A corporate group delivering software solutions to a large install base and wanted to increase the pricing (charge premium) for new features.
Since software was offered free of charge as part of a larger hardware and service solution, customers expected new features to be free. And as the software had always been included in the overall solution, customers did not understand the value add of new features that was being delivered regularly. Therefore, the software engineering team went on building features without fully understanding the market impact. As a result, sales teams did not understand how to communicate the software's value and therefore unable to capitalize on the new features. Quietly, the company was losing the opportunity to monetize millions of dollars of value from its captive install base.
The group had multiple ways to address the situation.
- It could slow down investments in software and simply maintain the minimum features required and it would save cost.
- Bundle all the new features into a new product and sell it independently, requiring a new organization.
THE WAY FORWARD
The most important business decision to make was whether new features were simply an additional cost or an opportunity to create new line of profits. As part of the project, market research and personal meetings with both engineering and marketing teams of key customers were conducted to get external input into the decision making process. From this discovery process, it was clear that new software features can be an advantage under the right marketing structure.
As a result, working systematically with all the key stakeholders over a 6 month period, a complete rebranding exercise was undertaken to convert the software from a service to a product. A complete marketing strategy, brand narrative, visual identity and corporate communication tools were developed. The product now with its own name, logo and tag line had become larger than life and was easy to relate to. This helped the marketing teams, sales personnel and customers themselves to clearly value the software product.
Another important aspect of this project was to segment the customers. Doing this allowed creation of specific marketing collaterals for each segment. A product versioning system complete with clear target customer profiles was developed. This helped each customers group quickly recognize the advantages of each product version to its situation. A B2B web-site was created to provide full release information, feature set details, technical specs and download the latest version of the new product.
As a result, the company was able to charge a whopping 10% extra premium to all its customers large and small, leading to several millions of dollars in added profits. Most importantly, a system was now in place to create a clear ROI on all software development investments.
Within 9 months, software had become a strategic advantage.
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