By David Holland

July 6, 2016


      How To Grow Your Sales By Eating Dog Food…

      Within most startups will usually come a time when they should begin to think about hiring their first sales reps. But if you want to succeed as a startup, selling cannot just be a part time role. Growth requires someone to focus on sales 100% of the time. But do your sales people or even yourself have a sound sales strategy. Sound sales strategies do require methodical time as well as trial and error to streamline, but so many people forget the MOST important aspect of what they’re selling. Every startup needs to take the time to chow down and use their own product.

      So what does eating your own dog food mean?

      For those of you who are aware of this term, let me outline what dogfooding isn’t.

      • Running test cases and product trials is not dogfooding.
      • Demonstrating mock-ups to users and collating feedback is not dogfooding.
      • Brainstorming and spider diagrams of your workflow is not dogfooding.

      Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all important tasks that you shouldn’t forget to undertake but this isn’t the same as using your product like the real end user.

      But is it possible to eat your own dog food if you can’t use your product daily? Yes.

      Spend full days with your customers, and disconnect yourself from your business.

      A lot of businesses grow their ideas for products or services organically. The products and services are intended for a specific audience, but how can you know they’re making the right impact if you haven’t spent time testing them with your audience. Talk to your customers, spend days with them in their environment and watch their every move. Ask them to communicate their every thought and you will soon pick up on the smaller details you wouldn’t often receive in a feedback form.

      when eating your own dog food you must disconnect your mind from your business. Break the emotional attachment to the product you’ve created and think – “is this 100% perfect for my requirement?”.

      Does your product solve a problem?

      Your fantastic idea for a product is complete and it solves your problem for how you wish to use it. But will your end customer be able to use it? And how many of these customers are there? Make sure you’re not the only one your product solves a problem for. It’s better to create a product you don’t use personally in a big market vs. creating a product you do use in a very constricted market.

      So what happened when we ate our own dog food?

      We not only ate our dog food, but we continue to eat it every day. We learn a huge deal about what our product does and how it helps our customers. At EXELA we use Infusionsoft in every aspect of our business. It is the very core of our operation and we use it day-in-day-out. And because of this, we believe we can offer an unprecedented level of service and support to our customers, from sales to training so that our customers use infusionsoft to help their small business thrive.

      Eat your dog food in your business and make sure it is both nutritious (adds tangible value) and delicious (provides a great user experience) and you can rest assured your product is in line for success.

      About the author

      Nice bloke with practical ideas. Former Procter & Gamble, Kraft and IBM sales and marketing executive. Became a business owner 20 years ago. Started multiple businesses including EXELA which is the most successful Keap® & Infusionsoft™ reseller in the EMEA region.

      You might also like

      Is Your Business Scalable?

      Use the Scalability Scorecard to Find Out