Episode 21: Tips on Scaling an Enterprise Company in a New Market, with Tom Turner, CEO of BitSight

Tom has worn many hats in his time at BitSight, including EVP of Sales and Marketing, COO and CEO. In this episode, he walks us through how to navigate relationships with founders as an incoming CEO, how to use content marketing in an enterprise market, and how to think about go-to-market strategy for a global business.
Tom Turner is CEO and President of BitSight. Tom has extensive security industry experience, and has helped build category-defining companies. Prior to joining BitSight, Tom was a founding member of the executive management team of IBM Security Systems, a new division within IBM Software group that was created on the heels of the Q1 Labs acquisition.
Formerly, he was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Channels at Q1 Labs. Before joining Q1 Labs, he served as Director of Marketing for endpoint security at Cisco Systems. Tom also served as VP of Marketing at Okena, Inc., where he helped pioneer the intrusion prevention market and led the company to its successful acquisition by Cisco.
Highlights from the episode:
1:36 Tell us about your company
2:17 How did you become the CEO at BitSight?
4:34 What is it like to be a CEO of a business where the founders are very engaged with the company?
5:52 How do you manage instances where you disagree with the founders?
7:06 Tell us a bit more about your choice to take on the VP of Sales role during a transition in leadership
9:32 What is it like to find enterprise sales talent in the Boston market?
12:00 What is it like to be in a business where you have to create a new market?
13:41 How do you find the ideal profile of a customer for your product?
14:57 How should a founder or CEO think about marketing spend for a new enterprise product?
16:30 Tell us about your decision to host a customer conference and how do you measure its success?
18:55 In thinking about your go-to-market strategy, how did you decide between selling to large companies versus mid-market customers?
22:31 How are the support models different for the two types of customers?
23:49 What are the challenges in being a globally distributed company?
27:01 What did you learn about fundraising for a rapidly scaling company?
30:06 What is your favorite book or piece of content that would be useful to our listeners?
31:11 Who is a founder or business executive that you respect and why?
32:05 What’s something you believe that other’s generally don’t?

If you have any questions you’d like us to ask our guests, or founders you’d like to hear on this podcast, feel free to email us at founderrealtalk@ggvc.com. If you like what you hear, please rate and review us on the Apple podcast app to help others find this podcast.

GGV Capital is a global venture capital firm that invests in local founders. As a multi-stage, sector-focused firm, GGV focuses on seed-to-growth stage investments across Consumer/New Retail, Social/Digital & Internet, Enterprise/Cloud and Frontier Tech sectors. The firm was founded in 2000 and manages $6.2 billion in capital across 13 funds. Past and present portfolio companies include Affirm, Airbnb, Alibaba, BitSight, ByteDance (Toutiao), Ctrip, Didi Chuxing, Grab, Gladly, Hello Chuxing, HashiCorp, Houzz, Keep, LingoChamp, Namely, Niu, Nozomi Networks, Opendoor, Peloton, Poshmark, Slack, Square, Wish, Xauto, Xiaohongshu, Yellow, YY, Zhaoyou and more. The firm has offices in Beijing, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore and Silicon Valley. Learn more at ggvc.com, @GGVCapital or GGVCapital on WeChat.