Get sales right, raise tons of money, and take the market. A case study on Omniture and Domo.

By Levi Belnap

The history of enterprise software is a tale of long sales cycles and big contracts.  The consumerization of IT in the enterprise appears to be changing this, but not as much as you think.  Yes, individuals are empowered to make technology choices that previously were made solely by the IT department.  And yes, It is possible to take a trojan horse approach into the enterprise with a great product and freemium pricing, and we plan to do this with our own company.  However, the most successful Enterprise 2.0 software companies are figuring out how to combine great products and freemium pricing strategies with a great sales approach.  If you find yourself in this position step on the gas, and if you see a competitor in this position you may be in trouble!

As a case study, lets talk about two companies you’ve never heard of founded by the same college dropout, Josh James.  The first Omniture, developed and sold web analytics to the enterprise.  Omniture was founded in 1996, went public in 2006, and was purchased by Adobe in 2009 for $1.8B.  Omniture competed against free tools like Google Analytics and arguably better products from startups like Kissmetrics (1).  Omniture beat the competition by figuring out how to sell and doing it faster than anyone else.

Fast forward a few years, and Josh James is currently starting a company called Domo.  Domo is a Business Intelligence company that helps executives see all their company data in real time with a user friendly dashboard.  There are a lot of BI companies out there trying to do this very thing.  However, in the last year and a half Domo has raised $125M from top tier investors including GGV Capital, Greylock Partners, Bezos Expeditions and Workday co-CEOs Aneel Bhusri and David Duffield, Founders Fund and Mercato Partners.

Why did they give him so much money so fast?  Because he has built a great product, and he really knows how to sell it!  In the last six months he has signed 100 paying enterprise customers (2).  It took Omniture 2.5 years to get to the same number of paying customers.  Also in contrast to his time at Omniture, Josh said these deals are closing in days and weeks versus months.  If you had money and saw a guy who had built a billion dollar business before and was now playing in basically the same market and was on track to repeat his past success even faster, wouldn’t you invest too?

The jury is still out on Domo, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out on top as THE company in Business Intelligence.  They want to do for BI what Salesforce did for CRMs, and they may just have the right recipe and enough money to do it!

Lessons for me as an entrepreneur.  First, even if you build the best product, mastering sales will only make your company better.  Second, if you can get the product right and sales right, take as much money as you can get and go take the market.


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