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How to sell softwareTechnology 3434 views
A large part of my job involves evaluating software solutions - including the functionality, the interface, and the way the supplier interacts with their customers.
It seems like there are two ways of selling software: Open Selling & Closed Selling
I wonder if you can tell which one I think works best?
|Open Selling||Closed Selling|
|We'll provide easy access to a time-limited trial version (maybe with a few restrictions on functionality) so potential users can get to grips with the application - ideally with some sample data to play with.||You can only see the software in the presence of one of our solution experts - because it's too complicated for anyone to understand what the software can do|
|All reference documentation and manuals are freely available online, so you can get a good feel for whether our software is going to meet your specific needs||Documentation is only available to registered users, because we're afraid that someone else might take our good ideas|
|We'll provide access to best practice guides, and screen capture videos, so you can see what is possible||We'll write some case studies, using carefully written marketing speak, showing how some organisations have got benefits from using our software. You may see a few small screenshots.|
|Our solution experts will write frequent blog posts providing hints and tips, not just on our software specifically, but to help you do your job better.||Our account managers will visit you every couple of months.|
|Anyone can view and search our online forum, and post questions & comments about the software. We'll respond too.||There is a user forum, but only for registered users. No-one else can see it.|
|If you post about our software on Twitter, we'll pick it up and will respond.||What's Twitter?|
Some examples of companies towards the Open Selling end of the spectrum:
I'll spare the blushes of the rest of the industry that seems to think the web exists only to provide a sanitised shop window. What they don't seem to realise is that people will talk to each other anyway, and information about their product will get into the hands of competitors regardless. But they'll be excluded from those conversations.
The benefit of the open approach, is that you will end up with a far more joined up message, as your marketing, pre-sales and customer support personnel can all use the same materials, and will all be having the conversations with the market.
Read the Cluetrain Manifesto if you want more on this.
I would welcome any comments from suppliers who adopt the closed approach, because I'm struggling to see what the benefits are.