🔆 Leveraging framework + product to stand out

🔆 Leveraging framework + product to stand out

For any startup, the first critical challenge to overcome is: How to gain our first +100 customers.

One quote from my interview with Patrick Woods, CEO of Orbit, earlier this week represents a valuable lesson worth reflecting upon.

The first couple of 100 customers were entirely word of mouth. Orbitz’s growth today has been almost entirely organic – content-led, community-led, bottoms up. We haven’t done big campaigns,  and we haven’t got outbound sales. But also, the Orbit model, as an idea, was really resonant. It was a very compelling story and concept for people. And so the path for many of our early adopters was: They heard about the Orbit model as an idea, read the website about the framework, and then realized there’s software that actually helps apply this. So, I want to try it.

Let me unpack this: What helped Orbit do this is to sell the idea, not the product. It’s one of the traits remarkable SaaS companies master.

Here’s the thing:

The challenge is more than getting your first 100 customers. It’s to establish a way to stand out in a noisy market. And the way to do so is to take position, i.e. stand for something. What Orbit did was leverage narrative design. They articulated the undeniable change in the market, described how traditional practice (the old game) holds companies back and gave them the plan to adopt the new game: The Orbit Framework. 

Orbit would have struggled to build predictable traction if they had gone to market as the so-many-est community platform. 

Instead, they took position, developed their framework, and made that the heart of their story. As a result, they serve 1000s of companies, won the hearts of over 10.000 users, and manage nearly 40 million community members. That’s the power of selling the idea, not the product.

Listen to the podcast (this quote starts at the 37.25 mark)


Question for you to reflect upon?

What’s the approach underpinning your SaaS platform that could fuel the transformation narrative of your SaaS business?


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