- Revenue stall
- Market dynamics changing
- Product seen as ‘nice to have’
- Revisited largest, fastest deals
- Interviewed outsiders on value
- Adjusted messaging for the Cloud
- Adjusted messaging from FUD to convenience/efficiency with Cloud
- Market responded
- Product became “essential to have”
- Revenue growth 40% YoY
- Successful exit by company
Breaking Growth Barriers by Changing Messaging and Positioning
Ping Identity, founded in 2002, is a Denver based enterprise software company offering identity management, multi-factor authentication, and single sign-on tools for its clients.
In 2010, when The Artesian Network was engaged by the Chairman and CEO, Ping was an eight-year-old company in the $20M annual revenue range. The question brought to us was, “Why was such an important security product considered a ‘nice to have’ by some companies where sales stalled, yet a critical purchase in other companies where accounts grew quickly?” There didn’t seem to be a good answer to the question, so we knew it merited more investigation. What we did know, was that Ping had a top-ranked product in the industry and was the company was led by the sector’s brightest minds in security. This wasn’t an issue of quality or renown so what was happening?
So we endeavored to ask the key question, “Did some industry sectors face compliance requirements that others did not, pushing Ping into revenue dead end?’
Our team took a dual approach to the discovery phase; an internal facing assessment as well as an external one.
Firstly the Artesian Team began reconnaissance, using our network of external contacts to create an interview protocol with 40 non-Ping customer executives. They represented departments from corporate security and risk officers, through to board members throughout major corporations and firms. The assembled executives were representatives spanning a sample of industry verticals and operating geographies. The role of the interviews was to test our operating question, what was the perceived relative security and compliance exposure across these roles and industries.
Secondly, following the external interview process, the Artesian Team performed a historical win-loss pattern analysis spanning the last three years of Ping sales data to uncover any trends which may help to answer the questions we are asking.
Artesian began to uncover key findings using this two-part process:
- There were no compliance requirements to rely upon to drive sales
- IAM was found to be “nice to have” by security personnel approximately 50% of the time
- The largest and fastest closing deals had a Human Resources executive as a key constituent in the buying process, though Ping sold its product as a security product for security professionals.
To make sense of these findings, we must understand the context at the time (2010):
- Cloud applications in the enterprise crested at this time with the average large company reporting 18 cloud apps
- With cloud apps now in the enterprise, only with IAM could a new employee be on-boarded and exited efficiently. IAM was not needed to be secure per se, but efficient in getting a new employee integrated quickly or de-provisioned on the day of departure
- The implementation of
on-boardingand exitingemployees was the responsibility of the HR executive with management objectives rather than the CIO or the Security Officer
When The Artesian Network had collected the data from the conducted interview and correlated the key findings we began to create a blueprint for intervention. The intervention process encapsulated:
- The remapping of buyer journeys through to
siteto now include HR executives as constituents in large enterprise deals. From our analysis of Ping’s historical datawe know that the deals which were the largest and were also closed the most quickly,had a human resources executive as part of the process. Remapping the buyer journey through HR should follow the found pattern of analysis and contribute to a faster deal
- The messaging and positioning of the product was revamped to include both
cloudmessaging and HR efficiency messaging alongside traditional security and help desk messaging. This creates a messaging system keeping the user in full awareness
- A key intervention was changing the marketing mix of the company to include HR-related conferences along with marketing targets within the demand generation systems
The reconnaissance with our network of industry professionals, analysis of historical data on sales and losses was able to give The Artesian Network an interior look upon the potential issues Ping was unable to pinpoint in the data. Some of the positive results Ping have found were:
- With the new messaging and positioning, combined with an adjusted sales approach, Ping began seeing bigger and faster deals moving through the pipeline as soon as the second half of 2010
- Ping has adopted an aggressive cloud stance in its messaging and product pipeline
- With the changes implemented by The Artesian Network, Ping began to grow again, compounding at an average of 40% through 2016 at which point it was successfully acquired for $600M
Why The Artesian Network?
The Artesian Network is a consortium of enterprise executives delivering B2B Marketing, Brand, and Customer Success, on-demand. We drive results through data-driven strategies, creative insights and targeted actions tailored to your business. We operate across typical business silos, and with an unbiased point of view to inform your decision making and deliver solutions that are purpose-built for enduring impact on revenue and value.
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