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One of the most important marketing activities for software vendors is to ensure that their product is being used throughout the customer base. This is especially true for SaaS or cloud vendors as the overall profitability of these vendors is going to be determined in a large part by ensuring a very high customer renewal rate. Customers that renew their agreements with little to no sales activity are going to be required to move from GAAP losses to profits. So, it is critical that the software is being used throughout the enterprise. One of the most common ways to expand usage is to enlist a core group of “power users” within the customer and convert them to evangelists.

Most vendors accomplish this by creating and user groups that can identify these power users. They build programs for them to ensure they are up to speed on the latest features and functions of the software, invite them to users group meetings to network with their peers, and they generally enlist them to be beta testers for new features. All of these activities are essential to expanding usage of the software throughout the customer base. One of the problems with this approach is, that in many cases, the software vendors wants to drive additional value by customizing the programs to a specific class of customers, such as large enterprises of SMB. Based on Neuralytix research of the Salesforce Power Users Group, this is not an optimal approach.

Little Difference in Usage by Company Size

As part of the survey, customers were asked how they were using SalesCloud. The questions were broken into 3 sections; Sales and Sales Management, Marketing, and Customer Support and Service. Figures 1-3 show the results segmented by company size.

Figure 1: Sales and Sales Management Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

Figure 1: Sales and Sales Management Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

Figure 2: Marketing Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

Figure 2: Marketing Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

Figure 3: Support Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

Figure 3: Support Usage (Neuralytix, 2015)

While there are some differences in usage between power users from various company sizes, most notably lower usage by mid-sized companies, the difference is usage are not that significant. In general, power users tend to use the software for similar tasks regardless of company size. The most striking aspect of the results is the highly similar results from small companies and large enterprises. These two groups showed extremely similar usage behavior.

Implications for software vendors

While it is tempting to assume that small businesses will have different usage patterns than large enterprises, the data does not support that conclusion. So, from a software vendor perspective the similarities in usage indicate that vendors should not spend a considerable amount of time or resources on customizing outreach by company size. Power-users tend to have similar usage patterns and as such segregating by company size is not likely to create any additional value in terms of outreach. This does not meant that there are not technical differences or organizational differences by company size. However, these difference will generally be focused on how a company accomplishes the tasks, not what kinds of tasks they are trying to accomplish. Given these differences, vendors should focus understanding what the best practices are in terms of implementing features and how company size effects the implantation.

 

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