How to Choose the Right Timing to Sell Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

How to Choose the Right Timing to Sell Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Software

Timing is everything in business. Manufacturing industry combining supply chain management, product lifecycle and product development process are offering a complex environment you need to understand before selling successful. Understanding of manufacturing process and connected disciplines such as product data management, quality management, business feedback, and learning business systems and customer feedback gives you an advantage in sales. You can choose technology, product, business strategy, cost, target market, but the timing is usually something that can put a final mark on your success vs failure rate. Therefore choosing the right timing is extremely important when you build you PLM sales strategy.

In the past I wrote several articles about PLM sales. Here are a few links you can check them out.

The Art of PLM sales

3 Magic Questions that can help you to sell PLM

PLM Playbook: Mastering Startegies and Tactics for PLM implementations

How to Sell PLM to Engineers

One of my best examples of right timing for enterprise software sales is coming from understanding an average time organizations change the software. The software lifecycle is not less important that anything else. So, for example, if you think organizations in a specific market segment are replacing ERP software every 7 years, you can start marketing to them 5 years after they successfully implemented their previous ERP system.

In my article today, I’d like to share some examples and criteria that can help you to identify when is the right timing to sell a PLM product to your customers.

Selling PLM solutions requires a keen understanding of market trends, customer needs, and internal readiness. Whether you’re a software vendor, a reseller, or an implementation consultant, choosing the right moment to offer your PLM solutions can make the difference between a successful sale and a missed opportunity. Here are some critical factors to consider when determining the optimal timing to sell PLM software.

Market Conditions and Trends

Moving against the trends is hard and often not worth it. You need to watch the market and identify the moment when manufacturing are open to invest in new software. Here are a few ideas you can use.

  • Economic Climate: When business is good and economies are booming it is. hard to sell software that can improve the business (business is good already). Also, companies are busy and don’t have people to focus on a new software. Opposite, when the market is in downturn companies have time to invest to re-tooling. Therefore during economic downturns, cost-saving features of PLM software might become more attractive.
  • Industry Trends: Look for industry-specific trends. Digital transformation, IoT, Industry 4.0 and many others. If you can catch the wave, you can ride it successfully. Make your offering compliant to these trends and you can put a foot in a door.
  • Technological Advancements: Engineers and manufacturing companies are guilty to love technologies. Therefore new technologies and features in PLM software can create a buzz. When a major update or a groundbreaking feature is released, it can be an excellent time to engage potential customers. For the last year, it was AI, before it was digital transformation, IoT, Metaverse, cloud and many others (some of them we don’t remember already :)).

Is Customer Ready?

You need to watch the potential organizations for PLM adoption to understanding where your potential customers are in their journey. It is a key that will help you to understand if they are ready to buy.

  • Business Growth Stage: Companies in different growth stages have varying needs. Startups might need basic PLM functionalities or don’t need them at all, while mature companies may seek advanced features. Tailor your pitch and don’t oversell PLM to companies before they need them
  • Current Challenges: Identify the pain points of your prospects. If a company is struggling with managing product data, collaboration issues, or compliance challenges, it might be the right time to introduce PLM software as a solution.
  • Budget Cycles: Align your sales efforts with the budgeting cycles of your target companies. Many organizations plan their software investments at the beginning of the fiscal year or quarter.

Competitive Landscape

Competitor can give you a window of opportunities. Therefore you need to monitor your competitors’ actions and market position:

  • Competitive Movements: If competitors are aggressively marketing their PLM solutions, it might signal a ripe market. Conversely, if competitors are retracting or experiencing difficulties, it could be an opportunity to gain market share. In the world where you can watch advertising campaigns of competitors and subscribe to their email offerings, you have sensitive information delivered directly to your doorsteps.
  • End of Life Announcements and M&A discontinue: Listen to what competitors are announcing, especially to end of life or significant transformation. PLM market is complex and can give you many opportunities. Watch companies discontinue products, failing to adopt the product after strategic M&A and many other factors.

Regulatory and Compliance Factors

In a current level of complexity related to regulation and compliance, you can find your market tailored specifically to some regulation compliance and demand. You can find an opportunity in a some market niches that give you a right timing to target these niches.

  • Regulatory Changes: Keep an eye on upcoming regulatory changes that might necessitate the adoption of PLM software. For example, new data protection regulations or environmental standards can drive demand.
  • Compliance Deadlines: Approach companies well before compliance deadlines, offering your PLM software as a solution to meet these requirements efficiently.

How to Tailor PLM Sales Approach?

So, how to include the element of timing in your PLM sales approach. Different organizations have unique needs and challenges when it comes to PLM solutions. Modern digital market gives you a plenty of opportunities to leverage best ideas about right timing. Here are 5 criteria to capture

  1. Organization size: Always check the prospect size, because your solution must be tailored to the size. Remember it is hard for small companies to sell to large organizations. Understanding of their internal processes (based on size) is important too.
  2. Industry and/or vertical market: Different market performs differently. Check what are specific market trends and demands. If a specific industry is booming (eg. defense, electrical vehicles etc)
  3. Engineering and manufacturing processes: Get information about the process (ETO, CTO, BTO) is crucial. The requirements can be different dramatically.
  4. Specific industry or customer processes. You can learn from some regulations or requirements introduced to industries. Specific industrial processes is the opportunity for a vendor to expand.
  5. Big projects and/or programs that starting. Some large OEMs only bring new software when a new program (or project) is starting. Watching these activities and stay put can help a lot to make the right offer at the right time.
  6. Industry events, funding opportunity, geopolitical movements, etc. Sometimes events can be a incidence. But if you watch it, you can use them to your advantage.

What Is My Conclusion?

Pick the right time when you sell PLM. Choosing the right timing to sell PLM software involves a careful analysis of external market conditions, internal readiness, and the specific needs of your target customers. Therefore ask questions and collect information. SaaS platforms give you a huge advantag here by offering an instant trial and help you to learn more what you need to offer to a future customer. By tailoring your approach to different types of organizations and understanding their unique challenges and requirements, you can effectively position your PLM solutions as the ideal fit for their needs. Remember, the right timing can turn a good opportunity into a great success.

Just my thoughts..

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing a digital-thread platform with cloud-native PDM & PLM capabilities to manage product data lifecycle and connect manufacturers, construction companies, and their supply chain networks. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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