So You Want To Create A Category. Here’s What Gainsight’s CMO Says You Should Do.

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In this episode of the Marketing Swipe File recorded live at SaaStr, DG sits down with Gainsight CMO Anthony Kennada to talk about how they built a company, even though there was no clear market to launch into. Anthony shares the five things Gainsight did to create a category in the B2B space – like ignoring analysts and being long-term greedy. Want the rest? Listen to the full episode to learn how they did it (and how they grew their brand to become one of the fastest growing private companies in the world).

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Full Transcript

Dave Gerhardt: Hey, everybody. It’s DG, back with another episode of The Swipe File. This episode, another one live from SaaStr with Anthony Kennada, who’s the CMO of Gainsight. We talked about, basically right after he got off stage at SaaStr, we talked about his talk, which was all about category creation. That is a topic that I love, category design, and all the secrets that have gone into what they’ve done at Gainsight to build their category in customer success. If you love marketing, if you’re thinking about category creation, especially if you’re in B2B, you don’t want to miss this episode, I know you’re going to enjoy it. Here’s Anthony, the CMO of Gainsight, me, live SaaStr 2019. Check it out.

Okay. Anthony, I have been following your stuff, big fan of what you guys are doing.

Anthony Kennada: Likewise.

DG: I saw your talk about category creation. I was a little jealous. It’s a good topic. It’s a good topic. We have some things to say. But, I wanted to do a podcast with you live from SaaStr, kind of like digging into your talk. If you can still remember it, I know it was yesterday.

Anthony: Think.

DG: But, I want to dig in. First, give some people background on who you are and kind of your story at Gainsight.

Anthony: Yeah. Anthony Kennada, I’m the CMO at Gainsight. We’ve been here for about six years. And my story, I guess, is this is actually my first marketing job. And so, I grew up at Box in the early days in the kind of sales, business development world. Moved to product management, did a bunch of random, basically every … We kind of circled around marketing. And then when Nick, who I’d worked with before, joined a company called Gainsight, we were rebranding to Gainsight, he asked me to come on board and run marketing.

DG: Did you know him before?

Anthony: Yeah. We worked at Live Office before together.

DG: Oh, cool. So, you were BD sales guy?

Anthony: Exactly.

DG: Cool.

Anthony: I was a 22 year old BD guy trying to figure it all out. But, I guess I must’ve made an impression somewhere there with them.

DG: What do you think he hired you for? Just you were the young, scrappy, figure it out, sales guy?

Anthony: I think so. I think it’s that, and honestly, this is kind of weird, but he always references one presentation I gave at Live Office, where he liked the way I built the deck. And so I was like, “Man, I could’ve been sick that day.”

DG: Right.

Anthony: That deck could’ve been … You know.

DG: Was your first job at Gainsight in marketing?

Anthony: Yes. I was the director of marketing reporting to him, head of. Right? And, I just rode the head of all the way up to CMO.

DG: He hires you as director of marketing.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: You’ve never done marketing in your life.

Anthony: Nope, not at all.

DG: What did you do? And I had no intention of asking you this stuff.

Anthony: No, it’s fine.

DG: But it’s a good story that-

Anthony: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DG: What the hell did you do?

Anthony: Well, we didn’t have what was a main competitor that was the incumbent customer success, 8000 pound gorilla in the room. We had to go and figure out how to win the hearts and minds of people, and point to churn is a thing that you had to really go and worry about.

DG: Did you have anything from a business perspective? Did you have leads, customers, website traffic?

Anthony: We had five customers and a series A that was signed, or a term sheet. Right? It was very early days. We didn’t have a brand. We didn’t have a marketable database that was sizeable enough to do anything. But, one of the crazy things we did first was, Nick asked me literally less than 45 days on the job, we should go host an event. Which I took as, let’s go put a card down. There’s a launch party, hoodies and T-shirts.

DG: We’ll get beers and pizza.

Anthony: Yeah. Exactly.

