One of my favorite speeches is the one Tien Tzuo gave as part of Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series. As part of this talk, Tien shared how Salesforce.com transformed their sales and marketing processes by leveraging the internet.
Based on those insights, here are eight ways the internet changed enterprise software marketing.
- Awareness. Before the internet, access to information about new products and solutions was limited to a few sources. In the internet-era, customers are much better at seeking out information themselves — and blocking out unwanted marketing messages — meaning B2B marketers must practice inbound techniques to help customers find them.
- Segmentation and Targeting. Because anyone can find you online, you need a way to make sure that the right people find you, and possibly need different offerings for different types of visitors.
- Education. The only way the buyer could learn more was a meeting with a sales representative from the company. That’s why buyers were willing to engage with sales so early in the buying cycle. But today, easy access to information means that buyers educate themselves before engaging with sales.
- Trials. The number one thing prospects want to know is whether your solution meets their needs. The best way to get that information is simple: just use the product. And the internet makes it easier than ever to let potential customers try your solution before they buy.
- Product Design. Limited information led buyers to resort to complex RFPs to make purchases; this encouraged companies to create products with broad checklists of features. But the internet, and trials, encourages companies to create simple, clean, easy to learn products.
- Sales. The internet created the role of inside sales to qualify marketing-generated leads, and close "easy" transactions over the phone.
- Events. The internet reduces the amount of human contact with direct sales representatives, other channels of human interaction become more important -- making events such as webinars, road shows, and conferences even more important. (The Apple Store serves a similar purpose, giving customers who buy online a place to build the relationship and trust.)
- Post-Sales Customer Experience. The internet enables the software as a service model, which uses subscriptions and not one-time sales. If customers don’t like your service they can just stop using (and paying for) it, so companies are encouraged to invest in the ongoing customer experience.
Read my original post, 8 Ways The Internet Changed Software Marketing.