Terry Forsey Consulting is a bespoke British software sales and marketing company. We specialise in the techniques, expertise and processes to grow sales and boost profitability for small to medium B2B software companies and SaaS providers.
Software marketing: how to market your software
There are particular challenges that face your enterprise, B2B software or SaaS company when you are trying to persuade businesses to pay for your products and services on a long-term basis. One is that is that the business and enterprise markets have a long buying cycle, and will go through extensive evaluations before they are willing to invest. Secondly, it can be hard to be heard in technology markets. Even if their offering is inferior, bigger companies, including third-party software service and re-selling companies, will always have more to spend on software marketing.
It may be that you are ahead of the curve and the enterprise market doesn't understand what you are offering. If you are involved in SaaS, it is particularly difficult to engage with a business that has already invested in on-premises software and has no experience of a service-based model. If you are small business starting out and dedicating your resources to ensuring the development and reliability of your product or service, it will be hard for you to find time to engage or get to know your market.
But don't fear: help is at hand, and there are tried and tested methods of marketing SaaS, B2B and enterprise software. The first is through inbound marketing channels such as digital advertising content marketing, SEO, and traditional trade shows, which together aim to increase the awareness, authority and prospective sales of your software product. The term 'inbound' refers to the fact that the customers are coming to you through channels such as websites, blogs and search engines, rather than you going to them. The second is more time and labour intensive, and yet particularly effective in marketing B2B software, which is outbound sales, where you reach out to business with phone calls, direct mail, TV and radio ads, and traditional billboard ads.
While an effective marketing mix may rely on both channels, it is not always possible for a small or medium-sized software business to have the expertise to know what is the right mix to get their message across. Inbound marketing works on building recognition and prospects over a longer period and can place less burden on your staff. On the other hand, outbound sales strategies develop quicker results but require more by way of staff time and collaboration in the short term. With B2B products, what is often needed is a strategy that engages and nurtures prospective customers that your sales team can then focus on.
An effective software marketing campaign will depend equally on the expertise of all your team: on marketing specialists attracting new leads; on sales staff turning these leads into prospects and customers, and on a technical team that thoroughly understands the products or services. However, there are ways to make more effective use of your staff's time through a joined-up sales campaign that delivers qualified sales leads and engaged prospects.
It is only once you have effectively managed your leads that you should begin to think of contacting them and offering demonstrations. It is only once you have all the information about your prospects that you are in a position to show how your product solves their technology challenges.
Today's business software market is incredibly competitive, and it is not always possible to convince a potential customer that your product will meet their needs, even if you know it does. If resources are limited, the key priority for smaller software companies is to prioritise and sequence their approach to sales, based on their knowledge of the market. This means identifying the subset of potential customers for whom your product offers an exponentially better solution than those provided by your competitors. The burden of this should not all be on the shoulders of your sales team (or CEO, if you are effectively the sales manager as well). An intelligent approach to data collection can include marketing automation software that helps you to measure the strength of the leads your marketing team generates. Your sales team will have a lead engagement score which indicates if they are a ‘hot’ prospect or not. By channelling energy into these prospects, your sales team can then work in any remaining time on communicating with broader market segments to establish a better market fit in the longer term. This means not broadening your focus too quickly.
As well as using intelligent systems and techniques, drawing on marketing and sales expertise from someone who has experience in the B2B or enterprise software field will help you when you are starting out. For instance, a consultant can help your sales team recognise at what stage your customer is in the buying cycle, and to quickly allocate resources accordingly. This type of mentoring support can also help when you are more established and look to move into new market segments.
Advising and coaching can help you to build up your business through developing your existing sales team with modern techniques to be more effective. It can include creating new sales processes that will work for you in the long term. This type of sales consultancy service should be designed to suit your individual needs and budget.
Software marketing to help you win more business
Software marketing helps to establish a competitive market presence and generates new leads for your software business. It will include strategies for inbound and outbound software marketing, such as the optimisation of your website and online presence, and the use of tools such as social media. In addition to generating new sales prospects, your marketing strategy will need to find a way to engage and nurture their prospects. This helps sales teams focus their efforts on specific customers, and ultimately win more business.
If you are finding it difficult to reach new market segments or struggle with competitors, it is worth getting to know more about your 'lost prospects', incumbents and competition, and to adapt your products or services accordingly. Timing is important, so you might find yourself ahead of the market curve, which means that you will need to find ways to help businesses transition to your product or service.
