Leadership Perspectives

Successful companies are built on successful customers

Ian Sefferman

I came to the startup world as a software engineer, without much sales experience. I’m not a recluse by any means, but I am a bit of an introvert — I love talking to people and learning from them, but I know I need to recharge afterwards. When I first started a startup, I was hopeful that if I made a great product, people would come, buy it in droves, and I’d never have to speak with them. In hindsight, this sounds ridiculous… because it is.

It took me a few years, but one of the most important lessons I learned in building a SaaS business is that you can only build a successful business when your clients are successful. If you’re building Salesforce and your clients aren’t successful at selling, they won’t be clients for long. Likewise, we’re building mobile marketing software and we know we’ll only be successful when our clients succeed at mobile and mobile marketing.

As a company scales, it can be easy to lose sight of this truism. It’s not that you magically forget or intentionally do it, sometimes there’s just a lot to do! Scaling a company is hard. But the moment it gets hard is the exact moment to remember to double down on ensuring clients succeed.

Ensuring clients succeed is the antidote to many startup challenges: are we building the right products? Are we truly providing great service? Do engineers have all the context they need while building new features? All of these are things that can be solved with a strong bias for ensuring clients are succeeding in all ways at all times.

Which is why I’ve dedicated 2017 as my year of doing whatever it takes to ensure our clients are succeeding.

I’m spending my days talking and traveling to clients and, most importantly, listening. Are we focused on the right problems for our customers? Do they enjoy our UX or is there a way we can make it simpler? How do they feel about our new features or what is holding them back from adopting them? Is our support team responsive and helpful?

We’ve already made changes and improvements because of what we’ve heard. Our (rebranded!) Client Success team is ensuring they know our clients’ goals and what they can do to help — and will be rewarded for helping them hit those goals. Our product team has shifted priorities to be more aligned with our clients’ goals, working more closely with clients to build out a strategic and compelling roadmap.

We’ll be espousing the belief that we only succeed when our clients succeed to everyone we can. Internally this is becoming our mantra and it will pay dividends for us in the future.

My door is always open and I’d love to hear from you about what we can do to help you succeed. Email me anytime at iseff@tune.com to give feedback or suggestions. Here’s to your success!

Author
Ian Sefferman

As General Manager of the TUNE Marketing Console, Ian is responsible for building products that simplify app marketers' lives and increase their advertising performance across all channels, including paid, earned, and owned. Ian joined TUNE in 2014 through the acquisition of MobileDevHQ, the industry-leading inbound app marketing solution, where he was co-founder and CEO. MobileDevHQ was a member of the TechStars Seattle class of 2012 and Ian is still involved with TechStars as a mentor and investor. Prior to starting MobileDevHQ, Ian was a Software Engineer with Amazon.com on their Traffic, Personalization and Website Platform teams. A Detroit native and Seattle transplant, Ian studied Computer Science at the University of Chicago.