We Need a Black Friday for Enterprise Technology

This post was first published by VentureBeat.com on December 14, 2013. See the original article here.

The holiday season is here.  It’s a time for reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next.  It’s time to reacquaint yourself with old friends, good tidings and re-gifted presents.  Time to chillax, right?

Not if you’re in enterprise technology, unfortunately.  For those of you that don’t work in it (and count yourself lucky), nearly every tech company has a furious “race to the finish” of sales at the end of the calendar year.  For many companies, this is their fourth quarter or “Q4” crunch.

I was reminded that some can blissfully enjoy the yuletide with no worries when I told a friend who owns a wine business that I was “swamped with quarter-end” and he said “what’s a quarter?” My reaction: Loser! (Okay, I’m kidding.)  His “crunch” literally involves crushing grapes and drinking fine wine all day.

So for most enterprise tech employees, particularly in customer-facing functions, December doesn’t contain any silent nights.  In fact, if it’s calm and bright, you’re probably in the wrong business.

Some companies, like Salesforce.com, try to solve this accident of the calendar, where the joyous times overlap with the grind time, by pushing the end of their fiscal year to be “off cycle” (e.g., ending their year on January 31st).  While this helps and is a good idea, many customers still budget annually and are trained that they can usually get a sales rep at his or her most vulnerable point on New Year’s Eve.

After hearing ad after ad for early holiday shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, I realized the obvious: We need a Black Friday for enterprise technology.

Retailers created Black Friday to help “pull in” demand earlier in the holiday season.  They had the same problem we do, where so much holiday shopping happened right before Christmas.  So Black Friday turned into one of the greatest supply and demand balancers ever.  In 2001, it became the biggest shopping day of the year.

Imagine the possibilities for an Enterprise Black Friday:

  1. Door Busters.  Buy SAP before 6 AM and get a BMW thrown in.
  2. Sell Outs.  Buy it fast: ServiceNow could become the Tickle Me Elmo of this enterprise holiday season.
  3. Fist Fights.  Okay, maybe customers aren’t likely to fight over buying accounting software.  But maybe the sales reps can duke it out to see who wins the deal?
  4. Free Shipping.  Amazon clearly has a play here.  Database software delivered to your door by drone?
  5. Cyber Monday.  Or you can just spend all Monday at work pretending to shop online for holiday presents while you scope out your next CRM purchase.

It’s Enterprise Black Friday, everyone!  We we we so excited!


Nick Mehta

As a huge sports fan, Nick thinks of his job as being like that of a head coach. His role is to help bring the right people together on the team and put them in the best position to win for our customers, partners, employees and their families. He’s a big believer in the Golden Rule and we try to apply it as much as we can to bring more compassion to our interactions with others. And he talks way too fast and overuses the word awesome like it’s going out of style. Before coming to Gainsight, Nick was the CEO of awesome leading Software-as-a-Service E-Discovery provider LiveOffice through its acquisition by Symantec and prior to that was a Vice President at VERITAS Software and Symantec Corporation.