So You Want To Create A Category. Here’s What Gainsight’s CMO Says You Should Do.

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This is a podcast episode titled, So You Want To Create A Category. Here’s What Gainsight’s CMO Says You Should Do.. The summary for this episode is: In this episode of the Marketing Swipe File recorded live at SaaStr, DG sits down with Gainsight CMO Anthony Kennada to talk about how they built a company, even though there was no clear market to launch into. Anthony shares the five things Gainsight did to create a category in the B2B space – like ignoring analysts and being long-term greedy. Want the rest? Listen to the full episode to learn how they did it (and how they grew their brand to become one of the fastest growing private companies in the world).

DG: Hey, it's DG. And I want to send you a ton of free marketing stuff right to your door or your inbox, whatever you want. I'm serious, because look, we know how it is. One of my favorite things about doing marketing at Drift is that we are all marketers, just like you. So we're marketers, doing marketing, to marketers. It's crazy. And one thing we know that in the B2B world, there's so much content out there, it can be hard to figure out what to read and who to trust if you're looking to grow your business. And so we put together something that I call the ultimate conversational marketing starter kit. We asked our top customers, literally turned to them and said," What resources would you give to somebody new to Drift and conversational marketing?" And we're packaging all of that up to send right to your door for the first time for free. So that means I will send you a copy of the book I wrote with my boss, our CEO, David Cancel on conversational marketing. This book was an instant number one new release on Amazon in three categories and it's already sold 10,000 plus copies to date. I'll literally send you the actual 262 page hardcover book, right to your door. Also, we'll send you This Won't Scale, a digital copy of our very popular book This Won't Scale, which is a book we wrote as a marketing team about how we do marketing at Drift. It's 110 pages. It's only been available as a hard copy, but we're making it available digitally for the first time as part of this offer. We'll also send you the modern marketers playbook. You'll get a digital copy of our modern marketers playbook, which is a guide we wrote with strategic insights from 35 of today's most influential marketing leaders from companies like Slack, LinkedIn, Octa, Vimeo, and more. We'll also give you the conversational marketing blueprint, which is the best next step after you read the conversational marketing book and it gives you a step- by- step guide for implementing and optimizing conversational marketing for your business. And, it's not over, the conversational sales handbook. This is a guide you're going to need to give to your sales team to build your conversational sales strategy, AKA what you do after you take everything you've learned in the book and the blueprint. All you have to do is visit drift. com/ starter and grab all this stuff right now that starter, S- T- A- R- T- E- R. I tried to have no Boston accent on that. Drift. com/ starter. We'll send everything right to your door, or we'll literally just send an email if you'd prefer that, okay? Drift. com/ starter. And I will see you hopefully there. Hey everybody. It's DG back with another episode of The Swipe File. This episode, another one live from SaaStr with Anthony Kennada, who's the CMO of Gainsight. We talked about, basically right after he got off stage at SaaStr, we talked about his talk, which was all about category creation. That is a topic that I love. Category design and all the secrets that have gone into what they've done at Gainsight to build their category in customer success. If you love marketing, if you're thinking about category creation, especially if you're in B2B, you don't want to miss this episode. And I know you're going to enjoy it. Here's Anthony, the CMO of Gainsight, me, live SaaStr 2019. Check it out. Okay. So Anthony, I have been following your stuff, big fan of what you guys are doing.

Anthony Kennada: Likewise.

DG: And then saw your talk about category creation. I was a little jealous. It's a good topic. It's a good topic. We have some things to say, but I wanted to do a podcast with you live from SaaStr. Kind of like digging into your talk. If you can still remember it, I know it was yesterday, but I want to dig in. So first give some people background on who you are and kind of your story at Gainsight.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. So Anthony Kennada, I'm the CMO at Gainsight. We've been here for about six years. And my story I guess is, this is actually my first marketing job. And so I kind of grew up at box in the early days and the kind of sales business development world. Moved to product management, did a bunch of random, basically every... Kind of circled around marketing. And then when Nick, who I'd worked with before, joined a company called Gainsight, we were rebranding to Gainsight, He asked me to come on board and run marketing. And so-

DG: Did you know him before?

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. We worked at Live Office before, before together.

DG: So you were like BD sales guy? You were like-

Anthony Kennada: Exactly.

DG: Cool.

Anthony Kennada: I was like a 22 year old BD guy, trying to figure it all out. But I guess I must've made an impression somewhere there with him.

