Every B2B software company defines a value proposition for its products. But most software companies limit their thinking to incremental improvements on the status quo. Some focus on cost savings through incremental process efficiencies in the operations, supply chain, and service delivery functions. Others target top-line revenue growth through incremental productivity gains in marketing and sales. And others seek to help with risk mitigation through incremental improvements to governance, risk, and compliance programs. But category leaders think differently. They don’t want to incrementally improving the current business processes at their customers. They want to fundamentally reinvent the way the work is done.
They want to disrupt the status quo and define a new frame of reference. To get their potential customers to reimagine the way work is done, they start by defining a bold vision of the future and then charting a plan to change the world.
There are five best practices that category leaders follow:
- Executive Evangelists – A hallmark of most category leaders is a visionary executive who acts as the chief spokesperson for the category by evangelizing the vision. Some author a book while others blog. Almost all going on the speaking circuit encouraging businesses to re-imagine the way they approach their work.
- Industry Experts – In addition to having an evangelist, category leaders stack their leadership teams with experts from the industry. These thought leaders bring instant “street cred” to the company, which is critical to gaining mindshare with the key analysts, customers, and other influencers in the market. They typically have a strong personal brand and a large social media following that helps the company get its story out into the market.
- Publication Library – Category leaders publish detailed “how to” guides instructing companies on how to re-imagine their business processes in a new frame of reference. Most software vendors think of these e-books and white papers as “content” to generate leads, but category leaders view these as blueprints for change. They share them freely because they want as many people as possible to read and adopt their viewpoints.
- World Tour – Category leaders are highly visible at industry tradeshows. Not only do they exhibit and sponsor, but they get evangelists on stage sharing the vision. Some create their own roadshows, hosting small seminars in each major city around the US to gain mindshare.
- Consulting Partner Ecosystem – Category leaders know that their strength is in writing great software, not consulting on process change. To disrupt the status quo, they need help enabling companies to re-imagine their business processes. So they partner with management consulting, systems integrators, marketing agencies, and outsourcing firms that can help big companies with future state design and large transformational projects.
Category Leaders Re-Imagine New Business Processes