Customers

How to respond when "between versions"

Richard Rosen Founder of FastCall --​> #1 Phone Sales Productivity app in the Salesforce AppExchange

March 20th, 2013

I'd love input on this issue I am having w a potential client wanting a trial of our app... 

FastCall develops Salesforce-native phone applications (we are a Salesforce ISV). We have a Click-to-Call app - we call "BeLocal" - in production and our largest client uses it everyday..The app uses a local caller ID for outbound sales calls.  BeLocal is a "private listing" in the Salesforce App Exchange.. Works great, but is a bit hard to install.. A great, but clunky V 1.. 

We decided to release a more basic phone in the App Exchange as a free app. We completely re-wrote the updated app. This updated version is live and listed in the App Exchange. Super easy to install (5 mins)... and very lightweight.

Here is my question.. Clients ask for the "BeLocal" version of our app.. We have decided to stop distributing the legacy version, but have not released the BeLocal - "local caller ID" feature in the updated app.

I can try to explain all this to clients... look at how hard it was for me to explain above..

OR - I can just say we do not provide Trials on the "BeLocal" version of our app. They can trial the current released app. Minus the local caller ID feature.

I'd appreciate hearing from fellow founders on ways to handle this... "between versions" problem...

Thanks
Rich Rosen
Founder, FastCall




Derek Dukes Business Development, Startups at Amazon Web Services

March 20th, 2013

Thanks for the updates. 

Basically, if they are a key customer, have them wait 4-6 weeks for the feature, close them on the new app's design, stability etc. Show them a demo of it working, and offer to include them in an alpha as soon as it is ready. It seems like 4-6 weeks isn't a big ask of them, if they really want the product. 

I've gotten very far with some nice slideware and a rough timeline for delivery.

I'd pad the timeline a bit, then deliver early if you can. 

Bill Kelley

March 20th, 2013

In my opinion, you have everything to lose and nothing to gain by sharing pre-release software of any kind.

After a "clunky install" experience, you may not get a second chance.

Bill

Richard Rosen Founder of FastCall --​> #1 Phone Sales Productivity app in the Salesforce AppExchange

March 20th, 2013

- Is there a competitive product in market that you'll be losing business to? Most likely, no.. But I could lose their attention.. - What's the lead time on the new BeLocal implementation in the new product? 4-6 weeks.. - Would a PPT / screencast or other demo of the BeLocal functionality in the new product be enough to close them? Good idea.. Yes.. we do have. - How will you offer the BeLocal up sell, once it is available? We offer these as an "extension package" in Salesforce. Clients install the extension.

Derek Dukes Business Development, Startups at Amazon Web Services

March 20th, 2013

Can you provide some additional detail:
- Is there a competitive product in market that you'll be losing business to?
- What's the lead time on the new BeLocal implementation in the new product?
- Would a PPT / screencast or other demo of the BeLocal functionality in the new product be enough to close them?
- How will you offer the BeLocal up sell, once it is available?

Dustin Dettmer Founder of Dusty Technologies LLC, Currently Accepting New Clients

March 27th, 2013

If they want it why not build it into the new app? Seems silly to stop providing something you have a lot of demand for.

Clynton Caines SharePoint Developer at Discover Technologies

March 24th, 2013

It can seem exciting to get a 'potential customer' - but you should always be skeptical first. Could it be a competitor - or friend to a competitor - or VC of a potential competitor? A great customer will look at your old version, imagine the possibilities and offer to pay you to finish the new release (because they desperately want it). A good customer will be happy to beta test the new version after seeing the old one (and allow themselves to be a reference). A ghost customer is worthless and will cost you in time and money long before you get that next release out.

Good luck!