DG: What do you think he hired you for? Just, you were the young scrappy, figure it out sales guy?

Anthony Kennada: I think so. I think it's that. And honestly, this is kind of weird, but he always references one presentation I gave at Live Office where he liked the way I built the deck. And so I was like," Man, I could have been sick that day." That deck could have been...

DG: So was your first job at Gainsight in marketing?

Anthony Kennada: Yes. I was the director of marketing reporting to him head of. And I just rode the head of all the way up to-

DG: He hires you as director of marketing. You've never done marketing in your life.

Anthony Kennada: Not at all.

DG: What did you do? And I had no intention of asking you this stuff, but it's such a good story that-

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, yeah.

DG: Wait, what the hell did you do?

Anthony Kennada: What we didn't have was a main competitor that was like the incumbent customer success, like 8, 000 pound gorilla in the room. We had to go and figure out how to win the hearts and minds of people and point to churn is a thing that you had to really go and worry about.

DG: Did you have anything from a business perspective? Do you have leads? Customers, website traffic?

Anthony Kennada: Five customers, and a series A note that was signed or a term sheet. It was very early days. We didn't have a brand. We didn't have a marketable database that was sizable enough to do anything. But one of the crazy things we did first was Nick asked me literally less than 45 days in the job, we should go host an event, which I took as like, let's go put a card down, a launch party, maybe some t- shirts.

DG: We'll get beers and pizza and it'd be great.

Anthony Kennada: Exactly. And what he meant was go to an industry event and conference that had nothing to do with our company. It's not a customer event because to your point, we didn't really have many, but make it all about the people in the job. Make it all about the customer success people and make it about best practices and get them together in a room, let them network and kind of have network, have relationship. And that's what we did. And I think the magic moment was we ended up with about 300 people there in our first year, the company had just rebranded to Gainsight, so it was still super early days, but we were like, oh my gosh, there's something here.

DG: And you tapped into such a thing, which is like, if you know anything about everybody that I've ever met that works in customer success is like, that's what they do.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, totally.

DG: That is a wrap. They love serving customers and so it seemed like such a good fit on the surface to get those people in a room. And that feeling of having people in a room is unlike anything else in marketing.

Anthony Kennada: Well, this is one thing you write about a lot, which I love is we're in kind of a new wave where it's not just about selling products and services and marketing is slanging licenses of software. It's not that anymore. There's actually people behind the logos that we sell to. And for customer success people, these are people that have a high degree of empathy. They care, they care about serving the customer, but now they're actually getting promoted and being recognized and driving growth with empathy. So that marriage is really interesting and kind of rare.

DG: I want to talk about brand stuff in a little bit, but I want a little bit more on you and your career in marketing, because I think this is for our marketing podcast, which people will listen to and want to learn from you. Talk about the path from going from sales guy to individual contributor in a marketing role to growing a team to now CMO. I think every great marketer that you talk to, or at least I've had the pleasure of interviewing, they all say the same thing."It's like every six months, I'm reinventing myself." What are the kind of the waves that... Break down the waves. Okay, you go from you're the guy running the event to now CMO, what are the kind of reinventions you've gone through?

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. So phase one was literally get the people in the job together and create early stage content that they're going to resonate with. Whether that means blogs, webinars, eBooks, everything around me was an agency. We had an outsource demand gen agency, outsource PR. And it was me and actually one person on my team who joined pretty early, basically doing a ton of writing and a lot of evangelism around this thing.

DG: And you having to spend your days talking to the agency about budget and channels and PR and I'm sure that helped you have to learn everything.

Anthony Kennada: Totally, absolutely. It was definitely like learning by osmosis, but also the talk yesterday on category creation, there aren't a lot of best practices for how to do it the way we were doing it. And so it's really learning by doing as well.

DG: It probably, definitely made you better at marketing because I think one of the curses of being a marketer today is we like to see what everybody else is doing and then go do that. And so if you go in that without having that playbook before you're like," Shit, I don't know any of this stuff."

Anthony Kennada: Totally.

DG: Okay. Here's how I would do it.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. And I mean, that's what it was. It was basically like by being genuine, by being community builders, content creators, we can actually drive growth too. Maybe there's something to this. And so phase two came later and that was layering on demand gen in a meaningful way. All that was, was amplifying the same stuff we were creating earlier. So now we were spending money, right. We were doing a lot of LinkedIn campaigns, digitals, and maybe M work, but taking the content and just getting it exposed to the right audience.

