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Understanding the Experience Disruptor: How They Sell is Why They Win

October 28, 2019

This past September, Finn Partners gave me the opportunity to attend INBOUND 2019, a conference hosted by HubSpot geared at educating marketers and sales professionals from different industries, countries, and cultures. Out of everything that I learned during my time at INBOUND, one of the most profound ideas came from Brian Halligan.

Brian, CEO and Co-founder of HubSpot, gave a speech about what makes an experience disruptor, which he described as a company that fundamentally shifts consumers’ expectations of a business or industry by enhancing their experience in every interaction. According to Brian ”how they sell is why they win”, but there are five equally important parts that are needed in order to become an effective experience disruptor:

  1. Move From Product-Market-Fit to Experience-Market-Fit. Experience disruptors put more emphasis on making things easier for the consumer, leaving them with a completely satisfying experience, and less emphasis on just improving the product features. Emphasizing the experience is about how you make someone feel during the customer journey and even after the purchase has been made.
  2. Never Lose Sight On Customer Needs. Removing friction within a business requires the disruptor to put more focus on why the consumer should want to buy from them instead of pushing out products for them to buy. An example of this is how Carvana, an online used car retailer, changed the tiresome process of buying a vehicle:
  3. Personalize.  Avoid generalized audience segmentation and broad targets (like, fit urban Millennials), and replace with insights-driven personalization to understand the needs of the customer as an individual. In doing so, you must strike the right depth of personalization; an advertisement that feels creepy to the customer won’t be effective.
  4. Sell Through Your Customers. Instead of just selling to your audience, leverage existing customers to help promote and validate your brand or product. An example of this is user-generated content, which can be more engaging since it feels more authentic.
  5. Attack Your Business Model. Assess your business model, compare it with similar businesses, and re-write it to be more customer-friendly. By rewriting terms to make them more convenient for the consumer, you are able to outrank competitors

Inbound methodology’s true value is more apparent when using diverse mindsets and ideas to help businesses succeed. The methodology promotes thriving businesses in a world that is looking to become more inclusive. To reach a broader audience, successful businesses have started the process of diversifying their staff to incorporate innovative ideas.

In a marketplace that is becoming more and more competitive, businesses that are able to stand out, make their customer journey as easy as possible, and add value to their customers instead of simply extracting it, tend to achieve better results. These companies do amazing work because they have adopted this methodology within their internal structure and across teams, which enables them to create better customer journey experiences, and not just better products/services. With this being the case, I believe that the quote Brian presented multiple times is more than appropriate. After all, how they sell, is why they win.