As sales-cycles for traditional software are slow, it is important to streamline as many of your processes as possible. For instance, you should develop processes that work across your whole business including sales, marketing, customer success and business development teams, so that information flows throughout your company. This will also ensure that all customer and target customer communication is carefully measured and tracked. You should streamline and integrate your CRM and marketing automation tools so that they are efficient as possible. This is an excellent way to engage any back-channel communication and friendly insiders within your target businesses who can be essential in winning sales.
Finally, although B2B is ultimately about selling to businesses, it involves people skills, and the ability to talk to customers as individual people. This means that 'peer marketing', which is more often associated with traditional customer software, should also be part of your marketing mix.
In sum, a successful approach to marketing B2B software will get the right mix between inbound and outbound techniques, incorporate strategies to find out more information about your prospects, involve effective communication between the different departments in your company, and find a way to feed information on 'lost prospects', competition and market trends into the development of your products and marketing messages. This, in turn, will mean you need to recognise your strengths and where you might need to draw on outside help or advice. It might include help with SEO, content writing, tracking how your customers get to you, talking to your customers, or using social media. No one can be an expert on all of these things, and software companies can find expert advice and integration across all the aspects of effective sales campaigns are more affordable and realistic than they might expect.
How to market software online
An important part of marketing your software or services will be online media. In the B2B software market, your products are likely to be aimed at a specialist sector, and both websites and social media can help you to find those people who are already looking for what you have on offer. It is also a great way to outsmart your competition, as the online platform allows you to learn more about your niche market than they could ever know about their broader market segment. This information has very practical applications. For instance, when you are developing SEO and pay-per-click advertising campaigns, you will benefit from an approach that makes use of long-tail keywords that are unique to your offering, rather than the high volume keywords that bigger software companies will be targetting.
Website and online information help to establish trust in your product or service and can communicate to your potential customers that you understand their needs better than the competition. Make sure that the content on your website and other online platforms is relevant and exciting for your target audience. For this, you might make use of smart content tools to deliver the right content to the right person. You should also find ways to effectively promote the content to make sure it generates as many leads as possible.
The website can also be an ideal way to help your leads move forwards in their buying journey. This might mean creating helpful and educational web content that will guide your B2B customer through every stage of their decision process. It should also be possible to get to know more about your customers through web forms that must be completed in exchange for downloadable information.
Whether you are looking to drive more traffic to your website or improve the performance of your website, it is helpful to draw on the services of an expert in software marketing to provide you with the expertise you need. In a constantly evolving B2B technology market and for small start-ups, this can be far more cost-effective than trying to pay for in-house staff with the necessary skills and experience.
How to market SaaS
While several of the most effective marketing processes for SaaS will be similar to those used for on-premises software products, you will also need to devote a large quantity of your resources and time to sustaining the relationship with your customers after the initial sale This after-sale process also poses additional demands on your abilities to find and record information about your relationship with that customer over time. Measuring the success of your marketing strategy is more difficult because the income generated from sales may take a while to determine, as your customer may cancel, downgrade or upgrade at any time.
As well as the challenges, there may also be additional opportunities for attracting customers via inbound channels that allow customers to try or buy an aspect of your service. This can be an important way to draw new customers in, learn about them and teach them how your product solves a problem they face.
About Terry Forsey Consulting: technology marketing consultancy
At Terry Forsey Consulting, we are the UK number one experts in software marketing and sales. Our team offers a number of approaches according to your needs and budget, including our SmartMarketing on Demand service that gives you access to a wide range of low cost & flexible marketing services for technology and software businesses without the time and resource in-house. This can include content writing such as emails, blogs and press releases, sales services, online advertising, video marketing and website improvement. It can also feature our automated Act-One marketing services that allow you to focus on the work you do best. We also specialise in sales and marketing consultancy, coaching and mentoring.
Our marketing consultancy services include:
- The best approach to lead generation for your business
- Processes to deliver sales-ready leads
- Better techniques to generate relevant leads
- Improvements in website performance
- Driving more traffic to your website through effective targeting
- An effective strategic planned approach to software marketing
We can help also make sure this fits with your vision of the development of your business through our business mentoring and consulting services. Whatever your needs in terms of sales and marketing, we can work with you to develop goals, agree on a plan to meet this that is flexible and cost-effective, and provide a transparent pricing structure to suit your needs. Simply call us, email or request a free call-back to arrange this.
Terry Forsey Consulting is based in the lovely village of Gretton in Northamptonshire and you can visit the testimonials section of our website to see what we have done to help other businesses in the UK with their software marketing.
Contact Terry Forsey today to arrange a free, no obligation consultation on your software marketing.