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December 14, 2005
The other day HelpSpot passed $10,000 in sales so it seems like a good time to catch everyone up one how things are going. While I won't be regularly sharing sales data I've been pretty happy with my success so far and I think it may be good inspiration for aspiring ISV's.
It's been a pretty amazing start especially considering the $10,000 number includes beta users who purchased at a 50% discount. It also included a 30 day period with basically no sales. This was expected because free trials only started when I launched the product on October 24th. Hence, there was a big space between the beta group purchases right at launch and the first trial user purchases usually 30 days or so after signing up for the trial.
Overall I'm on pace with my "optimistic" estimates (as opposed to my worst case ones). Actually a bit ahead of my estimates since it's only about 50 days in. Best of all I've spent no money on advertising, it's all organic search engine traffic and word of mouth. I think this method has actually produced the "right" kind of 1.0 customers. For the most part all of my customers have been great about providing feedback and working through 1.0 type issues. I'm very much in the JOS camp of not trying to grow too much in the early stages because your product needs time to mature. Between the first release and the upcoming one the product is already way better than when I released it.
I continue to have strong sales overseas. More than half my customers are outside the US with a big chunk of that being the UK where the last several large sales have come from.
I've learned a bunch about making sure the security settings on your credit card gateway aren't too high, especially the address matching stuff. I've also done several PO's already so I can confirm that you need to handle these from the start if you're selling B2B. I only mention it because I see that question come up all the time.
Finally, trial downloads are really strong and I expect sales to stay strong. Just today 6 companies downloaded the trial and it's like that most days. It doesn't sound like alot but when you sell software which retails for $180/user and almost all installations are multi-user then 6 solid companies is a nice number :-)