Market Dominance Guys

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You only live once, but you get to serve twice.

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Federer, Nadal, Serena, Martina, McEnroe, Borg, Court, Navratilova…a roster of some of the best tennis players the world has ever known. 

But add one more name…Esther Vergeer to that list. Because she may actually be the most dominant and successful tennis player that you have never heard of. She won 148 career titles, 48 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, 23 year-end championships and seven gold medals. 

And she did it from a wheelchair. 

Esther Vergeer has used a wheelchair since she was 8, when an operation to correct hemorrhaging around her spinal cord left her paraplegic. So she took up tennis and shortly began to string together a list of titles that would be the envy of the tennis and sports world. 

From 2003 till retiring in 2013, Esther didn’t lose a single game. Not even one bad day. In these ten years, she had won 120 consecutive tournaments that amounted to 470 consecutive matches. And over the course of all these matches, she lost only 18 sets and was pushed to a match point only once.

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The Rise and Fall of the Sales Empire

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The earliest civilizations on earth developed between 4000 and 3000 BC when the rise of agriculture and trade allowed people to have surplus food and economic stability. Many people no longer had to practice farming which allowed for a diverse array of professions and interests to flourish in a relatively confined geographic area. The use of fire, the advent of the wheel, learning to domesticate animals, and come up with this cool thing to record progress called writing, all of these became milestones as we climbed the “civilization tree. 

Later, in the colonial rush in the mid 16th century, the Western Europeans brought even newer technologies, ideas, plants, and animals that were new to the Americas and would transform peoples' lives – some not necessarily for the better: Things such as guns, iron tools, and weapons; But also Christianity and Roman law; sugarcane and wheat; horses and cattle all became hallmarks of a “civilized” society. 

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The first law of sales holes: If you find yourself in one, stop digging!

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The United States may stake its claim as the first country to land on the moon but Russia can boast that it is the first country to drill the 2nd deepest man-made hole ever recorded here on Earth.

Since the early 1960s, scientists have attempted to drill down to the Earth's mantle. Why the mantle? Because we’re told that scientists only have a "reasonable" understanding of what it's made from, and how it works. 

In 1970, Russia entered the race to dig. But unlike the Moon landing, Russia achieved more than the US. Over the next 20 years, a Russian team of scientists drilled down 40,230 feet into the Earth… That's 7.6 miles. The hole, known as the "Kola superdeep borehole," is only nine inches in diameter. Nearby residents around the dig have said they could hear souls screaming in hell coming from the depths as the team dug deeper and deeper. Take advice from the Market Dominance Guys, if you find yourself in a sales hole, stop digging.

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How to Make Fear Your Friend in Cold Calling

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Seth Godin, of Purple Cow fame, writes, “Trust and attention – these are the scarce items in a post-scarcity world.” 

I’m obviously fairly partisan on this issue but would certainly add “Fear” to his list as well. Or, specifically, how do you embrace and leverage “fear” in your systematic effort towards Market Dominance?

No one said Market Dominance would be easy. It’s diligent and deliberate…it’s a three-year marathon where one of your end goals is that you end up having discovery meetings with 60% of your market. It’s both ambitious and arduous to set a course for market dominance. But the results are irrefutable…IF your inputs are consistent. For instance, understanding that the constraint of your sales system is not headcount, sales methodology, or even price point.

It’s the flow rate of conversations with relevant people that you have at the top of your funnel that is so commonly the real constraint to success. 

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The Best Surfer (or Sales Rep) Out There Is The One Having The Most Fun.

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A lot goes into building a surfboard. In fact, depending on the expertise and the quality of the board, there can be upwards of 39 steps from start to finish. It’s not a fast process and takes a skilled surfer on the shaper to know what a particular board size or shape will do in the water. Take Dick Brewer, the undisputed 83-year-old grandmaster surfboard shaper from Hawaii. Dick has designed boards surfing legends all over the world…the big guys like Laird Hamilton and Garrett McNamara. He says he has made more than 50,000 boards in his lifetime. McNamara says, "He makes the boards that I can trust my life on." Dick doesn’t take that trust lightly since Garrett regularly hunts waves of 100-feet plus to ride. Today, Dick hand-makes about 200 boards a year, putting his crisp, neat signature on each of them with a pencil and some of his custom wood boards sell for as much as $12,000.

