The good old days of on-premises ERP solutions are fading fast. It won't be long before any of those in sales and marketing for software resellers even remember what it was like.
Gone are the days of full pipelines bursting with opportunity, and a fundamentally unknowledgeable group of buyers just waiting for a sales professional to show them the way.
ERP has traditionally been a costly capital investment for the buyer, and resellers have enjoyed the stability associated with customizing a solution, thus almost guaranteeing that customers remain their customers for years to come.
The cloud has changed all of that.
The challenges of the on-premise SaaS ERP reseller
These days, buyers are doing their own research and due diligence, often times selecting a cloud product or group of products before ever talking to a reseller.
Moreover, cloud solutions are a fraction of the price of on-premises ones, paid monthly and being sold to a changing demographic. Today's buyers not only want to do their own research and start using the software quickly, they want to do so for a low cost with almost no contract terms. The old way of doing business just won't cut it.
Add to that the fact that cloud solutions mean lower profits and almost no services revenue, and you've got a recipe for disaster if you are an ERP reseller still counting on fat margins and large associated service revenues.
So what are traditional on-premises ERP providers supposed to do?
They are supposed to make changes.
In order to succeed in the cloud, sales and marketing costs need to be kept low; otherwise your cost of sale becomes 2-3 times higher than the revenue. You don't have to be an accountant to figure out the problem with that. You need to generate more leads, pre-bias them to do business with you, and cut your project delivery time down to a fraction of where it is today.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get started:
Adapting for a SaaS ERP Landscape
• Invest in a marketing automation system where you can segment your leads and develop nurture marketing campaigns. We're in the age of information overload, and remaining top of mind requires carefully executed, regular interactions with your lead pool.
• Design a cloud specific sales and marketing strategy, and stick to it. Cloud computing isn't an addendum to your current on-premises business; it's a fundamental shift in the way your business should operate. Sales, marketing, cash flow and operations all need to be specific to a cloud business.
• Website Optimization is key. People start their research online, and if they can't find you quickly through their searches, they never will, especially in the cloud.
• Capture your leads. Even the best optimized website will fail you if you're not capturing the leads. Insure you're offering up valuable content that prospects will exchange their information for. This identifies you as an expert, while also giving you a lead to nurture.
• Start contemplating different ways to market. Direct mail isn't your best option for a cloud based solution, so it's time to start thinking outside the box. Email marketing, nurture marketing, social marketing – these are all less expensive tactics which should deliver a higher number of valuable leads.
• Identify your brand. Consider why someone would choose to do business with you over the guy next door who costs half as much but looks twice as good online. Consider what you offer that no one else can, and how can you demonstrate this offer quickly and easily at the beginning of the sales cycle.
Cloud sales and marketing is fundamentally a numbers game. You must drive the highest number of leads for the least amount of money.
Of course, if you can do that, you've solved the biggest marketing challenge to date. In the interim it's about evaluating your strategies to ensure that you're targeting the right people with the right message, using the right mix of tactics.