midst of doing the actual work, the connection might be murky.
So Yesware’s second goal is to Build the Yesware Business. We want to earn a salary. We want to make money for the people who invested in us. We want to serve more customers, to grow our capabilities, to challenge ourselves, to seize new opportunities. Reaching these ambitions requires a vehicle to reach them in. That vehicle is the Yesware company. Let’s make it as awesome as we can.
3. Do “Pretty Awesome” Work
The measure of our efforts is whether we, then our colleagues, and then our customers and partners think “Pretty awesome” when we’re done. To get there, we have to be as awesome as we can with the resources available. We’re unlikely to get to “incredibly awesome” or “perfection” because there’s a lot of other stuff to do. We’re not going to get pulled down by “mediocre group-think awesome” because we’re surrounding ourselves with colleagues, friends, advisors, investors and customers with very high standards.
So if the concept, the feature, the product, the division or the deal is “pretty awesome” then do it. Otherwise, kill it and work on something that can be. This all might seem straightforward and simple. That’s great. I hope our company is always straightforward and simple to deal with. If we improve our customers’ lives, build a great vehicle for ourselves and do pretty awesome work, I’m sure we’ll be very, very successful.