How to Market an ERP System

How hard can it be?

Marketing ERP systems is quite easy isn’t it?  You tell the market about all the features of your product, be it NetSuite, SAP, IFS, Odoo or whatever, then your sales person digs out the opportunity and the sales process begins. 

To do this you’ll make a bunch of competitive claims:

Our ERP has more features than yours.

Our ERP is bigger than your ERP

Our ERP is easier to use than yours

Our ERP is easier to customise than your ERP

One of the commonest methods services businesses try to differentiate themselves is by claiming that they have the best people.  But when everyone else says the same thing, who’s lying?  Because someone has to be.

Trouble is every single one of your competitors is saying exactly the same thing.  

To compound the problem, you’ve got to compete with specialists in HR, CRM, Marketing  etc.   Sometimes you’re even in competition with the supplier itself as well as other partners of your supplier.

Standing out from the crowd.

Standing out from the crowd is about as hard as it gets in the ERP jungle but maybe there’s a way through this with a little thought.

We believe the way to do this is to present yourself to the market in a slightly different way.  That is, become a helpful resource to your potential clients, way before they plan to buy anything.

Sales people know how to do this.

Let me explain.  The best sales people have always known that the way to the customer is by being an expert in their customer’s business.  By showing you understand their problems, and aren’t willing to ram your product down their throats at the earliest opportunity.

The Holy Grail of selling is to become a ‘trusted adviser’.  But this is one of the hardest things sales people do and there are new methods to help them do this, once they have an opportunity to work on.

But how do you become the trusted adviser when you don’t have that opportunity?   

What’s going on?

Maybe we should step back a little and just analyse what’s going on here.  

Nearly all sales training starts when you have an opportunity.  But the reality of today is that customers have gone through a major part of their buying cycle online, long before they even approach suppliers.  How therefore do you get into the head space of your potential customers early on in their buying cycle.

The answer is the same – become a trusted adviser but do it in a slightly different way.

Examine your current online content.

If you start by examining your online content you will find that over 80% of it, or more, is all about you.  It’s all about your products, services, staff, events etc.  Very little of it will be about your customers’ issues, problems and challenges.  That’s because it’s easier for marketing to talk about the tangible stuff rather than intangible.  But it’s the intangible stuff that customers are interested in.  

They ask hard questions – “What’s the best way to solve this problem”.  “Can I solve this problem myself with my own people”.  Can I do things better than I’m currently doing them”.  “Can I save money doing it differently”.  You can bet that they are not asking about your latest product release or money off offer.

We have to deal in realities and sales people no longer can phone up a customer and ask to speak them about their next ERP system.  If he can even get through it will be approaching a miracle.

How to become a Trusted Adviser.

The way through this is by creating content, which you publish on your website which attracts potential customers to you. 

Compare the following two ‘real’ headlines:

‘The Importance of a CRM: Why Your Company Needs a CRM to Grow Better’

and

‘Cloud and Proud – Learn more about the CRM Cloud Centre!’

Which would you tend to click on first?  If you’re in the early stages of looking it would likely be the first article.

Which is entirely my point.  If you provide high quality content in the form of blogs, articles, e-books, how to guides, infographics then your chances of attracting high quality visitors and leads improves by a factor of 4.

Don’t be a gopher.

We published a blog about ‘G.O.P.H.E.R.S.’ and in it we described the 80% of your content is probably about:

G – Gongs
O – Offers
P – Products
H – Hires
E – Events
R – Results
S – Sales

We challenge you to look at your online content and switch the percentage around.  Make your online content all about your customers.  Don’t thrust your product down their throats (there’s a time for that!).  Give them the information they need to run their businesses better, grow them better, make more money or spend less.  How to guides are great for this and in time you will achieve the trusted adviser status you need to be able to compete.

If on the other hand you’re getting all the leads you need either from your sales people or your suppliers then maybe you don’t need this.  I am willing to bet that one day the sales pipeline starts to dry up and the leads stop rolling in from the supplier.  Until that day comes a bit of modern day marketing might help to alleviate the inevitable.

  

As ever, if you want to talk to us about how we can help you with your online lead generation then please click on the link below.  

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