Vendere Partners recently looked to Forbes’ list of “The World’s Richest In Tech Billionaires 2013” for inspiration on various fronts, and found it. Below are some of the Vendere team’s favorite, thought-provoking quotes from the 10 technology innovators at the top of the list.
10. Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Limited:
"The important thing about outsourcing or global sourcing is that it becomes a very powerful tool to leverage talent, improve productivity and reduce work cycles."
Is your business performing sales functions that ought to be outsourced?
9. Mark Zukerberg, Co-founder of Facebook:
"This is a perverse thing, personally, but I would rather be in the cycle where people are underestimating us. It gives us latitude to go out and make big bets that excite and amaze people."
When it comes to sales, should your organization be taking more chances? You have to know your strengths and weaknesses in order to take calculated risks. In other words, you've got to know the ways in which you are succeeding and failing at sales operations before you can determine the potential costs and benefits of taking risks, whether they're few or many, big or small.
8. Paul Allen, Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation:
"In the computer industry, you've got an interdisciplinary team of people who can come together, attack the problem, and work in a collaborative style. You knock down one problem after another, cobble things together, and then hopefully turn the crank at some point."
Do you have in place solid processes for adapting your business's services and solutions in ways that are empowering you to meet the needs of today's consumers? Tomorrow's consumers?
7. Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft:
“In the competition between PCs and Macs, we outsell Apple 30 to 1. But there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience. Today, we’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones — providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences.”
What are your thoughts on specialization versus diversification? Is it in your organization's best interest to excel at a few things, or be a one-stop-shop?
6. Michael Dell, Founder and CEO of Dell:
“One of the things I benefited from when I started this business was that I didn’t know anything. I was just instinct with no preconceived notions. This enabled me to learn and change quickly without having to worry about maintaining any kind of status quo, like some of my bigger competitors.”
Are you so busy keeping up with your competitors that you've stopped innovating?
5. Sergey Brin, Co-founder of Google:
"Google actually relies on our users to help with our marketing. We have a very high percentage of our users who often tell others about our search engine."
Should your sales and marketing goals include developing more initiatives that encourage your customers, partners and others to do more of your marketing for you?
4. Larry Page, Co-founder of Google:
"We have always tried to concentrate on the long term, and to place bets on technology we believe will have a significant impact over time. It’s hard to imagine now, but when we started Google most people thought search was a solved problem and that there was no money to be made apart from some banner advertising. We felt the exact opposite: that search quality was very poor, and that awesome user experiences would clearly make money."
Is your organization staying true to the beliefs and principles upon which it was founded?
3. Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com:
"If your brand is based exclusively on price, you're in a fragile position, but if your brand is about great prices and great service and great selection, that is a much better position."
Are you stuck in a price war? Do you keep lowering price in an effort to remain competitive? Are there things you could be doing to legitimize your current pricing and still remain competitive?
2. Larry Ellison, Co-founder and CEO of Oracle:
"Because software is all about scale. The larger you are, the more profitable you are. If we sell twice as much as software, it doesn't cost us twice as much to build that software. So the more customers you have, the more scale you have. The larger you are, the more profitable you are."
Is your business scalable enough to become truly profitable?
1. Bill Gates, Co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of Microsoft:
"Sales needs to quickly find out whether the company has the inventory or can get it quickly before promising delivery on a big order. Manufacturing needs to know what product is selling like gangbusters so that it can shift production priorities. Business mangers throughout the company need to know about both and a whole lot more."
Does your sales team know what you can and can't deliver? Does each member of your team have realistic expectations regarding their sales potential within your organization? Do they know how high they could really be setting their sights?