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How to Cross the Disruption Chasm Using Revenue Intelligence

At Gong’s #celebrate conference, sales leaders tackled three pillars: peoplesuccess, deal success, and strategy success. I’ve been revealing key takeaways from their talks. Now up: ‘strategy success’ based on a talk by Geoffrey Moore, author of “Crossing the Chasm” and investor at Wildcat Venture Partners.

In the 20th century, the product was king, so executives had a product-first approach. They focused on optimizing supply chain efficiencies and selling. Sales positioned their company and their products first. This was true even when the internet first arrived, though customer support inched forward as a differentiator over supply chain efficiencies.

Now, in the 21st century, power resides with the customer and immediacy is the standard in customer support. As Geoffrey points out, “Traditional companies that were so successful in the 90’s are still struggling with trying to become truly customer-centric…The sales function used to be ‘just sell the product, demo the product, feature the product’ and now it’s much more about ‘Well, hold on. Why don’t you understand the customer first?’” You can accomplish this with Revenue Intelligence (RI) by listening to your customers’ voices and prepping for every conversation and handoff across your organization.

Systems of Engagement 

Geoffrey reminded participants that the key to selling something disruptive is understanding technology buyers’ five personas. It is critical to understand what persona you are selling to so that you can deliver an outstanding, personalized customer experience (focused on the customer, not on you or your product!). You can recognize them using revenue intelligence and should plan your deal path accordingly.

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle

The Five Key Personas

1: Tech Enthusiasts: These highly technical and analytical people ask questions only your engineers can answer. RI lets you collaborate across functions to pull in your product and engineering teams to satisfy them.

2: Visionaries: “They want to change the world dramatically,” as Geoffrey puts it. They’ll push your product toward their own use case—where you didn’t intend it to go—and make demands only your CEO can approve. RI captures visionaries’ voices so you can share their thoughts with the product and engineering teams to push product features and capabilities.

3: Pragmatists: Most pragmatists want someone who understands their business problems and can solve their process challenges. They love deep discovery sessions, which is where RI has your back. Focusing on these customer conversations ensures a world-class buying experience. There’s also a small group of pragmatists who flock to market leaders and just want a safe buy. With RI, you can be sure messaging is on track for them too.

4: Conservatives: These tech-averse people detest disruption and love managed services. Be their trusted advisor and focus on customer success to prevent churn and create upsell. RI ensures great handoffs between sales and CS so you don’t miss a beat.

5: Skeptics: Don’t even waste your time on these folks!

Plan for Personalities 

Once you know who you’re dealing with, use a sales strategy that matches each persona:

Tech enthusiasts and visionaries create early markets. They buy into your disruption vision quickly, so serve them using a project model, not a product model. They’ll want customized projects.

Pragmatists don’t want to go first. They want to talk to their peers and hear use cases and client stories. Then they’ll realize they need what you have. In this solution model setup, be sure to offer something standardized and repeatable because this herd only makes a major shift once. Capture them while you can!

Conservatives are hesitant. They only comply when they see they’re not meeting external expectations. Use an install-based retention model here. They’ll be loyal because they don’t enjoy meeting new vendors.

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If you missed my post on revenue intelligence and deal success, you can find it here

Like what you’ve read? Hear directly from revenue leaders on our recently launched podcast, “Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast”. It’s available on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

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