Sales in the world of "free"

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently running sales at Angelsoft, which provides deal-flow management software to early stage investment groups like angel groups, venture capitalists, incubators, business plan competitions, etc as well as software and services to the entrepreneurs with which they interface.    The sales team I’m managine is really bright and really enthusiastic, and I’ll be blogging about them a lot as I relate what’s going on at Angelsoft to other stories and ideas.

It certainly very enjoyable being at Angelsoft, since I spent so much time in the entrepreneurial space raising money, building a buisness, etc.  Getting a chance to work with the VC and Angel communities in a new way has been and continues to be very rewarding.  I have also, I hope, brought a great perspective into the team from the entrepreneur side which is great because we are actively expanding our services to entrepreneurs thru OPEN-deals

My bay-area sales rep recently blogged on the profile of an angel investor and I think the post is fantastic in helping to understanding what types of people invest in start-up companies with such high risk.  Selling to these people and their organizations has often been referred to as “herding cats” because you have such a wide variety of personalities and backgrounds so the sales process is very different. 

Also, since our software is free to angels and angel groups, it makes sales that much more of an interesting exercise.  I’ve had to deal with what the sales process looks like when sales people are “selling” a free product, compensation issues around a free product, and motivation behind selling a free product.  How exactly do you match revenue targets around a customer sale that doesn’t directly tie to the revenue received. 

I plan to explore this topic in great detail as I really think that it is something that is very new in Web 2.0.