DG: It’d be great.

Anthony: Exactly. And what he meant was go do an industry event and conference that had nothing to do with our company. It’s not a customer event because, to your point, we didn’t really have many. Make it all about the people and the job, right? Make it all about the customer success people, and make it about best practices. And get them together in a room, let them network and kind of have network, have relationship. And, that’s what we did. And I think the magic moment was we ended up with about 300 people there in our first year. The company had just rebranded to Gainsight, so it was still super early days.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: But we were like, “Oh, my gosh. There’s something here.”

DG: And you tapped into such a thing, which is like, if you know anything about … Everybody that I’ve ever met that works in customer success is like, “That’s what they do.”

Anthony: Yeah. Oh, totally.

DG: That is a … They love serving customers. And so, it seemed like such a good fit on the surface to get those people in a room.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: And, that feeling of having people in a room is unlike anything else in marketing.

Anthony: Well, this is one thing you write about a lot, which I love, is we’re in kind of a new wave, where it’s not just about selling products and services and marketing. It’s like slanging licenses of software. It’s not that anymore. There’s actually people behind the logos that we sell to. And for customer success people, these are people that have a high degree of empathy. They care. They care about serving the customer. But now, they’re actually getting promoted and being recognized and driving growth with empathy, so that marriage is really interesting and kind of rare.

DG: I want to talk about brand stuff in a little bit.

Anthony: Yeah, yeah.

DG: But, I want a little bit more on you and your career in marketing because I think this is for our marketing podcast, which people will listen to and want to learn from you.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: Talk about the path from going from sales guy to individual contributor in a marketing role, to growing a team, to now CMO. I think every great marketer that you talk to, or at least I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing, they all say the same things, like, “Every six months, I’m reinventing myself.”

Anthony: Totally.

DG: What are kind of the waves that … Break down the waves. Okay. You go from you’re the guy running the event, to now CMO. What are the kind of reinventions you’ve gone through?

Anthony: Yeah. Phase one was literally get the people and the job together and create early stage content that they’re going to resonate with, whether that means blogs, webinars, eBooks. Everything around me was an agency. We had an outsourced [inaudible 00:05:22] agency, outsourced PR. And it was me and actually one person on my team, who joined pretty early, basically doing a ton of writing and a lot of evangelism around this thing.

DG: And you were having to spend your days talking to the agency about budget and channels and PR, and I’m sure that helped you have to learn everything.

Anthony: Oh, totally. Absolutely. It was definitely like learning by osmosis. But also, the talk yesterday was on category creation. There aren’t a lot of best practices for how to do it the way we were doing it, and so it was really learning by doing as well.

DG: It probably definitely made you better at marketing, because I think one of the curses of being a marketer today is we like to see what everybody else is doing, and then go do that. And so if you go in that without having that playbook before, you’re like, “Shit. I don’t know any of this stuff.”

Anthony: Totally.

DG: Okay. Here’s how I would do it.

Anthony: Let’s do this. Yeah. I mean, and that’s what it was. It was basically we knew that these people liked to get together. We knew that they were underappreciated organizationally, underfunded [inaudible 00:06:18]. So, phase one [inaudible 00:06:26], tell that story that maybe sell some software as well. [inaudible 00:06:34]. So, that was the first phase step, I would say, by being genuine, by being community builders, content creators. We can actually drive growth to, maybe there’s something to this.

Phase two came later, and that was layering on demand gen in like a meaningful way. But, all that was was amplifying the same stuff we were creating earlier. So, now we were spending money. Right? We were doing a lot of LinkedIn campaigns, digitals and maybe M work. But, taking the content and just getting it exposed to the right audience.

DG: How do you stay true to what you cared about, right? Because in the early days, when you don’t have big revenue goals, it’s easier on paper to be like, “We love everybody. Come to our event.”

