Friday, May 27, 2011

Close a $2M software sale by phone? Yes you can!

A few days ago I attended the Sales & Marketing 2.0 executive group meetup in Tel-Aviv.

The CMO of a fast growing startup - can't say the name, but it sounds like a that of a tropical fruit :) - shared with us how they go about marketing and selling their product, a SaaS that helps IT professionals perform certain risk-related tasks.

The company targets heads of IT at mid-size and large enterprises. They're in the ERP market. Their product is by no means cheap. You won't find them in any Gartner magic quadrant.

How many enterprise sales people does this company have?


100% of their transactions are done through an inside sales team based in Israel. They sell to organizations across the globe. They close deals of five, six and even seven figures - by phone.

What's the secret sauce?

I believe it's a combination of several ingredients:
  • A great product that is incredibly easy to try out (SaaS delivery model helps, but is not mandatory) 
  • A crisp, compelling value proposition delivered to exactly the right audience
  • A well oiled marketing and sales machine that leverages automation and personalization technologies
  • A good business model that is simple and aligned with perceived value and usage pattern
  • Delighted customers that spread the word and lower pre-purchase anxiety levels
Companies like New Relic, SolarWinds and Atlassian have figured it out. They're selling tons of software to organizations of all sizes with little or no enterprise sales.

Is it the end or enterprise sales? Probably not. Some product and some buyers will always require the more personal touch, yet these companies prove that you can sell software - even if it's expensive, and even if it's sold to a very traditional buyer - solely over the phone or through the web. The benefits? Lower cost of sale, faster scale up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We don't need no "Like"

Many companies are now immersed in a Facebook arms race. Frito-Lay recently set Guinness record for Facebook “Likes”, getting 1,571,161 “Likes” in 24 hours. That’s pretty impressive, yet setting aside the excitement of making it to the Guinness World Records, is it all that important?

“Like” is easy. Too easy. 

A swift click of a mouse and you’re moving on to the next person-falling-into-water-video or really-cute-friend-haircut-photo.

A “Like” in itself has little value. 

Today’s hyper-connected, always-on, information-overloaded world calls for a well thought out, integrated engagement strategy that builds on real discussions and top notch content.

Steve Rubel, EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman, recently gave an excellent talk about changing the nature of authority. Steve noted that more content will be created today than existed in entirety before 2003(!). Everyone is a writer, a video producer, a reviewer, a commenter. 

So who do you trust when you make your buying decision? Who's the expert?

Becoming a subject matter expert has become so much easier – content distribution costs have gone down to practically zero.

Becoming a subject matter expert has become so much harder anyone can create and disseminate content. 

Experts have become the most precious marketing assets. I wholeheartedly agree with Steve’s first step to success: “elevate the experts”!

Authority in the Age of Overload
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