In cybersecurity sales, we are cursed by incredibly talented and visionary founders being held back by an inability to be noticed above the noise of the market.
In this blog, we are going to look at examples of thinking bigger and different.
Being noticed is critical. Do this right and you have a chance to break out. Your blood, sweat, and tears building a great product have a chance of ending up being a commercial success.
Unfortunately, too many GTM leaders don’t want to be a little crazy, be “out there”, tear up the “playbook” and do things very differently.
They believe there is too much at stake to try new ways that are not proven.
But … some have done this. Some have chosen the road less traveled. Some stand out as DIFFERENT.
Here is some inspiration.
Anyone who watched them 8 years ago would see they were a little different. They used bright purples, blues, and reds on their website. Oh, and dogs.
Clearly, they had a CEO and CMO who wanted to stand out.
My guest on the Sales Bluebird podcast, Andy Raskin, the OG of Strategic Narrative, worked with them on their positioning. and the words with which they surrounded their go-to-market activities.
Instead of leading with phrases like “We analyze sales conversations” or “Leading AI Conversation Analysis Product” they instead went with something more memorable...
Boom!! Different. Memorable.
For that stage of their journey, it was perfect and STOOD OUT.
Market like Refine Labs
In the summer of 2020, Chris Walker started Refine Labs. He believed that some of the practices around pipeline generation in B2B tech companies were at least stale and, for many, not working.
Did others agree with him? Well, just 2 years later he has 120+ employees and a multi 8 figure business.
All without “traditional” marketing.
Most of their business comes from Chris speaking on podcasts (including his own) and various speaking gigs. When Chris speaks, people listen.
He is direct, hard-hitting, and passionate.
What’s interesting is he spends less than 5% of the time talking about Refine Labs. Instead, he evangelizes the problem(s) his target audience has and talks about the category he is advocating for, Demand Creation (not Demand Generation or Demand Capture).
He pulls no punches on how screwed up the old way of doing attribution and b2b marketing is - and when you hear him it's hard to argue with his logic.
Customers pay Refine Labs upwards of $30k per month to get similar results and they have over 50 customers. It’s working!
Create your own category
Christopher Lochhead is a multi-time startup and public company tech CMO. He is also one of the leading voices for category design having done it himself as a CMO and worked with many companies as a consultant.
He, himself, is not for everyone.
He is direct, passionate, swears a lot, and ridicules people and companies who follow the status quo and are boring. You either love him or hate him. He is polarizing, but he is memorable.
He advocates that companies that are the Category King will capture 72% of the economic value of the category. You can’t just be a better player in an existing category. You need to “Frame, Name and Claim” your own category.
To quote and paraphrase from Snow Leopard, a book he co-wrote and recently published.
“Most people in every industry spend their entire lives trying to be the best “regular leopard” they can be. They believe their goal is to be the fastest, the smartest, or the most cunning one in the pack. But no matter how fast, savvy, or smart they become, they’re still just a regular leopard - one of many.
They’re stuck playing the “better” game, and the value of their existence sits in the context of their competition. The secret to becoming a legendary creator, entrepreneur, or builder in the world is that your goal is not to play the “better” game and strive to be a newer, faster, smarter version of what everyone else is (a leopard).
Your goal is to be a DIFFERENT type of creator altogether. Your goal is to be a snow leopard. And to dominate your category of one.”
Early in my career, I was invited to participate in the Sales Advisory Board (SAB) of the public company where I was a seller. Basically, we got to tell the C-Suite of the company what they were doing wrong. (yikes!)
The CMO at the time was Zach Nelson who launched a controversial advertising campaign that was aired on TV.
As an example, one advert was a rip off the Sharon Stone leg crossing scene in Basic Instinct. The model said to the camera “While you are watching me, who is watching your network?”
During the SAB Zach was criticized by some employees for being too edgy (i.e. offensive!). His response…“I get it, I do. But my budget is small so I need to do things that get noticed. Like them or hate them, these adverts got attention and traffic. We got noticed!”
A few years later the company started a new business unit called MyCIO.com. As part of the launch, Zach clad the whole of our 11-story HQ building in one big banner. Everyone driving on the 101 in the Bay Area would see it!
Interestingly this was not approved by the City government and was a code violation. Zach knew this but figured it would take them 10+ days to get their shit together and force the company to take it down.
He was right. It was up there for at least 10 days. Everyone noticed it and it made the news.
Be brave and controversial. And ask for forgiveness, not permission!
These are all different ways of looking at go-to-market and positioning of your company and product. Real people following the road less travelled.
I said earlier one of the reasons why people don’t get a little crazy and try new things is they believe there is too much at stake to try new ways they are not sure will work.
I believe there is too much at stake not to.
You might also like this blog: In B2B Sales, keep it simple…pleeeeease!
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