Posts Tagged 'software'



New Software Marketing Membership Program

New Software Marketing Membership Program

Get customized software marketing help with our new membership program:  sign up for as little or as much help as you need.  Check it out at the link above.

 

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Avoiding SaaS Customer Churn

Today’s VentureBeat guest post by Vishal Sankhla covers the topic of how to keep customer churn low in the SaaS business model. I definitely recommend checking out the article “The SaaS Churn Challenge: How to Hold Onto Your Customers”.

The crux of the issue is that in the SaaS business model, you invest up-front to acquire each customer, but you only get positive ROI from that customer if the customer lifetime value is high enough. In other words, you are counting on customers staying customers for longer than a few subscription periods. If your churn is too high, then you never make enough off each customer to cover the acquisition costs. That is a losing proposition for any SaaS business! The key is finding ways to maintain customer support and interaction while keeping those costs down.

Quest Software SaaS Case Study

Check out this new case study on Quest Software’s transition from being a licensed software company to a SaaS firm. You have to have Gartner registration to access it, but if you do you can find the case study at www.gartner.com.

Quest moved to a SaaS-based log management offering. Their SaaS case study shows how significant the impact of moving to SaaS can be across the entire software business.

If you can’t access the Gartner case study, Microsoft also published their own case study about Quest Software’s move to SaaS earlier this year.

They’re both worth a read, if you’re a software company considering the move to a Cloud solution. For additional reading, check out this article about the important considerations when moving to a SaaS business model.

Best Marketing Software Strategy for Software Firms

For small/medium software companies, what are the best marketing strategies? Of course, that does depend on your market segment.. but there are still some key strategies that make sense for almost all software or services firms:

  1. Focus on Inbound Marketing Online
  2. Let Prospects Experience Your Software
  3. Cultivate Existing Customers
  4. Establish a Partner Ecosystem
  5. Maintain a Customer Conversation
  6. Develop a Channel Program
  7. Offer Complementary Services or Products
  8. Segment Your Market
  9. Differentiate with Niche Marketing
  10. Leverage Customer Case Studies

For more, read our latest article on Software Marketing Advisor: “Marketing Software Strategy for Software Product Companies”

Using Competitive Analysis to Lead Your Target Subsegment

How useful is competitive analysis? As Michele Linn points out in her latest post “Five Key Questions Your B2B Competitive Analysis Should Answer” in her Savvy B2B Marketing blog, sometimes competitive analysis can lead to dead-end marketing strategies that are just copying your competition’s moves. A business version of “keeping up with the Jones’s”.

The best competitive strategy is to try to re-invent or re-define your category so that you are the market leader… a lot of great examples of companies that are out there that have done that.

Copying competitors won’t get you there… but competitive analysis can help you determine the best way to really crystallize your target subsegment that has you as the de facto leader…

So, yes, if you are selling software products or services, do invest some time in software marketing research to better understand your competitors. But instead of trying to follow them, use that information to develop strategies that truly differentiate you within your target segment.

Update your Business Plan for the New Decade

New Year start business planning It’s now 2010… do you have an updated business plan or marketing plan to address the new decade?

If you’re a software company, the industry is changing with the move to SaaS, outsourcing and other trends. It’s important to make sure you have a current business plan to make sure you’re positioned to take optimal advantage of these changes.

Take advantage of our SaaS business plan template, or the Software Company business plan template, and get started optimizing your business today!

Software Business Case Study: eMASON

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

The Trend Toward Marketing and Selling Software Online

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.

Why Having a Marketing Strategy Can Save You Money

When it comes to planning your marketing activities, do you take a strategic or a tactical approach?

Or in other words… Do you have a plan for how your marketing will really impact your customer purchase decisions? Or do you just “shoot from the hip” in your marketing decisions?

Too many companies fall into the second category, especially technology focused firms (to whom marketing may not be second nature).

It may seem like a waste of time to sit down and plan out your software marketing strategy, but the fact is that doing so will make your marketing signficantly more impactful and will save a lot in your marketing budget in the long run.

Trade shows are just one excellent example… they’re very expensive, but many tech companies continue with that large expense in their marketing budget just because “we always have” and “our competitors have a booth there.” Neither of those are good reasons, unless you’ve really done the strategic analysis of how your presence at the tradeshow can influence your customer purchase decisions in your favor.

Ask yourself whether the tradeshow is an important part of your software marketing plan. Maybe it is better to pass on the booth, and focus instead on networking and customer meetings during the show? If you don’t have a strategy, you will never know which is the better choice for your business…

Make your marketing work for you, by regularly updating your business plan and marketing strategy, and using that to prioritize your marketing activities. You can get a head start by using our templates for business and marketing planning for both traditional software companies and SaaS providers.

What’s the Best Training for Software Sales?

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.


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