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: I felt this firsthand too, right? But as you scale, the lead number gets bigger, the pipeline number gets bigger. You start to be incentivized to almost do the bad things, right? The bad things meaning just like marketing people don’t like. How have you tried to stay true to being a brand throughout the six years as you’ve grown this team and built it into a machine?

Anthony: Yeah. That’s a really good point. I think we have the luxury of having Pulse be a micro brand that we operate. When we push stuff through that channel, it’s not sales-ing. It’s not crossing a boundary without the people on the other end of it. It’s truly, like, for community building.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: Now, from Gainsight’s side, of course, we had to figure out how to kind of score that activity and be able to look at folks that we want to position with a sales opportunity [crosstalk 00:08:01].

DG: How do you think about Pulse? Is it a revenue generating thing? How do you think about it?

Anthony: It’s like literally everything. Actually, I know you mentioned you spoke with Dan Rogers while you’re out here. He had an amazing kind of point of view on this. It’s great, it’s a compelling event for the product team to launch new functionality, new features.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: It’s a chance for us to reinvent ourselves to your point, as a company from a positioning and messaging point of view. Employees love it, and they’re like, “Wow. I joined the right company, the right movement.”

DG: That’s such an underrated thing. This is something that I learned from David, from his time at HubSpot. Every year, HubSpot had their big conference, and he would have all the engineers … He ran the product team at HubSpot. He would have all the engineers go.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: I remember him telling me, at first they were like, “What? This is a conference for sales and marketing people. Why am I here?” But then, what happened is I think they all had shirts that said I build the product, ask me questions.

Anthony: Very cool.

DG: That’s when it changed, because then it is bigger than … It’s not a Lead Gen event. Its not a brand event.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: It is the whole company, we are in this together to be there that day.

Anthony: Absolutely.

DG: The whole team at Gainsight, Drift, whatever, becomes your best marketing channel because they’re fired up.

Anthony: Totally. That’s exactly it. We measure that, right? We measure, “Hey, employee, what’s the ENPS coming out of it?”

DG: So, you measure your employee’s NPS of the event?

Anthony: No, we’ll look at it like quarterly.

DG: Oh, after.

Anthony: Because the conference will-

DG: People are on a high, right?

Anthony: Totally, totally.

DG: Because you made a big announcement, everybody kind of just like worked their asses off leading up to this thing.

Anthony: For sure. For sure. We try to get as many of our new hirers in before that. It’s a great way to get on board and excited about the journey you’re about to go on.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: But, yeah. It is a pipeline driver for us, and we set up basically just the behind the scenes of this, is we have an executive briefing center that we build. We’ve got SDRs that are calling in the folks in the registrant base, and I know that’s an area we have to be very sensitive, very careful about. We’re basically offering up concierge service. So, “Hey, I know you’re coming to Pulse. Is there anything I can do to help?”

DG: Love that.

Anthony: “How can I help you navigate the agenda? Is there anyone you’re looking to meet?” Those types of things. If you kind of start getting down the discussion of software, “Hey, would you like to meet with someone while you’re there,” and then we have this very high-touch experience for them. We look at how many meetings do we book at the conference, how many of those converted, and then at the end of the day, it’s our biggest driver of pipe year in, year out.

DG: Give me the breakdown of your team today, if you can.

Anthony: Yeah. I’ve got 60 people in marketing, of which 20 are in SDR. So, SDR rolls up into marketing. We’ve got demand gen, which is all your typical kind of functions. We have a group called ‘Go to Market,’ which is basically a bunch of things pulled into one. So we got product marketing, customer marketing, something called segment marketing. So, we’ll look at the enterprise. We have an enterprise owner, a corporate owner, pricing and packaging. Oh, sales enablement. So, we actually have enablement, centralized marketing.

DG: I love the Go to Market packaging, because it’s typically like inside of a marketing team, everybody’s … That’s why I like asking this question, because everybody does it differently. There’s always kind of like these … You kind of have like brand creative, demand gen, and then there’s like product marketing, customer marketing, ops enablement. So, you just kind of gave them a label [crosstalk 00:10:52] together.

