I have startup experience in a few different industries. I was with a telecom startup for three years towards the end of the first internet bubble. You know, when IPOs were still a “sure thing”? Well, it didn’t exactly work out that way when Convergent Communications went public. I have also done the “ultimate startup” which was just me for several years.
Most recently, I worked for a company wholly owned by Boeing. Now, as you may know, Boeing is a ginormous company with tens of thousands of employees and billions of dollars in revenue. Not exactly a startup, I think you would agree.
However, within the company I worked at, I was hired just as a new organization was created. This organization’s purpose was to support the flow of data into the company that others in the company added value to and resold. We supported that effort by ensuring positive relationships between our company and the providers of this data. We did that by offering a suite of products and services that would make the lives of those who provided the data easier.
There were a lot of similarities within that organization to any other startup around. We had pressure on us to pull things together quickly and to start seeing positive financial results. We had the flexibility and little oversight that let us rapidly organize, acquire the tools and resources we needed, and execute on our strategic plans. Everyone in the organization had to fill multiple roles to get things done and stepped in when and as necessary to ensure the right things were happening at the right times.
I was responsible for product management of the portfolio as well as all aspects of the marketing strategy, from inception to execution. I needed to quickly learn the pain points of the markets we served so we could best position our portfolio and establish the value of our products to those markets. This was a top priority during my entire tenure, because as we learn from Pragmatic Marketing: NIHITO! (Nothing Important Happens in the Office). It has to start with the market. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I am proud of the work I accomplished at this internal “startup.” I established methodologies and processes for listening to the market, reaching out to the market to generate demand and leads, nurture those leads and turn them into customers. The niche B2B software we sold increased 36% in license-holders during that time. We tripled the sales pipeline through the increased number of contacts and leads generated and the new marketing materials put out. All this had a very positive impact on revenue without significant increase in costs.