Software that knows ROI

Businesses adopt software for some rational reason. That reason is often expressed as a return on investment (ROI).

Based on the home pages of most software vendors, sales and marketing definitely know this. But based on the actual software, product development doesn’t seem to. Good software delivers ROI, but most don’t bother to tell you afterwards.

Decision makers in the organization care about this metric and will try to predict it before adoption and will probably track it afterwards.

And even if they don’t—if they were to magically know this metric, it would inform their decisions about renewal and increasing adoption. Sales and marketing lead with this info because they know that it’s a compelling selling strategy. They use ROI language in case-studies and may even have an ROI calculator on their site.

What I don’t see as often is an ROI calculator right in the software itself.

This is a huge missed opportunity. Lots of software has the exact data on how well it has achieved an ROI for you. That number is also a proxy for the ROI of the user that operates it or the decision maker that purchased it, so they would be very likely to want to share it.

SaaS products have a bigger advantage of not only knowing the ROI, but also being able to compare across customers and derive insights to why some customers are getting more benefit than others.

This information can drive account management calls, webinar topics, training, etc. Not to mention that the software could try to drive the user to those behaviors.

The model here to look at is Google Adwords. ROI literally drives the entire product UX and is reported on a line-item basis. It is deeply integrated into how you think of the product and adword metrics, PPC and CPC, have become common vocabulary in the industry.

So, what about your software? What is driving its value? Is that information readily available in the product itself? Does it drive user behavior? If not, how could it? Contact me if you want to talk more about this.