The tech media is all abuzz about the “big data” opportunity. If you manage a software or SaaS company, have you given some thought to how you can benefit from the opportunity?
What are some ways in which software companies can provide additional value to their customers by leveraging big data?
The first question you should ask yourself is: What is the opportunity your customers have from big data?
Second, how can you provide software or services to enable them to realize that opportunity?
These recent articles by Drew Robb at EnterpriseAppsToday.com show a few ways in which software companies are providing “big data” value to their customers: http://www.enterpriseappstoday.com/business-intelligence/5-buzz-worthy-big-data-analytics-apps.html and http://www.enterpriseappstoday.com/business-intelligence/5-more-buzz-worthy-big-data-analytics-apps.html.
I just read the case study on ISV eMASON on SoftwareCEO this week. It’s an interesting example of a software company that managed to triple their business in 2009, despite the slow economy and turmoil in their target market of financial services.
How did they do it?
Basically, with a singular focus on quality and solving the customer pain point to the best ability, flexibility and easy customization, being really clear on their unique value, and making it as comprehensive as possible within the bounds of the single point of pain the application is solving.
I think we could all learn from these tips… bottom line:
- understand your customer and feel their pain
- know your unique value – what really distinguishes your solution from the competition
- be fanatically customer-focused
How important is software sales training? And what type of course or other training resource is the best choice?
Our question of the week over at Software Marketing Advisor is about recommended software sales training for selling offshore software services.
Obviously, the answer depends on what type of software you are selling. The approach to sales is very different if you are selling mission critical business applications versus a low-priced consumer internet software service.
Particularly for selling business software or software services, the most important thing to understand is that you are selling a solution to the customer’s problem, not just a piece of software. If you are looking for training options, look for a good solution selling option (whether or not it is about selling software).
Where do you start?
First, be crystal clear on the target customer for your solution… and don’t waste your time on leads that don’t fall into that segment.
Second, be a good listener. Learn to listen to your customer and recognize the phrases and concerns that indicate the types of problems that your software can address.
Third, know your software value proposition and unique selling proposition inside and out, and know how to communicate that to your customer after you hear them express the problem that you can solve.
Check out the rest of our response for more recommendations on specific software sales training.
Yesterday, a panel of software leaders discussed the direction of the enterprise software model at the InformationWeek 500 conference. You can read about it here.
The panelists agreed that the enterprise software model is making the shift toward SaaS rather than on-premise application deployments. This is dramatically impacting software sales cycles as I wrote about before, with processes that previously took weeks or months now taking less than a day.
Clearly, SaaS is the wave of the future for greenfield applications and enterprise solutions. But for most enterprise deployments, there’s a legacy infrastructure and business process to contend with. In many cases, that legacy will dictate an on-premise solution as the only realistic near-term model. And in cases where the legacy infrastructure can be transitioned or integrated with a SaaS solution, that integration will in many cases take significant time, cost and resources. This is going to create (and is creating) new business opportunities for vendors and service providers alike.
Read more about the software market transition to SaaS here.