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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Aligning your SaaS Product Design, Marketing and Sales Strategies

January 7, 2013 Leave a comment

imageWhen you think about your Software as a Service company sales, and marketing strategy you’ll need to consider the product complexity, who is your target customer segment, and what other players will be involved in the sale process(not full 4Ps analysis here). In each of the cases below different levels of effort and cost to market and sale your product(s) is needed. Partner recruiting is selling, which means, leads generation, sales cycle, value proposition, and some form of an inside sales team. Working with the channels requires investments, competing on VAR attention is selling, and the competition is growing with every new SaaS solution developed. Growing SaaS companies like HubSpot, Marketo, ConstantContact and more as well as giants such as Oracle have been already investing in capturing these channels. The alternative of going directly to the customers is not financially viable in the case of a small start-up company selling to the small and medium business(SMB). The complexity of the product will determine how long is the sale cycle, the onboarding process, and the need for Management Service Provider(MSP) participation. Considering whether the product should become a platform requires considering the implications on your go to market strategy like setting and governing the quality of the add-ons(certification) and pricing.

Here are some combinations to look at.

Vendor Type Billable Customer IT Reasonability Likely Exit Strategy Product Strategy Sales & Marketing Strategy
Startup SMB SMB owner Building a cash cow – why sell? Simple, limited functionality, self served Online, inbound marketing
Large Enterprises Corporate IT Department M&A (sell to one of the big players: SAP, Oracle, IBM, Microsoft) Perfecting one use case, or developing strong protected IP – proprietary algorithm Direct sales. POC/paid pilot, partnering with other solutions.
B2B marketing: thought leadership, trade show.
Young growing company SMB(<;2000 employees) MSP/VAR Going up the market, or M&A through Vertical integration Building Platform as Service (PaaS), OEM(embed other products)
Requires customization and integration with add-on
Partner recruitment. Referral program.
Working with partner on developing strong value proposition and go to market strategies.
Sponsored conferences, Webinars.
MB MSP/VAR IPO, M&A Become mission critical Ad above and recruit strategic partners
Large Enterprise developing SaaS SMB MSP/VAR N/A Medium complexity. Open API, web services, enabling value added services Partner programs. Account executive to harvest strategic partners
Large Enterprises Corporate IT Department N/A Hybrid between on premise and hosted Direct sales, rebranding

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I’m sure that there are other combinations of vendor and customer types, product, sales and marketing strategies. However, some combinations could lead to successful outcome while other be disastrous!

VivaStream – how to know “who to know?”- during DMA2011 conference in Boston

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

imageI’m going to the DMA2011 conference in Boston next week, and this year the focus is on Real-Time marketing. What could be more relevant than that?

Learning about the different marketing methods that are leveraging mobile, social, and real-time data will be one goal of this event and networking is yet another (not a side effect).

VivaStream is a startup that is building a real-time mobile app and web-site that aims to take networking during business events like DMA11 to the next level.

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Before the event starts: you setup your profile, select the conference, browse the schedule, and press the Attend button for the sessions that you plan to go to. Any of your actions is broadcasted to the VivaStream stream telling others about you. VivaStream also offers a reach lists of relevant topics and you can select from one of the two following options: I’m Interested or I Can Help. VivaStream uses this information among other factors to suggest people that you should connect with. There are more useful features and details, but this is the basic.

During the event: Since this is my first event using VivaStream, I’m yet to see the real-time capabilities in action. As you can see in the picture above, VivaStream plans to share some of the statistics based on the information gathered from users’ activities, and to let us know about interesting presentations and spontaneously organized after parties – IN REAL-TIME.

After the event ends: there is a strong possibility to see VivaStream building a new professional social network for networking with a purpose, based on interest and need, and fairly quick.

VivaStream is a very busy start-up, but here are few suggestions for additional features that I would like to see:

  • Show me my agenda (calendar view) built based on presentations that I planed to attend to.
  • Allow users to enter topics
  • Create multiple streams based on different activities (it could get too noisy in a single feed stream)
  • Allow users to shout-out (for example: book signing now next to room ###)
  • Check-in to a session (and maybe check-out, or leave a comment)
  • Number of people interested in a certain topic (next to the topic)
  • Number of people attending a presentation (next to the presentation)

VivaStream has the potential to become an important component of any business event. It is fairly easy to see the value to the event organizers that can learn in real-time about activities within the conference rooms as well as outside, the presenting vendors looking for leads, and for the consumers that are looking for relevant help and experience.

Now, I’m looking forward to see how it all plays out in real-time. Go Viva!

The influencer’s five qualities – S.W.A.R.M

October 25, 2009 6 comments

In an effort to understand the new Influencers Marketing phenomenon, I decided to try and identify some of the influencer’s characteristics and skills. This information is based on my experience, observing several individuals whom are perceived as influencers by me and others in the online world.

I can envision few derived action items possibly taken following this information:

  • Building influencer’s self training curriculum
  • Learning to identify upcoming influencers
  • Learning how to influence the influencers

The influencer – SWARM

I came up with the SWARM acronym to help remembering them, because it reminds me the metaphor for describing the human behavior following an influencer call for action; like a swarm of bees reacting to environmental change.