Anthony: Yeah. We just have one leader for it.

DG: Yeah. How do you run the team, like from a rituals … I’m interested. People love that, “Listen to this,” like love nerd-ing out on what you do. Right? So, I want to know do you have your staff meeting, your four or five direct reports? And then, you have all team meeting. What are the rituals in the marketing team?

Anthony: Yeah. Well, actually, this is our first time talking about this. But, we recently met and wanted to sort of reposition how we interact as a team. Because we have enablement and SDR, and this isn’t all marketing. We’re like a bunch of things plus marketing. And so, we’re borrowing a [inaudible 00:11:22] from Twitter and some others, and are calling ourselves one team. I know that sounds kind of like a ritual, but it’s true.

And so, what we’ll do is basically do regular staff meetings, just like most folks have. But then, we’ll do weekly one team meetings, where we have a chance to talk about the highs and lows of the week, what really worked. We recognize some folks in the team that really stood out and did something meaningful, so like a moment of appreciation, basically. And then, the idea is basically each meeting, we’re going to cater something fun. And so, it’s stupid, but I think people really … We did boba every Friday. People were like, “Hey, it’s great! It’s our Friday boba!” Like, this is a thing.

DG: Of course.

Anthony: So, we’re trying to look for ways to actually, as we scale, maintain that specialness, maintain that culture. The subculture of the team, so we’ve got the Gainsight culture, but we want to be a special subculture within that team.

DG: Yeah. What is the one team swagger of … It’s different, where you have SDRs, you have … Those are all different people.

Anthony: Totally. Totally.

DG: The people that are great at being SDR are different than the person that’s in a sales and enablement role, and different than a demand gen role.

Anthony: That’s right. For sure. For sure.

DG: All right. Let’s talk about category creation. Talk to me about why it’s so important.

Anthony: Philosophically?

DG: Yeah. Why do you care about it having a category?

Anthony: Yeah. I think this wasn’t something we sought out for and said, “We’re going to go build a category around this. Let’s go Google category creation. Let’s get an agency to come in and help us figure it out.” It was none of that. We would only kind of looked back and said-

DG: That’s a cure to all marketing problems, though. You find an agency.

Anthony: Yeah, right?

DG: And they figure it out.

Anthony: Some specialized, someone that’s done it once. Right? Yeah. We didn’t do that. We started doing a bunch of things, and we started getting recognized as category creators. I think the reason we did it was, A, survival in the early days. So, part of what we talked about in session is had we taken the path of what Gartner and Forrester were kind of asking us to do, they were basically saying they’re aligning our value proposition to a research area they already covered.

So, they said, “You guys are like proactive customer support,” or proactive account management. So, if we didn’t create a category, Gainsight would be the proactive account management company, and I think we’d be in a lot different of a place.

DG: What was the title of your … You sent me the five things that your talk was. The first one was ignore analysts.

Anthony: Ignore analysts initially.

DG: Initially.

Anthony: I know you’re in Boston and the good analyst folks are up that way, so I don’t want to …

DG: No, no. It’s fine. The account execs at the analyst firms make it hard to be ignored, so I think it’s totally fine.

Anthony: Okay, good.

DG: It’s totally fine.

Anthony: I think the core idea is we saw that there was a persona that existed called the customer success manager.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: Like I said, underappreciated, under resourced. But, didn’t have a company out there that was like fighting for them, and really trying to help celebrate them. And so, we said step one was we had to do it, because that’s where our conviction was. That’s where we thought the market opportunity was. Now, we look back and we’re like, “Oh, my gosh. This is actually really hard and a long game, but so fulfilling because what we’ve seen now is a lagging indicator. It’s the growth in the profession.”

So, LinkedIn released data, where now there’s over 32000 folks in the world with CSM in their title, growing triple digit percentages every year. We’re like, “Holy crap. We’re changing lives!” Which in enterprise software is hard. Right?

