Monday, October 26, 2015

Marketo CEO Says Customer Education Biggest Growth Limiter and He's Right

In a recent post on diginomica, Marketo CEO, Phil Fernandez, was quoted as saying, "I believe the single biggest growth limiter for our market at large, in fact, is customer education." A bold statement, indeed, when one considers growth limiters could be anything from competition, product maturity, an effective salesforce, the economy, and customers entrenched in old ways of operation, to name only a few. 

Fernandez goes on to say that the marketing automation space is "still a market that is in the learning and skill-building phase." As a marketing professional learning new skills, I agree first hand that the marketing automation space is on the learning and skill-building phase. But I find it incongruent that the response to improving customer education is to build up Marketo's salesforce capability through improved sales enablement practices.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How to Make Sure Enterprise Software Gets Used

Worldwide spending on enterprise software was $314 billion in 2014. If you add the time and resources spent evaluating and selecting enterprise software, the cost is much higher. This effort alone makes it difficult to switch software tools, even in a world of pay-as-you-go enterprise cloud subscriptions. Therefore, enterprise must figure out a way to get the most out of their investment in the software they have chosen.

Mostly when people talk about software adoption, what they mean is the process by which organizations purchase software. This is what the technology adoption lifecycle explains; how different people finally make the decision to purchase (adopt) software.

I believe the real pain begins when an organization purchases software. The challenge becomes, "OK. I just spent months getting this purchase decision made. I have now put m reputation on the line, so I need to make sure we get the most out of this thing. How am I going to get people in our organization to actually use it?"

How, indeed.

I have been studying this issue for several years now. I believe it comes down to this: Organizations adopt software when:
  1. The product is right (whatever "right" is) 
  2. People needs are addressed 
  3. Perpetual support is put in place 
At the moment, it looks like I am calling it the 3 P framework of enterprise software adoption: Product, People, Perpetuity.

I am not wild about that last P, perpetuity. But there it is.

I am finishing up a short article summarizing the framework. This article will be my minimal viable product (MVP) of a book on the same subject.

This subject matters because I believe there are 2 audiences that need this book.

Audience Number 1: Enterprise managers who either influence or make purchases decisions on software for their company or anyone in an organization who has been charged with implementing a software tool that one of the former purchased.

Audience Number 2: Founders, CEOs, product heads, marketing leaders, and anyone who runs services or customer success functions in enterprise software companies who's job it is to ensure that customers actually use the software and achieve the outcomes that the software promises or that the customer desires.