“Understand the wrong customer before picking the right one”- Eric Winsborrow
IPL brought the community an opportunity listen to Dr. Eric Winsborrow, CEO of Distrix Networks. A product industry veteran with 25+ years of rich technology experience, Mr. Winsborrow has worked with both early-stage Silicon Valley startups and multi-billion dollar corporations including Lucent, Cisco, Symantec and McAfee. While at McAfee, Mr. Winsborrow led global product marketing for the entire company. He was instrumental in streamlining McAfee’s Go to Market strategy and launch process, and led the launch of McAfee Total Protection, which was one of the biggest product launches for the company. Mr. Winsborrow also lectures at UBC and Stanford as part of their entrepreneurship program.
In IPL’s first webinar of 2017, “Essential Go to Market Considerations”, Mr. Winsborrow talked about how to build a “venture-scale” business, and the do’s and don’t of Go to Market strategy. In line with our belief of bringing in relevant industry content, you have a first-hand opportunity to hear about the McAfee Go to Market strategy, and other interesting real-life examples.
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Want to build a Venture-Scale Business? Find out what investors really look for when looking for value in a company. While investors primarily evaluate team, market opportunity, and technology, Mr. Winsborrow shared insights on why the team rather than technology, plays a major role in determining value.
Mr. Winsborrow shared Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption life cycle, and insights on how to cross the chasm once you have found early adopters. He discussed the need to be focussed, and the importance ramping up from few customers to hundreds and thousands of users to handle volumes, by using the “Bowling Alley” concept to leverage for growth.
Even if you missed the webinar, you can listen to this recording to learn why a positioning statement is important. Mr. Winsborrow shared Geoffrey Moore’s methods which he has used at both smaller and larger companies such as Cisco, Symantec and McAfee where he worked with many Version 1.0 products, to arrive at a positioning statement.
Why should you pick the right customers? While defining Go to Market Strategy, Mr. Winsborrow emphasized picking the right customer. To do this, he explained that you must understand who a wrong customer is. Illustrating a previous experience at a VoIP security startup, he said that the startup spent about a year to build technology for a financial institution, assuming that they would get a multi-million dollar deal, till in the end, the potential customer simply did not buy, and went with a different solution and approach. A customer who is not referenceable, is a wrong customer, and will not let you cross the chasm to grow the business. Picking the right customer will set your reputation in the market, as will the right partners.
What are the Dos and Don’ts of partnership? Partnerships should be mutually beneficial, and Mr. Winsborrow emphasized that the value-addition is equally important at either end, even if you are 15 people, and the partner has 1500 people . He advised startups to play for a win-win situation. Mr. Winsborrow shared a detailed lists of Do’s and Don’ts for Partners, which you can use right away in your business. Do the Do’s Analysis to pick the right partner - look at partner strategy, business model and your profitability before signing on the dotted line. Equally important is the fact that you should almost never give exclusivity over technology, make unprofitable deals, or give away IP while establishing partnerships. Do a Do’s Analysis before going into the Don’ts.
Mr. Winsborrow also talked about the Go To Market strategy he implemented at McAfee. He shared the challenges he faced when joined McAfee, and how he and his team overcame them over the course of the year. He also provided invaluable insights on how they came up with product strategy, product marketing, and launched McAfee Total Protection solution which was one of the biggest product launches for the company that single-handedly raised the McAfee stock.
During the Q & A at the end of the webinar, Mr. Winsborrow discussed the differences for product launches for startups vs. established companies, executive championing, and challenges while doing Go to Market for buzzword technologies such as IoT.
Listen to the webinar recording to get insights on Go to Market strategies from a product leader who has seen it all across both global companies and Silicon Valley startups.