Monday, 22 April 2024 04:52

5 strategy lessons from tech company that just raised $205m

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To start a company and keep it growing, leaders must get and keep customers. As I will share with students this fall in my Babson College course, Scaling Strategy: Mastering the Four Stages from Idea to $10 Billion, achieving that simple-sounding goal is challenging.

This comes to mind in considering the journey of Saviynt, a privately held El Segundo, Calif.-based provider of identity and access management products.

Founded in 2010, the 545-employee company generated $72 million in revenue, according to Zippia. Savyint defied the current venture capital winter – raising $205 million in growth financing in January 2023, VentureBeat reported.

In a March 3 interview, CEO Sachim Nayyar explained how Saviynt has been able to win and keep customers during its 13-year existence.

Founders must pick the right problem to solve – one that causes considerable pain for customers and that incumbents are not addressing. 

Saviynt aimed to solve such a problem back in 2010.

As Nayyar told me, "In 2010, there was no comprehensive solution to identity and access management. While vendors such as Oracle, SailPoint, IBM, SAP and CyberArk supplied individual pieces of the solution, customers were paying multiple times for these different products. We thought customers were looking for something more efficient; more secure and better integrated."

2. Build the industry's best solution to that problem

To win customers, a vendor must build the industry's best solution to the right problem.

Saviynt says its product and service offerings lead the industry.

"Customers perceive us as providing a world-class product with the most innovation. We offer potential customers access to the accumulated best practices of our user groups, advisory groups and customer learning. We have a deep ecosystem of over 1,000 partners certified in Saviynt which customers can access through a single marketplace."

3. Persuade potential customers to buy your product

It is not enough to build the best product; you must also convince customers to buy it.

Saviynt says that its product wins in competitive bids.

"We win 70 percent to 75 percent of the time. While Okta is a competitor, it provides light identity governance for customers who are smaller than the ones we target. We win because our product better meets the needs of our customers who want to move to the cloud, lower their total costs and reduce risk. Enterprises choose after doing a bakeoff among potential suppliers and then check references," he said.

4. Invent new products that help customers adapt to changing headwinds and tailwinds

Over time, a company's initial products mature. To keep growing, founders must track changes in the external forces creating opportunities and threats for their customers.

In so doing, startups can sustain their growth by investing in new products that will help their customers keep growing.

Saviynt's portfolio consists of some mature and some fast-growing products.

As Nayyar explained, "65 percent of our revenue is from mature products; 35 percent of our revenue is from products that are growing at over 100 percent a year. These include our privileged access management (PAM) and third-party access management products."

Saviynt started developing a PAM offering about three years ago.

As he said, "We began developing a lower-priced, agentless, cloud-based PAM product that protects Internet of Things devices. Our product works better and is less costly than CyberArk's PAM product. Our price is 70 percent of the nearest competitor's. Because of the macroeconomic pressure to do more with less, we will benefit. By 2024, we expect that the balance of our mature and fast-growing products will be 50/50."

5. Empower talent to achieve ambitious goals

Nayyar has learned important lessons about winning and keeping customers since he became a CEO.

"When I was a first-time CEO, I tried to solve everything myself. Now I know that a CEO must bring the right people to the table, give them the information they need, remove obstacles and making sure everyone understands a few key goals."

To hire that talent – winning is essential. "Winners attract winners and we grow through innovation and quality – not by cutting our price below our costs. We never cut corners with customers no matter how small they are. We want customers to refer us so we won't be penny wise and pound foolish," he said. 

Do these five things to help your company get and keep customers.



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