DG: How do you stay true to what you cared about, right? Because in the early days when you don't have big revenue goals, it's easier on paper to be like," We love everybody, come to our event." And I felt this firsthand too. But as you scale, the lead number gets bigger. The pipeline number gets bigger. You start to be incentivized to almost do the bad things, right? And the bad things being just like marketing that people don't like. So how have you tried to stay true to being a brand throughout the six years as you've grown this team and built it into a machine?

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, that's a really good point. I mean, I think we have the luxury of having Pulse be a micro brand that we operate. And so when we push stuff through that channel, it's not salesy. It's not crossing a boundary with the people on the other end of it. It's truly for community building. Now from the Gainsight side, of course, we have to figure out how to kind of score that activity and be able to look at folks that we want to position with a sales opportunity crosstalk

DG: How do you think about Pulse? Is it a revenue generating thing? How do you think about it?

Anthony Kennada: It's like literally everything. Actually, you mentioned you spoke to Dan Rogers while you're out here. He had like an amazing kind of point of view on this. It's great. It's a compelling event for the product team to launch new functionality, new features. It's a chance for us to reinvent ourselves, to your point, as a company from a positioning and messaging point of view. Employees love it. And they're like," Wow, I joined the right company, the right movement-

DG: That's such an underrated thing. This is something that I learned from David from his time at HubSpot. Every year HubSpot had their big conference and he would have all the engineers go. So he ran the product team at HubSpot. He would have all the engineers go. And I remember him telling me at first they were like," What? This is a conference for sales and marketing people. Why am I here?" But then what happened is I think they all had shirts that said, I built the product, ask me questions. And that's when it changed, because then it is bigger than, it's not a lead gen event. It's not a brand event. It is the whole company. We are in this together to be there that day. And then the whole team at Gainsight, Drift, whatever, becomes their best marketing channel because They're fired up.

Anthony Kennada: Totally. That's exactly it. And we measure that, right. We measure like," Hey employee, what's the EMPS coming out of it?"

DG: You measure employee NP... So you measure your employees NPS of the event?

Anthony Kennada: No, we'll look at it like quarterly-

DG: Oh, after.

Anthony Kennada: ...afterthe conference, we'll see-

DG: People are on a high, right?

Anthony Kennada: Totally.

DG: You made a big announcement, everybody kind of jus worked their asses off leading up to this thing.

Anthony Kennada: For sure. I mean, we try to get as many of our new hires in before that. It's a great way to get onboard and excited about the journey you're about to go on. But yeah, I mean, it is a pipeline driver for us and we set up basically just the behind the scenes of this is we have a executive briefing center that we build and we've got SDRs that are calling in the folks in the registering base. And I know that's an area we're being very sensitive, very careful about. And we're basically offering up concierge service. So," Hey, I know you're coming to Pulse. Is there anything I can do to help?"

DG: Love that.

Anthony Kennada: "Howcan I help you navigate the agenda? Is there anyone you're looking to meet?" Those types of things. And if you kind of start getting down to discussion of software," Hey would you like to meet with someone while you're there?" And then we have this very high touch kind of experience for them. And we'll look at how many meetings did we book at the conference? How many of those converted? And at the end of the day, it's our biggest driver of pipe year in, year out.

DG: Give me the breakdown of your team today, if you can.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. So I've got 60 people in marketing of which 20 are in SDR. SDR rolls up into marketing. We've got demand gen, which is all your typical kind of functions. I have a group called go- to- market, which is basically a bunch of things pulled into one. So we've got product marketing, customer marketing, something called segment marketing. So we'll look at the enterprise, have an enterprise owner, corporate owner, pricing and packaging. Oh, sales enablement. So we actually have enablement, centralized marketing.

DG: I love the go- to- market packaging because it's typically like inside of a marketing team, everybody's, that's why I like asking this question because everyone does it differently. And there's always kind of these, you kind of have brand, creative, demand gen and there's like product marketing, customer marketing, ops enablement. So you just kind of give them a label so it's one team together.

Anthony Kennada: Totally. Yeah we just had to the one label for it crosstalk.

DG: How do you run the team? From a rituals, I'm interested. People love to listen to this, love nerding out on what you do. I want to know do you have your staff meeting, your four or five direct reports, then you have all team meetings. What are the rituals in the marketing team?

