As the company has begun to achieve fairly significant scale and continuing growth, we’ve found that our attention is primarily focused on competing the 800-pound gorillas in our market. This is driven by two key factors: our prospective and current customers are comparing us to them; and/or their marketing and development teams have us in their sights. However, we’ve come to believe that there are two critical elements that the industry behemoths cannot and will not be able to replicate: a company and product that are highly adaptable; and the drive and motivation to meet the requirements of our innovative and forward-thinking customers.
It’s very common for smaller companies to have customers that consider themselves early adopters because those companies recognize that leading edge innovation allows them to improve their business processes. These customers are an invaluable resource, providing crucial insights into what they see from the market and what they need in a product.
The input from these visionary customers allows a smaller, more nimble company like ours to rapidly and effectively address the needs of the market long before slower-moving competitors can even react. Larger vendors typically need to align their product to fit within an extensive suite of offerings and to make sure all of their various products work together, which slows down their development and often makes it more costly in the long run. They lack the agility and nimbleness to respond quickly to customer needs – a critical advantage for companies like SailPoint.
As we hold onto these core truths about innovation and service, we’ve learned that another aspect of our company has had to adapt a bit more. We reached this stage by putting together a team of strategic, visionary thinkers. Now that we are in a serious growth phase, it is crucial that we supplement our team with execution-oriented leaders, which allow these visionaries to keep looking toward future product and customer needs, but with the right support to execute our corporate growth plans.
This is a tricky stage to navigate, as these two types of leaders often see the world through completely different lenses. The adaptability and flexibility that was so crucial to finding and securing our early customers must now be balanced with the discipline and repeatability of processes which enable us to scale. Too little process will likely lead to chaos as our growth increases, while too much will stifle our competitive advantages of speed and agility.
As we have continued to grow, we’ve adapted our startup mentality, because as Babe Ruth once said, “Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.” We’re doing our best to hold on to the core elements that set us apart in the first place—market focus, customer service and product innovation—while adding the element of execution excellence at scale. As we get this balance right, we’ll make the Babe proud and truly knock it out of the park.