July 23, 2019
Turn Technology Into Sales: Marketing
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This is the first of two articles. The second article will about building sales.
Many companies have developed great technology and associated products. A year later, they still have relatively little sales to show for it. This, of course, is very demoralizing and can put the financial position of the company into jeopardy. The first thing people come to realize is that in general, technology doesn't sell itself. You need a well-thought-out marketing and sales program to succeed.
This is just as important as the product itself. In addition, you should consider support and other operational issues upfront to be ready for when you do become successful. This area is often ignored, and if success comes quickly, operational aspects are not prepared which could lead to bad product reviews and lack of customer satisfaction.
Let's talk about marketing and sales. I've seen all-to-often where companies spend all their time on the technology of the product and its features but have a poor website, little advertising, and a bad sales plan if any. Then they wonder why such a great product is not selling.
Let's examine the website and what it should contain:
What do you want the customer to see when they first bring up the website? The home page should contain key messages of why one would want the product, and more importantly, this particular product. Whether you use videos, nice graphics, or cool colors, the landing page should hit home and if this is the only page the viewer sees, they'll get the key messages. More than likely, they'll keep going to learn details.
Screen size matters. Make sure key messages are "above the fold." That is, don't assume that everyone has large screens that see all the home page content without scrolling. If there needs to be a lot of information, ensure the customer sees that scrolling down will show more via a down arrow or some indication that there is more there.
Call to action. Don't let information lie flat without asking the viewer to do something. It could be anything from "schedule a demo" to "call the number below" or any other such beneficial action. Perhaps have this call to action in multiple places on the home page and on all other web pages
Product or service description web pages should follow Solution Sales rules. Don't just place your great product features out there. The way to do it is to follow the Solution Sales formula used in actual selling, i,e., Features, Advantages, Benefits. Features are product or service features you want to highlight. Advantages answer the "so what" question, that is, what's so great about the feature. Many companies forget to explain this and assume the reader will see this for themselves. Don't assume anything. Benefits are key. They explain how the customer will benefit in their business from this feature. Use this approach as well to differentiate your product from the competition.
So you now have a great website. How do you get people to visit it? It's amazing how many people work very hard to get a good website (the above conversation notwithstanding) but see very little activity. First of all, don't assume your potential customers CEO's or others are lying awake at night worrying about a problem your company solves. This is more important than any SEO you might do because SEO assumes that someone is searching for your type of product or service. Advertising in the right places is key.
Advertising should be where potential customers are listening/watching/reading and note that they are having the problems your company's product or service solves. AdWords is great but insufficient. As a former COO building revenue for a new product where we had no brand recognition whatsoever and building a reseller channel, AdWords brought us almost no hits. Advertising on satellite radio on a channel of interest to the industry brought us a lot of resellers and made our brand a household name. So pick your advertising spots accordingly.
To complement non-web-based advertising, advertise on the Web. Again, don't assume that people are searching for your type of product or service. You need to generate awareness of the problems you solve or the benefits you bring. Then tailor-make AdWords to people that clicked on the ad, or other measures that will automatically pop up ads when they are on the web in general.
In summary, here are the three steps for a great marketing program:
Finally, attending conferences or trade shows, speaking at them if possible, publishing articles much like I'm doing now, and simply using your professional or personal network to get the word out is very useful.
Call to action: Contact me via this site (Advisory Cloud). I'll be pleased to work with you to develop the right marketing programs and website content for maximum effectiveness and sales.
PS: My Features, Advantages, Benefits
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