December Sales are Upon Us!
Ah Summertime! Vacations, Beaches and PREPARATION.
As we sit back, relax and enjoy an ice cold beverage, we should consider that the number two selling season is quickly approaching. I am talking about the fact that December is the second highest sales month for new license sales in the business application (ERP/CRM) industry. So, as you roll over to avoid getting sunburned… you should consider that your Fall Marketing Campaign should be 100% done and ready to execute the first week in September.
This means that all materials should be back from the printer, databases should be cleansed and segmented, web site landing pages should be completed, telemarketing scripts should be tweaked and events dates should be scheduled – all before September 1st.
Replace the ERP System?
While most people would agree that the past 18 to 24 months have been challenging in this business, most people would also agree that (prior to this summer break) we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Overall, business is finally starting to pick up again. As we head into the final quarter of 2010, lots of companies are going to be faced with a decision.
Thanks to the disproportionate number of companies forced to replace ERP systems just prior to Y2K, lots of companies had budgeted to replace (10 year old) ERP systems sometime in the past 18 months or so. Many more will be expected to replace systems in the next few years. The decision these companies will face is what to do about that line item in the budget Replace ERP System. Should they move forward, delay or cancel the idea outright?
I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, but I do believe the game has changed. I believe that the one thing this recent economic downturn has taught us is that companies are no longer willing to just throw money at vague projects (especially IT projects) that have been poorly-justified, showing no business value and have a tremendous likelihood of going over budget.
Add BUSINESS VALUE to Your Marketing Message!
Partners that have thrived during these past 18 months are the ones that have learned to sell Business Value and show companies the cost of NOT going ahead with the project. I point this out because this should be the foundation of your marketing message. This is what you should have in absolutely everything you touch a prospective customer with, from the first contact to the proposal and every touch in between.
If your Marketing Team can’t talk about how you go about finding business value and your Sales Team can’t present business value, your delivery team won’t be very busy in the coming months. Stop talking about how good the software is. Stop bragging that you have the best people. Everybody makes those same claims and you all sound the same. Start talking about how you can help a company gain tremendous business value by implementing a new system. Give examples of success stories and show your industry knowledge/expertise.
Ditch the Demos and ROI Figures!
The days of “out-demoing” a competitor to win a deal are gone. The idea of throwing out some half-baked ROI number that no one understands or believes is behind us. Business value is based on numbers that are provided by the prospective customer and are therefore 100% creditable to the prospective customer.
Even though our economy heads back to recovery, I believe the business of successfully selling systems has changed forever. There are two types of Partner companies that remain:
1. Those of us that only know how to brag about a product, hoping that a sexy demo will persuade companies to move forward.
2. Those of us that understand business value, how to create it and how to utilize it in a sales cycle.
I know where I would place my bet when asked which one will succeed. How about you?
– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.