Udi Ledergor AMA: Creating New Categories with Gong

Gong has been one of the most widely followed companies in the Go-To-Market landscape in the past few years, renowned for pioneering Revenue Intelligence as a category and for a blog that has a cult following with sales leaders. Udi joined Gong as employee #13 and the first marketer, rose up to CMO, and is now Chief Evangelist. Here were his best insights from taking the company from 0 to hundreds of millions of revenue. 

The Evolution of Sales Tech - Revenue Operations as a Category

  • Sales is finally going through the same transformation marketing did a decade ago - data is king, and you should be able to track every sales activity that leads to closing a deal quantitatively
  • When Gong first started, there wasn’t yet a budget item for Revenue Operations, but now RevOps is one of their biggest champions. Last year, Gong ran survey where 30% of buyers said fragmentation of tools is their biggest painpoint. Revenue Operations, which makes vendors work together seamlessly,helps every function win - Finance gets to trim down budget, revenue teams don’t have to spend as much time duplicating work across different tools, and customers have a better experience because sellers understand their behavioral data better when it’s consolidated.
  • Revenue intelligence is now a must-have, the question is more what platform you chose vs whether you buy one.

Building a New Category - Revenue Intelligence

  • Creating a new category is expensive and risky. 70%+ of publicly traded software companies reinvent existing categories for a reason. 
  • Gong decided to create the category of revenue intelligence because it’s what fully realized their vision for creating a valuable product for CROs - they wanted to do more than just record sales calls but help a company manage their entire deal pipeline. 
  • You know you’ve successfully created a category when industry analysts start writing about you, customers start to standardize their purchase processes for your category, and first time buyers champion your solution and the second and third companies they leave for. When this happens, you can shift your focus from promoting the category to cementing your position as the undisputed leader.

Empowering Employees to be Marketing Advocates

  • Even when Gong was just 13 employees, they were known for being able to take over Linkedin news feeds when they had noteworthy announcements. Every new employee was taught the importance of sharing and commenting during onboarding and how it would benefit everyone regardless of role.
  • Gong made it super easy for employees to help by creating easy starters and templates for them to reshare, sending out calendar invites to remind them, etc.

Two Pillars for Crushing Content Marketing

  • Would our ICP (Sales leader) find this valuable? Gong focused on topics paramount to Sales leaders and leveraged their platform data to provide unique insights. They found that concise, data-driven sales coaching tips garnered the highest engagement. For instance, insights like “You increase your chances of securing a second call by asking between 4 and 11 questions” resonated well.
  • Write content so good, people would pay.  While Gong didn’t charge for its content, it attracted attention from business school professors seeking to license their materials for courses, and sales leaders eager to use their resources for onboarding. These were tangible indicators of the intrinsic value they were delivering.

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