At lunch today I had a good conversation with a serial technology entrepreneur and the topic of market leaders came up. Of course, in the public markets companies like Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM) get premium valuations — the question is why. What value is there in being a market leader other than being the biggest?
By being a market leader, especially in a market that has been around and is fairly mature, the main benefit is that cost of customer acquisition will be lower than competitors. Whenever a company thinks about buying the type of solution a market leader provides the market leader will always be in the deal, almost like an incumbent even though they aren’t even the vendor yet. The other, non-market leaders will be the ones forced to differentiate their products and they’ll have to work harder and longer to win the deal compared to the market leader.
With a lower cost of customer acquisition, the market leader will have better margins, and is likely to grow faster and/or more profitably. In the end, the result is that market leadership compounds on itself and produces more valuable companies.
What else? What are some other benefits of being a market leader?