The topmost software selling mistake!

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Software selling 

The other day I was in conversation with a CEO of a product company. We were talking about listing the particular product on iPOTT. The normal questions and answers transpired and then came up the crucial question, I asked, “ what do you claim as benefits of your software”. There was a sequence of points which he mentioned. At the end of it I had to say, “…but these are the features of your software what do you claim as the benefits of your software…” The curt answer was “ I am defining the features and let the user decide on how he wants to use it and benefit from it”

Unfortunately he is not alone, there are a number of companies who have their thoughts aligned only to the software features.

Day in and day out I am faced with the question “my product is good, but does not sell (or sell enough) why?” Though there may be many reasons for this, what tops my list is the fact that most companies are SELLING FEATURES and NOT SELLING BENEFITS.
FEATURE selling + BENEFIT selling

The aim of every product company, every developer is to sell his products. And every product has its features. And you may also have some very special features. It is not wrong to highlight features. A buyer needs to know what the software can do; with this you can only generate interest. But his procurement decision will not be based on your software features. He will have to understand the benefits. If you assume your introduction or your literature which describes your features will also indirectly convey the benefits, you are mistaken. It is wrong to allow the buyer to guess all the benefits of the product

I have come across one product on iPOTT whose description and literature says “we resolve this for you… We save X$ for you… we build you future… we take you to a trip to moon (of course this is what I have included!)”. When the software got listed it really got the attention of users because of the benefits, but what is the product? I got a mail asking me if this was some lottery. ( Here it was a case of totally ignored product features.) Don’t generalize benefits, don’t say we will solve all your problems.. talk about specific benefit areas or talk about what specific problems the product can resolve.

Let me take an example, say you are selling a EAM,

1. MY product features:  Our application solution provides your organization with a computerized means of planning, requesting, initiating, monitoring, controlling, recording, analyzing and diagnosing all aspects of maintenance activity for both fixed and movable assets. It helps Maintenance Control, Proper documentation, Material Control, Warranty claims, Asset Management etc.

Don’t say ‘use our product and check for all it can do to your maintenance activity.

2. My product benefits:   (general) Maximum equipment availability, Optimized use of available maintenance resources, Increased maintenance personnel utilization, Reduced equipment downtime, Reduction in spare parts inventory.

 Don’t say it solves all your maintenance problems. Don’t say all the troubles you have with your service engineers disappears.

3. My product benefits:  (specific) Improves production capacity by 15% due to more efficient maintenance operations. Reduces energy cost by 11% by maintaining equipment within design and condition specifications. Increases plant capacity results in a 3%.

(This kind of quantification is possible for an established product. Don’t make such claims if it is not true to your software)

4. My product solves the following problems:  Maintenance is people dependent. All records for maintenance schedule are inside people’s heads. Estimating maintenance costs is impossible. Greater amount of maintenance man-hours is spent on unplanned work.

If you are really serious about selling, do the following:

    * Highlight main features of your kind of software
    * Special highlights to features specific to your software, which may not be available in other software
    * List specific benefits from the product
    * List specific problems the product can solve

To conclude I would say, do not make the biggest marketing mistake of selling only the Features. Include the benefits it offers or talk about the problems it resolves. This will at least get you users who intent to buy.

More sharing later, I welcome your views and comments.Happy selling.