When you’re selling a software product, getting prospects to participate in a demo is an important goal. Once you accomplish that, your chances of making the sale increase significantly. That’s why, for software vendors, your marketing plan and your website must be designed to attract the right prospects, convert them into leads, and get them to the demo.
How can you accomplish that? Read on to learn how our proven 5-step process for software marketing drives more leads and more demos with the best prospects.
STEP 1: Understand your buyer’s journey
Prospects considering a software purchase have their own process that they need to follow. That might include gathering an evaluation team, developing requirements, and identifying potential solutions using resources they trust. Everyone’s journey is unique, and so are the issues and obstacles they face along the way. That’s good news. It means that there are opportunities to jump in and help them solve their problems and move toward purchase.
Getting buyers to the demo is about recognizing when they are ready for that step. So, your goal must be to get in front of those prospects and offer them a demo at the right time for the prospect. Doing that must begin with understanding the evaluation process that your prospects are going through.
If you’ve read our blogs before, you understand the importance of buyer persona research to understand your buyer’s journey. If not, read more here: Buyer Personas: How the Best Kept Secret In Marketing Will Totally Disrupt Your Strategy
This is just one reason that research is so valuable: you can use what you learn to map the journey into different stages that help you identify where buyers are in the purchase process.
STEP 2: Create valuable content for each stage of the buying process
Armed with buyer persona research that tells you about the stages of your buyer’s journey and what prospects need during each stage, your next job is to create valuable content for your target audience.
For each stage of the journey, create a content asset (such as a white paper, ebook, slide deck or video) that provides the information your prospects need to help them move through that stage. That “just in time” content will act like a magnet to convert prospects into leads.
~A high level overview of technology options for those in the early awareness phase
~Case studies about successful implementations when prospects are vetting different vendors
~An ROI calculator when prospects are developing a business case for the purchase
Creating content assets is often the most time-consuming part of the process. You may need to prioritize the most compelling pieces first and begin working with those as you continue to develop more assets.
STEP 3: Include calls to action that convert visitors to leads
So how do you use those “just in time” content assets to get prospects into your sales funnel? And how do you get the content in front of your prospects at the right time? That’s where an optimized website, marketing strategy and marketing automation come into play.
It starts with your blog. You do have a blog where you’re regularly providing useful information for your prospects, right? Based on an informed strategy? And it’s optimized for search engines, right?
If not, read this: Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
Here’s how it works in a nutshell. Your prospects search for a phrase or click a link, and arrive at your website. Most often, they will land on a blog. As they read that blog (as well as other key pages on your website) they will see a compelling Call to Action that offers access to just the information they need at that moment (which is, of course, your content asset).
Here’s what that looks like:
STEP 4: Add optimized landing pages and smart forms
Once your prospect clicks on the Call to Action, your next job is to convince them to give up just a little bit of information to get your content asset. That’s the job of your landing pages: to show the value they stand to gain from the content asset, and entice them to provide contact information and thereby become a lead. You may also want to include a few lead-qualifying questions in the form. But keep it as simple as possible to maximize conversions.
IMPORTANT: In addition to landing pages for each of your content assets, your website also needs an optimized landing page for booking a demo. That’s because there will always be prospects that prefer to do much of their research prior to contacting anyone. These people won’t engage with your content until they are ready for the demo. So make requesting a demo as easy as possible: allow people to set a date/time with a calendar app, and ideally include just a few key questions on the form. Once you’ve got their contact information, you can follow up and ask additional questions to prepare for the demo.
STEP 5: Nurture leads with automated marketing workflows
Now that you have all these leads, how do you help them move through their evaluation process and get them to the demo? Automated marketing workflows make it easy to target prospects in each stage of the buying process, and provide them with the information they need to move forward.
Here’s an example: someone downloads a white paper about high level technology and becomes a lead. Based on the content they engaged with (both on your blog and your landing page), you know that person is early on in the sales process. Your buyer research tells you this is a lead that needs to be nurtured, and not offered a demo just yet. So, you send emails periodically, offering more valuable content for where they are in the buying process. As they engage with more content, you can literally watch the prospect move forward in the buyer’s journey.
Marketing automation data puts you in the best position to offer the demo to the prospect at just the right time. When you do, you’re ahead of the game because you have already proven yourself to be a valuable and trusted source of helpful information. As you continue through the sales process, marketing automation can continue to act as a barometer for your prospects and help them move forward.
Now all you have to do is close the deal!
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