A success journey towards digital transformation
Software & HiTechHow Marketing Automation can help Software & HiTech companies to overcome their marketing and sales challenges and improve their business
As software or HiTech company, you offer businesses (or consumers) various forms of software, technology, distribution and/or product development. Especially in business-to-business, multiple kinds of stakeholders are involved at your customers and prospects, which comes with different kinds of challenges.
Implementing new software comes with risks for your prospects, and you know that all to well. How should you cope with all these stakeholders and decision making units? What challenges do they face and how can Marketing Automation help in overcoming them?
Software & HiTech
Companies in the Software and HiTech sector nowadays occupy a large segment of the market. From our experience in working with these companies, we often help them from a B2B or B2B2C enterprise perspective. From this point of view, we see a distinction between two categories within these companies:
- Companies that offer software or technology which is a game changer for their customers. Change management plays a critical role, due to a new way of working.
- Companies that offer nice add-ons or certain point solutions.
Both of these categories have different stakeholders involved. The first category offers products or services that will be used for a longer duration and also typically has longer sales cycles and a more complex decision making unit (DMU). People need to be convinced to make a change. You often don’t see demos or trials here, though longer (paid) pilot periods are seen. For the second category, the service or product is often more easily replaceable (like a webinar tool). Use cases for these categories differ from the first category. Let’s dive a bit deeper into the differences that we see.
Software or HiTech which is more a point-solution and/or easily replaceable
Companies within this category often offer their customers a practical solution to important processes. They try to make their customers’ lives easier. However, competition among these companies is strong and their product is often more easily replaceable.
The challenge for these companies is balancing the costs of aquisition versus the customer liftetime value. These companies often use trial marketing: they want people to start a trial. The more details you know about all the interactions the prospect has within that trial, the more enabled you are to win the deal. E.g. How frequently do they log in, use specific modules of the software or technology, etc. You want to have a clear vision on the probability of them continuing after their trial. How do you ensure that you can improve this process with use of Marketing Automation?
Software or HiTech that requires change management
Companies like these offer technology or software that needs to be implemented in the standard way of working. The use of the product is an enrichment to their business and should lead to a more efficient method of operating. They often buy your product for the long term, and they make use of roadmaps, release notes, and often look at the release new features.
The moment a client purchases this software or technology, it will not yet be fully integrated into the existing way of working in their first year. When this does happen, the chance of switching to a competitor’s offering is reduced. How can you impact this? And can you get grip on the long sales cycles? Sales and CRM often have a good view on the sales forecast, but this is influenced by marketing leads that are generated months before. Marketing Automation provides a large variety of business value here!
Some software and HiTech use cases that marketing automation can address
Companies in both categories face different, but also similar challenges. In the world of software (and HiTech of course), there are a few established companies, like Microsoft for example, but also a lot of fast growing companies. A big challenge for these fast growing companies is scalability. How can these companies ensure that the marketing and sales processes that you develop today, will be scalable in the future when the company has grown in size?
Some invest a lot of money in sales capacity. In situations like these, you often see that leads are followed up by sales way too early in the sales funnel and purely based on demographic data. This frequently leads to an unsuccessful follow-up. The reason for this could be a fear of competition: first come, first served. However, this almost always results in an operational inefficient way of working, especially for companies that don’t sell essential technologies and/or software. Marketing automation helps you to identify those leads with the highest propensity to buy at the right time so your sales works effectively and efficiently.
Many have problems with customer support. The quality of customer service often reduces the customer experience. It is however very important to pay attention to customer satisfaction and feedback. How can you identify or solve things at the right time and use this feedback in other marketing communications? How can you use this in your commercial processes? Marketing Automation can help you prevent a negative experience.
HiTech and software is not just about getting new customers and/or renewals, but onboarding and activation also plays a very important role. Often the people who are actually going to use the product are different from the people who decided to buy the product. You should take care of onboarding (e.g. start using it and being able to use it). Then followed by activation (e.g. knowing how to create value with it and experience more features). You would want to keep track of this, because it can influence retention and it creates the possibility for upsell and cross-sell.
Marketing & Sales Alignment
To software companies, the alignment between Marketing and Sales is extremely important, just as it is for many companies in other sectors. Marketing and Sales should create their goals together, because ultimately they have the same intention: to create value for their customers and generate more qualitative high leads. Hence, excelling in this area is important. This is always something we focus on with our clients, regardless of their sector.
When Marketing and Sales work together using the right technology, like Marketo, you will create a great customer experience in which effectivity and chances will be high. With the use of Marketing Automation, you’ll be able to collect the data of your leads in an efficient way, getting to know your audience better. With that information you are going to design your marketing initiatives. This way, these two departments will convert the right leads that match your customer profile, leading to higher conversion, amongst other things. This will result in a higher quality of leads and satisfying sales. Using lead scoring will also benefit the quality of your leads and sales, because you’ll be able to identify potential customers at the right time in the buyer journey.
There are many other ways you can improve your marketing and sales alignment with Marketing Automation which will benefit companies in the Software & HiTech sector as well, and as you can see, these companies face many other different challenges. But to many of these challenges, a clear marketing automation strategy can be the answer.
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