Guest Column | August 6, 2018

Help Your Clients (And Potential Clients) Choose Your Solution Over And Over Again

By Sabo Taylor Diab, CTERA Networks

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We live in a hyper-connected world. Global travel happens with relative ease and now, more than ever, we communicate on a rapid and widespread scale. Technology has enabled us to complete calculations so large that, if undertaken by a human, they might take months to complete. With software, these comps take minutes and the application of the ensuing findings is, for instance in the realm of medicine, saving lives by running scenarios for cancer patient outcomes.

Via our phones, computers, and tablets we see things that happen a world away or in the life of a friend 1,000 miles away in almost real time. TV brings us to the scene of an automobile chase as it unfolds while a social media share lets us know our dentist just became a grandmother for the first time. The software at the heart of the technology that enables this hyper-communication is constantly evolving and maturing because we as a society demand that it does.

It's been a year of evolution and revolution. The science of marketing and selling this technology also continues to evolve and this year became more complicated than rocket science. Arguably aerospace engineering — rocket science — is still a discipline Elon Musk and a group of visionary geniuses work on while we wait for outcomes. In the meantime, in software tech, the past year has brought a number of unpredictable and constantly changing variables to light with which the industry has had to grapple.

For software companies it is all about bringing the fastest, most scalable, reliable, and secure options to the marketplace whileadvancing customers to the next level so more can happen, more information can be shared, and more knowledge can be collected and saved. As a software developer and vendor, it is not enough to approach a potential client and claim your tech offerings are bigger, faster, bolder and safer than they were last year. You’ve got to prove your claim in the software business world, every single day.

There are several approaches and best practices a software business can absorb into its corporate culture in order to best position itself and its offerings in the competitive space of software tech. A great deal of this philosophy is played out in sales meetings with clients and in the marketing meetings that reach out to those clients. There are a few general tenants a software company looking to differentiate in the competitive landscape needs to consider.

  • Real-time measurement is the only way to understand what is happening right now and will make your marketing and sales strategies more effective: As a company, it is important to take a comprehensive look at the process that gets you from a “slogan” or a marketing message to real deployment in the customer’s environment — hence, a win. Define what success looks like at every checkpoint in this process and then ask questions to see if your plan becomes a reality. What interests buyers about your solution? Does their interest translate to revenue? Did you target the right people? Honestly answering these questions and providing that data to sales and marketing keeps everyone on the same page and the rumor mill at bay. With real-time measurement, sales and marketing can strategize messages to the customer and alter expectations because of the measurement in place.
  • There are different approaches to measuring a marketing campaign, but whatever approach you’ll be embracing, connecting the dots between your buying persona, the message, and the type of campaign is crucial: As an organization, you need to be able to answer the questions who wants to buy our solution; what do they care about most; and how do we solve that need/pain point? Thoroughly understanding what your clients and potential clients need and completing that need with your solution is the ultimate goal. It is important to feel out the story of the client and the sales or marketing story of the person with whom you are speaking. When we truly understand what is happening with our customers, what they like, and what makes them nervous — so much so we can meaningfully engage in conversation about the issues they are having —we develop a sense of trust and understanding that translates to differentiation in the mind of the customer. And it is differentiation. We “get them.”

Understanding your buyer is only one part of the equation. Forming a plan that ties your deliverables with your buyers and their challenges is just as crucial. Imagine your marketing operations as a tree where everything is connected and rooted in your buyers. Every campaign, content, and message is connected to provide the ultimate ecosystem for your customers and prospects to navigate.

  • When it comes to setting up a sales and marketing strategy, consider the lifecycle stage of your prospect’s buyer journey — are they at the awareness, research, or decision phase — and set your deliverables and messaging accordingly: It is important to note where your client is in their search for an answer, one that you may be engaged with them to potentially answer. Are they able to identify the challenges in place? Are they aware of the problem but have no idea how to solve it? Did they try out a few optional solutions but are not sure what works best for them? Or have they already tried several solutions that provided no resolution? It seems obvious, but not understanding the mindset of a prospect and what can really assist him/her at this point in the journey can inform your approach, demeanor, and message.
  • Put your money where you know there will be a return on investment. In most cases, the success of a marketing campaign depends on the ability to measure and understand the results: Marketing spending is one of the biggest (if not the largest) inside an organization. The ability to use funds to drive impact relies on the ability to define, measure, and monetize the outcomes. If there is any activity where success and impact cannot be measured on your GTM strategy, stay away from it. ROI is important and there are many ways and methods to measure it. For example, measuring the time and effort invested in building a strong partnership with a reseller can take time, but building the expectation within the company leadership on what ROI to expect from this activity is a key to succeed.

Software solutions are at the heart of modern life as we know it. And as our world shrinks and software-enabled technology continues to bring humanity together, software organizations are compelled to constantly innovate. Innovation happens in all sectors of a company, including sales and marketing, where the push is always on to tighten and better understand buyers and provide them with what fits them best in perfect timing.

About The AuthorSBG Sabo Taylor Diab, CTERA Networks

Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President of Global Marketing at CTERA Networks, has more than 20 years of experience in leading the penetration of markets for medium and large startups. Prior to joining the team in CTERA, Sabo acted as vice president of international marketing at INFINIDAT, where he took major part in building and developing the GTM strategy for the company. His studies of marketing and communications took place in Tel-Aviv University, Israel, and Goldsmith University of London, UK.