B2B Market Strategy – Figuring Out Your ICP Without Needing a PhD

Over the past decade the startup/scaleup world has seen the emergence of a few key business concepts that quickly became three-letter acronyms, such as “PMF”, “MVP”, “PLG” and, more recently, “ICP”. Whereas PMF (Product-Market Fit) and MVP (Minimum Viable Product) – concepts popularized by Eric Ries in “The Lean Startup” – have helped startup founders and their teams to prove out their value propositions in more funding-friendly ways than happened previously, and whereas PLG (Product-Led Growth) has become code for designing consumer-friendly products to virtually sell themselves at lowest possible cost (i.e., without needing a sales team), the task of defining or refining your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) has recently become a recognized high priority for management teams in scaleups and even maturing tech companies. Without a tightly defined ICP, companies struggle with their competitive positioning, often coming across to prospective customers as trying to be all things to all people but great for no one. It also causes some to chase every possible opportunity yet struggle to fulfill any the needs of any one set of customers. Most such companies end up either missing their growth objectives through poorly qualified sales pipelines and/or high customer churn or, in the

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Without Astute Orchestration, No Platform Business Can be Sure of Success

By Philip Lay, Senior Advisor, The Chasm Group LLC By now it is a well-known fact that successful platform businesses enjoy faster growth and (much) greater valuations than more conventional product companies. The most successful players today – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Tesla (“AMAAT” for short) – have recently become trillion-dollar businesses. Two more recent players that arose from the ashes of the global financial crisis, AirBnB and Uber, are well on their way to similar status, with market caps at around the $100bn mark. An increasing number of B2B startups and scale-ups are aiming to emulate this success in different industry sectors including finance, energy, transportation and logistics, grocery retail, healthcare, agribusiness, and other sectors where they have identified inefficiencies that a digital platform could eliminate, alongside opportunities to create new value. Among other factors, successful platform business models leverage several key technologies of the past two decades: the internet, smartphone, GPS mapping and navigation, cloud computing, social networking (for identity verification), mobile payment systems, recommendation engines (for reviews and ratings), and big data algorithms to facilitate instant matchmaking of buyers and sellers. But building a successful platform business model requires much more than “just” leveraging modern digital technologies. It’s taken the

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Chasm Group Case Studies: Best Practices for Dutch Entrepreneurs

The Oranjewoud Export Academy is a non-profit academy for entrepreneurs founded by entrepreneurs near Heerenveen, the Netherlands. As part of our engagement with Oranjewoud, we are pleased to share stories from Dutch entrepreneurs  on how they applied best practices from Chasm Group’s vast body of work documented in various books by our chairman emeritus, Geoffrey Moore. The first video shows how Jetzte Botma, former CEO of Kiestra Lab Automation (now owned by Becton Dickinson) decided the right Go-To-Market Strategy for his lab automation system that he and his team co-created with three customers from Denmark, Germany and the UK. His “aha” moment came when he read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. See for yourself how Jetze and his team applied the concepts for Kiestra. The second video shows how Gerrit Baarda, co-founder of ZiuZ, leveraged their technology “crown jewels” based on visual intelligence into various winning offers and value propositions to build market leadership positions with law enforcement agencies and pharmacies around the world. Gerrit and his CEO Bert Garlich applied the Four Zones concepts detailed in Moore’s book, Zone to Win, to ensure their company was set up for success. These videos are meant to inspire entrepreneurs by

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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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