‘We just need to EDUCATE the customer.’
‘Please download our 30-page guide on how to buy our application – it even comes with its own ROI calculator!’
‘If they just give me a week to analyze their business, then I can show them how much sense our software platform makes.’
‘I don’t understand how they can’t see the value.’
I don’t know if it’s over, but it’s definitely changing for good.
I have been there. I have worked in software companies and heard many of the lines above in internal meetings, and have always felt that these statements came across a bit ‘whiney’ – and reflected a state of denial.
In 2016 more software was sold as a service – online – than the traditional client-server software model. Not ALL software can be sold on a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) model, but the wave will continue for a number of reasons.
Here are the obvious reasons web-based software will win the day:
- It’s easily accessible across a number of locations, and for industries that are ‘always moving’ – like trucking and logistics – this is key
- Web-based software is more amenable to being rendered and usable across a number of different devices – desktop, tablet, smartphone
- It’s pricing is better tied to usage – a company can adjust its user base up or down – which better accommodates changes in a company’s business or adjustments to a business model
- A company avoids laying out significant capital up front – SaaS software eliminates the risk of whether it will actually work in business’s live environment
- No need to hire as many tech resources – which are hard to find at the best of times! Yes, we are in the information economy but we haven’t yet aligned our education system with that reality
- It’s easier to adjust and adapt a web-based application to keep current with the surrounding technology ecosystem. It moves more in-rhythm with surrounding technologies, which means fewer ‘bugs’ getting fixed quicker
- Collaboration – this is a much easier way to get geographically distant offices working together and using a centralized database – allows shared insight across the organization, especially distributed organizations
And then there’s the biggest reason for moving to an online ‘software as service’ application…
It has to do with one simple truth. A truth that is hard to accept by the sales profession. Heck, I found it difficult especially after doing the same gig for over 25-years of my professional life!
People don’t want to be sold.
I will say it again.
People don’t want to be sold.
But they do want HELP to buy so they can make the best decision for their business.
When I think about this fact, the line from the Declaration of Independence keeps running through my head.
‘We believe these truths to be self evident.’
The biggest change in the ‘software as a service’ movement is the transparency and openness with which you have to operate your business. Giving the customer an opportunity to take a trial and use the software either in a ‘controlled’ or ‘live situation’, without risk is essential.
As a ‘vendor’ you have to give yourself over to the ‘will of the people’ and accept their verdict… even if they decide it’s just not for them. But now you BOTH know that fact. And it didn’t take months and big ‘moula’ to find that out, not to mention ongoing frustration and anger if ‘the sale’ just wasn’t a good fit.
‘Software as a Service’ means you do something WITH your customers – helping them make an informed decision.
Client Server software is something you SELL to customers. The rabbit is in the hat and they are just waiting for you to pull it out! TA–DA!
Which begs the questions. ‘Why does a business have to work so hard to sell it? Why are they allocating so many resources to selling to you rather than helping you use it?’
So if your transportation management software vendor isn’t able to offer you a trial – say within an hour – you might want to ask them, ‘why?’
I am sure they will want to EDUCATE you on the reason, or send you a buying guide… or calculator… or white paper… or technical specs document… or magician.
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