Category: Category Leaders

How B2B Software Vendors Create New Categories

Over the past few years I have spent a considerable amount of time studying the best practices of category leaders in the Software-as-a-Service market. I have been particularly focused on market leaders in the business applications space – in categories ranging from accounting and finance to sales and marketing. Examples include Coupa (procurement), Zuora (subscription billing), Anaplan (financial planning), Hubspot…

Zuora Case Study (Part 4) – How Category Leaders Re-Invent the Technology Platform

Zuora doesn’t just solve point problems in the subscription business model, it provides a suite of applications to “launch, monetize, and manage the entire order-to-revenue process on a single platform.”  Much like many other leading SaaS and cloud providers, Zuora is seeking to achieve exponential growth by encouraging a community of third party developers to build on its platform. Zuora…

Zuora Case Study (Part 2) – How Category Leaders Redesign the Org Chart

Zuora encourages subscription businesses to break down the traditional organizational silos that permeate 20th-century product-centric companies. As an alternative, Zuora promotes its PADRE (Pipeline, Acquire, Deploy, Run, Expand) operating model. Instead of marketing and sales, Zuora encourages companies think about pipeline and acquisition. Instead of customer support and operations, Zuora recommends companies think about deployment, running, and expanding customers. Although…

Zuora Case Study (Part 1) – How Category Leaders Get Customers to Re-Imagine their Business Processes

Zuora encourages companies to follow the examples of businesses such as Netflix, Uber, Spotify, and Box and transition from product-driven business model of the 20th century to the new, subscription-centric business models of the 21st century. CEO Tien Tzou describes this new era of companies and business models as “the Subscription Economy.”

Hubspot Case Study – How Category Leaders Get Customers to Re-Imagine their Business Processes

In its original vision, Hubspot wanted companies to reimagine the way they performed marketing. They recognized that buyers were tired of getting interrupted by marketing and harrassed by sales people with tactics such as advertisements, direct mail, email solicitations, and cold calls. Technology had advanced to where customers were able to filter out many of these interruptions with caller ID,…

Glassdoor Case Study – How Category Leaders Help Customers Redefine Success

Historically, most software application vendors shied away from helping their customers define metrics for success. The traditional behind-the-firewall software vendors of the 1980s and 1990s were focused on selling customers on the vision, but had little involvement in helping to implement the vision. Software vendors collected upfront payments from perpetual license fees then moved on to the next account. Achieving…

Gainsight Case Study – How Category Leaders Disrupt the Org Chart

Traditionally, software companies have made relatively little investment in their user communities. Most will offer training programs, but the primary motivation for these offerings is to reduce the number of calls coming into the technical support phone line and website. But category leaders do training because they want to. They view it as strategic. It supports their mission and vision.…

Category Leaders Redefine How their Customers View Success

Category leaders disrupt their target industries by redefining the metrics and KPIs used to benchmark success. The process starts by investing heavily in projects that make early adopters successful. Once the desired outcome has been achieved, category leaders get their early adopter customers to become evangelists for their vision. They invest to get the customers on the public stage to…

Category Leaders Re-Invent the Technology Platform in their Markets

Most new software vendors have a vision for how they can make better use of technology to solve a customer’s problem.  But category leaders are more ambitious than most. They don’t just want their customers to buy a specific, point product (e.g. electronic invoicing). Instead they want their customers to buy an entire application suite (e.g. procure-to-pay).  Category leaders don’t…