Are you wondering if social media is the right platform for your business to generate software sales?
As a business owner, if you think that social media is the best channel or the first step where you could increase your database and activate your customers, I am here to challenge that and I will show you why. It is something that you can do a bit later but certainly not the first and only channel.
I think that’s where a lot of businesses go wrong in the software space. The think about the software, they come up with this amazing idea, yet they aren’t talking to or physically selling or having those face-to-face discussions with the market.
They think that by creating a software, marketing it on social media that they’re just going to get this mass influx of people and unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of businesses fail in that context, where there’s no connection with the community. Or they all like the idea but they haven’t been taken on the journey of using the software, how that software would apply to them and then getting them regularly using it.
When generating sales using business software, what I have found is that you can use social media such as LinkedIn as a powerful tool to help add value to your business. It’s a tool that can help you to tell your story, paint a picture or narrative how your business or company runs. This can help you inform your audience on the challenges and pain points that your business has as well as the consumers experience. This platform would also allow you to introduce to the market how your business software have been designed to help solve the challenges of their business.
To give more context on the strategy, I will share with you my experience with one of the businesses that I’m a co-founder of, it’s called MUVAL.
Focus on your database
The thing that I would suggest in particular with business software is, and the one thing that you do want to really focus in on, is that database.
So, depending on what scale or how you want to sell that software, and what the cost is, who the target audience is, this could really vary.
You might need to ask yourself a few questions to help you. You might want to think through who exactly it is that would be using your software on a daily basis, and then ask them the question of where their attention is or what their pain points are. Find out what do they do, how do they act, what time do they spend on various platforms? What would compel them to use this software? There is so much software, there’s an app for everything out there these days, what would make your one different? What’s the value? Why would they part with money?
You need to ask yourself those questions first, before you try and go mass market or try and get them on social.
Market your software
For MUVAL, we’ve created a software component. It a basic CRM and sales tool to help removal companies manage their loads, upload their trips, schedule their jobs, quote their jobs and then deliver those jobs.
It’s got an app that’s attached to it, which allows them to track their trucks travelling all around Australia. The app was designed to help them know where these trucks are at any given time. It even has the ability to notify the customer to let them know that the trucks are on their way.
Prior the launch, removal companies are just using mass-produced softwares that’s out there or they use a lot of primitive systems such as pen and paper, log books and even maybe Excel spreadsheets or Word documents. They don’t have an option or a software that could cater to the day to day demands of the trucking business. Now they have this really cool piece of software, that was designed to help provide convenience for both companies and customers. It allowed them to have a process that is easier to manage for both parties.
During the process, what we’ve found out is that the best way to effectively sell that software has revolved around a few different areas. First, we went straight to businesses to have a face to face conversation. We did our research. We called the people. We dig deeper on the pain points that these businesses are facing. Then we show them our piece of software – the GREAT app, the one that could help answer all their questions. We asked them if it is something that can solve their problems? Do they think that it is relevant and is it something that could provide value to them?
So that was the first step. By doing that, it enabled us to validate the software opportunity. It is a laborious process. Yes, it was manual. But that is what you need to do if you want to offer something of value to the market. But as part of that process, what it also meant was, we are slowly building our database.
Now that we have our database, understood the pain points of these businesses and established relationships, we are now able to follow up with them. We sent a series of emails once the software was ready.
Since we were able to build that relationship, when we send the emails, it was as simple as “Hey, we’d love you to check it out. You know, you gave us your time to give us that feedback, how would you like to test it? How would you like to have a go at playing with the software? It’s free of charge. We just want you to tell us where it could be improved, or any faults, or any bugs, or any challenges or issues you’ve faced with it. We really want to make it good for the industry.”
That’s how simple yet complex it is. It was a manual process. So that’s what we did. So, we built it.
Up to this day, we hadn’t even touched the social media. We haven’t really activated social media yet for the removal side of things because these guys, they’re busy running trucks, they’re busy running their businesses.
They’re not sitting there enjoying the consumption of content, per se. They are literally working from load to load to load, taking calls, booking trips, understanding where their trucks are going, talking to their fleets, talking to the customers. So, it’s quite involved.
So, the value in the whole process was in having the one-to-one conversations. It was very tactical to be able to build that database, build those email addresses, be able to get them to test the product, roll it out and using email marketing to help have that conversation.
Finally, we used Google. We used pay-per-click. It was effective for those that are pro-actively searching or looking for a solution to run their business. Pay per click advertising allowed us to build interest and drive leads.
Little did we know that through our pay per click advertising, our removalers companies were signing up to the platform as well. So, yes, social media might be something that we still need to do but it could be done a little bit later. Because, aside from social media, the real value is in that one-to-one conversations and the relationship that was built during that process because it was in that process that the database was built.
For the removalers companies, the business-based software sales were very much a strategic marketing process that started from the face-to-face through to the digital activation and pay-per-click advertising.
So maybe that gives you a bit of insight into how you can take that to market.
Use Social Media wisely
When you’ve established a customer base that is where social does comes in handy. Your customer base can start from as little as five or twenty people that are committed in testing and using the software, free of charge. Once your customer base starts giving you feedback that’s actually the point in time where starting a Facebook group and an online community for the users of your software then becomes valuable.
What you can do next is control that community and give them value by giving them information that could be helpful to them while using your software. You can simply post in your Facebook group page and say “hey, do you know this hack?” “Have you used this function?” “Did you know the software can do this?” “Look, now it integrates with this.”
These simple things add value to your customers and increase engagement. It’s a great way of keeping those people who have been loyal to your software and your product, engaged in a way that drives value to them. If your software’s fairly technical or has a lot of variables into it, having a Facebook Page would help foster a community to talk together about challenges that they face in using the software. The discussion could also be about solving the problems. It can also allow sharing of best practices on how they have used the software in a really productive way for their businesses.
Ultimately, the general strategy to generate software sales is to get super tactical, get front line, ring the people, talk to them face-to-face. Don’t be afraid to have those conversations, do it at scale, communicate with them regularly. Yes, use advertising to build your database but the database is the key for software sales.