This is a bit of a cross post from my personal weblog so forgive the apparent laziness, but there is method in the Monday madness.
Along with several of my colleagues, I'm a bit of a software-as-a-service (SAAS) fan. I see it holding distinct value in many markets and if much of the current tech writing is anything to go by, the world of on-premise is all but over. That's a massive overstatement but even so, the SAAS vendors would have us believe the on-premise world as we know it is being swept aside. Grand statements but with the ring of truth in at least some segments of the IT market.
Again and with colleagues in mind, I find it distressing that SAAS vendors are so often on the back foot about security, uptime and so on. It's all a part of their marketing which sometimes falls woefully short and leaves them open the the relentless FUD of the incumbents. Perhaps the SAAS vendors would do better if they could avoid these nine errors I found today as I started to compile a wiki of SAAS apps that are making their presence felt in at least one market:
- No contact phone no – OK, so the phone is a bit outdated but we do business with people, preferably those with whom we can speak
- No Twitter account reference – maybe not so important to you but it is to those who comment on your stuff
- Lack of clear pricing information or in some cases any pricing information – this is de rigeur in today’s market. Instant #fail
- Links to glitzy win story at third parties but no link to the third party itself – doh!!
- No links to third party partners who might be sources of business – you can have as many partners as you like but if we don’t know who they are then what possible traction do you expect to get for your hard spent marketing money?
- No links to third party reference stories written by third parties – these are gold. If you’ve got them, flaunt them.
- Providing video that can’t be embedded anywhere – not much good if a high traffic site wants to show off some of your stuff
- Lack of information about key markets – if we don’t know who you want to sell to, how do you expect people to know your value proposition?
- No information on the management team or when founded – OK, so you might have been a rocket scientist for NASA or successfully launched a clutch of start ups. But if I don’t even know your name then what can I possibly conclude about you or your credentials?
Frank Scavo tweeted that these problems are not unique and he is absolutely right. But from what I've seen, one of the defining aspects of the new providers is their claimed obsession with the customer. Almost all the above points (except likely no. 2/7) have something to do with matters that impact the customer, either at the evaluation stage or further down the track. They represent the sort of information buyers will want to see on standard evaluation check lists.
I'm not going to point the finger at individuals because in reviewing some 60 vendors/service providers, I saw at least a clutch of these problems occurring time and again. Far be it of me to tell any vendor what they should be doing, but as I said in the originating post: much of this is Marketing 101. It's the sort of thing you learn in the first semester at business school
In other circumstances I might say 'up yer game.' On this occasion I'd prefer 'get in the game.'