There are advantages in the structure, which can make me more successful.
For me, the key to establishing the right sales model or market operation is to find and explain the pain points. That is, what pain points does your product solve? Who cares about these pain points?
These people are your potential customers. The more obvious the pain point, the larger the final transaction volume.
This is our methodology. The value of an excellent sales team is that they will give you very good feedback, bring us a good source of information, promote product decision-making and marketing, positioning and brand strategy, and ultimately achieve the flywheel effect.
I never go against a product that the public likes
In 2014, I joined MongoDB. Prior to this, I also did venture capital for a period of time. After doing due diligence on other projects in this field, I chose MongoDB, which seems to have more development features and has the opportunity to grow into a larger development community.
One of the reasons I joined MongoDB is that I never fight against products that the public likes. Although this company’s business is shrinking, compared with other companies, its shrinkage is smaller and it is in a leading position in the industry. Obviously, some of their practices are remarkable.
As a change agent, it is impossible for me to enter this company to solve all problems at once. Everything is prioritized, so I choose to start with sales. First of all, I need to ensure that I get real feedback on customer opinions from the sales team. To put it bluntly, I will win a group of customers quickly and achieve rapid revenue growth. So I brought a new leadership team, appointed new CROs, CMOs and CFOs, and started a new way of business.
I frankly re-formed the plan with the board of directors and used a new round of large-scale financing as support. The board of directors is very supportive of my plan. The advantage of this is that when we start to gradually achieve the goal according to the plan, people suddenly start to walk briskly and feel a sense of accomplishment again. This is very important for the establishment of a sense of belief among employees within the company.
Another advantage of MongoDB is that it focuses on a very large market. In fact, I think this is one of the largest markets for enterprise software. In the early days, we realized and discussed that we cannot use a distribution model to serve the entire market like an on-site direct sales agency. We must not only have a sales team. This is why we established an internal sales team.
The way we divide the sales team makes this sales strategy really work: Let the sales team focus on customers with more than $2 billion in revenue. Our internal sales team initially focused on customers with revenues under US$500 million, but then we realized that we need to focus on corporate customers with revenues under US$100 million.Because this market is too big. The more focused sales are on customers, the better performance will be. This is how we avoid friction between teams in the company. The other thing is that this allows us to create a blueprint for the career development of internal sales staff, allowing these people to start from internal sales, and then seize the opportunity to accumulate experience, and finally enter the field of field sales, participating in larger and more targeted Complex transactions.
Open source and monetization are not contradictory
Another important reason why I joined MongoDB is that MongoDB is not built on any existing technology. It is like a piece of white paper. The development of the company depends entirely on the ingenuity of the founders and engineers. Because we started with a blank sheet of paper, we chose the stricter AGPL open source license from the beginning, because our purpose is not to allow the community to do crowdsourced R&D, but to use open source as a freemium strategy for more developers to see To and use our products. So our focus is on distribution and dissemination, rather than promoting research and development. This model makes us more and more successful.
But this model also brings some cultural challenges, because engineers obviously really believe in the spirit of open source and believe that they are trying to change the world, so they have a strained relationship with marketers who focus on business. There is a gap between technology and monetization. The conflict was highlighted. So I had to communicate with engineers who believe in open source and convince them that 50% of our R&D funds are invested in free products, but if the company cannot maintain normal operations, there will be no way to obtain financing from investors. To a certain extent, we must realize through intellectual property rights and become an independent company that can operate for a long time. Only in this way can we have more funds for product polishing and launch better products. This is for both customers and the company. It’s a good thing.
So we made a very controversial decision at the time, that is, to change from HPL to SSPL open source license. Looking back now, this is a correct decision. Because once the open source cloud product is successful, cloud vendors will get involved, take away your intellectual property directly, and put the results on the cloud as a service to make money, without having to make any contribution to the open source community. This is obviously unfair and meaningless. Therefore, MongoDB changes the licensing model to convey a clear attitude: we welcome MongoDB as a service, but the condition is that you must open the source code of the changes to the code and the underlying management plan you created , Allowing anyone else to use these codes and provide similar services as a way of giving back to the community.
After the open source license change, people are very worried that we will be opposed by the community, but in fact it is the opposite, because users who really need to move quickly, build products quickly and solve problems will not care about such details. We Very sure about this. The result also proved that our community did not lose because of this decisionCloseness, insight, openness and transparency. Then I realized that we are a community of interests and we must make full use of each other’s value. Team members suddenly feel that they are being listened to and that their opinions are important, which creates a better environment in the company. So, this is something I think is very important.
Sometimes, I ignore the opinions of other board members, but then I realized that the value of good board members is not that they must understand every business of the company as I do, but that sometimes they can help I put an end to “seeing the trees but not the forest” because they don’t face every small problem so close, so they can bring some different perspectives and balances, thus becoming a very useful decision-making think tank.
This also tells me that the CEO is a very lonely character, because everyone who comes to you to talk about things has their own agenda. More importantly, the CEO must be able to give them a sense of security in communicating with them at the moment. No matter what these concerns are, the CEO must always support them.
*Author introduction: Dev Ittycheria is the CEO of MongoDB. Before joining MongoDB, he co-founded BladeLogic in 2001 and served as the company’s chief executive officer. Then BladeLogic was acquired by BMC for US$900 million. He is also a partner of Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm. Dev has rich experience in entrepreneurship, operation and investment. As an entrepreneur, CEO and investor, he has created more than $25 billion in value.