Nancy Nardin wrote a great blog post last week, entitled ‘99% of Businesses are Being Stiffed! And You’re Probably One of Them’ that is highly relevant to sales and marketing tools for small to medium-size business (SMBs).
The essence of the post is that most SMBs are either overpaying for the software they’re using or using software that is built for mid-to-large companies but that is crippled for SMBs. What is more telling, is that the companies selling it to us are saying their ‘primary’ market are larger businesses but that the software is applicable for smaller companies too. tweet
How can this be true? How can your under 100 employee firm have the same support, feature needs, and budget as a 500+ employee company that has a marketing department and a sales team of 40? Or how you the same as 50-person hi-tech venture capital-backed startup that lives and breathes social media? All the features those companies will insist upon can become a burden for you to use (or not even be a good fit altogether), not to mention the manpower and support issues you will have to keep it running smoothly. It’s no wonder that a lot of software becomes ‘shelfware’ after the vendor has sold the customer on all the whiz-bang features 6 months previously.
We haven’t even gotten to budget! Some vendors will discount their software to give you a ‘great deal’, without ensuring you are a ‘great fit’. Or sell a ‘lite’ version or give a free version so that you will invest your time on their platform so they can upsell you later. Again, will it fit your company is not their primary concern: what you pay today may not be what you pay when you renew or have taken into consideration implementation costs.
As Trish Bertuzzi (a well-known expert on sales strategies) comments on the post, ‘Our advice to all our clients, don’t talk to vendors or do any research on marketing automation until you have defined your requirements. Then, once you have defined them, sit back and take a long hard look at what it will cost you in time, effort and energy to implement.’
So don’t get stiffed. Buy what you need – you can always upgrade later (if you need to) if it’s a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) product which most are. Gone are the days of buying all you will ever need because it is no longer a one-time license purchase.
Most importantly, choose based on what your requirements are, not based on what some large companies requirements are. There are many reasons why SAP and Oracle ERP software don’t fit SMBs, and Intuit accounting software doesn’t fit large companies.
About Ritu Singh
Ritu has over 10 years of experience in planning, facilitating and executing marketing programs. She is passionate about marketing and driven to help start-ups and small to large companies market products and services online and offline.