Lindsay Smith joins Advice Cloud
We are pleased to welcome our long-standing friend and public sector sales expert Lindsay Smith to our team. Lindsay is joining us as a Strategic Adviser.
Lindsay has a long and fruitful history of helping businesses, particularly SaaS companies, make public sector sales. He has over 25 years of experience engineering strategic growth in software businesses and has some impressive roles in his work history. Two of the most prominent being: Co-founder of EuroCloud and Cloud Industry Forum’s G-Cloud SIG.
In 2016 he published the first version of his book “G-Cloud Success, Analysed; Failure Explained”, which was later revised and updated in 2018. The book is an in-depth scrutiny of G-Cloud on the UK Digital Marketplace, drawing on experience, interviews and data analysis to reveal why 70% of SaaS vendors can’t get this £billion market place to work for them.
As is tradition, we had a chat with Lindsay to find out what his thoughts are on joining our merry bunch.
You worked with us on and off for a while now, Lindsay. What made you tie the knot?
It’s a question of timing, as much as anything. I first started working with Chris when I was running EuroCloud. G-Cloud had just launched and suppliers, no strangers to disruption, were disrupted. Some were making hay, but the majority were bewildered. I’ve been taking software businesses into new markets for most of my career, but it was Chris who provided the key to understand how this market and framework were different. As you know, I then invested a lot of time with all the stakeholders in the marketplace. The goal was more than to just understand the points of contention, which I catalogued in “G-Cloud Success, Analysed; Failure Explained” in 2016.
My objective was to create an efficient, repeatable business process to lift & shift B2B SaaS products to the B2G marketplace. That is now done, proven in practice and Chris and I share the vision of how this approach complements the high value-add services you deliver for your clients at Advice Cloud.
Your experience has been very much focused on SaaS. What’s the rationale behind this?
Hong Kong at the start of the 80’s was a high-octane commercial environment – I was given one of those fail-fast opportunities, introducing PCs to a mission critical role in a key new business area at KPMG. It didn’t fail. That was my first sight of a tech-enabled, disruptive revolution changing the way we do things, (sound familiar?). I think I’d have been nuts to miss the bus. So, software has been my thing for over a quarter of a century.
While I started my career as a generalist, a Chartered Accountant counting international banks, an underground railway and a handful of shipping companies as clients, I came to appreciate the benefits of deep specialism. Software, enterprise software, consumed as SaaS is a deeply nuanced market. I understand the business from the inside and I understand how to make it grow. Now, I respect contemporaries who run data centres, build space-ships or cure diseases – but I just don’t have the skills to fly that plane. I’m at home with SaaS, that’s where I get the greatest buzz, it’s where I can create the greatest value, I’m happy to keep at it.
Is it fair to say you are a bit of a public sector provocateur on Twitter? You’re often holding the government to account on issues such as data accuracy, tell us a bit about this relationship.
The analogy often used to illustrate the differences between private and public sectors is to say the public sector is a ‘foreign country’. They have different culture, customs, motivation and ways of doing things. The same is true in reverse. We in the private sector are foreign from the alternative perspective. I think the area where I am most active is ‘at the border’, where one side is trying to interface with the other. I happen to believe that procurement is the single most effective intervention the state can make to influence industry and as such it is condemned to suffer the law of unintended consequences. If you think you see one of these ‘accidents about to happen’ I think it’s helpful to shout, “look out!”
Working with the public sector I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the brightest and most dedicated people who have won and retain my utmost respect. Fortunately, when I have been wrong, they have had the courtesy to tell me. Hopefully, I’m just returning the compliment.
You’ll be working closely with Advice Cloud clients in this role. How are you planning to add value? What’s your service all about?
Presently the focus is on those SaaS suppliers who are disappointed at the lack of progress when bringing a product that has proved to be successful in the commercial market and getting it to be successful on G-Cloud. There are roughly 500 companies currently on the framework that fit this description, they are all SMEs and mostly UK based.
The service is an efficient, no-frills diagnostic, prescription and, if required, hands-on transformation. We assess all the salient aspects of the present offering and positioning, identify the gaps and show how to fix them. We can design a sales & marketing strategy which the client can elect to execute using their internal resources or engage with Advice Cloud’s experts to bring the project to fruition.
In general, what are your top three supplier tips for making public sector sales?
1. Understand how the procurement process works for the normal case of a prospect who should want to acquire your product, following the guidance.
2. Select your target market segments thoughtfully and actively market using a variety of effective channels.
3. Position your offering so the prospect can recognise it delivers their desired outcome.
4. Be easy to do business with.
Thanks Lindsay and a very big welcome to the team!