Average time for founder from technology background to get comfortable with marketing


BACKGROUND I'm a senior software developer and started my own company last year. Prior to last year, I worked for a couple of years as a software developer on contract for many companies. And around last year, I was getting more work than I could handle, so I started hiring and training new software developers to help me out. Today, my company has 3.5 full time developers including myself.

My business is at the point where I should stop coding and focus only on marketing , sales and finding new opportunities. My team is very capable at development now, so I should just focus on bringing in more work for them.

However, I don't feel comfortable doing marketing and sales because I have absolutely no training in it. IN the past, happy clients I knew referred more clients to me, so things happened organically...all I had to do was lock myself in a room and code. But now I want to push for more sales. The way I'm doing this is I'm networking more. Networking for me is to find really fun business people, graphics designers and software developers to talk to. We discuss all things business and technology to inspire each other to do more cool things. I do this in person and via social media on twitter, linkedin and facebook.

I've been doing this for just 1 month and it yielded one potential client. The majority of my new projects are still coming in via referral from satisfied clients.

I often question whether my approach to this side of business is correct. I don't know how to measure the effectiveness of my approach. With coding, you can measure success with each line of code you write, each module you've researched, and each deadline you meet. But after 1-2 months of attempting marketing, sales, and creating business opportunity, I still haven't settled on a framework to measure its effectiveness and how it compares to other software development agencies.

MY QUESTION How long does it take the average technology person with an entrepreneurial spirit to feel comfortable doing marketing, sales and generating business opportunities?

Marketing Technology

asked Jul 14 '12 at 02:36
170 points
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  • Wish I knew the average time. Then I could make some real money! Here's an pdf about the [importance of marketing](http://theyorkgroup.com/resources/model-co.pdf) to consider. There is a lot of good advice here in this board, but it requires some searching. Start by reviewing questions with the tag [consulting](http://answers.onstartups.com/questions/tagged/consulting) - you'll find some good advice to questions like this [one](http://www.brightjourney.com/q/sales-pipelines-1-b2b-software-development-company). – Jim Galley 12 years ago
  • Key word: Comfortable. I would say . . . . average? . . .. . never. – Joseph Barisonzi 12 years ago
  • The most reasonable way would be to set the goal to actually outsource it, e.g. leave it to another company. Basically, in your case, that would mean to make ultimately fancy website first (it's marketing!) and promote it. It's one of the best methods. This is not too expensive to arrange. You can try some overseas, reputable companies. And some of them can actually support on CRM and Sales. Marketing and Sales is like Development and Design, it's an entire business. – Andrew Smith 12 years ago
  • It depends on the skills you have in addition to coding (e.g. writing) and time you have to invest into marketing activities and learning/reading. I think if you had invested 20 hours a week for 2-3 weeks to learn what you need to do and create an action plan you would start seeing results after 2-3 weeks of acting on your plan. Consider initial learning an upfront investment, but never stop of course. – Webbie 12 years ago

3 Answers


I wish I had someone beat this into me. There are 3 things I would suggest to a startup as soon as you can have a professional build a awesome looking website, have a demo video of your product and spend money marketing. The marketing should be knowledge marketing to get more people to your website to understand how you can solve a problem.

hope this helps.

answered Jul 16 '12 at 11:28
Nish Bhalla
21 points


How long to get comfortable is not a good question. Like your dev projects, when you consistently achieve delivery, and get paid --- that's what marketing should be like as well. And I sense you realise you need to track progress of marketing effort. A good thing.

However, instead of going down the route on how to model what you're going to measure re your marketing effort, I'd say -- assumption here -- you're running a small business. One decent book that you might like is Duct Tape Marketing. Because it's specifically targeted at small-medium business. A bit broader, than deep, which is fine to get a feel of what marketing is about. Most of what he says is spot on -- without the Ph.D analysis -- and can be acted on quickly for SME/SMB.

Digital marketing, on the other hand, is by nature setup to measured. So, no harm trying that from the get go and there's tons of books for this.

Finally, I felt the same about 10 years ago, circa 2002, and that feeling went away after we launched marketing campaigns that worked. Only results matter. So, stick with your gut feel of what's right for your company, but no harm getting a framework in your head as you go-to-market.

All the best.

answered Jul 16 '12 at 15:53
Mike T
36 points


Average time is impossible to predict. It will range from days to never. Sales and marketing is a skill that some people are never comfortable with.

So what to do? In the US there are Small Business Development Centers. They get funding through the federal government and are associated with local colleges and universities.

What is Offered?

  • SBDC services include, but are not limited to, assisting small businesses with financial, marketing, production, organization, engineering and technical problems and feasibility studies
  • All services given at SBDCs are free and confidential.
  • Additional low cost training option are available.
  • Assistance from an SBDC is available to anyone interested in beginning a small business for the first time or improving or expanding an existing small business, who cannot afford the services of a private consultant.
answered Jul 15 '12 at 07:10
Mhoran Psprep
644 points

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