How Sales and Marketing pros should be helping to shape the software they use
Here are her three vital ingredients for useful sales and marketing automation software:
1. Software professionals who understand and can empathise with Sales and Marketing teams
The first requirement of software engineering team members is obviously technical ability. They need to know how to develop software that is instinctive, performs well and can evolve rapidly to meet business changes. But just as important – although much more difficult to find – are professionals who possesses a working understanding of business.
I’m not saying that developers and test analysts need to have a background in Sales or Marketing (although that would be impressive), but rather that they need to have the right attitude. Good software professionals are inquisitive and open-minded. They are good listeners, natural problem solvers and they don’t give up until it is done.
2. An entire business to support and complete the product
Ever wondered why you don’t often hear of freelance software developers?
To make a great product, the software engineering team needs a number of other teams to help them do their jobs (not to mention to market and sell the final product, and to take care of admin).
Some teams help guide product development (usually the Sales and Customer Success teams, who are the voice of the customer). Some help to prevent the team from getting side-tracked (usually the Consulting and Support teams who handle urgent but short-term issues). And some even review the product before its release to market (if you develop Sales and Marketing software, who better to test than your own Sales and Marketing departments?).
3. Input from Sales and Marketing professionals at large
Sometimes the best way to make sure that the software you create is valuable to the end-user, is to get their feedback directly.
We’ve found great value in working closely with clients from a range of industries. For example, we found that marketers and business developers in the legal sector have unique requirements when it comes to the software we develop, so we've put a team together to make sure that our solution meets these needs.
So how can Sales and Marketing teams help make create great sales and marketing software?
The best thing you can do to help is to keep communicating with your software provider. Tell us what you’re looking for, share ideas, and build a wish list.
And then be patient. Product development is an ongoing thing. We plan everything far in advance. We look for bugs and common feature requests, and then we develop a plan to address these changes in new releases. We always need keep in touch with the ever-evolving technologies out there, and ensure that we’re providing the best solution on the latest platforms. But we have to be careful. We can’t afford to rush into anything that might not work for the majority of our clients.
At the end of the day, product development is a dynamic process. It requires communication and collaboration, not only internally, but also with clients and prospects.
As the well-known educator, speaker and blogger Steven Anderson puts it: “Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant.”