Sunday, June 04, 2006

Salesforce.com's "No Software" Mantra: More Effective Than They Know

From its beginnings, Salesforce.com has emphasized its online delivery model with its "No Software" positioning, even snagging 1-800-NO SOFTWARE as its toll-free line. While the application service provider (ASP) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) model in general has never lived up to its initial hype, among consumers or business users, Salesforce.com has enjoyed impressive success with it.

While the company's success with sales and marketing users is hardly news at this point, I was surprised in doing some research recently at how successful the No Software campaign has been among another group: enterprise software developers. Salesforce.com has apparently succeeded at making "software" a nasty word for many of these firms, almost like a racial slur or a misogynistic anachronism not to be uttered in polite company.

For example, Synopsys, a developer of electronic design automation software, doesn't produce software at all according to either its home page or products page: it makes design products and "platforms." Cerner, a medical software provider, doesn't claim to produce software either, but does display screen shots of its "solutions."

Here are several more examples of software vendors who don't offer (Heaven forbid!) "software," but do provide platforms, solutions, "applications," "services," "environments," "suites," "technologies," "architectures," "engines," "modules," "servers," "tools," or "systems:"

Telcordia (information-networking and operations software)
Hyperion (business intelligence/analytics software)
FileNet (enterprise content management software)
NAVTEQ (digital map data and software)
i2 Technologies (supply chain management software)
Jack Henry & Associates (banking software)
Kronos (time tracking and HR management software)
Per-Se Technologies (medical billing software)
Infor (ERP software)
Eclipsys (clinical software)
Open Text (content management software)
Internet Security Systems (network security software)
DICOM Group (document capture and workflow automation software)

I could go on, but you get the idea. By not only capturing the interest of prospects, but changing the terminology of an entire industry, Salesforce.com has clearly done an outstanding job of branding.

About the only folks who haven't bought into the "No Software" message are industry journalists; all of the companies cited here (including Salesforce.com) appear on the list of the largest 500 software companies compiled by Software Magazine.

*****

Terms: Salesforce.com, no software, application service provider, CRM software, software 500 list, software-as-a-service (SaaS)

The portal for Web site marketing strategy: WebMarketCentral.com

Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentral.com

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