168: Building A Challenger Brand with Matrixx Software
When Matrixx started out in 2008, they were a David among Goliaths. People thought they were crazy to even try cracking a pretty crowded SaaS market for communications and digital services provider. Skip ahead a few years and they’re boasting 70% growth (for 3+ years!), 15% responsibility for the lead pipeline—which in a niche market like Matrixx’s is quite a feat—and, perhaps most impressive of all, a 100% renewal rate for the multi-year subscription model. You don’t see 100% all that often (Citizen Kane’s 100% on Rotten Tomatoes is certainly good company to share), and with good reason: it takes some simply stunning work from the company to achieve.
In this episode, Jennifer Kyriakakis, Founder & VP of Marketing, talks about their journey from startup to top-5 brand in their industry. She shares how they’ve celebrated customer loyalty (hint: don’t make your case studies about your product), how to boldly approach new business acquisition, how they manage to show each prospect a live demonstration of how the Matrixx software can support their specific needs, and more. Matrixx has maintained a David mentality, even as they’ve grown to the Goliath level, listen in to this episode of RTU to learn how.
Have you been able to figure out what role marketing plays along the way to not just get the lead in the pipeline, but to nurture it along the way?
Absolutely. As you can imagine, there are touch points across every organization. Every organization has influence on the buying decision. It rolls up to different people, depending on the organization, who make that decision. A lot of times it’s a C-level or a board level decision. What we found from the marketing perspective is that, there is a tradition of B2B companies being really good at engaging I.T., and in our specific industry, engaging networks. There hasn’t, however, been enough focus on engaging the commercial people, the commercial organizations, the product owners and the businesspeople. As a marketing team, we’re really focused on nurturing that side, especially because those specific organizations have gained a lot of power and influence as purchasing decision makers in the past five years due to digital transformation. As a result, we have we designed a bunch of programs to specifically engage and nurture those people.
How do you build credibility early on?
It’s a big issue. There’s nothing like being able to see, feel and touch. That’s why there are two main solutions to the “how do I show credibility” problem, and you always have to address both of them. The first one is that the see and touch part. We would always bring in, as a starting point to a new prospect, the end consumer experience as they would experience it. We bring it live into their hands so they can actually use it and see it. We basically roll out the product for them in a demo. And we’ve had people literally sit there and go, “Oh, that’s magic.”
The second part is even earlier, before demos. You’ve got to build credibility before you show it, which is not easy as a small startup in an established space. One big thing is picking the right first customers. As a startup, we had to think about who we engaged with early on—which is tough. It’s tough to be picky when you just start out, because you may be tempted to just find any customers. But you need to pick the right ones. We did actually walk away from some early deals to find, instead, customers who were going to be innovative, who were going to go on the journey with us. We found customers who were going to support us. Because once you have those first customers that you can also point to and say, and it’s been running there, you know, for 18 months, two years, four years, you are really pointing to a relationship. That’s credibility. We’ve really built reference-ability that we are proud of, and a big part is finding the right business partners early on.