Here we are making available the G-Cloud catalogue in spreadsheet form
Use all the tools to manipulate the data to provide marketing insights into how you compare with competitors
A SME migrating from B2B to B2G needs to see how others do it – it’s a different game
The Marketplace Positioning Index gives SaaS suppliers an immediate read-out on the quality of their presence
Some suppliers with weak presence still make sales – we look into the reasons behind that and debunk a myth
Marketing Data Shop is now Open!
It started in the quiet time between Christmas 2015 and the New Year. I started analysing the GCloud Spend and comparing it with the details on the Digital Marketplace to attempt to identify whether sales success correlated to any specific or combination of attributes.
To achieve this (the answer was ‘yes’ by the way), I needed my own copy of the G-Cloud catalogue in spreadsheet form so I could manipulate it and do the analysis. This representation of the data is a brilliant tool for competitor analysis, for looking for best practice (and bad practice) and generally keeping tabs on what is going on and what is changing in this £2billion market.
I’ve used it to help others and now I’m making the data available to anyone here: Marketing Data Shop
The plan is to take a snapshot of the 3 Lots (G-Cloud Hosting, G-Cloud Software and G-Cloud Support) on or around the first of each month and, inside that first week, load it into the Marketing Data Shop for download. Because the nature of the data is different for each Lot, it needs to be in 3 separate spreadsheets and there’s a small charge as it represents quite an investment but it also provides self-help capability to substitute for my amazing services.
Marketplace Positioning Index (MP-Index)
To illustrate the type of analysis that can be done, I’ve appended the MP-Index I’ve developed to the end of the software product records. This is a rough comparative guide to show which products are best positioned in Lot 2 on the marketplace. The scores are from 0–to–100 and are based on an algorithm evaluating 15 of the attributes on the catalogue which my research shows are correlated with sales success. (Median score is 68 and standard deviation 26).
Does the MP-Index work?
As at 1 October 2019, there are 9,400 software products promoted by 2,632 suppliers. I have taken the 1,000 software products with the highest and lowest scores (an MP-Index under 30 and over 70) and compared them with the SME companies in the spend data that have made sales in the last 12-months. I only look at SMEs in the spend data because this is where the need to improve positioning on the marketplace is most acute. Here is a summary of the result:
Over twice as many suppliers in the high-scoring group account for over three times the volume of sales. That’s a reasonable demonstration that the MP-Index does correlate to sales success. But the interesting question to ask is why isn’t the impact more pronounced? Un-packing the answer to that question teaches us a lot about the Digital Marketplace, marketing, sales and goes some way to busting some myths.
Marketing and Sales – we are not all the same
An SME approaching the Public Sector Market for the first time has got to make the most of their marketing assets. Their presence on G-Cloud is a vitally important asset, it is the quality of that presence which can get their product selected in accordance with the ‘guidance for buyers, survive and win evaluation and selection.
I have analysed the suppliers who have achieved sales success despite having a low MP-Index score, the result shows we are not all the same and we don’t all have the same marketing proposition.
Let’s explore what this means
Many, if not all of the successful G-native products are well known in their niche – whether it is managing police evidence departments, ‘bank’ staffing in hospitals or fly-tipping in local councils. They may have been around for some time, perhaps pre-Cloud, and don’t need to rely on the G-Cloud catalogue as their target market are already familiar with them. They have built an alternative marketing asset in their awareness and reputation.
Global brands have a huge marketing asset, this is another reason to not include the Large Enterprise suppliers in the analysis. They don’t need to be as reliant on the catalogue as their target prospects already know the product and what it can do. Resellers of global brands leverage this marketing asset, they may be SMEs but the product has marketing clout.
Hardware and body-shop suppliers are outside the scope, but the reason they have sales may reflect a little on the success strategy of the 20% of SaaS suppliers with a weak G-Cloud presence, but who are successfully bringing products into public sector. It is a criticism I have heard many times of G-Cloud “We have never had an enquiry from G-Cloud. We have to sell the old-fashioned way and then we get told to put it through G-Cloud.”
This ‘reversing’ into the framework happens quite frequently and at the heart of it is the myth that ‘you never get an enquiry from G-Cloud’. This is bunkum, as proven yet again this week as a supplier in a highly competitive field who had used Advice Cloud to refresh their listing for G-Cloud 11 sent me a jubilant email counting 4 separate G-Cloud enquiries when they had none throughout the life of G-Cloud 10. (Their new listing has a MP-Index score in the 80s.)
I say: ‘You never get an enquiry from G-Cloud, when your competition are getting the enquiries because they have a better presence than yours.’ That is not a myth.
I am not suggesting you should not actively market, quite the opposite – but an SME needs to spend its resources carefully and the best place to start is getting that G-Cloud listing better than the competition. This is optimising your presence. Your marketing strategy of in-bound and out-bound activities is about optimising your reach. The two go together.
How to Use the Marketing Data
The benefit of the data in a spreadsheet is that you can use the sophisticated tools to do more and in a very much shorter time. You can also compare spreadsheets across time to see who is changing their information (price list, service definition, features & benefits, accreditations & certifications).
Automate the process so that it’s something done each month or each quarter. Identify both competitors and role-models and compare your products. Remember the great importance of the Service Summary, Features & Benefits – this is how you get found through search. Will your competitor be found more frequently than you? You can make a new spreadsheet tab just of competitors and eye-ball how they describe themselves.
Changes to your summary, features and benefits are easy to do: guidance on how to update your listing
Clearly you will want to lend more weight to the way successful suppliers promote themselves, the spend data is also available for free, here in /Resources
But don’t fall into the trap that all suppliers with sales must have good presence – they may be one of the anomalies described above.
Walk through the rest of the columns on the spreadsheet comparing your product’s attributes with the competition – are you potentially being eliminated in favour of a supplier with ISO27001 or WCAG accessibility credentials. These will take longer to address, but put them in a get-well plan and address them as part of the product road-map.
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Visit the Marketing Data Shop and start winning on G-Cloud