DG: It’s hard.

Anthony: You don’t do that very often.

DG: I just walked by, on my way to meet you, I walked by somebody’s booth.
Anthony: Yeah.

DG: Not even a competitor of ours, and on the booth, one of the things that they say they integrate with is conversational marketing.

Anthony: Oh, great.

DG: Didn’t happen a year ago.

Anthony: That’s awesome.

DG: Same thing with the jobs. I think what’s interesting about what you said is as much as you as a company want to define the category, by nature it’s not a category unless people from the outside start saying it.

Anthony: That’s right.

DG: For us, it wasn’t like … It wasn’t, “We said this is what we are.” We had an idea, but it wasn’t until customers started saying, “I’m doing conversational marketing.”

Anthony: Totally.

DG: “I want to be a customer success expert.” Right?

Anthony: Totally. Totally.

DG: And then you’re like, “Okay. Now, there’s something real here. How do we enable this?”

Anthony: Right.

DG: And to your point on ignoring the analysts, it’s a balance. Right? You have to help them shape the category. Right?

Anthony: Right.

DG: For us, the mix was, “Hey, I got 500 customers that are all raving about conversation marketing. Do you want to talk to them?”

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah.

DG: That’s a different story than, “Okay. We’ll do it your way.”

Anthony: Right. For sure. For sure. I think the punchline we had eventually was customers end up validating the category, whether it’s what you just said, like customers that you introduced to the analyst firms, and they helped standardize. We look at G2 Crowd and TrustRadius, some of these folks. Their customers have voice. And so, that’s what we think is like the cool thing about all this. It’s not even that we created the category. It’s that we helped facilitate the creation of the category that the customers really value.

DG: Yeah, your job is to … A category can’t be only Gainsight.

Anthony: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

DG: Or only Drift, or only whatever. Right?

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: It has to be by nature, multiple companies within a space, and then your job is to pull the whole thing up even higher.

Anthony: That’s right.

DG: And, maybe even have competitor … You have competitors in your space speaking at your conference, because it’s the bigger piece of this. A company says, “There’s a difference between a tagline and a category.”

Anthony: Totally.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: All right. What else is in your SaaStr thing? So, you’ve got five things. Number one was ignore analysts.

Anthony: Yep.

DG: In early days.

Anthony: Number two was focus on people and not just the products. I think for us, we look back and we had a very light version of the product we have today. Definitely needed a lot of work. We’ve rewritten the product a few times. In that world, it wasn’t about selling bits and bytes and features and all that. It was literally about finding the people and finding out a way to, like we talked about-

DG: It’s a mate to your point, but like how you had empathy and you really understood these early customers. It’s amazing how much leeway they give you, knowing that this product might not be perfect now. But, man. These guys get me.

Anthony: Yeah, totally.

DG: They get me as a customer success manager.

Anthony: Totally. Yeah.

DG: Okay. Ima just stick with them, and we’re going to get through this together.

Anthony: For sure. No, I mean, on the business side, we hear things like, “We’re not ready for Gainsight today, but we will one day. We’re going to be a Gainsight customer one day.”

DG: Imagine that somebody tell you, “Hey, we’re going to buy your stuff one day.”

Anthony: Yeah. We got to figure our stuff out, and you’ve helped me along the way, which is great. But, we’re not ready yet, but we’re going to be, versus saying, “Oh, yeah. We’re looking at vendors. We’ll open up a RFP one day.”

DG: It’s such a different mindset, because that person who says they’re going to be a customer, they’re going to buy a ticket to your conference.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: They’re going to listen to your podcasts.

Anthony: Yeah, totally.

DG: They’re going to come say hi at an event.

Anthony: That’s exactly right.

DG: And eventually, when they go to another company, they’re going to buy.

Anthony: Yeah. The hard thing, by the way, that was kind of the format of that talk was, “Here’s a great thing, now here’s a really hard thing.”

