Thursday, November 10, 2005

You're Interested in Our Product? Tough!

Triage - A system used by medical or emergency personnel to ration limited medical resources when the number of injured needing care exceeds the resources available to perform care.

Triage isn't only used in the medical community. It is also used in business.

To give a little more background on my new job, the corporation that hired me just acquired a small, private company. So that was what I was working on during my six months of consulting: an acquisition. The deal I was offered was this: if the acquisition closed I would be brought on full time to run the "top line revenue" of the new division. This is a fancy way to say I am now responsible for sales of this new group that was just acquired.

Now this small, private company did a lot of what I would call "science projects". These were little R&D projects where they collected service fees, but barely enough to keep the lights on. They also spent a lot of time chasing illusive, pie-in-the sky deals from other start-ups who promised volume in the BILLIONS.

Now they are part of a bigger company and have a real revenue number to hit with limited resources to do it with. So I am going in with a big scythe and am cutting out customers that don't match the profile I need to hit my 2006 revenue number. I am kicking out three existing customers, cutting off one who was pretty far down the road on a new project, and ignored half a dozen companies that sent their information in at a recent trade show. The fact that there was a recent acquisition makes the "excuse" for dropping these guys pretty easy, and I get to play the heavy, but it is never fun to tell someone who is interested in your product or service to get lost. It goes against instinct.

The good news is that this leaves some large, resource-rich customers that I can now focus our resources on. And if all goes well, just a percentage of these closing will make the revenue number for the year.

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