SMEs moving from B2B to B2G find the transition surprisingly complex
You can accelerate the whole learning process by taking a sales masterclass from those who know how
This article shows how to find them
Don’t reinvent the wheel: someone has the answer for most of your questions
As a bonus there’s also a great way to out-smart your competition
A sales masterclass
Let’s say you are a SaaS SME with a presence on G-Cloud looking to move a B2B product into the B2G marketplace. You have found out that it’s quite different from your traditional market and you want to know what’s going to work. You have found a lot of myths, a lot of “facts”, a lot of claptrap and you hope there are some hidden-but-brilliant ideas. How do you go about sorting it all out?
I’ll find you an expert, who you will trust even to the point of admiration, who will answer just about any question you have. For free.
How to do it
Sales data on G-Cloud is regularly published here. One of the particularly helpful features Crown Commercial Service (CCS) are now including in the data is dividing suppliers into size categories. Download the sales data, make a pivot table and look for a micro-sized SaaS supplier with a product somewhat like yours which has sales over (say) £300,000 and demonstrable, year-on-year growth of revenue going back at least 3-years. You are looking for a supplier with their own SaaS product rather than a reseller, CSP or aggregator.
At present, there is only one. So to find a similar product to yours maybe move up into the small-sized category, there’s a good handful of suitable contenders there. These successful exemplars are role-models and they are one of the most valuable resources in the marketing tool-kit. As with role-models in any walk of life, be discerning on who you pick. Some suppliers who fit the successful sales-growth criteria are not firms to follow. For example some don’t actually sell SaaS but are agencies placing IT contractors – how they are there and why they are there isn’t the point of this article; be selective. Look at the documentation and information they give on G-Cloud, you’ll know who to choose because they will give you confidence that they know what they are doing.
These micro- and small-enterprises have become successful on G-Cloud but were (and still are) very careful how and where they deploy resources. This is key. Year on year growth comes through working out where to spend a marketing budget, where to invest in product features, certifications and even membership of trade associations. And because of the openness of G-Cloud, the internet and social engagement this is all visible (or can be for very little effort). Subscribe to their news-feed, follow their social media, use the free trial and explore how the experience is managed, listen to their videos and read what they place in the press, read everything they put on G-Cloud.
Role-models will show you what works, dispel myths, and point unequivocally to the facts. They are what you want to be – you can trust them.
Types of Questions a Role-Model will answer
(Without even knowing you were asking)
|Exhibitions, yes or no? Which exhibitions? Just a stand or participate? What form of participation?|
|Content marketing: what type of content, how detailed, how often, what channels?|
|Which PR agency understands SME, SaaS and public sector?|
|Must we have a self-service free trial? How should the process work?|
|What social channels support marketing to public sector, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook?|
|How do we engage with social media, corporate account or individual personality, or both?|
|Should we invest in WCAG (accessibility), ISO27001, PEN testing (how often)?|
|Which IaaS, PaaS, provider? What availibility SLA should we aim for?|
|Public Sector Networks, New NHS Network, Janet?|
|Should we complete all those free-text 'describe your approach' questions or say 'on request'?|
|What pricing model(s) should we offer? What rates on SFIA are acceptable?|
|What sort of sales growth is realistically achievable?|
And then there’s the competition
The same openness provides the opportunity to keep a close eye on the competition. Since G-Cloud 10 went live there has been very little change to the information provided or the documentation supplied for the 8,000 SaaS services listed there. I know this because I review what has changed once a month by extracting all the data and comparing it to the previous version.
This provides you with a breathtaking opportunity! While the competition are sleep-walking through the framework, ensure that you update your particulars to outsmart them on features, benefits, pricing and pricing models, certifications and standards, the whole kit and caboodle. If your service is on a desktop being compared to theirs, give the buyer evidence to eliminate them.
You are an SME, they wanted you on G-Cloud to support the public sector because you are agile, innovative, energetic and pro-active. Excellent! Put those same forces to work on your marketing and be someone else’s role-model, someone they will trust even to the point of admiration.