Creme brûlée can never be Jello

I recently lost a deal where the client told me the reason they went with my competitor was because of something I told him. Obviously my advice must have been misunderstood so I spent a lot of time thinking about how to better make my point in the future.

I had posed this question to my client:“Think about what kind of company you want to be. Do you want to be a “Suite Company” or a “Best in Breed Company?” What is the systems strategy you want to adopt? You don’t have to decide all the pieces now but keep that philosophy in mind as we go through this process and we can guide you in the right direction with our offerings, because NetSuite can accommodate either approach very well, but very differently.”

The CEO had told me they wanted to be a “Suite Company” from day one so our proposal was a comprehensive suite of products from Finance to CRM to Project Management. The CFO later decided he wanted to be a “Best in Breed Company” and chose a point solution before we had a chance to pivot to position our stand-alone financial package options.

I found myself leaving that last call thinking “I could be Jello?!”

I realize many of my male readers that have not been forced to watch the romcomMy Best Friend’s Wedding may not get the reference, but in the movie Julia Roberts tries to explain to Cameron Diaz that men might not want to marry the exquisitely perfect creme brûlée (Diaz) but instead might be more comfortable with the low maintenance Jello (Roberts).  To which Diaz cries “I could be Jello” and Roberts corrects “Creme brûlée can never be jello, you’re never gonna be Jello.”

Was I trying to turn my creme brûlée premium product into Jello to compete with our down market point solution competitor? Spoiler alert- the groom chooses Diaz in the end over Roberts so creme brûlée get’s the happy ending. But in my case I had lost to Jello!

I think it is hard for people to believe that a product and sometimes a person can be multi-dimensional after they have been type-cast or profiled a certain way for so long. NetSuite is a premium product and has a ton of modules to offer, so it’s hard for customers to believe that we can also pivot to service the simpler needs of a core financial tool without all the other bells and whistles as a place to get started. As a stand-alone financials only tool NetSuite actually eclipses every rival in awards, recommendations, parter integrations, and customer base which is sometimes lost in our strategic multi-product marketing campaigns. This is why I built my #squad to exclusively focus on the emerging tech marketplace with a special Starter Kit for early adopters looking to get started on just financials with NetSuite, knowing wherever the business takes them we can support evolving needs in our vast product ecosystem or with a best in breed partner.

Maybe creme brûlée can never be Jello, and maybe NetSuite can never be Jello, and maybe we shouldn’t even try. But maybe instead we can open a bakery together and serve a full menu of options to a widely discerning customer base. What would you order at our bakery?

Kelli Lampkin

Kelli Lampkin is a writer, traveler, comedienne, and entrepreneur.

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