Three Ways Software Company Execs Missed the Boat during the 2009 Recession

Written by Rockannand on March 1, 2010 – 11:00 am -

First off, not all software tech firms hit the bricks after Lehman tanked on September 15, 2009. Sales pipelines softened across the board and selling from Q408 through Q309 was tough.

BUT not impossible. Some of my observation companies even thrived. What happened?

1.  You did not change your “voice”.

Other than adding the “r” word to email subject lines, overall market messages did not connect with buyers in 2009. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you really know what your clients value about you and your products, especially during the recession?
  • Did you change your messaging and positioning to reflect these value statements and focus on your unique ability to deliver what they want?
  • Re-read your website, press releases and first few slides of your sales presentations. Now put yourself in your target buyer’s shoes. Would you be looking for your company to solve your biggest 2009/2010 problems?

2. You stopped talking to your target buyers and best clients.

Too many companies panicked and retrenched. Spending was cut across the board without regard to impact on sales and marketing program performance. Lead generation efforts were scaled back. Prospects and buyers that were not immediately scored as “sales-ready” were ignored. Lead nurturing processes were stopped altogether.

Sirius Decisions recent industry survey indicated that for a $150K software deal, marketing will touch that buyer 15 times before it becomes “sales-ready”. Those leads you spent all that money on to generate in 2008 are your best prospecting opportunities this year. Investing resources and time in lead management processes that cultivate those leads through the buy cycle should have been the priority in 2009.

3. You settled for “me-too” direct marketing tactics.

I subscribe (opt-in) to quite a few company’s web site content and/or register for webinars and see the same tactic/process over and over again. If I download something, I always get an auto-responder thanking me, often times followed by a tele-sales call. Of course I don’t respond to the call, so many weeks and months go by and the pattern repeats based on some pre-determined schedule. Rarely do they track my behavior and execute something that is specific to what I am interested in.

I call this “one and done” or “batch and blast” broadcasts. What a waste of time, but worse, I believe it is alienating the buyer. Marketing automation coupled with some great research and case studies over the past 3-4 years have given us the tools and processes proven to be successful, but adoption has been marginal at best the past 12 months.

We all know that a recession means learning to do more with less. That means optimizing the resources you have following with practices and tools that have proven effective, especially in bad economic times. The past year dictated focusing on known buyers or high probability buyers with more touches using campaign tactics with very specific calls-to-action.

Rarely did I actually see the targeted approach, but the ones that did got my attention and kept it. I even bought from those solution providers for me and my clients. Why, because they connected to my buying needs better and more frequently.

As always your comments and reactions are most welcome.

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