Like mobile operators, the economics of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors are profoundly affected by churn - the rate at which they lose existing customers. Any SaaS organisation with high customer acquisition costs should be particularly concerned about the impact of churn on their bottom line.
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SELL THE DIFFERENCE: Establishing your Unique Solution Value
I wonder if I’m alone when I look around at the circumstances that have led to the continuing crisis in our economy (is anyone prepared to bet that it won’t get worse before it gets better?) and consider whether the foundations can be found not just in the reckless get-rich-quick attitudes of a handful of irresponsible bankers but in a more general failure of our collective moral compass?
I recently wrote about the need for B2B organisations to transform their marketing from a cost centre to a revenue centre. It's a topic that is attracting an increasing amount of attention, and I'm delighted that Dan McDade of PointClear has agreed to share his experiences of this critical transformation is a guest article for the Inflexion-Point blog. I think you'll enjoy his perspectives - over to you, Dan:
“Our Solution is Better”. It’s a claim made by many B2B technology marketers, based on a perceived feature set advantage. Maybe their offering has a faster processor, uses the latest chipset, or has more memory, or greater functionality. Similar claims are made about software. But any advantages are inevitably going to be transient as competing vendors leapfrog each other in the feature/function war.
Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power - in a characteristically provocative piece - recently predicted that the number of sales people in the United States could decline from the current 18 million to around 4 million by 2020. He quoted a Gartner report that projected that 85% of the interactions between businesses will be automated without any need for human interaction by that time.
I admit it. I’ve been guilty of promoting the benefits of sales and marketing alignment as if they were self-evident to everybody involved. I’ve quoted studies that suggest that better sales and marketing alignment is a key priority for CEOs. I’ve spoken to hundreds of marketers who genuinely believe they could do a better job if they were able to work more closely with sales - and of course they are right. But here’s the problem: many sales leaders (and sales people) see concepts like “alignment” as yet another fluffy marketing idea, along with the latest expensive and irrelevant re-branding campaign.
Coming from somebody who has consistently sought to promote the value of focus and process in all matters connected with B2B sales and marketing, the above headline may strike you as bordering on the perverse. But bear with me. It’s just that no sales process can be successful unless it is based on a deep appreciation of your prospective customer’s buying process.
Apple has just posted results that far outstrip analyst expectations - nearly doubling their revenue year-on-year and more than doubling their profit. What lessons can we in B2B sales and marketing learn from Apple’s stunning success? I’d like to focus on three aspects that I believe we can all put into practice in our own businesses: clarity of focus, disciplined execution and the relentless emphasis on the customer experience.
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book of the same name, pointed out the power of “The Tipping Point”, and sought to demonstrate with a series of examples how little things can make a big difference. Now Lauren Carlson of Software Advice has picked up on the theme in a recent blog, in which she asks whether SFA (and its more widely targeted superset CRM) has passed a tipping point?
Your prospects' concerns, motivations and priorities change - often significantly - as they move from stage to stage in their buying decision process. Smart marketers are conciously aligning their offers, activities and content to the relevant point in the buyer's journey in order to encourage the prospect to move to the next stage with them. This is an easy concept in principle, but requires focus and real discipline to make it work in practice - although the potential benefits to sales and marketing effectiveness are profound.