What are the mistakes made by companies with a digital solution? They often neglect the entrepreneurial challenges of bringing their product to market.
1. Launching it blindly
Your product is digital, certainly. But that does not mean selling it will be an automatic process. Before taking action, you will have to work on your strategy.
Start with a complete analysis of the market you want to launch the product in:
- Size, growth rate, life cycle stage, profitability, and other determinants;
- Competition: identify the main players, and characterize their offers: direct or indirect competition, differentiating factors, etc.
You can then begin to think about your positioning. Inventing innovative technology is not everything. Its commercial success depends on whether it responds to a real and unsatisfied market demand. In order to identify it, take a closer look at your customers.
You must define their personas, that is to say their profiles, especially their needs. Each customer persona is associated with a commercial potential, according to their available budget, and the necessary investment for a sale. It's up to you to select the target that is most likely to help you make a profit.
2. The wrong business model
The software market is a testing arena for different forms of remuneration. You need to determine the one that best fits your offer and goals:
- Subscription, which is the most common solution for online software adapted to your customers' use;
- Granting a commercial license, very popular for tools for which data confidentiality is crucial and few updates are needed;
- Commission, which consists of taking a portion of the income generated by your software;
- Free model, provided you rely on another source of income, such as advertising.)
If customer relationship management is putting you off, you can also sell your software as a white label product. Let your resellers develop new markets, while you focus on your core business: development.
Once you have chosen your target market and your business model, you can build your business plan, or at least your go-to-market strategy. In any case, you must attack the market with a battle plan, with projections and appraisal.
3. Forgetting to talk about yourself
The answer you bring to the market demand is your value proposition. It differentiates you from your competitors, and is a key factor in the purchase decision. You will have to explain this position to your future customers. Beyond the basic brand identity (name, logo, etc.), digital marketing is ideal for the promotion of software. Social selling seems particularly popular. According to a Microsoft Ideas study, 86% of IT solution buyers see their purchasing decision influenced by social networks.
The choice of your preferred platform obviously depends on your product, and the prospects you target:
- LinkedIn is essential for B2B salespeople, in addition to being optimized for social selling. You need to cultivate personal interactions with your prospects. Start a conversation on relevant blog posts.
- Facebook is more oriented towards B2C. You educate your customers, disseminating key figures and success stories.
- Instagram is the perfect medium for your brand identity - as long as you know how to produce visually interesting content.
- Twitter allows you to interact directly with all the players in your market.
Sceptical, or lacking inspiration? Include social networks in your competitive intelligence. The accounts of your contacts and your competitors offer a new insight into your market.
4. Letting the sales team fend for themselves
Social selling illustrates the need to bring your development, marketing and sales teams closer together. Marketers and sellers need to deepen their knowledge of products with high technological added value. Then they must deliver the information to their prospects, in the form of a value proposition.
As for developers, they depend more than ever on their understanding of end users. This is the key to designing fluid interfaces and agreeable user experiences. Make the task easier for your teams by organizing close and daily cooperation. From the layout of your premises to scheduled meetings, experiment to build a balance for your internal skills.
5. Neglecting your legal obligations
Regulation is catching up with market practices. To market your solutions legally, make sure you are in compliance with:
- Corporate Taxation: If you remain independent, your profits are taxable as non-business profits. But if the sales becomes a regular source of income, you will have to create a legal entity.
- Intellectual Property: your company - or yourself, if you are independent - must own the code.
- CNIL (National Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties) and the GDPR, if you are required to keep the personal data of your users.
6. Neglecting competition
The digital market is subject to two powerful influences: technological advances, and user practices.
You cannot afford to ignore their development. In order to stay at the forefront, you need to keep a close eye on your competition, including the areas covering:
- Topical Issues
- R & D
- New User Requests
- Current Trading Practices
Also update your competitive benchmark regularly. You should monitor the appearance of new competitors, and their respective positions. Then you will adjust yours.