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17 Software Sales Tips from Industry Star Service-now.com (Page 2 of 4)

Tip #5: Your first customers will map your future; take care of them.

"Once we had a customer, it was all hands on deck to ensure the customerís success," Luddy says. "It's not enough to sell the technology -- that's only where the hard work begins. You have to ensure that the customer is getting the most value for their money. 

"You can run all the marketing programs you want, and hire all the big-money sales people you want, but nothing will sell like a reference. If they're happy, they will tell your story on your behalf."

Tip #6: Put your developers in front of the customers.

"In the early days, every time we came back from a sales call, we had a company meeting," says Luddy. "The developers were keenly  interested --  What was the customer's reaction when you put the product in front of them? -- and they themselves became ingrained in the process. 

"We had very close interaction between the development organization and the customers. When the customer needed something, we either fixed a problem or built something that they thought was a good idea and applicable to other customers."

Tip #7: Public references don't count; private ones do.

"I’ve got large customers who would be upset if their names ended up in the press," Luddy says, "but they're happy to talk to another prospect, one-on-one, to tell them how they're using the product. 

"That's where the software gets sold."

Tip #8: Test your ideas (and propositions) in the marketplace.

"When it comes to certain elements of your business," says Luddy, "the best way to figure out if you've got it right is take it to the marketplace and let the marketplace tell you, 'Yeah, you've got it' -- or you don't. 

"Over the initial development period of six to nine months we both learned that there were some tweaks we needed to make. Don't be afraid to test in the marketplace, and don't over-think these things."

Tip #9: Decide on your route to market. 

"In the software business there are two modes, says Luddy. "There's either direct or indirect. I wouldnít say that one's better than another, but for us what worked was a direct model. 

"We hired salespeople and those people went out and sold to customers. We were not distracted by trying to start a channel at the same time. 

"It's very, very easy to either feed or starve one of those two routes to market. If you try to have both, you will have inevitable channel conflict. At the same time, you should not underestimate the amount of invest it takes to get a partner up and running."

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