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, actually this is our first time talking about this, but we recently met and wanted to sort of reposition how we interact as a team because we have enablement and SDR and this isn't all marketing, right? We're a bunch of things plus marketing. And so we were borrowing a little bit from Twitter and some others and are calling ourselves one team and I know that sounds kind of like a ritual, but it's true. And so what we'll do is basically do regular staff meetings, just like most folks have, but then we'll do weekly one team meetings where we have a chance to talk about the highs and lows of the week, what really worked. We recognize some folks on the team that really stood out and did something meaningful. So like a moment of appreciation basically. And then the idea is basically each meeting, we're going to cater something fun. And so it's stupid. But I think people really... we did boba every Friday. People were like, hey-

DG: It's great.

Anthony Kennada: It's our Friday boba. This is a thing. So we're trying to look for ways to actually, as we scale, maintain that specialness, maintain that culture, the subculture of the team. So we've got the Gainsight culture, but we want to be a special subculture within that team.

DG: Yeah. What is the one team swagger of. And it's different, you have SDRs, those are all different people.

Anthony Kennada: Totally, totally.

DG: People that are great at being SDR are different than the person that's in a sales enablement role, is different than a demand gen role.

Anthony Kennada: For sure, for sure.

DG: All right. Let's talk about category creation. Talk to me about why it's so important.

Anthony Kennada: Philosophically?

DG: Yeah. Why do you care about having a category?

Anthony Kennada: I mean, I think this wasn't something we sought out for and said," We're going to go build a category around this. Let's go Google category creation, let's get a agency to come in and help us figure it out." It was none of that. You would only kind of looked back and said, wow-

DG: That's a cure to old marketing problems. Just like you find an agency and they figure it out.

Anthony Kennada: Some specialized someone that's done it once, right? Yeah. We didn't do that. We just started doing a bunch of things and we started getting recognized as category creators. And I think the reason we did it was A, survival in the early days. So part of what we talked about in session is had we taken the path of what Gartner and Forrester were kind of asking us to do, they were basically saying they were aligning our value proposition to our research area they already covered. So they said," You guys are like proactive customer support or proactive account management." And so if we didn't create a category, Gainsight would be the proactive account management company. And I think we've been a lot different of a place-

DG: What was the title of your, you sent me the five things that your talk was... The first one was Ignore Analyst.

Anthony Kennada: Ignore Analyst initially.

DG: Initially.

Anthony Kennada: I know you're in Boston and there are a good amount of these folks are up that way. So I don't want to...

DG: No, no, it's fine. The account execs at the analyst firms make it hard to be ignored. So I think it's totally fine.

Anthony Kennada: I think the core idea is we saw that there was a persona that existed called the customer success manager. Like I said, under appreciated, under resourced, but didn't have a company out there that was fighting for them and really trying to help celebrate them. And so we said step one was we had to do it because that's where our conviction was. That's where we thought the market opportunity was. Now we look back and we're like, oh my gosh, this is actually really hard and a long game, but so fulfilling because what we've seen now as a lagging indicator is the growth in the profession. And so LinkedIn released data where now there's over 32, 000 folks in the world with CSM in their title growing triple digit percentages every year. We're like," Holy crap, we're changing lives. We're creating..." Which in enterprise software is hard, right?

DG: It's hard.

Anthony Kennada: We don't do that very-

DG: I just walked by, on my way to meet you, I walked by somebody's booth, not even a competitor of ours and on the booth, one of the things that they say they integrate with is conversational marketing. Didn't happen a year ago.

Anthony Kennada: That's awesome.

DG: Same thing with the jobs. And I think what's interesting about what you said is as much as you, as a company, wanted to find the category, by nature it's not a category unless people from the outside start saying it. And so for us, it wasn't we said, this is what we are. We had an idea, but it wasn't until customers started saying," I'm doing conversational marketing. I want to be a customer success expert." Right?

Anthony Kennada: Totally, totally.

DG: And then you're like, okay, now there's something real here. How do we enable this? And to your point on ignoring the analysts, it's a balance, right? You have to help them shape the category. And so for us, the mix was," Hey, I got 500 customers that are all raving about conversation marketing. Do you want to talk to them?" That's a different story than okay We'll do it your way.

Anthony Kennada: Right. For sure, for sure. And I think the punchline we had eventually was customers ended up validating the category, whether it's what you just said, like customers that you introduced to the analyst firms and they help standardize, like G2 Crowd and Trust Radius. Some of these folks, their customers have voice. And so that's what we think is the cool thing about all this. It's not even that we created a category, it's that we help facilitate the creation of the category that the customers really value.

