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Identifying Customer Pain Through Consulting Services: Tealium Co-Founder & President, Ali Behnam (Part 7)

Posted on Thursday, Apr 17th 2014

Sramana Mitra: What is your pricing model? Is there enough deal size to do field sales?

Ali Behnam: We have deals ranging anywhere from $15,000 all the way up. Average deal size is five figures.

Sramana Mitra: So talk to me about your business model and pricing model a bit.

Ali Behnam: Right now, we’re still selling to a lot of Fortune 2000 companies. These are companies that do a decent amount of business online. Our pricing is based on site traffic. The more traffic the website has, the more they’re paying for a service like this. With us going after the top echelon of customers, you can imagine the deal sizes are typically five digits.

Sramana Mitra: Your competitors are on the same business model?

Ali Behnam: They are for the most part.

Sramana Mitra: So the industry has standardized on that business model – traffic-based business model?

Ali Behnam: Yes. If you look at analytics vendors for example, they’re based on the same business model. It’s based on traffic.

Sramana Mitra: In terms of team, you said the two of you started and then your CEO came in both as an operating executive as well as an investor. Talk to me about how you built out the team. We’re seeing this ultra-lean startup trend. Are you one of these ultra-lean companies?

Ali Behnam: We used to be ultra-lean. Right now, we’ve invested a lot in post sales – account management, support staff, and training personnel. We’ve invested a lot in what we call customer success. We invest a lot in personnel that help with the customers’ success. Being a subscription revenue, customer success is key because the more successful the customer is, the more likely they are to renew with us. That is a critical factor for a company like ours. A lot of the investment has been in that area.

The second area of heavy investment is in the development team. We want to make sure that the product is as easy to use as possible. We’re constantly taking feedback from customers in terms of where they’re struggling or where they might be having some issues. We’re trying to make the product easier to use so that the customers can go in and satisfy their own needs without necessarily having to come to us.

Sramana Mitra: What is the total team size now?

Ali Behnam: It’s a little over 160 employees.

Sramana Mitra: It’s a fairly large team. It’s not an ultra-lean company.

Ali Behnam: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Anything else you want to share in your journey that you think is interesting?

Ali Behnam: I, myself, was a product manager. If you look at Tealium today, we don’t even have a product manager. Our customers are our product managers. We have a product management group because we believe that it doesn’t make sense to constantly try to guess what the customers want. The customer will ultimately tell us what they want. As long as we can build an agile team that can take the customer’s feedback and turn it around quickly, I think that’s a winning formula. A big part of our success has been the fact the we’re constantly listening to customers and we’re incorporating that feedback back into the products.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you so much for your time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Identifying Customer Pain Through Consulting Services: Tealium Co-Founder & President, Ali Behnam
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