Posts

Industry Insights: Tapping into the Growing Demand for Edge Computing

If we look past the hype, it’s clear that edge computing promises to transform business IT in a fundamental way. We’re now seeing more and more business use-cases for edge computing, which in turn drives growth in demand for the technology among businesses and enterprises.

The main question for providers today is how to capture this increasing opportunity – how to approach customer acquisition for edge computing solutions? While the potential is certainly there, so too are the unique challenges that come with trying to sell a new product in a new market. That’s what we’ll talk about in this post.

 

Edge Computing Beyond the Hype

Just like a lot of IT innovations over the years, edge computing has already seen its fair share of hype-vs-reality moments. As the technology matures and adoption broadens, edge computing solutions now cover core business uses, not just niche applications.

The same thing also happened to cloud computing. As Gartner pointed out back in 2010, cloud computing was still at the “Peak of  Inflated Expectations” stage of its hype cycle, which meant that the Cloud still had a long way to go before gaining widespread adoption.

It would take a couple more years for cloud computing to become the business-critical tool that it is today.

Similar to how cloud computing had evolved, edge computing has also been slowly climbing the hype curve and is now considered to be gradually maturing.

Edge computing’s primary role had originally been to serve as data collection endpoints that filter and send data to the Cloud. Today, however, edge computing systems have gained the capability to compute, store, and analyze data at or near the data source. This is what makes modern edge computing such a key component in today’s business IT processes.

Companies collect petabytes of information as data packets from embedded sensors, ecommerce sites, social media platforms, and streaming services. These packets of data then have to travel all the way to a cloud system to be stored, analyzed, and converted into actionable insights.

By placing computing power and storage resources close to or at the edge of the network, edge computing makes the entire process faster and more efficient.

But there’s more to edge computing than lower latency. Edge computing’s distributed architecture enables:

  • Better security compared to centralized cloud platform
  • Improved reliability through redundancies
  • Increased scalability and versatility to adapt to changing requirements

That’s why IDC estimates 40% of IoT data will be stored, processed, and used at the network periphery by 2019. ZDNet also points out a growing list of business use-cases for edge computing:

  • Industrial automation
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Software-defined networking
  • Blockchain
  • Retail

From registration to conversion, Callbox helped maximize the marketing potential of this cloud CRM company’s live events, providing targeted one-on-one engagement at each step of the way. Read Case Study

 

The Challenge of Selling a New Product in a New Market

An interesting HBR article tries to answer why it’s so hard to sell new products. It can be surprising how many pioneering companies fail at marketing and selling groundbreaking innovations. It all boils down to having the mistaken belief that shiny new things sell themselves.

While edge computing has been around long enough already, its most recent iteration makes it a relatively new product in the IT solutions landscape. What’s more is that the market for edge computing products and services also happens to be a new one.

As McKinsey points out, the several hundred or so edge computing use-cases have driven the need for custom response from vendors. IoT devices operate in vastly different environments and conditions (than in typical office or factory applications). This requires a whole new set of technologies that enable computing in those specific conditions.

The main challenges in selling a new solution like edge computing can be summed up in the following key points:

  • Acquiring familiarity with the new market
  • Gaining target customers’ trust and confidence
  • Establishing reputation and awareness
  • Navigating around the competition
  • Building a network of potential and actual customers

In short, selling a new product means that the vendor needs to become a change agent, which is something very different than selling an existing solution.

 

Turning Pain Points to Proof Points

According to IoT Now Magazine, the key to reaching early IoT success relies on being able to turn “pain points to proof points.” Investments in IoT projects often require a huge “leap of fate” from companies since it can be difficult to come up with a reasonable ROI estimate. The key to gaining buy-in is to find a well-defined pain point and work from there.

The same can be said of edge computing solutions. In the absence of measurable ROI figures, vendors need to focus on specific business areas or activities where edge computing impact can reliably be demonstrated.

  • Start with one or two small applications to demonstrate edge capabilities (e.g., identify a particular activity affected by high latency)
  • Make sure to choose known business issues or performance areas which can later be extended or scaled up into other activities
  • Select performance metrics that can serve as proxies for ROI (e.g., cost reduction, productivity boost, satisfaction metrics, etc.)

The key idea here is to solve small, well-scoped problems to demonstrate the value that edge computing solutions can deliver and then scale it up into other activities or areas.

 

Conclusion:

Setting aside the hype, edge computing has the power to fundamentally disrupt business and enterprise IT. This creates both opportunities and challenges for providers. Keep in mind the ideas discussed in this article when creating your approach at marketing and selling edge solutions.

 

Software Lead Generation: Keys to Selling Cloud BI Solutions

There’s no doubt that cloud business intelligence (BI) software presents a lot of benefits to businesses and organizations. It helps companies respond to market changes and improve their business strategies because it gives them access to real-time data. Most of all, it comes with fewer capital expenses helping businesses save more.