DG: Yeah. Your job is to... A category can't be only Gainsight or only Drift or only whatever, right? It has to be by nature, multiple companies within a space. And then your job is to pull the whole thing up even higher and maybe even have competitors. You have competitors in your space speaking at your conference because it's the bigger piece of it. So a company says, there's a difference between a tagline and a category.

Anthony Kennada: Totally, totally.

DG: All right. What else was in your SaaStr thing? So you got five things. Number one was Ignore Analysts in the early days.

Anthony Kennada: Number two was focused on people and not just the products. And I think for us, we look back and we had a very light version of the product we have today, definitely needed a lot of work. We've rewritten the product a few times. And in that world, it wasn't about selling bits and bytes and features and all that. It was literally about finding the people and finding out a way to, like we talked about, celebrate-

DG: And it's amazing, to your point about like how you had empathy and you really understood these early customers. It's amazing how much leeway they give you knowing that his product might not be perfect now, but man, these guys get me, they get me as a customer success manager. Okay. I'm going to just stick with them and we're going to get through this together.

Anthony Kennada: For sure. No, I mean, on the business side we hear things like," We're not ready for Gainsight today, but we will one day. We're going to be a Gainsight customer one day."

DG: Imagine that, somebody telling you," Hey, we're going to buy your stuff one day."

Anthony Kennada: "Wegot to figure our stuff out and you've helped me along the way, which is great, but we're not ready yet. But we're going to be." Versus saying," Oh yeah, we're looking at vendors. We'll open up a RFP one day."

DG: It's such a different mindset because that person who says they're going to be a customer, they're going to buy a ticket to your conference, they're going to listen to your podcasts. They're going to come say hi in an event. And then eventually when they go to another company, they're going to buy.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. The hard thing, by the way, that was kind of the format of that talk was, here's a great thing and here's a really hard thing, is how that shows up in the funnel. It's tough because our top of funnel grows great, right? We've got so many people coming to the conferences, all that sort of stuff. They're engaged. Some of them just aren't going to buy. And so the traditional metrics of category creating funnels are different than your traditional disruptor thing because that conversion rates aren't always the same. You almost have two funnels, getting people into the category and then getting people into the software for the product.

DG: Yeah. That is a hard thing. I'm actually thinking about somebody, I know exactly this person where this guy comes to all of our stuff, biggest fan, but he's not going to buy Drift because it's just not a fit and there's maybe no budget, right? But that's the chicken and the egg thing. But we need that person to be an advocate for Drift to get the other people.

Anthony Kennada: For sure. I would argue that that is hard to talk to a CFO about, but great from a existential business.

DG: It is.

Anthony Kennada: You want people that are going to be fans, right? They're going to be fans of the brand. They're going to get value out of what you're creating. And then they might get another job one day and then there might be an opportunity to bring them in. And that's kind of the bet we're making.

DG: All right. Number three, what's number three? Do you know?

Anthony Kennada: Number three, be authentic at scale. And so the idea here is people like to do business with people that they like, that they respect. And so our job as marketers is interesting and you guys do this so well, is to really take our values, take our purpose, think about our CEO or some of our exec team as the outward expression of that and figure out a way to actually scale that for the rest of the world. Folks that aren't in our offices every day, that aren't kind of getting time with our respective CEOs. And we do that through some crazy ways. We've recorded a rap video, literally Capitol Records, it's available now on Spotify.

DG: Who was on it? Are you in it?

Anthony Kennada: I was in the making of the video part.

DG: Are there actual rappers at Gainsight, or you had to go?

Anthony Kennada: No.

DG: Okay.

Anthony Kennada: This was actually the executive producer of a show on TBS called Drop the Mic, Jensen Karp. Any listeners in LA, he's on K Rock in the morning. And this guy basically teaches celebrities how to rap. And so the whole shtick of the videos he's teaching our CEO how to rap and release the anthem of record for customer success.

DG: Hold on, hold on, hold on. I didn't know any of this. This would have changed what I would have wanted Nick to speak at, at Hypergrowth this year. If I had known that he was behind the scenes, becoming a rapper.

Anthony Kennada: Yes. Trying to become a rapper. You have to watch the video. It didn't work out. Yeah. His dream was crushed a little bit.

