Marketing should never be static – there’s a reason I always emphasize the circular, iterative nature of my 7-step marketing strategy process.
7-Step Marketing Strategy Process
A strong marketing program must always start with a careful analysis of your target customer niche, their problems and pain points, and other solutions in the marketplace. Once you fully understand the customer problem and available competitive solutions, then you can write your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Your USP is the one most important piece of content to drive your marketing.
Many of our clients turn to Software Marketing Advisor to help better craft their USP and marketing messaging. Our Marketing Strategy Review service helps optimize your USP and messaging.
What’s so different about marketing business-to-business (B2B) anyway?
I’ve spent most of my career in marketing of business software and services, so I get asked this question a lot. How is marketing business software different from marketing a consumer app?
There’s actually some significant differences, and if you don’t remember that then you’re not likely to be successful with your marketing.
Here’s a list of the top 5 challenges in selling B2B software rather than consumer:
- Selling a Solution — If you’re selling a business app, then you have to sell a solution to a problem, not a piece of software. Ideally, you can tie the use of your software to a solution to one of the top three problems that keeps your target user awake at night. And then market that solution…
- More Than One Buyer – the purchase or adoption decision for a business application often involves more than one person. You don’t only have to market to potential users, but you also have to include messaging for other stakeholders, such as group manager, execs, purchasing manager or CFO, etc.
- Aligning the Ecosystem – If you’re marketing a solution (see #1), as you should, then sometimes that solution involves more than just your product. For example, when I was working for Intel we had to focus on software marketing with partners in order to convince users to buy a new PC – they don’t buy hardware, they buy software. So figure out which companies sell the other pieces to your solution, and approach then to do joint marketing.
- Longer Sales Cycle – for a typical business software purchase, it’s not as easy as having the user visit your website, read your great sales copy, and click to purchase or sign up. Even for a small purchase they may need to get their manager’s approval, or perhaps it needs to be included in the next budget cycle or reviewed with other stakeholders. That all takes time.
- Supporting Content Matters – B2B buyers expect to find good-quality marketing content about your software. At the least you should have a professional brochure, some case studies and testimonials, and a product data sheet. You can also write and publish white papers to market to your audience.
Remembering these 5 key differences will make it easier to properly market your business software. For additional help, check out the software marketing toolkit here.
What is the biggest mistake that software marketers make?
Promoting their app!
Yes you heard that right…. the biggest mistake that software marketers make is focusing too much on promoting their app.
But isn’t that what software marketers are supposed to do?
Unless you’re selling a game or other impulse-purchase entertainment-related app, you should be marketing a solution, not a piece of software. As soon as you start to think about it that way, it will change your mindset: You will put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and think about why they need this solution, what problem it solves…. These are your key marketing messages.
So stop marketing your app features… Instead, market a solution to your customer’s problem. You’ll be surprised how much more engagement you get.
For more help with marketing, try out our 7-Step Software Marketing Toolkit. We’re running a special right now, so you can get a 3-month marketing campaign for the price of just one month. Check out the 7-Step Marketing Toolkit here.
This article posted today at VentureBeat is well worth a read if you have a mobile app and need to work on better monetization . http://venturebeat.com/2013/06/02/mobile-app-monetization-think-business-model-not-ads/
Published February 27, 2013
marketing strategy , saas , software , software marketing , software sales , Uncategorized
Tags: marketing, saas marketing, software, software business, software marketing
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As I’m sure any software marketer knows, more and more of the sales and marketing of software is happening online. Even for high-price enterprise software, much of the initial customer data gathering and lead generation is often done online. I wrote a recent page on Software-Marketing-Advisor with some key tips for selling software online.
In an article published today on MarketingProfs, “The Surprising Evolution of Online Marketing in Software Sales”, Jayson Gehri talks about the trends in software marketing online, and some tools that could be quite useful to software marketers looking to extend or simplify their online marketing efforts.
Selling software online is about two key things: First, clearly communicate the benefits to your customer (in language they understand, not geek-speak or feature lists). Second, allow the prospect to experience the software in as real a way as possible. Jayson’s article gives some useful pointers to making the most effective use of online software demos.
For some additional help with selling software online, take a look at our list of key tips here.
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.