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Lessons Learned

                                                           From Starting

                                                           And Selling A $1.1

                                                           Billion Company

                                                           by Brian K. Wright

        I had the honor of interviewing Alec Stern, who is one of the founders of Constant Contact. He was with the
        company for 18 years from startup to IPO to a $1.1 billion acquisition. We discussed a lot of topics including
        how Constant Contact got started, creating a world-class customer service reputation, deciding what metrics
        to track, and much more.

        Brian:  Thank you  for  being  here,  Once I had some success with it,  Alec:  It  does.  When  we  think
        Alec. Tell us a little bit about your  I never left.                      about  customer  success—and  I
        back-story.                                                               like  to  say  surprise  or  wow  your
                                             When  it  was  time  for  Constant  customers—we’re  all  customers
        Alec:  My         family       was  Contact,  I  met  my  co-founder  every day. We have an experience
        entrepreneurial. My dad had some  through a mutual friend who was  every  single  day with whatever
        success in business, and my mom  also an entrepreneur, who said, “I  we’re  doing.  Our  expectations
        had  her  own  small  business.  If  know  someone  who’s  technical,  are pretty high, and we’re looking
        there were things that we wanted,  has  an  idea,  and  you’re  really  for someone to meet those and
        oftentimes  we  had  to  make  the  good on the go-to market on the  potentially  exceed  them  every
        money ourselves and get them.        business  side  of  things.”  And  we  time.  If  they  don’t,  then  we  may
                                             both were passionate about small  not  go  back  to  them,  or we  may
        One piece of advice my dad gave  business, so he connected us.            want  to  give  a  negative  review
        me  was, “If  you  want to really                                         about the experience or talk to a
        understand the customer to  Then we really hit it off, and were  manager.
        develop  marketing  programs  for  aligned  with  wanting  to  be  on
        them,  you’ve  got  to  get  close  to  the  front  end  of  helping  small  It’s  important  to  think  about
        them.  And  the  best  way  to  get  businesses  from  the  marketing  what can you do in your business
        close to them is to start in sales.”  perspective.  We  wanted  to  help  that  would  surprise  and  delight
                                             grow the business, as opposed to  them, and do something that they
        I took that advice, went into sales,  just technology.                    wouldn’t expect. One of the things
        and started in tech for a large                                           we did at Constant Contact, which
        company.  Getting  close  to  the  Brian: Let’s talk about developing  we  didn’t  do  initially,  was  when
        customer, understanding their  a world class customer service  someone would open a free trial,
        needs, learning consultative sales  reputation.  That  comes  with  within  48  hours  they’d  receive  a
        skills, and asking a lot of questions  exceeding their expectations on a  phone call.
        to  solve  their  problems  with  very regular basis, doesn’t it?
        technology  were  important  skills.

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