If we haven’t met, perhaps I should introduce myself.
I’m Steve Tennant, Managing Director of Tennant Consulting, a management consulting firm located in San Francisco. We offer an unusual set of strategic marketing services to help grow business-to-business (B2B) startups and technology companies. Most clients are located in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. We work remotely with clients in other parts of the US, and with their teams globally.
My passion is working with leaders to bring new solutions and customer experiences to market — and make the planet a little better. In 2019, Tennant Consulting celebrates eighteen years of joint success with our clients. I’m proud of the trust, great relationships and accomplishments we’ve delivered together.
Since its founding in 2001, Tennant Consulting has always focused on Internet, SaaS, Cloud and high-tech startups. We have:
- Worked with over 25 software and high-tech companies, including enterprise software, SaaS, storage, networking, and security solutions.
- Developed strategic initiatives to improve the customer experience and grow recurring revenue streams through services and customer success at Cisco and Microsoft.
- Driven clients’ strategy, marketing, product management, services, support, customer success and alliance operations, avoiding common pitfalls and delivering top-line results.
- Experience working in and selling into industries, including: financial services, capital markets, retail, government, high tech, manufacturing and utilities industries.
- Taught educational sessions at UC Berkeley, Stanford, Technology Ventures and SVForum.
- Conducted win/loss and competitive intelligence projects and shaped companies’ strategies, positioning and messaging.
- Taken companies and business units in completely new strategic directions.
I have spent my career understanding how to develop, market, sell, service and support technology solutions that help my clients address their customers’ most pressing business challenges. While I don’t yet know your situation, chances are, I’ve seen something close to it.
How We Are Different
We view your business holistically. While there are many consultants who are specialists for a particular function — a sales guru, branding expert, demand generation whiz who know their domain — we look at your whole business. We start with a clear identification of your target customer and the problem or challenge they have. We talk to them about how they want to buy. We assess how all your functions — sales, marketing, engineering, services, customer success, technical support — align to address the customer’s problem. This means when we’re interviewing a customer about their buying process, we’re thinking about your market segmentation, sales process, positioning, competition, market sizing, product, services, customer experience, technical support, partnerships, and more. We can see what changes are needed across functions to deliver business outcomes to customers, and what’s required to get everyone in alignment.
Our strategies are concrete. We go to your workplace, or ideally your customers’ sites, to get first-hand understanding of how people are working, their needs and existing solutions. We grab a shovel, or put the headset on, or do whatever the people who are “doing the work” are doing. We see too many companies (and consultants) drawing conclusions and developing strategies without talking to employees and customers. With us, you get strategies grounded in reality, where the rubber meets the road.
We only take projects with a likely positive ROI for clients. We set the bar unusually high and turn away more projects than we accept. I have learned A LOT working with other consulting firms, and have my own philosophy about how consultants should operate to create value. The first 11 years of my career was at Andersen Consulting (now named “Accenture”). After that, at PeopleSoft, I worked to grow the top systems integration firms’ PeopleSoft practices for six years — firms like Accenture, PWC, Deloitte, IBM, KPMG, EDS, and E&Y. I spent the next four years creating alliances with a dozen consulting firms and software companies at two startups. Along the way, I have observed good and bad consulting business models. I picked up a few consulting skills, frameworks and techniques. I use these to assess a new client situation, clarify the problem and success criteria, define win-win agreements, structure clear deliverables, estimate work plans, identify and mitigate project risks. We jointly make sure there’s a likely return on investment for you before we start. All these increase the likelihood of client success, and reduce risks compared to “consultants between jobs” or those without consulting firm training and experience.
We have managed enterprise IT projects. I’ve built large manufacturing systems at Ford, government financial accounting systems in California and Puerto Rico, utility billing systems for Detroit Edison, and banking, mortgage loan and mutual fund systems at five large financial institutions. I’ve managed teams of programmers and analysts in a variety of IT environments, including multi-million dollar projects. Many clients tell me few strategy and marketing consultants they’ve worked with that understand IT functions and large scale systems development, let alone program management experience to orchestrate the activities of a project team.
We are trained in a unique collaborative methodology that increases project success rates. Unlike large consulting firms, several of whom tend to “steamroll” client staff, this collaborative methodology increases a team’s ownership and alignment for a solution and approach to implement it. We are the only technology industry consultants in Silicon Valley with this methodology. After using it, clients have said things like, “We’re finally talking about the things we need to talk about around here to move forward” and “How did you do that — can I learn how to do that?”
You benefit from my being an entrepreneur. What I learn first-hand about being an entrepreneur also benefits my clients. I know what it’s like growing revenues, delivering to clients, innovating, managing costs, and developing great client relationships. As I run my business, I also manage marketing, conduct events, design new services, make sales calls, implementing software solutions, maintain a presence on social media (OK, I’m being generous here), gaining first-hand experience that benefits my clients. You will not find this experience or knowledge among the consultants from large consulting firms.
We can help you manage hyper-growth. If your company is growing fast, knowing how to manage hyper-growth matters. When I was at PeopleSoft (now part of Oracle), going to work each day literally felt like riding on a rocket ship. I was personally responsible for growing the alliance portfolio from 100 to 300 companies and $500M to $4B in revenues, and managing a team of 25 alliance managers. Before that, I created a new product strategy team of eight product managers, who grew a product line from $7M to over $100M in revenues in 3 years. We were responsible for the sales tools and collateral, demos and competitive positioning. During this time, PeopleSoft was one of the fastest growing companies ever, growing at 80-100% per year for four consecutive years. You operate at a different pace, and focus on different things in warp speed. You can bring this mindset to your situation.
We’re interested in delivering exceptional value to you, not in keeping lots of new employees busy or playing the labor rate arbitrage game. My vision for Tennant Consulting is to be a premier tech industry consulting firm based on the Hollywood model. In Hollywood, people come together to work on a movie, and when the movie is over, they disband and go on to the next project. My goal is to deliver tremendous value to my clients compared to the fees they pay me – which has them coming back for more. This means we do not have a huge staff to keep busy. Nor do we have high fixed expenses. Projects must deliver value to clients for this model to work. Having done this since 2001, you be the judge as to whether it is working.
You benefit from a pretty darn good network. When your project needs more assistance than I can provide, I collaborate with a network of experts, across a variety of disciplines. That means my clients get the expertise they need, without hiring full-time employees or paying for a larger consulting firm’s swanky Class A offices and overhead. Sometimes, folks in my network bring me in to solve client problems, sometimes I bring them in. To help my clients even more, I founded the 5,800+ member PeopleSoft Alumni Network, a corporate alumni association of former PeopleSoft employees, who now work at a variety of software and tech companies across the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. My software and technology industry clients benefit from the alumni network for quick advice, additional consultants, and to augment recruiting efforts when they need more help.
Continue the tour by learning about the clients we serve.