DG: Okay.

Anthony: Is how that shows up in the funnel is tough, because our top of funnel grows great. Right? We’ve got so many people coming to the conferences, all that sort of stuff. They’re engaged. Some of them just aren’t going to buy. And so, the traditional metrics of category creating funnels are different than your traditional disruptor thing, because that conversion rates aren’t always the same. You almost have two funnels, getting people into the category and then getting people under the software for these projects.

DG: Yeah. That is a hard thing. I’m actually thinking about somebody, I know exactly this person where this guy comes to all of our stuff.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: Biggest fan, but he’s not going to buy Drift, because it’s just not a fit. There’s maybe no budget, right?

Anthony: Right.

DG: But, that’s a chicken and the egg thing. Right?

Anthony: Totally.

DG: But, we need that person to be an advocate for Drift to get the other people.

Anthony: For sure. I would argue that that is hard to talk to a CFO about, but great from an existential business.

DG: It is.

Anthony: You want people that are going to be fans. Right? They’re going to be fans of the brand. They’re going to get fed, get value out of what you’re creating. And then, they might get another job one day, and then there might be an opportunity to bring them in. That’s kind of the bet we’re making.

DG: All right. Number three, what’s number three? Do you know?

Anthony: Number three, be authentic at scale. And so, the idea here is people like to do business with people that they like, that they respect. And so, our job as marketers is interesting. You guys do this so well, is to really take our values, take our purpose. Think about our CEO or some of our exec team as like the outward expression of that, and figure out a way to actually scale that for the rest of the world, folks that aren’t in our offices everyday, that aren’t kind of getting time with our respective CEOs.

And, we do that through some crazy ways. We recorded a rap video, literally, Capital Records … It’s available now on Spotify.

DG: Who was on it? Are you in it?

Anthony: I was in the making of.

DG: Okay.

Anthony: The video part.

DG: Are there actual rappers at Gainsight, or you had to go-

Anthony: No.

DG: Okay.

Anthony: This was actually the executive producer of a show on TBS called Drop the Mic.

DG: Okay.

Anthony: His name’s Jensen Karp. Any listeners in LA, he’s on KROCK in the morning. This guy basically teaches celebrities how to rap, and so the whole shtick in the video is he’s teaching our CEO how to rap, and release the anthem of record for customer success.

DG: Hold on, hold on. Hold on. I didn’t know any of this … This would’ve changed what I would’ve wanted Nick to speak at at Hyper Growth this year, if I had known that he was behind the scenes becoming a rapper.

Anthony: Yes. Trying to become a rapper. You have to watch the video, it didn’t work out. Yeah. His dream was crushed a little bit.

DG: That’s good. Stay in your lane. Stay in your lane.

Anthony: That’s right. Exactly.

DG: This is a leading question, because I know the answer. I believe it, but I want you to say it because it’s powerful when it comes to somebody else. Why is the authentic part so important? This is, to me, the number one question. Dave, I get you want to be real and authentic, but how … What happens if you get hit by a bus, but we sell the enterprise. They don’t like it that way.

Anthony: Oh, my gosh. No, I love this question. Because to this day, there are many cases where somebody would from a Fortune 500 company, GM, VPC level, what have you, will contact Nick. Never met Nick, and the first thing he’d say to him was, “Man, I loved you in that rap video.” And we’re like, “This stuff works!”

DG: Yeah. You know why? Because that person is a person.

Anthony: It’s a human.

DG: Right?

Anthony: Exactly. That’s exactly right. And so, for us, we do think of it as pipeline acceleration, or like the ability to really get in the door for places. It seems to a lot of people that don’t believe, we’re wasteful or that this is a dumb idea. But, it’s literally for … At least with the high level, you’re positioning Nick as someone you want to meet, someone you want to talk to. Maybe you can even relate to. By the way, he’s also running a successful software company, has a great product and working on a complex problem. But, he’s also a good person. Right? That’s something that comes across in some of these campaigns. Someone that doesn’t take himself too seriously, either.

