In this post, Brandon provides a lot of insight into sales. One point that I’ve learned the hard way is:
Find the hair-on-fire customers, ignore the rest. When we started out, we were heartened any time a customer expressed enthusiasm. And then we’d follow up, nothing would happen for months, and we’d get discouraged. Ignore how enthusiastic the customer seems in a meeting. Instead, look for people with hair-on-fire problems.
It’s so true, especially when you are just starting out, you need users who have a real pressing problem that you solve. I’d go even further than Brandon, in enterprise sales, there are often competing interests, and in my experience, the person or group that makes the decision is not necessarily the same person that will be using your software. For instance, you might make a tool for scientists, but the person making the decision might be in finance or IT. Now obviously you have to convince the decision maker, but its far more critical that you have hair on fire customers within the organization.
That’s how terrible enterprise software gets made. You make something you can sell to the decision makers rather than something that actual users love.