Despite all the benefits cloud BI and analytics solutions offer, most tech experts agree that selling or marketing these solutions to corporate executives and other end users is still a great challenge. Although some companies are already adopting cloud business and analytics, there is still a significant percentage who either do not want it or have doubts about it.

The primary reasons for such hesitation are security and privacy. Then, there’s also the issue around the loss of control.

How do you get past these challenges and convince organizations that the benefits outweigh the risks? How would you approach software lead generation for your cloud BI and analytics solutions?

 

Business Intelligence Is a ‘Family Affair’

In an interview about cloud BI trends, Howard Dresner, Founder, President and Chief Research Officer at Dresner Advisory Services, said that the most reluctant people about the cloud BI adoption are the IT guys.

Their concerns are not unfounded since they are the ones who take care of large, enterprise-scale projects in the company. When someone suddenly finds themselves not managing the system, concerns around privacy, security, and loss of control get bigger.

Engaging tech buyers in software lead generation

As a BI seller, the most logical thing to do is convince the CTO or CIO of an organization; however, that is not the best approach. Doing so will not bring you to the next level of the sales funnel. Instead, you need to engage and involve the key people in each key business area of the company throughout the process. That’s because BI is a ‘family affair.’

Your best bet is engaging an executive —  ideally the CMO or CFO — who sees the bigger picture of the company’s goals and strategy.  Someone who also has the expertise to translate and focus the company’s mission into KPIs.

The following visual guide demonstrates the 3 C’s of selling to the C-Suite, you might want to check it out.

If you want to succeed in selling cloud BI solutions (or software lead generation in general), you need to involve every key person and their business areas in the process. By doing so, you will be able to touch the different kinds of BI users in the company as well as create a customized solution for each of them. By determining who the users are and the type of information needed, you can guide them into a buying decision.

 

Software Lead Generation needs Outbound

It’s common for cloud software companies to rely heavily on inbound channels for their software lead generation efforts. In an ideal setting, the potential customer signs up for a trial, sees the value in the product, and then proceeds to upgrade to a paid tier. However, for complex SaaS solutions such as cloud BI and analytics, this sales model doesn’t work most of the time.

Outbound software lead generation strategy

We’ve heard the phrase “consult, don’t sell” and this is true in every sense. Consultation plays a big role in software selling which means sales meetings drive software sales. And when we say sales meetings, one thing comes into mind – outbound appointment setting.

In a previous topic, my colleague, Rebecca went over 4 steps in appointment setting to boost sales meetings with prospects.

Outbound channels such as personalized email send outs, phone sales calls, and SMM will allow cloud BI solutions to reach wider audiences, engage the right software buyers, and shorten the already lengthy tech buying process. In short, leveraging targeted outbound software lead generation strategies can fill the gaps of inbound.

Combining inbound and outbound marketing requires resources like data, tech stack, expertise, and budget – which most companies lack. This brings us to…

 

Partner with a Software Lead Generation Agency

Employing the services of a lead generation services company (in USA) is common across B2B firms, especially with IT and software companies. With the demands and complexities of modern B2B marketing, it makes more business sense to outsource marketing or at the least, the top of the funnel lead gen activities to an agency.

Software lead generation requires planning and a more granular approach. In fact, 60% percent of process is spent on preparation rather than the actual execution. Software companies might be able to replicate the infrastructure of a lead gen services company if they choose to go the DIY route, but the pros of outsourcing outweighs the cons that surface when keeping it in-house.

Lead Generation Agency vs DIY Lead Generation

 

How to Make Change Less Painful

Change is painful and uncomfortable. That is why a lot of companies, especially SMBs, are still ambivalent about cloud business intelligence. You, as a BI seller, need to accept this including the fact that implementing something new is not easy. It requires a lot of work, especially on the software lead generation end. An essential part of BI implementation is the assessment of the current situation. Analyze what the existing software stack of the company is. Here are some points to look out for:

  • The organizational structures and the processes around it or lack of it
  • What’s working — it’s not practical to remove an effective and efficient process.
  • How do you integrate these processes into the new strategy?
  • What are the current data sources of the company?
  • How are they stored?

Putting those points into consideration will give you an insight into how your BI solution can seamlessly fit into the company’s business strategy.

 

Value is Still on Top of the List

Consumers always consider cost in contrast with value, functionality, and deployment timing. Any product or service that offers value to the consumer and leads them to a better ROI will always win against its competition.

After value comes convenience and simplicity. If your solution can make a company’s business process much more manageable, that’s another selling point for you. Alan Fang, COO of ERP Logic Inc., an enterprise resource planning reseller said that the way of the future is “the simplicity of accessing a large chunk of data without spending a lot of time synchronizing the data.”

