The Remarkable Effect

Why some software companies stand out and others don't

I am fascinated with the art of being remarkable. It’s such a simple, but such a powerful measure. When your software company is ‘worth making a remark about’ something special is happening – and this can become your tipping point. Isn’t that what we all strive for?

So, what makes software companies remarkable?

After 25-plus years of product marketing experience in the business software industry, I have developed an eye for identifying those common factors. In this blog, I have tried to boil them down to the ten factors that remarkable software companies have in common: The remarkable effect. Here they are

1. They strive to be different; not just better

Be remarkable

They are the businesses you hear about and cannot get out of your mind. They stand out from the pack, even if they are in a highly commoditized segment of the market. They understand the art to step back, see the big picture, and find ways to solve problems in a way that stands out. They are not content to merely settle.

2. They offer something valuable and desirable

Remarkable software companies focus on valuable problems, not just the interesting ones. They don’t just copy what their customers are saying or asking for but instead ask the critical questions to identify the areas that drive the most significant business impact. They also don’t jump on new technologies for the sake of the latest technology, but instead apply them in a way that transforms, not just improves common ways of working.

3. They focus on the essence

Here’s another thing I have seen time and again: Remarkable businesses and their CEOs never lose their sense of why they got started in the first place. This defines their ‘why’ and helps establish a tangible and credible vision of the world they want to create. It becomes the north-star to execute on with precision. It makes decision making easy for everyone, enables them to say no to interesting, but attention dragging opportunities and helps them to stay on track and deliver.

4. They create positive energy

A remarkable business creates a positive space–whether in the virtual or analog world–that you want to be a part of. When you read their newsletters or listen to their podcasts, you go away feeling inspired, and then you come back for more.

5. They understand the art of selling a feeling

Regardless of what product your business is selling, you cannot deny that buyers purchase based on emotions first, and logic second. They don’t buy 1000 transactions per second; they buy ‘confidence.’ They don’t buy a better procurement process; they buy ‘being in control.’ They don’t buy an application to streamline the sales process; they buy ‘competitive advantage.’

If you can combine logic and facts with heart and passion, reaching your buyer on his or her feelings, you’re more likely to close a deal.

6. They sell the idea, not the product

Over a decade ago, Steve Jobs famously announced a “revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” What he was mostly selling was the idea of a lifestyle so cool and ahead of the times that it would change the way people operate. When people lined up in droves for a new Apple product, they were buying into this innovative lifestyle. The iPhone made good on its promise and still dominates the market years later.

7. They create fans, not just customers

When you follow all of the above steps, you have the power to influence a vast portion of the market. You’ll create fans, not just customers. You’ll maximize your influence by building relationships; not just closing sales. Remarkable software companies understand the art of meeting their customers at their point of the journey and work with them to solve significant challenges and achieve lofty ambitions. This is how you gain loyal followers and fans who spread your message for you.

8. They create momentum

Remarkable software businesses create customers wanting more. They are not just lucky once but design their success to build momentum in every step of their journey. They create roadmaps that inspire, rigorously cutting out the non-essential. They stir up excitement and mystique around each launch and then exceed everyone’s expectations. By creating momentum, you get people talking about what you have to offer. Just make sure you can deliver on your promise.

9. They receive value because they provide value

Because remarkable software companies always take an outside-in approach, they focus on customer value first. As such they don’t have to explain why a customer needs their product, their customers already get that. The sales process, therefore, turns into a buying process – where asking for a discount doesn’t even come up in the mind of the customer. They’re prepared to pay a premium for remarkable products. You’ll receive value when you offer value. It’s quite simple.

10. They realize they can’t please everyone

Last but not least – remarkable software companies know they’re not for everyone. They understand there will always be naysayers, and that’s fine. If they’d tried to focus on everyone, they’d be like everyone, and they’d be competing for business, fighting over discount, and wasting precious time and resources on things that don’t matter. Realizing they are not for everyone allows them to stand out, establish a loyal fan-base and continue to be worth making a remark about.

So, how remarkable are you?

Challenge yourself. Is your software business worth making a remark about? If not, you are not alone – but that doesn’t mean you can’t be.

Reflect for a couple of minutes and define the first tangible steps you can take to change the course.


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.