B2B SaaS – One Business Model, but Three Distinct Sales Motions

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Synopsis: Why are churn rates in B2B SaaS companies so high, and why is expansion in major accounts so haphazard? For whatever reason, management teams wildly over-invest in their Land strategies while dramatically under-investing in their Expand opportunities, as well as in the support and education efforts required to ensure that customers Renew. Perhaps part of the problem is the lack of suitable models and best practices for managing each of the three corresponding sales motions. I hope this article provides some pointers to help teams redress this chronic imbalance. I chose the image for this article, highlighting the different dynamics surrounding customer acquisition vs. customer expansion, because it points to a persistent, chronic misalignment in the vast majority of B2B tech companies today between management rhetoric and action. As I’ll demonstrate, renewal is another area where resources are mis-aligned and a different approach is required. CEOs, CMOs, CROs, and CCOs may talk a good game about investing in “customer success” but what their actions actually tell us is that they prioritize only what they believe to serve their own success in racking up new logos and new ARR. The provocation in the “not equal”

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How to Craft a World-Class Mission Statement

This content originally appeared on Koan.co and features Chasm Group Managing Director, Tom Kippola. An interview with Tom Kippola of the Chasm Group about the importance of mission statements and how to create your own At Koan, we’re big believers in centering your work in your mission. Our own is to “help every team achieve their purpose”. We’re pretty passionate about that idea of purposeful work because we think there’s a profound opportunity to create more fulfilling and productive work environments for everyone. But it all starts with your mission. I recently sat down with Tom Kippola, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Chasm Group, to talk about how to craft a great mission statement for your company. Tom has helped hundreds of companies achieve strategic breakthroughs through his consulting work. And that work often starts with writing down the mission, sometimes for the very first time. Here are some of the key insights learned from the conversation (interview lightly edited for clarity). What is a company mission statement and why is it important to have one? A mission statement is the “why”. And the vision statement is the “what”. So, the mission is why a company exists other than to make money.

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Tech competition is time-based: Why alignment and purpose are critical

This content originally appeared on the Get Amplified Podcast and features Chasm Group Managing Director, Paul Wiefels. Paul Wiefels, is a Master of GoToMarket strategy for the Tech Industry, we caught up with him to find out what should tech companies be focusing on in 2021. Paul shares how there is such little difference between technology offerings from tech companies in the same category and how aligning and motivating the troops is the key to success. In a nutshell it is all about Speed to Market. This is a not to be missed episode.

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Likely Winners & Losers in the Covid Vaccine Tornado

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Every day since late last year the media has reported on Covid vaccine rollouts to a global audience anxious to gain protection against Covid-19. The early running indicated that the Oxford-Astra Zeneca alliance, would grab the lead, with the pure-play MRNA companies, Biontech (backed by Pfizer) and Moderna following close behind. Then there’s J&J, which employs a similar technology to that of Oxford-AZ. Which vaccine technology and which company stand to win out in the end? I know where I’m putting my money… For the past year the world has waited anxiously for confirmation that newly developed Covid vaccines will help restore some level of normalcy to our daily lives. Clearly there’s nothing like a major existential threat to concentrate the minds of scientists, microbiologists, chemists, pharmaceutical companies, execs, healthcare systems, and governments – let alone each one of us citizens – to find a solution to a global pandemic that to date has infected 125m people and killed almost 3m. In the past six months or so we’ve seen astounding progress in vaccine launches and initial vaccination programs in certain countries, particularly in Israel, the UAE, the UK and the U.S. Every day brings

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B2B SaaS – Why Sales Teams Fail to Land Larger Deals

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.” – Albert Einstein “The problem is not the problem, the problem is the way we see the problem.” – Saji Ijiyemi, Don’t Die Sitting In my work with CEOs and their teams in B2B SaaS scaleups as well as mid-sized and larger companies I am constantly surprised by how many of their sales teams are closing small deals of $50k or so in ARR with enterprise-level organizations instead of developing much larger opportunities. One consequence of this apparent lack of ambition is a much slower growth rate for the company, and another is that it can take twice as long to build a profitable revenue engine. In fact, I believe this is partly why B2B SaaS companies tend to take a decade or more to build a profitable revenue stream. In some cases, this problem occurs because AEs are spending much of their time selling to middle management or even lower — whether in IT, line functions, or procurement — to address tactical problems or respond to RFPs. In other cases, it

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Segmentation is ‘In’ Again!

