Entrepreneurial marketing & Sales – Bill Aulet

bill_aulet.jpgDay 13, Wednesday 6th Feb: Bill Aulet is a senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Entrepreneur in Residence at the MIT Entrepreneurship Center. He has 25 years of experience in technology business operations and financing. He started his career at IBM and then ran two private companies, Cambridge Decision Dynamics and SensAble Technologies. Most recently he helped engineer a dramatic turnaround at Viisage Technology as its Chief Financial Officer. He has created hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder value by building focused, fundamentally sound businesses. He has raised $100 million in institutional financing via private placements and public offerings. Mr. Aulet now works with students and start-up companies to build strategies and operating plans that will create sustainable value. He has an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a graduate degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he was a Sloan Fellow. 

Bill’s seminar titled “Entrepreneurial Marketing & Sales”was most definitely my favourite seminar so far as a Global Scholar. His unique combination of commercial “successes” and “failures”, academic excellence, and charisma makes him intriguing to listen to. When Bill started talking about this experiences my brain clicked into auto-pilot as he shared such practical and interesting knowledge with us. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to meet with him in a small seminar. Talks like Bill’s are what make the Kauffman Fellowship so unique – you simply wouldn’t hear it in ANY business school! His presentation was in 2 parts, with the following specific outcomes related to each part:
Part 1
1. Increase understanding of the definition of entrepreneurial marketing
      – How entrepreneurial marketing differs from traditional marketing
      – The different elements of marketing and what is most important to an entrepreneur
2. Increase understanding of the role of entrepreneurial marketing
      – Unique and crucial role
      – How integrates with other functions
3. Increase understanding of how to effectively implement this function in a new enterprise
      – Framework
      – Practical considerations and tradeoffs
Part 2
1. Increase understanding of the different types of customers when starting a business
2. Become comfortable with steps and elements of Entrepreneurial Marketing Implementation Framework
3. Real world case studies – SensAble Technologies & Brontes Technologies

Some of the main points Bill emphasised included the following:
Team goals
– Co-founders MUST be aware of what each member of the team wants out of the project, what their vision is, when/how they want to exit.
– There MUST be synchronicity among the team in this regard to be successful
– Being aware of this makes the journey and decision encountered easier, or at least oriented in a direction.
Market selection – need to be able to do disciplined market selection, and have the ability to deselect markets (in order to focus the business)
– Get extremely efficient at one market
– Don’t sell your soul (diversify unnecessarily) for money, or payroll (easier said than done)
Raison d’Etre
      – Product Innovation
      – Low Price
      – Customer Intimacy
– 3 question to bare in mind when selecting a market
      – What do we want?
      – What are our competitors doing?
      – What do our customers want?
– Get to know and understand the customer intimately – entrepreneurial marketing is a not a spectator sport!
      – What’s their real pain?
      – Is it common among customers?
      – Can I address it effectively in a unique way?
      – Keep asking them questions….
      – Customer does not imply Market!
– Technology push versus market pull
– * Book: Geoffrey A Moore – ‘Inside the Tornado’ (Google books)
– * Book: Richard C. Dorf, Thomas H. Byers – Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise (Google books)
– Categories of technology adopters – same as Melissa Schilling’s description
– Bill discussed how one crosses the charm between some sales to innovators & early adopters to determining the beachhead market.
– A key thing is doing this is
      – (as mentioned above) becoming “intimate” with your initial innovator customers – leverage the first pin/beachead
      – Carrying out a comprehensive and tedious market analysis
– When obtaining first VC funding:
      – Better to obtain too much $ than too little
      – Need to be 100% confident that you can meet objectives within time with available money
      – Get continuous advice from mentors as VC will abuse their dominant position dealing with a novice
      – “The most important thing during funding cycles is that the team doesn’t cut corners on culture
– When crossing the chasm:
      – Revenue may be reasonably high but profit will most likely be non-existent – which will be part of the plan
– Bill’s marketing mantra – “Keep the main thing the main thing”
– Take the business very seriously, but not yourself
– “An entrepreneur is the person who solves the right problem at the right time
– Reoccurring revenue is king
– Innovate on the business model – be disruptive here, not just on technology (e.g. Google)
– Bill advised us to try and maintain the attitude that “I am always open to rational business discussions”

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2 comments so far

  1. Baltic Boston « Musings of a Kauffman Fellow on

    […] week commenced at Harvard and MIT. On Thursday 28th we went to MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center. Bill Aulet who presented to the global scholars in Kansas City during week 3 hosted us at MIT. Bill gave us a […]

  2. Aneyewitness on

    Raison d’Etre
    – Product Innovation
    – Low Price
    – Customer Intimacy
    More info here:
    http://www.capital-management4you.com/strategizing-innovation-management.html


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