Ever wonder what goes into creating great marketing and sales software?

14 August 2015

If you’re involved in business development or marketing, you’ll know all about how technology (CRM, marketing automation, proposal generation to name a few) can save your business a lot of time and effort. But have you ever thought about what actually goes into developing useful Sales and Marketing software? Or what about how you can help shape the software you’ll be expected to use in the future?

According to Stephanie Laurent, CTO of global document and proposal management software provider, Qorus Software, technology and software engineering might be necessary ingredients but they are not what makes a product stand out.

“In my experience, creating great Sales and Marketing software requires three very important ingredients: software engineers who can empathize with Sales and Marketing professionals; an entire business to support and complete the product development plan; and input from actual Sales and Marketing professionals outside Qorus Software.”

1. Software professionals who understand and can empathize with Sales and Marketing teams

“The first requirement of software engineering team members is obviously technical ability. They need to know how to develop software that is instinctive, performs well and can evolve rapidly to meet business changes. But just as important – although much more difficult to find – are professionals who possesses a working understanding of business,” explains Laurent. “When we hire team members, we look for people who not only have great technical abilities but also have an interest in business challenges, a desire to solve issues, improve existing solutions, and empathy with end-users when it comes to usability.
“I’m not saying that developers and test analysts need to have a background in Sales or Marketing (although that would be impressive), but rather that they need to have the right attitude. Good software professionals are inquisitive and open-minded. They are good listeners, natural problem solvers and they don’t give up until it is done.”

2. An entire business to support and complete the product

Ever wondered why you don’t often hear of freelance software developers? “To make a great product, the software engineering team cannot work in isolation,” explains Laurent. “They need a number of other teams to help them do their jobs (not to mention to market and sell the final product, and to take care of admin).”

“Some teams help guide product development (usually the Sales and Customer Success teams, who are the voice of the customer). Some help to prevent the team from getting side-tracked (usually the Consulting and Support teams who handle urgent but short-term issues). And some even review the product before its release to market (if you develop Sales and Marketing software, who better to test than your own Sales and Marketing departments?).”

3. Input from Sales and Marketing professionals at large

Sometimes the best way to make sure that the software you create is valuable to the end-user, is to get their feedback directly.

“We’ve found great value in working closely with clients from a range of industries. For example, we found that marketers and business developers in the legal sector have unique requirements when it comes to the content and proposal management software we develop,” explains Laurent.

“We’re currently working with an amazing legal client, and the experience has been priceless. We now have a deeper understanding of legal sector’s needs and which of our product’s features are most suited to meet those needs.”

So how can Sales and Marketing teams help make create great sales and marketing software?

“The best thing you can do,” says Laurent, “to help is to keep communicating with your software provider. Tell them what you’re looking for, share ideas, build a wish list.”

And then be patient. “Product development is an ongoing thing. We plan everything far in advance. We look for bugs and common feature requests, and then we develop a plan to address these changes in new releases. We always need keep in touch with the ever-evolving technologies out there, and ensure that we’re providing the best solution on the latest platforms. But we have to be careful. We can’t afford to rush into anything that might not work for the majority of our clients.”

At the end of the day, product development is a dynamic process. It requires communication and collaboration, not only internally, but also with clients and prospects. As the well-known educator, speaker and blogger Steven Anderson puts it: “Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant.”

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