Do it yourself (DIY) is great for hobbyists and people fortunate enough to have skills related to things like home repairs and renovations, automotive repairs, and landscape installations. They can do what they enjoy without having to hire a professional, plus they typically save money.
DIY is not an effective approach for software companies looking to scale their business to the next level. Let’s take a closer look into the importance of dedicated pre-sales resources and how to evaluate partners to ensure your success. I’ll use an example of an independent software vendor (ISV) that chooses to integrate payments with their software as a growth driver for their business.
Hope Isn’t a Strategy
ISVs attract businesses by delivering an amazing software platform with features that meet the needs of a particular vertical market, such as retail, restaurant, home services, veterinary practices, or personal and professional services. Most ISVs I know pride themselves in their ability to get in the weeds and talk shop with business owners in their specialized vertical.
Many of the most successful ISVs were started by business owners and operators in a specific industry who became frustrated with generic software and declared: “There’s got to be a better way!” They took the initiative, raised money, and developed software platforms with segment-specific features to help their customers run their business better.
Once core software is developed and a customer base is established, ISVs often pivot to growth strategies that involve integration with complementary business solutions—such as payment acceptance—that promise to help win new business, deepen customer relationships, generate additional revenue and increase lifetime value.
For example, establishing a merchant account requires specialized knowledge. It entails time and overhead related to sales, setup and support, applications and disclosures, complex pricing schemes, required business documentation, and equipment installation and training. Additionally, ongoing payments expertise is required to keep up with evolving technology trends, card brand rules and security and compliance mandates.
Without a data-driven conversion strategy and an engaged payments partner, all that many ISVs end up with is provider logos on websites and brochures. The anticipated revenue never materializes.
A Winning Formula for Pre-sales Support
The truth is that integrating value-add solutions like payments is not a field of dreams. You can’t just “build it and they will come.” Many ISVs don’t have sufficient time, money and resources to upsell specific add-on features like payments, and prefer to rely on integrated partner services.
Here are five areas of pre-sales support to consider as you evaluate partners to ensure that they have an end-to-end support experience that helps you maximize results:
Developer Tools & Support: Partners should offer tools and resources that allow you to quickly integrate their solutions with your core software. The best partners have a team of real people eager to help you create the best experience for your customers.
Marketing Support: A good partner understands that your success fuels theirs. Partners should help you generate brand awareness and build a sales funnel with assets such as co-branded marketing campaigns, emails, blog content, sales materials and social media programs.
Sales Support: Your goal is to convert more prospects to customers. Find a partner that offers services like software demos, competitor statement analysis, and help with pricing negotiations. You’ll win more business if a partner is willing to have their subject-matter experts participate in closing calls.
Why Stop at Pre-sales?
Your partnership shouldn’t stop at getting sales across the line. Be sure to find a partner that is there to support you and your customers post-sales. Here are two important areas to help retain customers:
Onboarding Support: Activating customers on new services improves days to revenue for you. For specialized services like payment acceptance, you’ll want to work with a partner that helps your customers gather the information needed to get their business up and running quickly.
Customer Service & Technical Support: The key to long-term success is keeping customers happy and so you can build lifetime value. Make sure your partner is willing to provide your customers with direct support from real people—not just email and chat service—for any help needed.
Do Your Homework
Choose a partner that invests in your success and supports you and your customers throughout the entire customer journey. A partner that provides you with a dedicated single point of contact will help you achieve your goals.
- Shift the heavy lifting of add-ons, like payments, to a partner vested in your success. You’ll improve adoption rates and revenue share.
- Work with a partner that offers high-touch, partner-supported marketing programs to help win new business and increase existing customer adoption rates.
- Choose a partner that has an outstanding reputation as an ethical provider with award-winning support to build confidence and trust with current and future customers.