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Winston Churchill, while working to form the United Nations after WWII “There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define thetarget market and direct a superior offering to that target market.” – Philip Kotler During the depths of the global crisis, a five-year-old mobile banking software startup was struggling to gain a firm foothold in the market and was facing bankruptcy or at best a fire sale for a few million dollars. A few customers had signed up for pilot projects, generating just under $1m in annual revenues for the VC-funded company. The new CEO and their team were targeting 1400 or so banks in North America, but they still weren’t achieving liftoff. Just six months later they had discovered the formula for success, were off and running, and never looked back. How so? After defining their target industry segment (banking) and geographical region (North America), they decided to narrow the target dramatically to a micro-segment within the industry (the top fifty retail banks). They also thought about how to tailor their mobile banking software to enable the move to branch consolidation that banks

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If You’re Not Fixing Someone’s Leaky Pipe, What Are You in Business for?

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Tuning Your Strategy for Post-Covid Times   You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” – Mario Cuomo, former three-term governor of New York State, 1983-94 If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” – Albert Einstein Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.   My purpose here is to clarify why in today’s C19 downturn virtually every tech company needs to have a clear picture of how they fix critical breakages in one or more of their target customers’ business processes. In order to bring this concept to life it sometimes helps to use a metaphor such as the Leaky Pipe, which I’ll describe further down. But let me start by describing what the three quotes above have to do with our key topic. Cuomo quote: It is my belief that tech companies spend too much time rhapsodizing about how they plan to “disrupt” the world – the equivalent here of campaigning in poetry – while they spend far too little time digging into the painful

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Why Now’s the Time to Get Customer Success Right

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC Synopsis: Customer success is a broken promise in 95% of tech companies. CEOs, CROs and sales teams are generally preoccupied with chasing new logos, and scarce CSMs scramble to minimize churn and secure upsells. Frequently, they have no idea about their customer’s business objectives or success criteria. In a downturn like today’s Covid-19 crisis, the risks of cancelled contracts and lost relationships is heightened, just when winning new logos is harder to pull off. This is exactly the time when executives and their customer-facing staff must engage more fully with their major customers – and really help them achieve their desired business outcomes. Don’t celebrate closing a sale, celebrate opening a relationship.” – Patricia Fripp, speaker, author and entrepreneur Customer success is simply ensuring that your customers achieve their desired outcome through their interactions with your company. That’s it.” – Lincoln Murphy, growth consultant, Sixteen Ventures Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.” – Michael Leboeuf, business author & former professor, University of New Orleans For many if not most enterprise SaaS companies, customer success is still a new game, and one they are playing with a weak

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Zoom – The Latest Product to Become a Verb

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC How can anyone fail to have noticed the sudden prominence of videoconferencing app Zoom since the outbreak of the Coronavirus crisis? Despite facing established competitors like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook in consumer video-calling and Cisco and Google in videoconferencing at work, Zoom appears to have literally zoomed to the top of the charts in just the past couple of months. What Just Happened? With so many millions of people worldwide now stuck at home to avoid the contagion, we’ve seen a massive surge in demand for ways of connecting with the outside world. Be it in our personal lives, in how we run our business, or even in how world leaders keep governing through the crisis, this is a time when we are all leaning heavily on technology to not only keep us connected but keep us alive. Consequently, TV news announcers and newspaper reporters are increasingly using “Zoom” as a synonym for videoconferencing, something that until recently was only happening in business settings. Until now FaceTime, Skype and WhatsApp have been the predominant video-calling apps for friends and family to stay in touch, but something has changed here too. Thus the work-from-home (WFH) and

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The Scaleup Journey: Crossing the Chasm in Style

Case Study – The rapid rise of mobile banking startup Clairmail   By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC   Chasm crossing is not the end, but rather the beginning, of mainstream market development.” “Entering the mainstream market is an act of burglary, of breaking and entering, of deception, often even of stealth.” “To become a going concern, a persistent entity in the market, you need a market segment that will commit to you as its de facto standard for enabling a critical business process.” “One of the most important lessons about crossing the chasm is that the task ultimately requires achieving an unusual degree of company unity during the crossing period.” “You get installed by the pragmatists as the leader, and from then on, they conspire to help keep you there.” – Geoffrey Moore, various quotes on the theme of crossing the chasm into the mainstream market   Sometimes the best company success stories only get to be told through informal anecdotes, press releases, Powerpoint slide decks, or video testimonials. In such situations, only those close to the company really benefit and the key learnings and best practices are never properly learned or leveraged by other entrepreneurs and management teams.

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