Author Archive

Customer Interviews: How To Organize Findings

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Audio, skmurphy

I sat down with Bruce La Fetra of La Fetra Consulting for a conversation on customer interviews. We compared notes on qualitative conversations versus quantitative surveys and exchanged tips and tricks. Bruce presented some great insights on how to organize findings and how to take best advantage of insights gleaned from interviews.

What follows is an edited transcript with some hyperlinks for clarity.

Preventing & Managing Challenging Customer Situations

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Consulting Business, skmurphy

Here are my notes from tonight’s Professional and Technical Consultants Association (PATCA) meeting on “Handling Difficult Client Scenarios in an Agile and Effective Manner.” It was a candid discussion among primarily experienced consultants about real situations that were challenging–and frequently painful. Several good suggestions for preventing and managing challenging customer situations:

Managing Sales People

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Sales, skmurphy

Q: I work at a SaaS company in the services team, we often  team often finds that customers mistakenly believe that:

  1. Certain features are included in the product package they bought.
  2. Certain services projects are included in the services package they bought.

What are some ways to prevent this from happening?

Managing sales people is straightforward: you get what you reward.

Crafting a Value Proposition

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, Rules of Thumb, Sales

Q: I struggle with the value proposition for our product. Either I am too abstract “we offer a positive return on time invested” or too vague “help increase your ability to manage critical challenges.” Do you have any suggestions for how to frame or formulate a value proposition?

Here a few questions that a value proposition normally addresses

Joseph A Murphy 1925-2007, 7 Years On

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Further Reflections on My Father

Joseph A Murphy Nov 1 1925 Oct 23 2007Some further reflections on my relationship with my father seven years after his death.

“I understood that the man I was calling for could never ever come back.
Because I understood that the man that I was calling for was dead.”
Anne Lamott in “Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith”

I figured he had lived through so many things that as long as he stayed indoors and avoided getting hit by lightning he would come to my funeral in a decade or two. At the time I told close friends that it hadn’t really sunk in yet. I would normally talk to him once a week for an hour or so. Now I mainly talk to him in the shower when he chews me out from time to time for a recent stupidity. He asks me what I am going to do to fix or improve a situation and my most common answer is “I don’t know.”

Robert Anderson observed, “Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some resolution which it may never find.” That’s certainly true in my experience. My father’s advice was especially on point in difficult situations, he could cut to the heart of issues and understood how to calculate downside risk and determine possible courses of action that would minimize the potential damage or worst case scenario. As I work with other attorneys I see this as a not uncommon strength of the profession. It’s certainly a perspective I fit naturally into.

Do I Need To Be A Supplicant In a Sales Call?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Demos, Sales, skmurphy

Q: In your blog post “Four Presentation Traps to Avoid” (which drew on Mike Monteiro’s “13 Ways Designers Screw Up a Client Presentation” which I found overall to be very valuable) you highlighted his item 4  “Not setting the stage properly” which ends with “Start the meeting by thanking them for their time.”

I feel this puts you below the prospect or customer as a supplicant. Your time is just as valuable. It’s a minor thing but I suggest “I’m glad we could all find the time to meet today.” or something that puts you at least level with who you are presenting to in terms of the value of your time.

Entrepreneurial Passion: Good Servant, Poor Master

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

Entrepreneurial passion has to be based on a desire to create value, to be of service to a set of target customers. There may be many things you are interested in learning and room enough in your life for several hobbies, but pursuing a passion without regard to your ability to provide value in a way that is competitively differentiated is to pursue a hobby.

David Morse: Tips To Add Graphics and Video To A Blog

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy, Thought Leadership

David Morse left a detailed comment today on my Sep-26-2014 blog post “Lessons Learned Blogging 1400 Posts in 8 Years” that I thought I would promote to a guest post that offers some practical tips about how to add graphics and video to a blog. Here is his bio on B2BSalesVP:

David Morse helps startup founders and sales teams achieve revenue nirvana. He is President of consulting firm B2BSalesVP and CEO of SaaS company Kindoo which is like a private YouTube for sales teams and sales training and development.

Entrepreneurs Focus On Customers Not Startup Mechanics

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy, Startups

Excerpts from Paul Grahams’ October 2014 essay “Before the Startup” with commentary interspersed. This essay is in some ways less self-confident than many of his earlier ones. He seems to recognize more explicitly the limits of his ability to offer advice that entrepreneurs in the Y Combinator portfolio–or entrepreneurs applying to Y Combinator–will actually follow. The primary point he hammers home is the need to focus on customers and to realize that a startup a significant multi-year commitment.

Quotes For Entrepreneurs–September 2014

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

You can follow @skmurphy to get these quotes for entrepreneurs hot off the mojo wire or wait until they are collected in a blog post at the end of each month. Enter your E-mail address if you would like have new blog posts sent to you.

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“A holiday gives one chance to look backward and forward, to reset oneself by an inner compass.”
May Sarton

Uses as opening quote in “Labor Day 2014: Knowledge Work Productivity.

Bill Meade: Customer Development and Schmexperts

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Bill Meade (@BillMeade) is the Director of Data Science at Neal Analytics, a position he describes as, “Catalyst to a herd of genius cats, riding a machine learning cloud, into a business world about to discover analytical dreams can come true … easily. ” Bill has long experience with innovation, IP management, and customer  development. He has contributed this guest post on schmexperts and welcomes other questions on customer development as topics for future posts: please feel free to leave your thoughts, experiences, and questions in the comments. Bill blogs regularly at RestartGTD, a blog devoted to practical understanding and implementations of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” and also welcomes questions on “Getting Things Done.”

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