Company Updates

A Mindset Shift: From Selling to Supporting

Natalie McCullough2020-04-07 | 4 min read

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Six months ago, I joined Domino Data Lab as President and Chief Operating Officer. I came to the company to help scale our Go-To-Market functions and lead our business through its next stage of growth, and I was excited by the opportunity to help a young company reach its potential. Our vision at Domino is to be the de facto system of record for data science. Much like is to sales, or GitHub is to engineering, we occupy a solution space that is critical to high-functioning data science teams. And we have a unique point of view about how to enable data scientists as individuals to be more productive, how to support teams of data scientists to collaborate efficiently, and how to support the governance of data science as a function to meet important requirements around explainability, reproducibility, and controls. It’s an exciting vision that we’re seeing take shape with some of our largest customers.

With this ambitious vision, we have had our collective feet “on the gas” of our business for some time, pushing ourselves to achieve more than we thought possible, aggressively growing market share, and setting stretch targets for ourselves in every department. However, given what is happening in the world today surrounding the novel coronavirus, we have been asking ourselves if we need to shift our approach. Domino can be a conduit to accelerate research that helps organizations develop medicine, optimize manufacturing operations and supply chain distributions, identify cost savings opportunities, deliver customer retention programs, and more. Times are really tough right now, and we want to do everything we can to help our customers be successful. We don’t want our own aggressive sales targets to distract from the potential impact our platform can have.

Two weeks ago, we made an important decision in our go-to-market organization that we would shift our approach from “sales” to “support”. Our best sales people would say that they have always taken a supportive approach to customers and they would be right. But, I was interested in what would happen if we formalized a “support first” strategy across our organization.

What decisions might we make differently?

What ideas would it generate if we adopted a mindset that our mission was to support our customers as they adapted to this new reality?

If I started our weekly pipeline call not by asking for a forecast number, but rather by asking where our customers and prospective customers needed our help and what we were doing to support them?

There will always be room for improvement, but I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far:

  • Sales and Customer Success teams are partnering more closely than ever before to understand customer needs and devise creative solutions to meet them.
  • Executives and employees across the company are leaning in with creative ideas to help customers. We have quite a few data scientists in the organization and they are eager to see data science put to work to help address the crisis.
  • To that end, we have created a public Domino environment for SAR-CoV-2 researchers to collaborate and share their findings. This environment has been pre-seeded with COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins, WHO and the CDC. We’d love you to be part of this community. Read more here and here to learn about the project. And, sign up if you’d like to participate and request access to the organization in the blue dialogue box.
  • Many of our customers are involved in the fight against COVID-19. And, at many of our customers, data science is a key component in this fight. Our Customer Success team has offered to make connections between our customers so that they can collaborate and learn from each other in this effort.

I am convinced that Domino will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever on so many dimensions. I am proud already of how the team has come together to support each other and our customers. And I believe this “Support First” strategy is one that will be here to stay.

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