Expert Interview with Steve Benson, CEO of Badger Maps

expert interview series, steve benson CEO Badger

The Badger Map is focused on one particular type of salesperson – the Field Sales Rep. A Field Sales Rep goes out and does business by meeting with customers and prospects face to face. The Founder and CEO of Badger MapsSteve Benson believes that this particular type of salesperson has been overlooked by other sales solutions in the marketplace. This is because there are fewer of them than other types of sales reps, so general solutions tend to focus on what is most common.

After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steve worked in Sales at IBM, HP and Google where he was in the Enterprise Sales Group. He was Google Enterprise’s Top Sales Executive for the year 2009. In 2012, Steve founded Badger Maps, the present #1 Sales App in the Apple App Store, which helps Field Salespeople be more successful.

Badger provides Automatic Territory Management for Field Sales Reps by helping them take action quickly on their customer data on a Map, so that they can focus on the best sales opportunities. Reps use it to automatically optimize schedules and routes to cover more meetings and sales.

Let us glance through the remarkable journey on how Badger stamped their badge of Success in this edition of ‘Expert Interview with Steve Benson.’

1)What according to you are the four pillars on which Badger stands upon?

    1. Focus on our Users
    2. Write Great Code
    3. Hire Great People
    4. Be Rested Racehorses

2) How did you hit upon the idea for Badger?

My career has been spent in field sales, and so I understood the challenges faced by field salespeople first hand. When I was working on the Google Maps team, I got to know first hand how powerful mobile mapping was, and what mobile was capable of doing. Because of this background, I was well positioned to launch a company to solve the problems of field sales based on a mobile mapping platform.

3) Who do you consider your biggest Competitor and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

Our biggest competitor is our user doing what we do by hand. We are creating a new category, a mobile solution for Field Sales Representatives to be more successful. Field Sales Reps, also known as Outside Sales Reps (and a half dozen other names that basically mean they go to meet with their customers and prospects face to face), are special because they are always on the move. They, more than anybody need their solutions to be built to work great on their mobile device. As a result, Badger has always prioritized how we can help reps not only when they are at their desk on their computer, but when they are in the field on their iPhones, Androids, and tablets. This is in contrast to most sales apps and software, where the mobile experience has been an afterthought.

4) How has Sales evolved since you first got into the business? What hasn’t changed?

Sales has evolved for us as we have matured because we have built a lot of supporting material to help people learn about Badger and how it will help them be better field sales people. Also, as we have become better known, we don’t have to work as hard reaching out to people to let them know we exist. A lot of field sales reps have heard of us before, and come to us because they have heard about how we helped a colleague or friend in outside sales.

What hasn’t changed is that we spend a ton of time listening to our customers and asking them what we could add to our solution to help them even more.

5) How do you balance the emphasis on Activity vs End Goals?

You have to make sure that the Activity, especially the tactical activities that you are spending your time on, will help you achieve the end goals you are trying to achieve.

6) Would you rather be respected or feared?

I would rather be respected. Managing with fear is for leaders who aren’t good enough to gain respect, and it’s usually a short-term strategy.

7) Think of something you’ve done in the past; what would you have done differently?

When I first started Badger, I didn’t truly understand what type of investor is interested in what type of company and what stage (how far along you have to be). I didn’t understand the relationship between different sizes of VC funds or what their economic drivers were. Today, I wouldn’t waste that much time talking with VC’s who aren’t the right fit for our company.

8) How do you approach a decision where people disagree with you?

If people I respect disagree with me, I slow down and try to understand and empathize with their position or opinion. I don’t pretend to know everything, and I’m wrong as often as I’m right in terms of my initial opinion. If someone disagrees, it’s a great opportunity to reevaluate and make sure I’m not wrong. And if I do believe I’m right, I’m still in a better position because I better understand where the other point of view (that I may be trying to overcome) is coming from.

9) What do you expect to see over the next 5 to 10 years in the Industry?

I believe that in SaaS, the next 10 years will change how businesses and consumers operate. I expect modern mobile cloud-based computing to do nothing less than changing the world.

10) What are your experiences with highs and lows at Badger?

I try to actively avoid highs or lows. Starting a Company is really hard, but to be good at it, nothing is more important than emotional stability.

11) Lately, more and more Professionals are leaving their cushy and well-paid jobs to follow their passion. What’s your take on this?

This is what I did! Risk adjusted, they will make more money in a cushy, well-paid job. And anyone who thinks otherwise probably isn’t a fit to build something from the ground up.

Lastly, We would be glad to have your valuable suggestion for the new age Entrepreneurs coming up in the Industry today.

I founded and am CEO of a mid-sized Software Company, and for anyone who wants to start a Software Startup, my best advice is to solve a ‘problem’ that people are willing to pay to solve. Charge your very first customers to make sure they are willing to pay. Even if it’s still a piece of junk, don’t give your piece of junk away for free, or else you won’t learn if it’s a problem worth paying to solve. A good line to use when your prospective customers push back on paying is, “I’d love to get you on-board here, and as an early adopter, you’re paying 1/10th of what people are going to be paying in a year, because we’re going to be doing so much more so much better. And your price will be locked in now. Also, you get to have a hand in shaping the direction of the product to solve your problems first.” This makes your prospects feel a lot more reasonable to buy your product.   

abhishek@softwaresuggest.com'

Abhishek Dorik

Abhishek Dorik, a Digital Marketing Executive at SoftwareSuggest, shares a keen interest in exploring literally anything that catches his attention. The best part of his job according to him "I get to Interview the CEOs/Founders & Leaders of the SaaS Industry and reach out to elite business personalities, which excites me to learn more, Every Day!"