But, the other piece is that for the sort of end users or then the long tail of folks, they have an anthem they can listen to on their way to work, and get excited about their job. It’s just a fun little touch point.

DG: It’s the people who are going to listen to that, those are the real fans. Right?

Anthony: Yes.

DG: It’s like that is like somebody five threads deep on Reddit. Whoever’s writing about customer success on Reddit, like that is the people that you want to reach.

Anthony: Well, a cool thing is one of our customers is Slack. They actually, for their kickoff of implementing our product and launching it and all that sort of thing, filmed a music video of the rap song and performed it and debuted it. So, even our customers are jumping in, right, and saying we feel like this is part of our culture now, because we’re in this industry and community together.

DG: That’s what you showed to the CFO. Right?

Anthony: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

DG: I remember at our big conference this year, HYPERGROWTH, the finance guy, DV, shout out to you. Who always will be beating me up, at the end of the day, came up to me. He shows no emotion. Gave me the biggest hug, and he’s like, “This was worth every penny,” because you have to be there. You have to feel it.

Anthony: Totally. Totally.

DG: All right. We got a couple more minutes. Do you remember number four? That was be authentic.

Anthony: Be longterm greedy.

DG: Longterm greedy.

Anthony: We’re stealing that from Sequoia, I believe that claimed it. But, the idea is when you’re creating category short term, it’s really hard to do some planning around that.

DG: Sure.

Anthony: We talked about the funnel and looking at some industry benchmarks. But, when you’re longterm greedy, you’re in it for this big endgame that you’re painting.

DG: We’ve never had a conversation … So, Sequoia investor and Drift, Pat Grady on our board, never have had a conversation with him without hearing about longterm, longterm, longterm. He’s the biggest one on category creation.

Anthony: Yeah, yeah.

DG: And go back in the history books, and look at every category creator. They all were playing for the long game.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: Right? So back to your point from the beginning about category creation, you can’t create one without knowing customer success is not going to be a category for Q4 2019.

Anthony: Yeah. Yeah.

DG: It’s going to be for the next 10 years.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: 20 years, 30 years.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: You’re going to tell your kids about this category.

Anthony: Absolutely. Generational companies is what we’re aiming for from that front.

DG: From a brand perspective, that’s why it ties nicely to brand, is because it makes it easier to make brand investments. Right?

Anthony: Sure.

DG: If you and I left tomorrow and we start our own company and we had no money, and we had to boot strap it and we had to generate leads, the play would be a little bit different than, “We’re going to be in this for 20 years.”

Anthony: Yeah, totally. No, I think that’s right. To that point, longterm greed, it’s easier to sort of say, “We’re investing in things today for that longterm, that we may not see some result for.”

DG: Was that your hard thing of the-

Anthony: CFOs don’t get it.

DG: That was your hard thing?

Anthony: Exactly.

DG: CFOs don’t get it.

Anthony: Exactly. Yeah. CFOs don’t get it. It makes planning very hard.

DG: But, doesn’t your CFO get it … When your CFO is at Pulse-

Anthony: Oh, yeah.

DG: … and looking around, this is amazing, you get it.

Anthony: Shout out to Igor. I think he gave me a hug, too. There’s definitely like the [inaudible 00:23:33] like, “This was totally worth it.” Now, at scale, we’re trying to figure out how to get more efficient with all of that, not sacrificing experience and all that sort of thing. So, he’ll hug me even closer if [crosstalk 00:23:42].

DG: It gets hard. It’s like a huge wedding, where you got to feed everybody.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: And then if you only fed everybody, just do that cost.

Anthony: Right?

DG: Right?

Anthony: Right, totally.

DG: Not to mention anything else.

Anthony: For sure.

DG: All right. What’s the fifth one?

