Recently we exhibited, for the first time, at the Microsoft TechEd
show in Orlando. We were extremely excited to showcase our latest product, specifically designed as a plug-in for Micosoft System Center Configuration Manager, the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIUSD)
This show offered a large, and very focused demographic from which to gather a substantial number of qualified leads. And we weren’t disappointed. We met some terrific folks, and had a great time (aside from the heat and humidity.)
One of the things that often happens at shows, and was prevalent here, is that when we give away free T-shirts we tend to get swamped with huge numbers of people. The common exhibitor reaction to this phenomenon, and the reason most give swag away, is to capture as many leads as possible.
We don't agree with the typical exhibitor, and here are three reasons why we don't want to scan every Conference attendee:
They only want the free stuff
If you’ve exhibited at shows, you’ve seen the type. They have a giant rolling bag, plus whatever bag the expo floor was sponsoring, and they walk around with wide eyes scavenging pencils, t-shirts, finger darts, and whatever else they can get their hands on. They might as well have “Not Interested” tattooed on their foreheads.
A worthless lead is a time waster
We try to spend as much time with each visitor as possible. But when there are T-shirts to be had, things can get a little crazy. So we don’t give away a T-shirt without asking one question, “Are you responsible, or do you know the person responsible for OS image deployment?” If they answer no, we give them a T-shirt and send them on their way. If yes, then we scan them right away and try to engage them for more information. If we scan a worthless lead, then I have to manage that lead. I have to score it separately and try to keep it from infiltrating the rest of my qualifies leads and thus, wasting my time when I open it, recall it’s lack of significance, include it in a segmentation list, or try and score it. If there’s a chance I can cultivate a lead, I will. But if there’s no hope, I don’t have enough time, to add a worthless lead as a time waster.
Email to worthless leads does brand damage
If your email inbox is anything like mine, as a marketer we receive countless junk emails a day. Somehow, in spite of all efforts to the contrary, my email ends up on a list to which I didn’t subscribe. My very first reaction when opening such an email, is profoundly negative. I don’t care who the company is, if they have sent me an email that has nothing to do with me, I get irritated. If I see that company name again, my automatic feeling toward that brand is not a good one.
I want to create a new lead and opportunity any chance I can, but not at the expense of having the recipients initial response to our brand be a negative one.
Are there any other reasons why you wouldn’t scan every attendee?
Guest Post from Big Bang Sales Director - Kelley Burian
...cont'd from Part 1
What we hadn’t properly examined was our massively diverse current and potential customer base. This sounds like an impossibly dumb oversight, so I will explain. Most small businesses serve a specific industry, be it manufacturing, healthcare, retail, education or government. From there many get even more granular and cater to a specific gender, age group, financial status, etc. Our customers and potential customers, on the other hand, include any and all organizations with more than 100 computers running a Microsoft operating system. That’s it. Your company needs 100 computers, something most of us can’t perform our jobs without, and the most popular operating system in the world. So while our customers come in all shapes and sizes, the things that qualify them as our customer are really simple.
My critical mistake was not accounting for how differently those customers use those 100+ computers. We knew there would be special circumstances, because there always are, and we planned to work those out one-on-one. As we got going, we realized those special circumstances were less special than we thought. In fact, most have reported a scenario that was the complete opposite of what we anticipated. Education is a primary example and a large part of our current customer base. In general, each student is not going to have a school-issued computer in their possession, but rather use one in a smaller pool of shared PCs. We determined very quickly that requiring a license per user where a student is considered a user (not just staff and teachers) was maybe easy but not necessarily fair.
We did find that other customers loved the idea of the per-user model. Barring a rapid growth in employees (which rarely bothers anyone) or a merger, corporate licensing per-user is both easy and relatively predictable from year-to-year. It was also attractive because corporate environments are going to be far more likely to support multiple computers per user.
Lesson: One size does not, as advertised, fit all.
It was the kind of mistake that was good in many ways. While we are back to a per-computer licensing model as the default offering for both products, we now also have a plan for those UIUSD customers that a per-user model is more attractive. It isn’t as simple as I wanted, but at least it remains simple for the customer—As for the sales staff, well, that’s what we’re here for. We also learned a lot about some of our customers’ challenges this week, and that is always a good thing.
All things considered, I think we have achieved both mutually fair and as simple as possible, though it took us a few extra days more than planned. I lived, I learned, and now I just need to find a way to keep this from the boss.
I’ve made a huge mistake.
Guest Post from Big Bang Sales Director, Kelley Burian
I’ve made a huge mistake.
Some of you may recognize that as a popular line from the TV show Arrested Development. Unfortunately, my love for the show is not the only reason I’ve had that line running through my head all week.
