In our 27th episode, Gil talks category creation with two B2B leaders from the cloud security and revenue acceleration categories.
Panelists for this episode include:
- David Spitz, CMO of Egnyte and leader behind the cloud content security category
- Armando Biondi, CEO and Co-founder of Breadcrumbs.io and leader behind the revenue acceleration category
You’ll walk away from this episode with an understanding of hiring best practices, product innovation, and demand generation.
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Takeaway 1. The most effective teams are made up of generalists and specialists
The decision to hire a generalist or specialist or generalist for your team depends on your company’s size. As a seed-stage startup, it makes sense to hire flexible generalists who can work on a variety of tasks across different disciplines.
As your company grows (Series A and beyond), processes will inevitably become more complex. That’s when you’ll need to increase the ratio of specialists to generalists in your company. Specialists will bring the advanced knowledge and skill required to work on complex tasks. They will also require less training when compared to generalists, but they might be harder to hire because they’ll typically have several offers to choose from during their job search.
If you want to stand out from other employers, you’ll have to invest heavily in building your company’s reputation and streamlining your hiring process. Have a presence in online communities where your talent spends time. Create content around some of the challenges that your company is trying to solve. Showcase the customers that your company has helped in the past. All of this will help build an employer brand that attracts top talent.
Takeaway 2. Customers are the best source for product innovation
One of the critical roles you should prioritize as you’re creating a new category is the customer success manager. This role is essential to ensuring that customers have a good experience with your product and that your company maximizes its lifetime value (LTV) and net promoter score (NPS) metrics.
The insights generated from your customer success team will also help you optimize your product marketing campaigns further and fine-tune your customer journey. With every new customer insight, you’ll move one step closer to developing a solid product differentiation that positions your brand ahead of your competitors.
Part of your differentiation strategy should involve a plan for continually communicating with your customers. They need to be at the center of every decision your company makes. Use social media channels to track all mentions of your brand and how often you show up in conversations. Look at review sites such as G2 as well. They can be an effective channel for identifying power users for interviews.
Takeaway 3. Category creation requires both demand generation and branding to be successful
One of the most common dilemmas that startup operators face is deciding whether to focus on demand generation or branding. It’s a key theme that we often hear about when it comes to category creation. On the one hand, demand gen is required for short-term lead goals, while branding is often seen as a “nice-to-have” long-term strategy.
No rule says you must use one strategy or the other. The best approach you can take when creating a category is to do a bit of demand generation, branding, and product marketing. Following this integrated approach creates a multiplier effect over the long run.
It’s also a good idea to have separate media budgets for both your brand and demand generation campaigns. That way, you can allocate some of your budget towards building top of funnel awareness and then retargeting unconverted prospects who engaged with your brand awareness campaign.
For more insights about demand generation, product innovation, and hiring, be sure listen to this episode of B2B category creators.
Armando explains the importance of timing when creating a new category.