One Thing You Must Understand to Sell Software

So, you’re marketing your software and have a to-do-list a mile long with hundreds of questions you need to get answered. You’re too busy doing the urgent stuff to do what’s important. What is the most important thing you must understand?

“Why aren’t more people buying our software?”, “Is my software a solution looking for a problem”, “What are buyers looking for?”, “What are the latest trends, what is the next big thing in enterprise software?”, “What are our competitors up to?”, “What can I do to increase sales?”, or “What type of marketing do we need?”.

There is only one thing you must, absolutely must, understand to sell software successfully and profitably.

Your customer

Your software business will only be successful when you understand your customer. You can only design, build, market, sell, and support software if you really, truly understand your customer.

While many businesses think they understand their customers, few of them really do. What most companies view as an understanding of their customer’s wants, needs, and desires more often reflects their own internal biases, perceptions, and judgments. Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

Over 3 posts we’ll cover:

Why You Must Understand Your Customer

When you think about it, it’s pretty obvious how important it is to understand customers. But most of the time we’re all too busy heads-down working to sit back and focus on what’s really important.

You’ve heard and even agreed with the mantras:

  • “the customer is always right; even when he’s wrong”
  • “we are a customer-centric organization”
  • “Think of customers first”…

but what have you actually done about it?

When did you last sit down and have a lengthy discussion with a customer? For most of us (particularly if you’re in a large company) the answer is that we don’t do enough of this – it’s scary. It’s scary to meet customers and it’s scary that we don’t meet customers.

I used to be a software customer. For 10 years I worked in large IT departments for global corporates. My role included selecting which software we would purchase as the corporate standards. I saw hundreds of salespeople. Most just pitched their snake oil and moved on. The best salespeople interviewed me to understand my objectives, needs, and triggers. The very best kept the dialog going after they had won the business and converted me into an evangelist to help them sell more.

So let’s remember why really understanding your customers is so important. You need to understand your customers so you can:

  • Build the right software products
  • Prioritize which features to develop and highlight
  • Find the right prospects
  • Communicate with customers using the right language, media, and timing so they understand your value proposition
  • Solve customers’ real problems
  • Make it easy for people to buy from you

Understanding Customers

You know why you must understand your customers. The next post in this series will cover
What You Must Understand About Your Customer

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