This article initially appeared on TechCrunch.
The era of VCs investing in successful consumer Internet startups such as eBay led to a belief system that seemed to permeate many enterprise software startups that hiring sales or implementation people was a bad thing.
“We want low-touch or zero-touch businesses” was the mantra.
I believe it’s flawed.
While I have some sympathy with not investing too heavily in sales people until the product has properly been tested and commercialized in the enterprise environment, in the end it’s a fact that it takes sales people to move product through large organizations. And of course the most successful technology companies: Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com [duh], Oracle, Microsoft all have loads of sales people.
But the “no sales people” mantra isn’t what I’m here to take on. It’s the second belief system that is even more engrained and even more wrong. Many young startups are being advised not to have a professional services business and in my opinion this is a big mistake.
The line of reasoning goes, “Services businesses are not scalable and the market won’t reward this revenue so make sure that third-parties do your implementation or clients do it themselves. We only want software revenue.”
This is a huge mistake. If you’re an early-stage enterprise startup services revenue isexactly what you need.