Anthony: Evangelize. Right? In the marketing context, this makes a lot of sense. We’ve talked about this. It’s like we’ve got to get people excited about being part of this new wave, or be part of this movement, as we call it, the conversational marketing movement.

DG: Right.

Anthony: That is through a lot of things like podcasting. You guys wrote a book. I saw you in Times Square a couple weeks ago.

DG: Yeah. That was a week ago, last week. Last Wednesday, we launched it. Yeah.

Anthony: Yeah. Pretty awesome. Yeah. Similar, we wrote a book with Wiley as well. We’ve got the word out.

DG: Yeah. Yeah.

Anthony: It’s also the CEO, and then we’re here at SaaStr. Jason talks about getting on a plane, getting on a jet. It’s about the CEO and the exec team getting in front of the customer as often as we can. So, we speak at kickoffs. We speak at different kind of internal events. The idea is that when they want to have a customer success kickoff or want to talk about customer success, they’re thinking about Gainsight in to help tell that story. Not to sell software, but to evangelize why this is important. And so, very similar, I think we’re very aligned as two companies on this, to really kind of help get people excited about being part of this new wave.

DG: Also, the evangelism piece is not just to give people your message.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: But, it’s because people want that thing to rally around. Right? It’s like, look at any movement. You are into crossfit. You want to watch videos and read books and read blogs about that movement, regardless of the vendor.

Anthony: Totally.

DG: The book is not about us. Your book is not about you.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: It’s about the people who are going to read it and have a playbook for them to flip through, and it becomes a prideful thing, like I have this.

Anthony: For sure.

DG: This is my tribe.

Anthony: This is mine. I think you’ve said some stuff around this over the years, but as marketers, our interpretation of that is we want to build a lifestyle brand. For B2B, you’re like, “What? Those words don’t make any sense.” Obviously, B2C they do.

DG: Yeah.

Anthony: The idea is we want to be career companions for people in the job.

DG: I love that. That’s a good way, career companion-

Anthony: Build a life with them. You know?

DG: … is a good way to think about it.

Anthony: So, they’re going to get promoted. They’re going to leave eventually. They’re going to go somewhere else. But all along, we want to be the brand that’s been there for them, whether it’s helping them solve a business challenge that they’ve heard on a podcast, or saw a blog post or read in a book. Or, got them fired up about their job when they were on Spotify one day. Those are kind of probably the two extremes of how we do that.

DG: Love it. Well, Anthony, thank you for doing this.

Anthony: Yeah. Absolutely.

DG: How’s your show going? Good?

Anthony: It’s going good.

DG: Season 2, did you get renewed?

Anthony: Oh, B2B creative. We’re working on it.

DG: Did you get renewed?

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: Okay.

Anthony: Very expensive, turns out, so I’m looking for a way to-

DG: Well, you rented a freakin’ auditorium to do it! I was watching a couple. My prep for interviewing Dan Rogers was watching your interview.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: And, I knew you did the show.

Anthony: Yeah.

DG: But, I didn’t know that it was in a theater.

Anthony: Oh, it was Netflix production.

DG: That’s awesome.

Anthony: Except the Dan Rogers episode, he’s going to kill me that one of the cameras went out on that one. But, yeah. The production was very high level.

DG: Okay.

Anthony: Super expensive. It’ll come back once we can figure out a way to bring it back.

DG: Yeah. That was one that the CFO shut down.

Anthony: That’s exactly it.

DG: Well, thank you for doing it live from SaaStr.

Anthony: Thanks so much for having me on. I appreciate it.

DG: Thanks, man.

Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of The Swipe File. I’m having a lot of fun doing this podcast, and so because it’s fun for me, I hope it’s fun for you. It would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help. And so, go leave a review. Go to Apple Podcast, leave a review. Let me know what you liked about the show, didn’t like, want to hear more of. Also, if you’re not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple Podcast, Spotify. This show is everywhere that you get your podcasts, probably where you’re listening right now.

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