Enterprise and SMB software company customers are increasingly sourcing information exclusively from the web prior to any sales interaction. This shifting dynamic is forcing existing players to adapt by balancing the provision of valuable information with the ultimate objective of generating a sales lead. Further, many players, from software startups and venture backed companies, to large enterprises, are changing the lead generation game by spending aggressively online to capture market share, as well as offering more to customers in terms of free trials, downloads and content. While many of these players may not be seen as an immediate competitive threat, their presence drives up customer acquisition costs, behooving marketers to invest in A/B testing and improving conversion rates.
In the small and medium sized business software marketplace the cost of developing a product and company is being driven lower and thus the willingness of players to compete for market share has become more ferocious. VC backed companies in particular are willing to burn cash to capture market share and aggressively grow their business, while larger enterprise software companies may not be closely monitoring spend or intentionally driving up customer acquisition costs, thus changing the digital landscape both for other large companies, as well as the SME segment that may be more vulnerable to the changing competitive dynamics.
Implications for A/B testing strategy
For software companies, lead generation from inbound marketing activities has become a key component to many sales models. With the relatively high level of competition in the industry, the online/digital marketing element of the business has followed suit. It is no longer sufficient to have static pages that have not been tested prior to the last website redesign — landing pages must be continually optimized to tell the story of the individual company and product. A lack of differentiation will drive up costs considerably and create the risk that prospects test a competitor product or engage with the competition in advance of connecting with one’s own product. Various elements of the content strategy must be tested, yesterday’s content may not convert today; the marketing messages must resonate immediately or a company risks being lost in the shuffle. Conversely, a properly structured landing page and content strategy can result in a 50% or more increase in leads – a potentially transformative position for the business.