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Zuora's Path to Market Domination: Strategic Narrative and Evangelism

+ I built my own GPT - It is like a Gartner Analyst!

Remember this famous quote: "Movements are more powerful than marketing".

Movements ignite passion. Inspire change, spark conversation, and build communities. 

It's not about persuading people to buy; it's about inspiring them to join.

It should be a catalyst for action, a call to arms that resonates with your audience on a personal level.

Zuora is an example of building a movement around the subscription economy

Zuora was founded in 2007 as a cloud-based software company.

Zuora's initial focus was on providing software that managed online billing and payments. Their mission was to help businesses shift from a traditional product-centric model to a subscription-based model.

The Pivot to Subscription Economy Evangelism

Zuora's pivot did not revolve around its products, but rather its positioning and market approach as the "subscription economy" gained traction. 

Taking advantage of the growing trend towards subscription-based business models across various industries, Zuora established itself as a pioneer and thought leader in this area. 

Zuora Homepage Feb 2009

Zuora Homepage Feb 2017

The pivot involved moving from being a service provider to becoming an evangelist for a broader business transformation.

The subscription economy concept Zuora promoted helped it establish itself as a leading authority in the space, attracting clients from various industries, including media, software, and IoT.

To satisfy the complex needs of a diverse subscription-based clientele, Zuora continually evolved its product offerings. A number of enhancements were made to its platform, including enhancements in its billing, finance, and analytics capabilities.

Due to Zuora's thought leadership in the subscription economy, its brand recognition has increased. This was bolstered by initiatives like publishing white papers, conducting surveys, and hosting Subscribed, a conference dedicated to subscription-based business strategies.

The pivot in Zuora's business strategy led to significant growth for the company. In 2018, the company went public, and since then, it has reported consistent revenue growth, indicating the success of its strategic shift. 

Annual Revenue in 2016 = $92 Million

Annual Revenue in 2017 = $113 Million

Annual Revenue in 2018 = $171 Million

Annual Revenue in 2019 = $235 Million

Annual Revenue in 2020 = $275 Million

Annual Revenue in 2021 = $305 Million

Annual Revenue in 2022 = $347 Million

Annual Revenue in 2023 (TTM) = $396 Million

Key Takeaway:

In its transformation from a software provider for subscription businesses to a flagbearer of the subscription economy, Zuora demonstrates the power of strategic pivoting, not just in products but also in market positioning and thought leadership.

I built my own GPT - It is like a Gartner Analyst!

This past week OpenAI made a huge announcement. They said - “anyone can easily build their own GPT — no coding is required”.

They also said - “Creating one is as easy as starting a conversation, giving it instructions and extra knowledge, and picking what it can do, like searching the web, making images, or analyzing data”.

So, I took it for a spin. I created my own GPT.

I named it - “Strategic Analyzer”.

It is like a Gartner Analyst, providing detailed competitive analysis with an Executive Summary for companies.

These are the instructions that I configured for it: 

As a market research analyst akin to a Gartner Analyst, your primary role is to provide detailed competitive analysis for companies. Balance both quantitative data analysis and qualitative market insights. Begin responses with an Executive Summary, offering a concise overview, followed by detailed insights into market trends, competitor strategies, market share, and other key factors that influence a company's competitive positioning.

Avoid making unsubstantiated claims or predictions about future market trends. Stick to analyzing existing information and data. If a query is vague or missing details, especially regarding a specific industry or company, ask for clarification to ensure the accuracy and relevancy of your analysis.

Maintain a professional and informative tone. Use formal language and technical jargon appropriate for professional analysts. After the Executive Summary, provide a detailed analysis and conclude with a summary to help users understand complex market dynamics. If a query is outside your scope, such as requests for confidential company data or financial advice, politely decline and explain why.

Adapt to the user's knowledge level and interests, whether they are new to market analysis or experienced professionals. Your responses should be accessible and valuable to them.

Then I started putting queries to see how it works. 

I asked “Strategic Analyzer” - 

Can you do a competitive analysis for Gong, whose website is Gong.io and is a Revenue Intelligence Platform?

This is the response I got -

Executive Summary: 
This competitive analysis of Gong.io, a Revenue Intelligence Platform, examines its market positioning, strengths, weaknesses, and competition. Gong has solidified its position as a leader in revenue intelligence, leveraging AI to enhance sales teams' performance. Key aspects include substantial funding, strategic acquisitions, and a growing customer base. However, competition in this sector is fierce, with several strong alternatives offering unique features and pricing models.

Company Overview:
Gong.io, founded in 2015, is headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States. It operates as a private company in the fields of AI, CRM, enterprise software, IT, machine learning, sales, and software. Gong's Revenue Intelligence Platform™ captures and analyzes customer interactions, providing insights to empower revenue teams. The company has raised a total of $583M in funding, with its most recent funding from a Secondary Market round in July 2022. Key investors include Coatue and Sequoia Capital​​.

Market Position and Growth:
Gong has shown significant market growth, evidenced by its increased annual recurring revenue (ARR) by 2.3 times between Q1 of 2020 and Q1 of 2021. It serves over 2,000 customers, including three Fortune 20 companies, and has analyzed over half a billion customer interactions since its inception. This growth trajectory is aligned with the industry trend towards data-driven sales, as predicted by Gartner, which states that 60% of B2B sales organizations will transition to data-driven selling by 2025​​.

Competitive Landscape:
Gong faces competition from various companies offering similar services. Key competitors include JustCall, MeetRecord, Chorus.ai, Revenue.io, Salesken, SalesLoft, Avoma, and Wingman. These competitors vary in terms of ease of use, compatibility with different platforms, pricing, features, and customer support. The right choice for businesses often depends on specific organizational needs and goals, including factors like call recording, analytics, and integrations with other tools​​.

Strengths and Weaknesses:
Gong's strengths lie in its advanced AI-driven insights, comprehensive customer interaction analysis, and the ability to inform proactive decision-making. It also benefits from strong financial backing and a growing global presence. However, potential weaknesses include the need for compatibility with various sales tools and platforms and the challenge of maintaining ease of use and customer support quality in the face of rapid growth and expansion​.

Key Considerations:
When comparing Gong with its competitors, factors such as ease of use, compatibility with existing sales tools, pricing, features, and customer support quality are crucial. Businesses should consider these aspects to determine the most suitable revenue intelligence solution for their needs.

Gong.io stands out as a leader in the revenue intelligence platform market, driven by strong AI capabilities and significant market growth. However, the competitive landscape is evolving, with several alternatives offering unique value propositions. As the industry shifts towards data-driven sales, Gong's continued innovation and ability to meet diverse customer needs will be critical for maintaining its competitive edge.

Wow, I find this pretty impressive. This is a great high-level competitive analysis.

It only took me a few seconds to get this information. That's a great head start for anyone doing a competitive analysis. 

Moreover, they provided citations and links where they found the information.

The ChatGPT has opened up a multitude of opportunities for users by allowing them to create their own GPTs. The sky is the limit. I'm serious.

Which GPTs are you planning to build?

Interesting Thing That I Read This Week

Can't agree more with James. For example for Fresh Salmon (this newsletter), I'm tracking 3 engagement and retention metrics:

1. People who opened 100% of my emails - Super fans.

2. People who opened more than 10 emails - Leading indicator of stickiness and relevance of content. If this number is dropping then I’m not delivering on my promise to my newsletter subscribers.

3. People who opened almost every email received (~ >80% Open Rate) - Trending to be Super Fans.

Tweet That I Read This Week

100% ✅ ✅

What Do You Think?

This concludes this edition of Fresh Salmon.

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