How did we deal with the down market?
After the market slowed down in October 2008, many of our customers decided to reduce their burn-rates and this decision impacted our business. While it was tempting to go out and look for new markets and customers at this time, we decided that it was prudent for us to spend the time with our existing customers even if though they were on a budget freeze. Our premise was that if we stayed with our customers during difficult times, they will come through when the times improve. I had adopted this strategy during the down-times of 2001 and we saw significant growth in our business post 2003 when the market improved. Many of our customers who were hurting in 2001, grew their business with us when the market improved. While some of our customers did not survive the down-turn and the Companies shut-down, the individuals who worked with us moved on to other Companies and were able to take us along.
With this strategy, starting January 2009, Hari Haran our President and Head of Sales and I have been on the road and we have met more than 200 customers. Most of these meetings were with CEOs and very senior executives. These meetings were setup as relationship meetings and with the difficult market conditions, we were not exploring immediate opportunities for new business and hence these meetings were very open-ended. We discussed with CEOs about their business and sought their guidance on how Persistent can help them when the market improves. Additionally, we asked our customers about their technology road-map and trends that they thought were important.
After having been on the road over the last eight months, I must say that these meetings were the best thing that I have done. The meetings were a tremendous learning opportunity. We were able to observe how CEOs think and get their perspective on how we at Persistent could make a difference.
Over the next few blog entries I will share some of what we learned from these meetings.