Now as a Bay Area transplant I walk down the street and hear words and acronyms like “IPO, cloud, freemium, crowdsourcing, democratization of software,” etc. Are folks talking about the weather, politics, maybe sports? No. We live, eat, breathe and dream technology innovation in the west, with an IPO being one common measure of success. How should companies think about their technology solutions to support their IPO?
As a salesforce.com platinum implementation partner and national consulting firm it is no surprise that we work with a lot of fast growing companies in the West that have realized the IPO dream. We have seen a number of our customers grow quickly from a few hundred employees and then suddenly hockey stick and begin moving to 500 and 1000 employees with revenue going from 50M to 100M to 200M in an 18-24 month period.
What is interesting though is as you look inside the sales, service and marketing operations of these companies they look much like the 50 person startup of two years ago, but are now 10 times that size. Hallmark signs of this include:
- A lack of systems integration:
A classic example is where marketing automation solutions (Marketo, Eloqua, ExactTarget, etc.), the CRM solution (Salesforce), and the ERP solution (SAP, Oracle, NetSuite, etc) are not integrated in a material, automated, and auditable manner.
- No evolution of CRM processes:
The sales team is using Salesforce as their CRM but they have not evolved their configuration to handle the new complexities of their expanded product lines, service/support offerings, geographies, customer segments and departments.
- Disconnected quoting process:
Quoting and e-commerce solutions are often both standalone, highly customized and/or proprietary and are manually intensive to a point where they begin to acutely hamper deal velocity. Highly customized Excel worksheets are common.
- No 365 degree customer view:
Customer service solutions such as Zendesk, RightNow, Parature and others are siloed and not connected to the CRM solution nor the customer master preventing sales and service to work together to serve that precious set of customers in a cohesive manner.
As our customers have traveled down the 2-3 year road leading up to IPO they have engaged us to help them solve the types of issues and challenges above. It does not happen overnight, it is not magic, but it is brutally important work. You can’t scale through people, Excel and work arounds.
Those that realize and embrace that fact get help and win. Those that don’t end up as a flash in the pan. So, if you actually want to ever realize gain on that IPO stock you have to integrate, automate and operationalize your business so the public sees your consistent growth after you IPO and not a headline restating earnings.
By the way, the Red Sox won the World Series last year and Perficient has been a profitable public management consulting firm for the last 17 years.
What kind of help do you need?