Dick’s fundamental innovation was to shape the nose and tail of the board into a teardrop rather than an oval, allowing the board to cut into the water more precisely and help surfers ride inside the tube of the wave…this was revolutionary at the time and is credited with helping explode the skills and confidence of the big wave riders and also help newer folks try their hand at the sport. Tune in for this episode of Market Dominance Guys, "The Best Surfer Out There is the One Having the Most Fun."

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Surf’s Up: We all stand equal before a wave.

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You can learn a lot about market dominance by sitting in the sand…and watching surfers on the beaches of Southern California as they hone their craft. As a land-locked kid from the mean streets of Milwaukee, I would visit the beaches of Venice, California every summer and attempt to ride the relatively modest waves of the warm Santa Monica waters. 

Time and again I would bite it and tumble into the surf…learning a little bit each ride about balance…about the feel and the connection to the board beneath you…about timing. 

And later committing to a career in sales revealed many of the same techniques that I tried to master as Midwest kid first learning to surf. Certainly meeting with the Sales version of Point Break’s surf-master Bohdi, Chris Beall, over 15 years ago, has helped guide me in search of both riding the perfect wave and executing the perfect sales call. 

In this episode of the Market Dominance Guys, Chris argues that it’s the quality of the voice of the sales professional…and the obvious ability to emote sincerity of the human being who is conducting the first seven-second conversation with the prospect, which is really the key to market dominance. You are the surfer. And the scripts you ride – its purpose – with its first bits of information - is to be like a surfboard. Working with both a high-quality tandem is the only way to achieve dominance. 

But let’s remember that the job of the surfboard is not to ride the wave; that’s the surfer’s job. As I found out after many a spill, it simply can not ride the wave without a competent surfer. Having a Martin Scorsese-written script alone doesn’t guarantee success in your cold calling. 

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High Noon: Facing the Black Hats Who Are Trying to Take Your Market

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The United States of the mid 19th century is ripe with stories of its timeless legends and colorful characters who helped weave the historical events that defined the Great American West. The stories and movies about the adventures of lonesome cowboys, men with black hats, or brave lawmen of the Old West who clashed frequently in conflicts such as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the duals in the dusty streets of Virginia City, and tales of quick justice in Dodge City, continue to capture our imagination. 

When we talk of cowboys and other figures of the Wild West, we immediately picture a man on horseback. But no cowboy would roam the West or walk the streets without a gun…and such a gritty figure would most likely wield a very distinctive long-barreled revolver called the Colt 45. In fact, no gun in the Old West was as important or left such an indelible mark as the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, or more widely known simply as the Colt Peacemaker. 

It was said that "God made man, but Sam Colt made them equal."

And why it was called the Peacemaker and the “Great Equalizer” is as related to business and market dominance today as a cowboy is related to his boots. 

The Colt 45 leveled the competitive playing field because it equalized the relationship among fighting males…especially in the strong honor culture of the Old West, where discipline was enforced through one on one combat and duals deriving from even the faintest slight. So much so that the reason people used to be more polite back then could be argued that it was not because they were nicer people, it's because you might get killed otherwise. And that, as my fellow co-host Chris Beall would say, was considered to be a great inconvenience. join us for this episode of Market Dominance Guys.

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How Many SDRs Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

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Almost 400 years ago, in the early 17th century in Europe, tulip bulbs were considered hard currency. 200 years ago, many islanders of the South Pacific used bleached seashells to flaunt their wealth. 100 years ago, many Texans measured their success by how many heads of cattle they ran. And today, my 8-year-old measures his wealth by the rare skins and VBucks he accumulates through his Fortnite gaming efforts. But today, if you’re a CEO or senior business leader in B2B tech markets, you may also have an alternative form of capital that should be leveraged in every way that the currency in your bank account is currently deployed: If you have created the function of an SDR team – regardless of the size - they are indeed a source of capital that operates in many ways like traditional capital and is also liquid.

Since our focus at the Market Dominance Guys is lending a hand to companies and offering techniques and insight to market penetration, transitioning to NEW and additional markets may be something that isn’t at the top of the list. But, Geoffrey Moore argues – as we discussed in an earlier episode about his book, “Crossing the Chasm” - that breaking into any market is an aggressive act. And as such, Moore proposes a specific and consistent and testable strategy for moving from one market to the next with success. And testing and entering a new market is often a much more simple exercise than many realize…especially if you have the alternative capital – SDRs – to invest in it. It is through your SDR team, after all, that is the means by which you're going to identify the ripeness and opportunity that exists in a new market. 