DG: That's good. Stay in your lane. Stay in your lane.

Anthony Kennada: That's right, exactly.

DG: This is a leading question because I know the answer, I believe it, but I want you to say it because it's powerful when it comes from somebody else. Why is the authentic part so important? This is to me, the number one question. Dave, I get you want to be real and authentic, but what happens if you get hit by a bus or? But we sell the enterprise, they don't like it that way.

Anthony Kennada: Oh my gosh, no. I love this question because to this day there are many cases where somebody from a fortune 500 company, GM, VPC level, what have you will contact Nick. And he would have never met Nick and the first thing he said to him is," Man, I loved you in that rap video." And we're like, this stuff works.

DG: Yeah, you know why? Because that person is a person.

Anthony Kennada: It's a human. Exactly, that's exactly right. And so for us, we do think of it as pipeline acceleration or the ability to really get in the door for places. And it seems to a lot of people that don't believe, we're wasteful or that this is a dumb idea, but it's literally for, at least at the high level, you're positioning Nick as someone you want to meet, someone you want to talk to, someone maybe you can even relate to. By the way, he's also running a successful software company, has a great product and working on a complex problem, but he's also a good person, right? And that's something that comes across in some of these campaigns. Somebody doesn't take himself too seriously either. But the other piece is that for the sort of end users or then the long tail of folks, they have an anthem they can listen to on their way to work and get excited about their job. And it's just a fun, little touch point.

DG: And It's the people who are going to listen to that, those are the real fans, right?

Anthony Kennada: Yes.

DG: It's like, that is somebody like five threads deep on Reddit. Whoever's writing about customer success on Reddit, that is the people that you want to reach.

Anthony Kennada: Well, a cool thing is one of our customers is Slack and they actually, for their kickoff of implementing our product and launching it and all that sort of thing, filmed a music video of the rap song and performed it and like debuted it. So even our customers are jumping in and saying like," We feel like this is part of our culture now because we're in this industry and community together."

DG: That's what you show to the CFO.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, exactly.

DG: I remember at our big conference this year, Hypergrowth, the finance guy, DV, shout out to you, who always would be beating me up, at the end of the day came up to me. He shows no emotion. Gave me the biggest hug. And he's like," This was worth every penny." Because you have to be there, you have to feel it.

Anthony Kennada: Totally.

DG: All right. We got a couple more minutes. Do you remember number four? That was be authentic.

Anthony Kennada: Be long- term greedy.

DG: Long- term greedy.

Anthony Kennada: And we're stealing that from Sequoia, I believe, that claimed it. But the idea is when you're creating a category short term, it's really hard to do some planning around that. And we talked about the funnel and looking at some industry benchmarks. But when you're long- term greedy, you're in it for this big end game that you're painting.

DG: We've never had a conversation. So Sequoia investor in Drift, Pat Grady on our board, never have had a conversation with him without hearing about long- term, long- term, long- term. And he's the biggest one on category creation and go back in the history books and look at every category creator, they all were playing for the long game. So back to your point from the beginning about category creation, you can't create one without knowing customer success is not going to be a category for Q4 2019. It's going to be for the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, you're going to tell your kids about this category.

Anthony Kennada: Absolutely, generational companies is what we're aiming for from that front.

DG: And from a brand perspective, that's why it ties nicely to brand is because it makes it easier to make brand investments, right? If you and I left tomorrow and we start our own company and we had no money and we had to bootstrap it and we had to generate leads, the play would be a little bit different than we're going to be in this for 20 years.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, totally. No, I think that's right. To that point. Long- term greed. It's easier to sort of say we're investing in things today for that long- term that we may not see some results for but-

DG: So is that your hard thing of the... What was it?

Anthony Kennada: CFOs don't get it.

DG: That was your hard thing? CFO's don't get it.

Anthony Kennada: Exactly. Yeah. So CFOs don't get it and it makes planning very hard.

DG: But doesn't your CFO get it, when your CFO is at Pulse.

Anthony Kennada: Oh yeah.

DG: And looking around like this amazing, you get it.

Anthony Kennada: Shout out to Igor. I think he gave me a hug too. So there's definitely like...

DG: Good.

Anthony Kennada: The same, be like," This was totally worth it." Now at Scale, we're trying to figure out how to get more efficient with all of that. Not sacrificing the experience and all that sort of thing. So he'll hug me even closer if I do it.

