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B2B marketing what is the best way

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing & PR' started by GoBespoke Software, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. GoBespoke Software

    GoBespoke Software UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 1
    Hi all,

    We are a software development company who are redefining the software industry by providing the UK's first subscription based custom software service.

    our service is similar to saas companies such as sales force, quick books online but the only difference is that you get custom software developed exclusively for your business.

    so in affect what people pay for sales force and quick books we are actually cheaper and you get custom software.

    our only problem is marketing the solution as we are finding b2b sales a lot harder then the usual b2c sales.

    any ideas and help would be much appreciated.

    thanks

    lee
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: GoBespoke Software Member since: Jan 4, 2017
    #1
  2. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    We are in a similar situation in that we are the first UK partner with the open source ERP solution xTuple (not sure if you have heard of them?).

    Showing businesses the benefits of the software that isn't well known in the UK yet, is obviously a challenge to say the least.

    Will be interesting to read the feedback from the others.
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #2
  3. GoBespoke Software

    GoBespoke Software UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 1
    Hi Hortonas_tjh,

    Glad to hear we are not the only one in this position. Not heard of xTuple I must admit and I have been in the industry for 25 years.

    Our product is custom to every business, so in theory should be easier to sell. Especially when their is no outlay or setup fees. But have been trying everything from Facebook to Google to Bing. We get visits but not converting so not sure if its our website, or people aren't looking for Custom Software. Although I cannot believe people aren't looking for Custom as many custom software development companies out their.

    What have you tried?

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: GoBespoke Software Member since: Jan 4, 2017
    #3
  4. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Hi Lee

    I have implemented additional elements on to our websites recently (online chat, forums etc) to try to "engage" visitors, as I have been reading in this forum quite recently that these (especially online chat can be, when done right, quite successful.

    I am waiting to see how this goes first.

    Prior to that I had been involved in local Twitter hours where we used to be based, but where we are now there isn't anything so have joined the local Chamber of Commerce, and they were really impressed.

    xTuple is a brilliant piece of software. It's the world's number 1 open source ERP solution. Covers so many aspects of the day to day running of your business you could imagine, and is even FREE for companies up to four users.

    It may well be a huge system for a small business if you think about it, but at least it is one sure way of being as future-proof as you can.
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #4
  5. GoBespoke Software

    GoBespoke Software UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 1
    Sounds like you have been busy pushing the software, but you need to know your key market. We are concentrating on Small Businesses who would not normally have access to custom software due to limitation of funds. This is why we offer our services on a subscription basis. Any of our customers can gain access to a complete bespoke software for just £25pm. So as you can imagine, we have a big audience but its a case of hitting them right.

    Engaging on a website doesn't always work we found, as many users will just close the chat as they are browsing.

    In a way, I think we need someone to take a look at our website as it maybe this what is causing our issues. In theory our services should be easy to sell, but I guess unless the website is right you don't get the required convertions.
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: GoBespoke Software Member since: Jan 4, 2017
    #5
  6. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    Posts: 1,852 Likes: 625
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #6
  7. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Certainly been trying as hard as I can. My key market is mid-sized enterprises. As much as xTuple is affordable and usable for small businesses too (and like I said could potentially make their business future-proof), I think people may be put off by the vast amount of features possibly? Or maybe the technical side/implementation might pose a problem?

    Whereas larger enterprises will no doubt go for a certain German company or possibly M$ company, so I think "middle of the road" is best for me to start with.
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #7
  8. GoBespoke Software

    GoBespoke Software UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 1
    Hi

    This model is different to the above model.

    We are charging per user per month for a custom software package. just like sale force and quick books online does.

    So for example £25 a month per user would get you a custom development built for your business that is cloud based (like saas). you can add extra things to the cost such as ability to take payments etc or dedicated server but if you are happy with a shared platform environment then you would only be charge £25 per user.

    So a similar model is already out their but that is a product that has been prewritten.

    Our model is custom software that has been built based on modules that we have already written and adapted to the clients needs/requirements. so we can get developments up and running quickly and the client gets a system moulded to their needs.

    the one you have highlighted is transaction based which is not a model tried or would work as well (we discovered).

    I would ask that if you see a flaw on this new model if you could let me know as I would be very grateful for any feedback.

    many thanks for your time

    Lee
     
    Posted: Jan 4, 2017 By: GoBespoke Software Member since: Jan 4, 2017
    #8
  9. garyk

    garyk UKBF Legend Full Member

    Posts: 5,965 Likes: 1,010
    No actually its *harder*. Why? Because its an intangible and business owners are looking to solve their immediate problems and will generally look for solutions related to their particular industry. I used to do alot of bespoke software dev and it is a hard sell. I used to get work from recommendations and then I focused on one thing; doing add-ons for Sage accounting. That worked well and I even developed a couple of free tools which I used as a lead gen mechanism.

    The key was that I had a defined target market and I used the free tools to later on get work.

    Cost is not going to be the issue, you need case studies and testimonials on your website that clearly demonstrate what issues a business had and how you resolved them. According to google trends custom software has shown a slight downtrend in the last 10-12 years which I guess is because of the rise of SaaS and people actually buying off the shelf solutions and with the rise of APIs hooking disparate systems together to get the solution they need.

    Good luck
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: garyk Member since: Jun 14, 2006
    #9
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  10. webgeek

    webgeek UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 3,657 Likes: 1,358
    @garyk has this exactly right!

    I work for a company which offers software that is a bit of a swiss army knife - sales performance management, financial dashboard, kpi tracker, operations, hr, etc, etc, etc.

    No one wants a Swiss Army Knife of software. Instead, they want something that is specific to their role, sector, business type...