 

SaaS Market Trends for 2019 and How to Align Your Growth Strategy

The SaaS market is a highly competitive one. The question is no longer whether or not businesses are on-board SaaS to cut storage costs to significant values.

Intuit data reveals 85% of small business owners plan to invest more in SaaS solutions that by 2020, SaaS will be the most disruptive technology. On average, enterprises across industries utilize between 25 to 100 SaaS applications.

Today, there are thousands of options for SaaS buyers. In a highly-saturated industry, it is crucial more than ever to stand out from other vendors. In this article, we lay out the key marketing trends you need to leverage in your strategy for the coming year.

 

Standalone Features

SaaS solutions are constantly evolving. Research and product development teams are always adding layers, features, tools, and plug-ins. Marketers can make a big mistake of cramming lots of new features in a single campaign.

An emerging trend is to launch marketing campaigns centered around the new feature. Crew: Unsplash and Invision: Studio is the best examples.

Custom Integrations

In the past years, software developers debated over horizontal and vertical models. Some believe that neutral, operations-focused software (horizontal) is more sustainable. Others see more growth in the development of industry-specific, targeted software.

Recently, SaaS developers understood that neither model is superior. In a move towards a do-it-all product, SaaS applications now enable integration of third-party apps and existing business solutions. The products are targeted—designed to meet clients needs across industries.

Push Strategy

New Customer Acquisition is the highest priority for 86% of SaaS business owners. Startups spend almost all of their first-year revenue on acquiring new customers.

It is vital to make prospective clients feel they need your SaaS now. Turn their attention to critical problems that would cost their organization time, money, and lost opportunities. Listen intently to what customers want and market to fill in that need.

The channel of communication is critical to your push strategy. Know what media your client profiles utilize the most and target your campaigns accordingly.

Related: Selling Software and Services: A Short Guide to SaaS Marketing

The Free Strategy

Want to push your customer acquisition strategy? Eliminate concerns over commitment and investment right from the start. Allow prospects to test your SaaS for a limited time or features. This way, potential customers can better understand product functions and learn at their own pace.

61% of SaaS businesses offer variations of the free model including a free trial, freemium model, trial-to-paid, limited version free, 30-day, and 90-day free trial. The free model is a strategic marketing strategy effective for customer acquisition.

For this strategy to work well, you need to understand the client’s touch points, so you know the best times to prompt an upgrade. Also, consider creating free trials that don’t require credit card information. Totango reveals SaaS trials without a credit card generate 2x more paying customers than those who require credit card information.

Sample Telemarketing Scripts for SOFTWARE

Speaking of freebies, boost your phone-based sales interactions with our FREE Sample Telemarketing scripts for Software ebook.

Pricing Strategies

Think in terms of global markets when setting price models. Ideally, as you add new features and technologies to your SaaS application, it is essential to optimize pricing every 6 to 9 months. Set prices in the local currency of the buyers.

Customer Retention

ForEntrepreneurs released data that makes SaaS businesses rethink their view of existing customers. Remember, your current customers are faced with tons of choices every day. They can end their subscription at any time and switch to the competition.

According to ForEntrepreneurs, the average cost for new customer acquisition is $1.18 for every dollar. They further note that it is at least 9 times cheaper to spend on customer retention than acquisition.

Bain & Co. also reveals that 80% of SaaS future revenue will come from only 20% of existing customers. An increase in customer retention by just 5% results increases profitability by up to 75%.

Related: A B2B Guide to Winning New Customers and Repeat Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

So how do you retain the customers you already acquired? The next tips will show you how.

Customer Success

Adopt a customer-focused mentality and be dedicated to your customers’ success. Profit and customer retention will follow as you commit to providing value. It is not enough to provide killer support and proactive guidance.

Help your clients make the most of your SaaS, in particular encouraging increased usage. Totango notes that only 17% of paying customers use their SaaS service daily. 50% never log-in while others sign-in less than once a month.

As the competition grows stronger and bigger companies provide a richer experience, it is vital to focus on the following:

  • Increased product/feature adoption
  • Improved onboarding
  • Increased retention rates
  • Effectively Measure Customer & Account Success
  • Increase Upsells/Account Expansions

Healthcare SaaS Vendor’s Pipeline Growth Jumps 2-Fold in 3-Pronged Campaign

Find out how Callbox’s growth process helped generate 47 appointments for a Healthcare SaaS vendor

Thought Leadership

Educating prospects is one of the best ways to market to them. You can gain 14% more organic traffic by creating educational content than PR-focused blogs.

Yet, only 24% of SaaS businesses publish content to educate. Others are purely company-focused while 11% of the major players don’t even have a blog. Needless to say, there is still a need for educational marketing.

