The Vital Role of Marketing in a Cloud-based Business
Partners making the transition from a traditional business model to a cloud-based business often focus on the technology elements of the transition and neglect the role marketing plays in building a volume business. This is akin to the beekeeper that builds bigger and better hives and forgets about the flowers.
This oversight is understandable. Most of us have come from complex technical backgrounds or at least analytical ones and don’t have the domain expertise to consistently develop a good source of new business. As PartnerWorks continues to consult with partners through the mechanics of their business transitions it has become apparent that the most vital function that needs attention is that of marketing. Consider these 8 guidelines when developing your marketing efforts for your cloud business.
- This is a product business
You will need to define, develop and release intellectual property into the marketplace in stages over time. Your IP doesn’t have to be just software. It could be bundled services, vertical market domain expertise, templates or data management expertise. But you need to own it.
- Branding your IP
Since this is a product business you will need to create and jealously guard your brand. This involves developing a logo, tag line, positioning statements and securing a trademark. It also involves purchasing an effective URL for the products website.
- Marketing manager
You will need someone dedicated to the role of marketing to drive the activities that generate demand for your product. They will need domain expertise in the business software industry as well as all forms of digital marketing concepts like branding, SEO and SEM. Don’t scrimp on this position; a good marketing manager pays excellent dividends.
- The Product Manager
Over time, you will need a role filled that focuses on the development of your product and acts as a liaison between marketing and product development. A good product manager is not technical but rather marketing oriented. They understand the marketplace, your competition, the marketing function and can interact well with the product development team.
- Volume is king
Your prospect generation targets will need to be substantially higher in your cloud business than in your business of yesterday. In order to support a profitable company with lower margins you will need greater sales volumes. And that means more leads!
- Technology Upgrade
You know all that good advice you give to clients about implementing and using business software systems? Well, take your own advice and use the best you can find in your own house. At a minimum you will need a tightly integrated CRM system and a Marketing Automation System (MAS) to handle the volume and nurturing processes required to support a cloud sales process.
- Integration of marketing with sales
The cloud business will rely less on superstar sales people and more on well integrated processes between marketing and sales and well trained, eager inside sales team members. Spend the time creating the workflows that take a suspect all the way through to being a customer and refine, refine, refine. The lines will blur between marketing and sales almost immediately.
If you need some assistance in the execution of any of these ideas or just need clarification, please feel free to contact us at PartnerWorks. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.