With their number one job to be an instrument of market exploration and their number two job to be an instrument of market expansion.

That’s why, in essence, the mighty cold call is the essence of this entire market domination thing. Namely, can you hire and train and coach your SDRs to speak empathetically enough to get the prospect to trust them enough in 30 seconds and be curious enough that this curiosity can be transformed into commitment, and that this commitment will turn into the action of actually showing for the meeting.

In this episode, we explore the power of deploying SDRs…how, how many, and when…and why the more markets our SDRs can validate, the less our chances are of going out of business. This is the Market Dominance Guys and this week’s episode, “How Many SDRs does it take to Change a Lightbulb?”

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All Dead Companies are Equally Uninteresting.

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The classic book, Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore, is a manifesto, a field manual, and sales’ version of Dr. Spock’s book on “company rearing” for new entrepreneurs…all in one. To level set for a brief moment – and Googling an image of Dr. Moore’s chasm graph may be helpful for the episode here - marketers have traditionally identified different kinds of B2B tech buyers: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and finally the Laggards.

The traditional model assumed that, in the lifespan of a product, the market is first dominated by the innovators, then the early adopters etc. down the line. This model implies a level of inevitability in the flow-through of one of these categories from another to another…as your business continues. Good in theory but not so easy in practice.

The reality of entering and competing for markets today, gaps exist between the categories in this model that are large enough to derail the most promising startups as they transition from one category of customers to the next.

And the biggest gap Moore writes about is the one between Early Adopters and Early Majority. This is where both bags of money and companies go to die. Because the GoTo market & sales strategies that win deals in the Early Adopters group, won’t necessarily work so well for the Early Majority group. Instead, you may find yourself at the bottom of a valley looking up at an el Capitan-like sheer vertical wall of market climbing ahead of you. The sales team by your side that did well in the early stage of capturing innovators and early adopters now find themselves often overmatched and underequipped by the challenge and technical nuances of a market wall this big.

Since it is vastly different market types, moving from early adopters to early majority requires new tools, new approaches, and a lot of new thinking.

So what is the new thinking? In this episode, I ask Chris about the simple differences in the type of team and skills and techniques you need to climb this wall and continue moving down Moore’s market path. Building trust is the core requirement – and without understanding how and why you need to manufacture it to scale this wall, you’ll be left floundering and eking for survival with other amateur but well-intentioned climbers at the lower reaches of this meager market wall.
So once again welcome to the Market Dominance Guys and this week’s episode, “All dead companies are equally uninteresting.”

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Parker Brothers Gave Me My MBA

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If you want to dominate your market, here’s an inexpensive tip: Head down to your local Goodwill and buy a used version of the classic board game Risk… It seems that you don’t need AI, Machine Learning sims, or dozens of third-party load-tested and validated forecast models to predict how your business will perform in the next 24 months. Sometimes you just need to remember how you played a game that many of you probably haven’t picked up since you were 12. 

Risk was a board game that taught many of us about basic market dominance…each player sits and views a map of the world where each player has a finite number of armies placed randomly in a territory. The goal is to budget – and risk – your armies to conquer your neighbor’s landmass – while also leaving some troops to defend the territories you already have won from attacks that soon come on other fronts. The player who conquers all the armies on the map is the winner. 

No less of a result than we’ve talked about on these episodes. 

Consider that at the outset of every turn you simply ask yourself, “What am I going to risk in order to boot somebody out of a territory, so that I can dominate it from which I can launch another campaign when I'm strong enough to dominate and adjacent territory?” 

It’s the same theory in business – except deploying real dollars and resources vs placing your surplus of plastic pieces in Greenland (never a good idea). 

If you and your leadership team just played Risk all day long, I guarantee you will see traits and ideas and lessons to be applied to your current business. 

Because this math and exercise in risk and reward – and you’ve really got to do that kind of fundamental math if you haven’t already done so – is kind of like the game theory of business that must be done before we can figure out the real role of sales.

So let’s jump right into this episode of the Market Dominance Guys entitled – Parker Brothers gave me my MBA. 

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