DG: It gets hard. It's like a huge wedding where you got to feed everybody and then if you only fed everybody, just do that cost.

Anthony Kennada: Right, totally.

DG: Not to mention anything else. All right. What's the fifth one?

Anthony Kennada: Evangelize. In the marketing context, this makes a lot of sense. We've talked about this. It's like, we've got to get people excited about being part of this new wave or be part of this movement as we call it, the conversational marketing movement. And that is through a lot of things like podcasting, you guys wrote a book. I saw you in Times Square a couple weeks ago.

DG: Yeah. That was a week ago. Last week, last Wednesday we launched, yeah.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. Pretty awesome. So similar, we wrote a book with Wiley as well. Got the word out. It's also the CEO. And then we're here at SaaStr, Jason talks about getting on a plane, getting on a jet. It's about the CEO and the exec team getting in front of the customer as often as we can. So we speak at kickoffs, we speak at different kind of internal events. The idea is that when they want to have a customer success kickoff or want to talk about customer success, they're thinking about bringing Gainsight and help tell that story, not to sell software, but to evangelize why this is important. And so very similar. I think we're very aligned as two companies on this to really kind of help get people excited about being part of this new wave.

DG: And also, the evangelism piece is not just to give people your message, but it's because people want that thing to rally around, right? It's like, look at any movement, right? You are into CrossFit, you want to watch videos and read books and read blogs about that movement regardless of the vendor. And so the book is not about us. Your book is not about you. It's about the people who are going to read it and have a playbook for them to flip through. And it becomes a prideful thing, like I have this. This is my tribe's.

Anthony Kennada: That's mine. I think you've said some stuff around this over the years. But as marketers, our interpretation of that is we want to build a lifestyle brand. And for B2B, you're like what? Those words don't make any sense, obviously in B2C they do. But the idea is we want to be career companions for people in the job.

DG: I love that. That's a good way. Career companion is a good way to think about it.

Anthony Kennada: So they're going to get promoted, they're going to leave eventually. They're going to go somewhere else, but all along, we want to be the brand that's been there for them, whether it's helping them solve a business challenge that they heard on a podcast or saw blog posts or read in the book or got them fired up about their job when they were on Spotify one day. And those are kind of probably the two extremes of how we do that.

DG: Love it. Well, Anthony, thank you for doing this.

Anthony Kennada: Yeah, absolutely.

DG: How's your show going? Good?

Anthony Kennada: Going good.

DG: Season two. Did you get renewed?

Anthony Kennada: inaudible be creative.

DG: Did you get renewed?

Anthony Kennada: Yeah. Very expensive turns out. So I'm looking for a way to have-

DG: Well you rented a freaking auditorium to do it. I was watching a couple of... I watched. So my prep for interviewing Dan Rogers was watching your interview. And I knew you did the show, but I didn't know that it was in like a theater.

Anthony Kennada: It was Netflix production.

DG: Looks awesome.

Anthony Kennada: Except the Dan Rogers episode, he's going to kill me, that one of the cameras went out on that one. Yeah, the production was very high level. Super expensive. It'll come back once we can figure out a way to bring it back.

DG: Yeah. That was one that the CFO shut down.

Anthony Kennada: That's exactly that. Thank you.

DG: Well thank you for doing it live from SaaStr.

Anthony Kennada: Thanks so much for having me on.

DG: Thanks man. Hey, thanks for listening to another episode of The Swipe File. I'm having a lot of fun doing this podcast. And so, because it's fun for me, I hope it's fun for you. And it would mean the world if you could leave a review. Reviews really help. And so go leave a review, go to Apple Podcast, leave a review. Let me know what you like on the show, didn't like, want to hear more of. And also if you're not already subscribed, make sure you go subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify. The show is everywhere that you get your podcasts probably where you're listening right now. But if you want more content like this, if you want to go a layer deeper, join me on Drift Insider. It's drift. com/ insider. We're teaching courses, we're sharing videos and we have exclusive content for people just like you in marketing that we do not share publicly. So go and check it out. Drift. com/ insider.


In this episode of the Marketing Swipe File recorded live at SaaStr, DG sits down with Gainsight CMO Anthony Kennada to talk about how they built a company, even though there was no clear market to launch into. Anthony shares the five things Gainsight did to create a category in the B2B space – like ignoring analysts and being long-term greedy. Want the rest? Listen to the full episode to learn how they did it (and how they grew their brand to become one of the fastest growing private companies in the world).