The Latest from the ABM Experts
August 29, 2019
Why Terminus Embraces Their Competitors
Written by Sangram Vajre
The script has flipped.
Embracing the competition? Aren’t we supposed to hate each other?
FMF guest-host John Rougeux swaps spots with Sangram in this topsy-turvy #TakeoverTuesday episode.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Category creation vs. category leadership
- Cultivating community
- Falling in love with the problem, not the product
When is a category an actual category?
Throughout his career, Sangram has emphasized that without community, you might as well be a commodity. The Flip My Funnel movement has been the curator of community around the Terminus team and product.
Here, he explains how the FMF movement helped identify a problem and subsequently created a new category.
What’s your take on when a category is actually a category versus just a nice idea in someone’s head?
Sangram: For the majority, it’s just a nice idea in many people’s heads. It’s so funny when people say, “Well, I thought about that problem or that thing 10 years ago.”
I think in many ways, a category is born when you give it a name. Maybe it didn’t exist before or wasn’t popular enough to create a movement around or help foster a movement. Then, people start to have more conversations about it.
The craziest way to look at that is Google Trends. Until 2015, there wasn’t even a small blip on Google Trends for the term “account-based marketing.”
Once we launched the book and got the Flip My Funnel conference going, it literally went up, into the right, which means there are a lot more people interested in it.
We asked our competitors to sponsor and speak as keynotes at the Flip My Funnel conference. Even today, at the Flip My Funnel conference, we are not doing a product keynote. We are a booth, just like everybody else.
The value in hosting an industry conference
Everyone’s got a different take on competitors. Some say you should ignore them, some say they’re good, they’re bad. It sounds like you’re really embracing them.
Sangram: There is no category of one. Putting an event together takes a lot of money, time, energy, and resources as a startup company. Even if you are a big company, bring five of your competitors together, and say, “Let’s pitch in, and do this thing.” Now, your audience is five times bigger.
As long as you all agree that none of you are going to pitch your product, you are just going to educate the marketplace, then you have five times the audience that is talking about it. Together, we are better, stronger.
Over a period of time, people will fall away. Some now competitors don’t want to sponsor Flip My Funnel, which is fine, so they’re automatically weeded out.
There are two kinds of conferences people go to. Either you go to a user conference, which is all about them, their product, their innovation, and there is only a certain type of growth you can have.
Then, there are other types of conferences: the industry conference. This is where you are educating yourself, gaining an understanding, and bringing the whole team with.
We felt like we should build an industry conference with which we bring in all of these people to educate because – quite frankly – ABM is a strategy. It will never help our customers to grow and to be successful if all they learn is about Terminus.
If we want our customers to be widely successful, we have to bring other people in.
But, to deprive our customers because we are not ready, I think, is very self-serving.
Have passion for the problem, not the product
What were you doing to encourage other companies to get on board with that idea and nomenclature?
All of us at Terminus have become passionate about solving this problem at all costs. Even if that means partnering up with competitors, taking a back seat, and not putting our product first, but putting our customer first.
If it means letting go of certain stereotypical things, that’s okay, because we are not here for the short-term, we are here for the long-term.
What is one challenge you want to leave our listeners with today?
Sangram: Do something unscalable today. Just do something super unscalable. I think those are the things that cut through to the heart and can have a lot of impact.
For example, write a thank-you letter to your coworker. Literally, physically take a pen, go to the dollar store, get a $1 card, write a physical thank you note to a coworker.
Break the routine and just see what happens. See what the feeling is that comes back to you. I think those are the moments that we all need more of.