Virtue Underline Skills Impact Tasks
S – Storyteller Know how to tell a good story. Hers and others. Vision, Inspiration Collect inspiring stories to share.
Focus on possibilities and not on constraints.
W – Well-rounded Technology, Marketing, Selling, and Communication savvy Respect Read outside of your domain. Work on turning week points to strength.
A – Ahead Patience, Analytic, Confidence, Distinctive Leadership Be curious. Make very little assumption. Ask questions and look for answers. Reverse engineer. Try to write, and explain how it works.
R – Resist Can see outside the common thinking.
Extract signals from a lot of noise.
Priorities Read a lot before making an opinion or taking side.
Read a lot to build solid baseline for comparing it with new information.
Read Seth Godin – reading his blog posts regularly is a good training for counter thinking.
M – Motivating Know how to break it all to manageable tasks so other can execute. Education Design a plan from one point to the next including tasks, milestones, and objectives.

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How can we use this knowledge for Influencer Marketing – ideas:

  • Building influencer’s self training curriculum – thanks to the internet, social network, social media, and many additional empowering technologies and tools, more people now have the potential of gaining influence. The growing fragmentation of the long tail to micro niches introduces more domains where individual can become an influential force. Here’s lies the need to train on mastering influential skills.
  • Learning to identify upcoming influencers – for building new ways searching for people and their influence level within domains. You can see an initial approach by wefollow listing the most influential twitter users per category. Here is the list for technology. I can only guess that it is based on retweet counts. It should be easier to start building relationships with influencers early on than when they become too popular.
  • Learning how to influence the influencers – if an influencer is a great storyteller and also attentive to this method of communication, then maybe coming up with an interesting and inspiring story is the way to start building the relationship with her.
  • Your thoughts about influence?

    What do you see as the key virtue and skill for becoming an influencer? How do you plan to find rising influencers in a new niche? As a marketer, planning to leverage an influencer’s call for action in order to convey your message, how do you plan to approach her?

    Picture credit: umjanedoan

    Twitter tip: treat yourself to a tweet

    October 18, 2009 Leave a comment

    orancecupjpg I want to follow more people on twitter so I can see more interesting tweets or gain more influence (if they follow me back) but I need to be patient!

    Robert T. Kiyosaki wrote in his bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad (not an affiliate link), “Pay yourself first”. In some way, what that he meant was the opposite of treat yourself first. Basically, it was about saving money first, and after making sure that this money is invested and yields more profit, then it is OK to spoil yourself buying luxury things. There are few other good lessons in this book but lately this one resonate in my mind when I think about following others on twitter.

    In order to be twitscally (fiscally) responsible I’ll need to earn new followers first before I can go and follow more.

    Why do I recommend this network building approach?

    • It make you motivated to come up with better content so you can get more followers and then follow more great resources.
    • It helps you to build a more reliable and sustainable twitter account. I find it hard to follow twitter accounts with high follow/following ratio (i.e. way more following than followers).
    • It can help you to put a value for great twitter users. Example: I tell myself that if I’ll get two more followers I could follow one more (maybe an upcoming new thoughts leader in my niche).

    And, yes, it takes more time in the same way as it takes to grow your saving account, but this is the way in my mind to build valuable network. A trustworthy network that can be leveraged for influence, community building, and revenue generating. Treat your followers following spread like your equity and build it overtime. Alternatively, having a twitter account that is follows lots of people, and very few followers is like having an over extended credit card account.

    Does it make sense to you? Do you follow blindly? Do you have process for deciding whom to follow?

    If you like this tip and want to learn more about building high value twitter accounts for marketing, selling, networking, influence or any other purposes please consider reading my eBook: Timing the tweet

    And, yes, I know that it is almost Halloween: so treat yourself to a great tweet!

    FriendFeed exposes the need for FeedFriend

    July 8, 2008 1 comment

    FriendFeed  is an application for sharing much of your online activity and for folowing others and their feeds. You can add up to 41 services as of today collecting feeds from each to your feed stream. The value of this is still in question but it is not the subject of this post.

    Now, one can assume that if you share something in one place and many of your followers can see it, this should be enough to market your blog, but apparently it is not. One can assume that this could be a great time saver for a blogger marketing his recent blog post by cutting down the leg work going around and posting the blog post link in multiple places (some of the 41 options).

    The reality shows the opposite. I still see some of this service’s heavy users going around adding the links everywhere including the same marketing shpiel. How I see this – ironically using FriendFeed. Because I follow them and run Twhirl on my desktop I keep seeing the same light-weight pop-up windows with the notification about those users’ activity and only the source is differnt.

    I assume that the reason for that “busy working” activity is the fact that many of the target audience is not yet on FriendFeed and these bloggers can’t rely on the message to go around using FriendFeed service exclusively .

    So, I see an option to change the direction of the feed as well – i.e FeedFriend. Having a publishing service that can add the blog post link with a message simultaneously to multiple services (41 is a good number) such as Digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Jaiku, reddit and more.

    It will be helpful too if FriendFeed or Twhirl will filter duplicate notifications so I will not see the same blogger market the same post per each Social: Network, Bookmarking or Status service.

    Your thoughts….

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