You need only one good reason to change your business strategy

A big change in business strategy simply needs to never lose sight of just this one thing.

Going through a big change in your business?

We just did at Know Your Company. And what I witnessed is that, as we worked through the change, the reasons to put the brakes on and turn back began to pile up. In fact, it eventually felt as if the scale had tipped against the change.

But we never lost sight of the one good reason we started down this path. And I think this was key to seeing our big change succeed.

After two years of selling Know Your Company via sales demos, it was time to fuel the fire and grow the business. So we decided we were going to offer self-signup and a free trial in place of demos.

We discussed a few reasons to completely change how we sold the product, but above all, we simply believed more people would try and buy the product if they could experience it for free.

Work started in January, and we soon faced challenges greater than in any previous project. And each time a new challenge arose, I felt the scale tip more and more in the direction of scrapping the whole thing.

We needed to revamp our web site to explain how our product works. After weeks of writing, design, and iterations, something didn’t feel right. Know Your Company is as much a methodology as it is a tool, and I wondered if text, screenshots, and video weren’t fit to describe our methodology. Maybe only a personal demo could tell our story well.

Maybe self-signup wasn’t right for us?

We needed to come up with a free trial offering, something we’d never done before. The core question was, how long should the trial last? Right away we experimented by offering a 60-day free trial during sales demos. But results were mixed, and by the time we launched self-signup I was beginning to wonder whether a free trial could actually hurt sales.

Another point against self-signup.

We needed to design and build the onboarding screens for customers to set up their new account. The crux of the design was establishing enough trust with someone that they felt comfortable rolling out our software company-wide. After all, you can’t get to know your company if you don’t include your employees!

Up to this point, we had talked one-on-one with all of our customers during sales demos, so trust was not an issue. A series of web pages with forms and text boxes, on the other hand, looked relatively impersonal. If we couldn’t convince customers to add their employees, we risked a poor experience with our product that’d hurt sales.

The scale was tipping. Self-signup wasn’t looking as hot anymore.

Maybe our product was best sold personally, through one-on-one demos.

Maybe we should scrap self-signup.

But we never seriously entertained this option. Why? Because we felt, even in light of the potential problems, that more people would give Know Your Company a shot if they could try it for free.

That was our one good reason to stay the course.

We launched self-signup in April. Then in June, we had our best month of sales ever. July was solid, and August is shaping up to be a great month too.

Our big change has been a success so far, and things are looking up!

Kudos to Claire, our CEO, for never losing sight of our one good reason.

Of course, we didn’t ignore the issues we encountered while building self-signup. We worked through them. Curious to see how? Give Know Your Company a spin with your business — it’s free to try!