* The Business of Software

A former community discussing the business of software, from the smallest shareware operation to Microsoft. A part of Joel on Software.

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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Joel's new big idea


It is amazing to me that it took Joel so long to realize that sales & marketing are an important part of a software business.

I'm no expert .. I run a small, growing, "lean" company, but I have always put a lot of my effort (and investment) into sales, marketing, and PR.

This idea that code quality does not matter if you can't sell it has been going around this forum for the three or so years since I found it. Maybe Joel needs to frequent his own forum!

Well, anyway, as seems painfully obvious to me: it doesn't matter what you do with your software business (or any other business) if no one knows about it / doesn't look good / or doesn't make sense from a marketing perspective.
SimonH Send private email
Friday, February 12, 2010
Sales and marketing is really, really hard.
Bring back anon Send private email
Friday, February 12, 2010
All these years I believed that a company who sells software to be successful, their product must be written in top notch code.

I've been SO wrong.

I saw so many successful companies that sell software products with laughable source code. When I started working for the company and got my hands on the source code I was amazed. Terrible code written by interns, outdated technologies used etc.

Still, as long the software is stable, after years of patching, the company makes money, as long sales, marketing and PR are in good standing.

Look at Fogbugz. Is written in ASP.. Who's using ASP still??

Now, I believe that:
"is not what you sell, but how you sell it".
Ubercoder Send private email
Friday, February 12, 2010
"is not what you sell, but how you sell it".  Good point, but IMHO what is important is not how you sell, it's figuring out how people buy.

Quote from article "Sales and marketing functions exist to encourage earthlings to find out about your software and evaluate it." That isn't sales or marketing, that's just PR.

Watching a true salesperson in action is amazing to me, even after all these years. Contacting a prospect, finding out their needs, concerns, problems, budget constraints, internal constituencies. And the really hard part - closing a deal and coaxing a purchase decision out of them. That's real selling.

Marketing isn't telling the market what you superprogrammers have written. It's many, many things like pricing, position, the audiences you want, the audiences you don't want. Lead generation. Partnerships.  Unless this forum uses varchar(max) you would probably overflow the column before you could finish defining what marketing does.

People don't buy programs or source code. They buy solutions to solve their problems. If you have their solution, how do you find those people and help them? That's what I love about this busines
jz Send private email
Friday, February 12, 2010
"Sales and marketing is really, really hard."

I'm not sure that's true. The reason so many small geek owned shops fail is not that marketing is hard, it's that they don't do ANY of it because they would rather code.

I completely understand that. Developers are introverts. Talking to people saps you of energy, whereas for an extrovert, marketing is a SOURCE of energy.

The solution is to hire some people who are extroverts to do it for you. It won't be hard for them. Marketing is not rocket science, but development engineering is rocket science.

The thing is that different personalities are good at each.

If you ignore marketing and sales the market will ignore you.

There are geek types out there who get a customer support mail and don't respond to it. Responding to support mail is part of your marketing.
Scott Send private email
Friday, February 12, 2010
"is not what you sell, but how you sell it".

That's not the whole story - damn close though...

I'm on the opposite side of the tracks here, in that sales and marketing is what I do. However it's the same tracks to the same place.

If you don't have a decent product, it's hard to sell it.

Unfortunately a decent product by itself is no guarantee of sales whatsoever.

"marketing is really hard to do" - that's how I feel about coding :)

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Saturday, February 13, 2010

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