(Apologies if this is a little long. I wanted to get enough background info in for the question. I hope you don't fall asleep before you get to it!)
After significant development, our company has arrived at the point where we're ready to start selling our product. During the course of the last few months, I've had a number of conversations with acquaintances at various companies to try and clarify who our most viable target prospects are. These acquaintances range from CxOs, to Sales Managers & Associates, to Technologists, to Business Managers. I figured that mixing up the audience would allow for different perspectives. However, while everyone had strong reviews, they all had completely different answers, for us. So, I figured I'd post the question, here, and see what we can come up with.
Some background information: To simply describe our product, it is Yahoo or Google for the business, with the difference being that Yahoo and Google target individual consumers with specific services to meet their needs, while we target commercial and government enterprises, with specific services to meet their needs.
Yahoo and Google provide:
1) A simple to use Service-based platform, where Services are not integrated to each other (Finance, Maps, Horoscopes, Yellow Pages, etc.)
2) Services that are targeted for the single consumer public market (one individual logs on to find directions on a map or find his or her daily horoscope, etc.).
3) A powerful search feature that goes across published public data (within some of the services, across static web sites, in news groups, etc.)
THE GAP/OPPORTUNITY: Yahoo and Google do not offer "operational or business services" that commercial enterprises rely on to run their businesses (Incident Management, Problem Management, Product Management, Service Management, etc.). Nor do they seem to intend to, as the money they make for their current target market is huge and I'm sure keeps them happy for now.
Our Platform (called "KnowIT") leverages the successful features, frameworks, and paradigms of Yahoo and Google but addresses this gap/opportunity, directly, through our own value-adds...
1) Like the two of them, we offer a simple to use Service-based platform. Unlike both of them, our Services are A) "Operational or business services" that are necessary to run commercial and government enterprises and B) Fully integrated with each other to meet their business requirements.
2) Where they primarily target public individuals as users and gain their revenue from advertising, we target commercial and government enterprises that need the types of operational services, described above.
3) Like them, we also offer powerful search. Where their search crawlers target publicly published data (typically static) and their index returns very vague categorizations as part of their search results, our platform targets live private operational data that's pre-categorized on creation and/or edit and, therefore, yields very exact and highly categorized search results.
4) One other difference is that, where most of their services are static and crawled based on post data deployment frequencies, all of our services are "transactional", allowing users to enter, edit, view, search on, report on, etc. live and whole data in the system. Since data is transactional, this means is that as soon as someone hits "Submit" to update a database, all changes are immediately available through the search features.
So now, you have a version of Yahoo or Google that you're specifically selling for commercial and government enterprises. You also want to offer it in a SaaS form... Do you market it to technology staff and technology leaders as a way for them to ramp up all of the services they provide to their businesses, at a very affordable cost, or do you market it to business staff and business leaders as a way for them to get services from our firm that allow them to free up their IT staff, funds, and effort to redirect to their revenue streams and/or their bottom line? And, why?
Thanks for any and all help. I appreciate the assistance.
Chairman & CEO