Related: Happy Independence Day! Now Break Free from the Content Marketing Trap

Artificial Intelligence

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has begun developing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for the SaaS-based Amazon Web Services. AI and ML are set to lower the costs of businesses that utilize the technology. In five to ten years, AI will be mainstream in SaaS applications.

Among the possible ways to integrate AI and ML in SaaS include chatbots and constant, hands-free A/B testing.

 

Final Thoughts

Hundreds of SaaS startups are launched every year. It’s time to step up the game with forward-thinking strategies, technologies, and changes to your priorities. Simple steps such as adding a blog, localizing prices, and setting up a free trial with no credit card can push your SaaS to the top of the market.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

Helping software businesses for 14 years.
Learn how we generate B2B software leads.




Start making sales calls that build deeper connections with key prospects. Download your FREE guide now.

Download your ABM call scripts + persona templates

Selling Software and Services: A Short Guide to SaaS Marketing

Consumers are changing, and this has never been true than in the SaaS industry. Thanks to the Internet which has made all types of information accessible with just a click. The Internet has also allowed buyers to connect with their peers faster; thus, they can get other people’s opinions about a product or service before they buy.

However, this is not the only change that is happening in the SaaS buying process. There are other areas that you need to understand to effectively reach out to your buyers and ultimately close a deal.

 

Paying Attention to Details: The SaaS Buying Experience

The SaaS landscape is changing, and there are four prevalent factors that SaaS vendors need to focus on if they want to capture the attention of their potential customers effectively:

#1 The buyer makes the purchase decision without vendor engagement.

In the past, buyers interact with vendors when they want to know more about the product. With social media, however, people get more connected, and the modern buyer doesn’t need to go straight to the vendor to ask about the products and services they offer. Instead, they ask their fellow consumers and ask for an honest review – talk about glorified word-of-mouth advertising.

Related: The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind

#2 Vendors with recognizable brands still gain the upper hand.

Whether you like it or not, consumers will still choose the familiar brand over something unfamiliar unless they see something of unique value. A well-thought brand strategy will help put your brand on the map.

Start with your core values – what do your brand and your company stand for? Next, how do you want to present your brand to your consumers? Do you want to be quirky or you want to be the voice of luxury?

#3 If you can’t present your product in a few sentences, forget about it.

If you are an unfamiliar brand, you can gain the upper hand by providing consumers an easy-to-use trial because who wants a hundred and one operation guideline? Stop using jargons and technical words that only you or a chosen few can understand. Start using the language your target audience is using, then you have a fighting chance. So you have a choice if you want to gain some market share – be popular or make consumers’ lives much easier.

Related: How to Make a Compelling Presentation For Your Software Product

#4 There’s not only one decision maker.

Decision makers are not the only ones involved in the buying process these days. In fact, they only get in the picture at the end when a final decision has to be made. It shows that there are other people who are given the responsibility to check different products and services. While they might not be the major decision-makers, these people have the power to influence decisions because they are the ones who give the input to the decision makers.

Related: Savvy Ways to Identify and Qualify B2B Decision Makers

 

Strategy for the SaaS Buyer

Seeing how the SaaS buyer experience has changed, it calls for an overhaul of what is familiarly used in how we present our products and services to buyers. It’s not about changing the selling strategy but the product itself. This time, however, you are also designing the product with sales in mind. Here are some factors to consider so you can engage SaaS enterprises more:

Single sign-on

As mentioned above, SaaS consumers want products or services to be uncomplicated. It will do you good if you can design products that only require a single sign-on because it reduces administration efforts.

Login audits

A lot of documents are passed on to different people and departments that organizations sometimes do not know who has access to which document. Creating a feature that shows who accessed a document and what time they accessed it makes it much easier to trace any errors or mistakes that might have occurred.

Limited credentials

 Aside from login audits, features that give users different levels of access to certain documents and software are recommended. This protects any sensitive information in case some credentials got lost or phished.

Multi-level security

Cybercriminals are busy trying to wreak havoc to any system that has low-security levels. Your product or service will be more appealing to consumers if you have addressed different security concerns and implemented some solutions to those problems.

Related: Industry Insights: The 5 Types of Buyers You Meet in Cloud Selling

In Conclusion

While there is no panacea to making the perfect SaaS solution to different types of buyers, an excellent marketer knows how their target customers think, what kind of information they have access to and what interactions they have. Doing this can increase your conversion and your revenue as well.

 

Explore how Callbox’s multi-channel approach helped a Healthcare SaaS vendor gain a 2-fold expansion in qualified appointments.

Healthcare SaaS Vendor’s Pipeline Growth Jumps 2-Fold in 3-Pronged Campaign

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

 

 

Do you want to increase your sales? Learn how we generate qualified SaaS leads and appointments for you!

Dial 888.810.7464 | WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide to targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

Download Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook] CTA