    Virtually everyone that offers a SaaS product/service across multiple sectors has found this problematic and have reacted by creating separate pages on their site, separate feature sets, examples, and so on, to illustrate that they are for sales teams, or HR departments, or logistics companies, depending on where they think the money is to be found.

    Don't try to be all things to all people.

    Make a number of use-case examples, segment them into separate pages, and then work on the basic B2B marketing (seo, email prospecting/lead nurturing, content publication on/off site with backlinking, socially mentioning that content).

    Make sure your content is categorised so that people with a similar need will find only the content relevant to them.

    Make sure you're emailing people with the right role or company type or whatever categorisation, so that they only see what's relevant, at least via email/drip nurturing.

    Don't try to be all things to all people.

    Paint a specific target based on the fact that you're going to be the scratch for their itch. So, before you do this, you've obviously got to figure out what itch you're looking to solve by providing the scratch. Custom CRM? Custom integrated blah blah? Accounts, Sales, HR, what it is and who it's for...
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: webgeek Member since: May 19, 2009
    #10
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  11. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Really useful post for me too @webgeek !

    With ERP systems covering so many areas, I can understand what you say.

    Thanks for that. I appreciate it.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #11
  12. webgeek

    webgeek UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 3,657 Likes: 1,358
    First time I've heard of xTuple - thanks for sharing that. Man, if they had a decent web design that attracted rather than pushed away, they could be a force. Pity that having a good product isn't enough. But, as we know from Windows and Betamax, great marketing trumps quality products.

    Oh, and if you're looking for additional marketing targets - consider using insights from BuiltWith, or similar - to find people using particular combos of a specific inventory control, accounting, and more - so you know they've got pain connecting the dots.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: webgeek Member since: May 19, 2009
    #12
  13. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Interesting that you are the second person to have said that in the forum recently. Maybe I should put it in the website review section of the forum and feedback to them (even though it technically isn't my own)?

    xTuple is great though. Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux (as actual software, not through a web browser). A LOT easier to use than a certain German software company (no tcodes!!) etc etc.

    I would appreciate any feedback I can send back to them (I think I will start a new thread asking for all your valued inputs). The website obviously being one so far. It isn't well known in the UK (obviously) but has a lot of potential for SMEs.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #13
  14. garyk

    garyk UKBF Legend Full Member

    Posts: 5,965 Likes: 1,010
    Exactly that. The problem is ERP is way too complex and overblown for small businesses.Far too many fields on each screen and simple processes like raising sales invoices and purchase orders become cumbersome.

    Problem is you are up against the big players like SAP, Sage (with X3 and Sage 1000) and M$ with Dynamics. Not necessarily better products (especially in the case of Sage's bag o'sh*te) but much bigger marketing budgets and active dealer networks.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: garyk Member since: Jun 14, 2006
    #14
  15. webgeek

    webgeek UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 3,657 Likes: 1,358
    Definitely put it in the reviews section (you'll find the paid membership required sometimes to be a good value, other times not - your mileage may vary).

    Run it through marketing.grader.com as a preliminary step as well.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: webgeek Member since: May 19, 2009
    #15
  16. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Hi @garyk

    It is a shame, because xTuple do make it fairly easy in my opinion, but again it is down to user preference really. I myself have previously worked on SAP for over 10 years and find xTuple a breeze in comparison!

    I am currently working on our website to show the different screens on xTuple (as you will see from previous posts on here the xTuple website itself doesn't get the best of reviews), and also to show businesses in the UK how it could benefit them.

    Thanks again @webgeek for the advice.

    Lots of work to do for me, so any feedback from you all is always welcomed and valued.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #16
  17. garyk

    garyk UKBF Legend Full Member

    Posts: 5,965 Likes: 1,010
    The biggest issue is no dealer network. When you are dealing with mid to large sized companies they need the whole thing; installation, configuration, migration, customisation, training and they need the comfort that they have the support and knowledge of a dealer who can do all of that.

    You might start with migration, typically companies only look to change ERP every 5-7 years (based on my experience of working with ERP across large orgs) and when they do they need to transition by being able to take all master and transactional data with them. Now this is no small undertaking; I spent 6 months taking data from 2 existing systems (open accounts and access into accounts) into one large ERP (Sage 1000).

    I did a tool years ago that extracted data from Sage 50. I then ended up modifying this same tool over and over for several SaaS players as they knew that was the only way they had a fighting chance of moving customers away from Sage.

    I wish you well as it is a huge challenge.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: garyk Member since: Jun 14, 2006
    #17
  18. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 86 Likes: 19
    Thanks @garyk , much appreciated.

    I have added screenshots on our website at www.hortonaccountingservices.co.uk/xtuple under sub-sections (accounting, CRM etc) to give some idea of how xTuple compares to SAP for example.

    I am not convinced I will get the best of receptions on the way I have done it so I will investigate other options but I wanted to get the message out there anyway, and when I have added some other content etc to the website I will post on the Website Review section for everyone's critique.

    Again, much appreciated as always for your comments and help/advice.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #18
  19. Idosell Shop

    Idosell Shop UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 151 Likes: 14
    But almost all can be done remote way- in an example, we have only 4 sales and launch 40-50 new online shops a month including a development of front ends, product migration and much more. We do provide training via remote desktop- this way it is cost and time effective. When we take into consideration online stores migration it is semi-standard procedure- shop mask, eBay, Amazon, products, inventory and customer base so I cannot tell much regarding other areas of system migration.
     
    Posted: Jan 5, 2017 By: Idosell Shop Member since: Dec 2, 2016
    #19
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