I’ll back up. My name is Kelley Burian, and I am the Sales Director with Big Bang LLC. I am guest-blogging this week in place of our usual Thursday Big Bang Blogger, Nate Bauer. Nate is off tending to the needs of his newest offspring, who is thankfully happy, healthy and appears to have inherited her looks from her mother. (Nate’s joke, not mine.)
Back to my aforementioned huge mistake.
Adam Murphy has spent more than a few bytes writing about pricing recently, and that train of thought didn’t come from a vacuum. Just over a week ago, we released our new product for driver management in SCCM, the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in, or UIUSD. Much thought, research and discussion went into how to license and price the UIUSD, and we changed our minds on how to do so at least twice in the months leading up to the release date.
We had three specific goals in mind, which I have listed below:
1. Set a fair price for existing and future customers.
2. Set a fair price for us.
3. Make it as simple as possible.
While admittedly the first two are the whole ballgame, the third was an important extension of #1. For those not familiar with enterprise-level software licensing, #3 isn’t easy to find. We often joke about the need for advanced degrees in both law and applied mathematics to purchase the most basic, everybody-needs-it-gotta-have-it software. How can the customer determine if they have received a fair price if they don’t fully understand how that price was calculated?
With those initiatives in mind, we took stock of what we already knew. It’s not as if we hadn’t successfully licensed software before. We have been doing just that for several years with much success. Our customers have been happy to pay the price we set for the software, and we were in turn successfully growing a small business. Yay capitalism!
So why not just stick with the tried-and-true? We certainly considered that, of course. The problem was, without getting into the specifics of each product, we developed two different pieces of software for two different kinds of customer. In the end, we decided to change things for this product based on what we learned from both market research and direct input from our beta testers—the few outside of this building that were knowledgeable on the software prior to its release.
Instead of licensing the software per computer, as we do with the UIU, we decided to license the software per user. In doing this, we aimed first to get in line with the growing trend of multiple computers per user. As these devices get more affordable and more mobile, a single employee may have a desktop computer in the office, a laptop at home and a tablet for travel, and a per-user model would only require one license for that one user. This model would also allow for quick and easy math on the part of the software buyer—the number of licenses you need is simply your number of employees. Easy right?
Find out why it didn't work out so well next week.
In the next few weeks we will be releasing a new product to the world. We’ve spent almost a year on development.
It’s going to be a great product, and bring real value to our future customers.
In order for me to type that last sentence confidently, a great deal of work had to go into not just the creation of this new software, but in determining market need, saleability, and perhaps almost as important as the quality of the product – who my target market is and how to get them to buy it.
Needless to say, the market need for the Universal Imaging Utility System Deploy Plug-in (UIUSD), after speaking with quite a few Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) admins, is pretty ripe. The software is priced competitively, and we feel that reception will be overwhelmingly positive.
The biggest issue?
Our target market is almost too defined.
You read correctly, I did just declare that we know EXACTLY who our target audience is and where to find them, and I made it read like it actually might be a slightly negative thing.
The reason I feel this way is due to the extremely specific, and small number of individuals to whom I need to market.
As an illustration, the advantage of our existing product is that target messaging carries with it secondary, and even tertiary possibilities depending on the interaction. For example, our current product, the UIU, is designed to work with any operating system cloning and deployment solution to reduce the number of OS images an organization needs to maintain down to ONE by, among other features, handling all the drivers needed for any hardware component. The messaging is such that any entry-level help desk individual, IT Manager, all the way up to CTO or CIO of any company utilizing anything like Ghost, Altiris, Zenworks, , Acronis, FOG, ImageX, etc., can be made aware of the time-saving benefits.
In contrast however, the UIUSD is a plug-in specifically for SCCM and as such, our target market is limited to SCCM admins only in Enterprise environments actually utilizing SCCM. In addition, the innate complexities of the robust SCCM platform greatly reduce the likelihood that anyone in the organization not intimately familiar with SCCM would benefit from the kind of targeted messaging able to generate quality leads.
So on one hand my job with our new product is easy when defining my ideal prospect, but on the other hand, quite a bit more difficult in planning campaigns that reach the exact right person at the exact right time.
Won’t stop me from selling the heck out of our awesome new product though.
Have you ever had a target market that was too specific?
About Big Bang Blog
There are many reasons to write a small business blog, we wanted to bring you at least a few reasons to read one. The Big Bang Blog covers the ins and outs of running a small software business, as well as a variety of small business marketing and media topics. Please leave us your comments and questions.
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|About Adam Murphy -
Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.
|About Nate Bauer -
Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities.
|About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian
Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.