Today’s most innovative companies are building unique technologies that don’t fit neatly inside a predefined product category. While there’s no shortage of benefits for first movers in a category, it takes a lot of orchestration to align the needs of the market with the value of that new category.
Earlier this month, DocuSign COO Scott Olrich sat down with Sales Hacker to discuss category creation and the importance of creating a compelling narrative for new categories. As one of the drivers behind the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, and with a background of navigating uncharted waters, Scott knows what it takes when it comes to identifying a new opportunity, building the technology to meet that need, and getting that product into the market.
As part of this conversation, Scott discussed how he challenges consumer thinking. Category creation isn’t just about selling something different. It’s much more valuable to teach a customer or a prospect something they didn’t know and then tie that learning to a product or solution. With that model, companies are always building for the future and painting a vision for customers that will enable their growth as well.
Build a narrative first, the product (and the customers) will follow
In today’s high-tech landscape, business leaders are constantly looking to companies for thought leadership about where an industry is going. This is an opportunity to share revolutionary product breakthroughs, show how innovation can transform the way they operate, and foster customer relationships. Business leaders who think big about what the market is going to need will embrace the narrative from that thought leadership and grow into that vision. No matter what industry a company is in, it will always be changing, with new categories emerging all the time. A solid company vision will address those changes in the present and help future customers evolve to share that vision.
From a sales perspective, the first step in creating a new category is to determine a couple of things that a product can uniquely deliver and build a story around those things. A good product narrative changes what customers will be looking for in the future and guides them to those unique differentiators. Successful sales organizations will strategize and train their staff today so they can connect with tomorrow’s customers once they realize they need a tool from a new category.
Discover firsthand how DocuSign’s COO drives innovation with product narratives
To learn more about Scott’s tips for creating compelling product narratives for new categories, listen to the full podcast episode below. He’ll share:
- How he went through the category creation process at DocuSign (Agreement Cloud) and Responsys (Marketing Cloud)
- What it takes to create a product category successfully
- The first question to ask if you’re considering category creation
- Why narrative is more important than strategy when creating a category
- Which influencers guide Scott’s opinions about category creation and business orchestration
- How sales benefits from category creation
- What’s next for DocuSign
- Other patterns that are emerging in the technology landscape