The ‘no discussion’ software stack

Email and Calendar? Google Apps
Communication? Slack
Simple website? WordPress
Newsletter? MailChimp

You’ve made it as a company if your product becomes part of the ‘no discussion’ software stack. The software stack that nobody challenges, and everyone expects to be there. The marketing engine seems to run almost by itself for the products in the ‘no discussion’ software stack, by word of mouth and by sheer brand awareness.

How do you become part of the ‘no discussion’ software stack? You are successful if your customers are successful. The best marketing trick is: have referenceable customers.

To get to referenceable customers your product needs to stand out, and above all: deliver. Deliver on the jobs to be done. Great products don’t deliver features. Great products deliver outcomes. To deliver outcomes, you first need to understand the un-served or under-served need of your customers.

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”

Theodore Levitt.

Having a kick-ass product is not enough. Products in the ‘no discussion’ software stack excel at customer service and have a superior sales operation. And smart buyers don’t let themselves be distracted by a fancy feature or great online demo. They know true differentiation is in the operation. They even test your support and sales operations before selecting your product.

The good news? There is ALWAYS room for new players in the ‘no discussion’ software stack. Market dynamics change, new technologies can make existing products 10x better. Companies might trip, and products fall from grace. Or better outcomes, the real jobs to be done are found. And that is for crowded and competitive markets. There are plenty of markets still under-served. From complex markets that are highly regulated (fintech? transportation?) to markets traditionally served by governments (education? healthcare?). Or think about markets with a ‘defacto market leader’ already in power for multiple years (SFDC?). Are they still at the top of their game? There are plenty of opportunities.

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