The Idiocy of the Second to Market Strategy

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Second to Market StrategyThere are a mountain of blog posts and articles that cite the advantages of the second to market strategy. But is it really advantageous to hold off on changes that won’t hurt you?

Here’s one that makes you want to crawl back in your cave and hibernate until someone else takes a leap first. I’m not sure who came up with this saying, but it’s one that I’ve heard before that stops people dead in their tracks:

“Pioneers get slaughtered. Settlers prosper.”

I was reading my colleague Jamie’s blog about the conservativeness of Canadian sales leaders, and I couldn’t help but agree. The sad part though is that it’s a lot more common than we think, even in the US.

Companies like to think that they’re innovative but they’re really not.

Maybe innovation is a relative term. I suppose the proper way to frame this would be measure innovation…but by whose standards? If you’re innovating compared to your dinosaur competitors, does that really count? Sure, congratulations on finally getting a CRM system, but that’s not real innovation though.

Here is the reality: companies would much rather be second to market. Why risk it?

Social Selling Breakup

It’s better to learn off the failures of someone else’s back (especially your competitors). So most company executives today would rather self-congratulate themselves while they innovate in carefully planned, board approved baby steps.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certain situations where being second to market actually helps.

But I’m not talking about experimenting with kryptonite here; no dangerous stuff. I’m simply talking about using excuses to stay away from something that you know won’t hurt you.

In short, avoiding something that helps doesn’t make you a better corporate leader. It just shows you hate innovating. Social selling fits into this camp.

Social Selling Won’t Hurt

It’s startling to see the slow adoption of social selling by some executive leaders. The reality is that social won’t hurt you. It’s not like your Reps will lose business as a result of getting more appointments. That would make no sense.

Yet executives cite “distractions” as a top-ranking reason as to why social is not even on the radar. In fact, they’re adamant that social will take reps away from their “real work”.

That’s management speak for “I prefer the status quo”.

A Huge Head Start

Being second won’t necessarily kill you. I agree. But what about being third? Or fourth? What about 191st? Statistically, the top 20% of companies who learn social selling in their industries will dominate over their competitors. By the time that competitors and laggards get on board, they’re left fighting for crumbs.

Such are the rewards for innovation.

The Bottom Line

A second to market strategy doesn’t help when what you’re avoiding what can actually help you. Speak to practitioners of social selling and they swear by it.

It’s good to see companies innovate with social selling because they believe that the buyer has fundamentally changed. They get that simple fact and understand how the world of sales has to adapt.

Are you ready to innovate? Let’s set up a time to chat and I can point you in the right direction.

Amar Sheth


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