The single biggest lesson learned in 10 years

Matt Williamson, Clevyr

 My two partners—Jason and Tim—and I started Clevyr back in 2009, and we’ve learned a lot since then. In the early days, I would go out and get a contract, we would pay ourselves, I would do all the business analysis, then I would hand that over to partners to develop the software and say, “Good luck.”

Then it was back out to fish for more business. I was fishing every day!

We landed a couple of clients early on that were massive. We should have scaled our business up with them. Instead, we kept things small, and it was way harder on us than it had to be. We were three friends, hanging out, drinking massive amounts of coffee, watching Star Wars movies, staying late and writing code.

I should have done things the right way! Instead, it was five years later when my mentor, Gary Nelson, set me straight.

In 2014 we were having coffee one day and talking about our five year plan. Gary told me, “You’ve got to hire a salesperson. You have no methodologies around sales!”

My immediate response was, “Eww, gross!” I’d never been a big fan of salespeople. I was the developer who, when the sales guy walked in and said, “Here’s what I sold,” I responded with, “No, that’s not what we do!”

But it was! He had gotten the contract, which means the lights stayed on and the people got paid. So that’s what we did! But it took me a long time to understand the importance of that role in Clevyr.

We went through a lot of people before we hired our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mike Slack. But what he did on day one was instill methodologies. That’s when I knew I had hired the right guy for the job. Because sales isn’t gross, and I really should have hired a professional salesperson long before that.

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