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The Double-Edged Sword: How the Same CMS Features Can Make or Break a Sale

Complexity, pricing, and maintenance – attributes that can swing a sales pitch in either direction, setting your product apart or leading to lost deals. This paradox is particularly evident in the Content Management System (CMS) market, where TYPO3, along with other platforms, competes for attention in a crowded field. 

How can it be that what attracts one customer might repel another? The answer lies in the nuanced landscape of customer needs and the intricate dance of aligning product strengths with those needs. In this blog post, Viviane Gebelein, in her role as TYPO3 Solution Partner at toujou, gives an insight into how the dichotomy of CMS functions and attributes can make the difference between success and failure.

CMS Complexity as a Feature and Flaw

The fact that a website should be functionally robust in addition to merely presenting content is clear for those in search of the right content management system. However, the question arises: how complex should the system be to not only meet all requirements but also remain manageable for everyone involved in the website's operations? While tech-savvy buyers may be drawn to the allure of a functionally sophisticated system, beginners, for instance, may find themselves more uncertain. Therefore, TYPO3 must navigate a delicate balance between user-friendliness and advanced capabilities to cater to a diverse user base and ensure a seamless experience for both beginners and experts alike.

Likewise, catering to the unique needs of customers is also important. Each customer represents their own brand, and the ability for a CMS to support customers in telling their own brand’s story can outweigh perceived complexities of the system. It’s important to emphasize the features that empower end users and allow them to effectively manage their business CMS. 

With dedicated support, customers can come to appreciate the complexity as a wide range of features.

– Viviane Gebelein, DFAU GmbH / toujou

Turning CMS Complexity into a Feature

An example of this is toujou’s experience with The Fürst Group. The customer, which has been delivering professional services for over a century, had been using TYPO3 as their CMS of choice but was struggling to make the most out of it due to what they saw was a complex system and limited autonomy in terms of editorial freedom. From the independent construction of pages, to content delivery mechanisms, and even the font type they would use, the customer sought a significant degree of autonomy over their CMS management. 

The complexity of the CMS seemed too challenging for the marketing team to manage, without the support of a dedicated IT agency. toujou stepped in to offer consulting services, showcasing the website builder capabilities of TYPO3 CMS via toujou that would allow The Fürst Group to achieve its desired editorial flexibility. Through trainings, tutorials, and documentation that showcased the wide range of functions TYPO3 has to offer.

Ultimately, the customer was able to re-launch their website on their own, making full use of TYPO3’s flexibility and scalable infrastructure, while conveying its brand identity, and maintaining long-term support.

The lesson? While a professional CMS might seem complicated at the beginning, with dedicated support, customers can come to appreciate the complexity as a wide range of features are offered and see the CMS as an integral part of their operations.

CMS Pricing: The Investment Versus the Expense

The price of a content management system can serve as a signal of premium value (especially in the context of making a first impression) and can be considered evidence of the mentioned complex features. However, high prices also pose a cost barrier for startups and SMEs, as they may opt for a more budget-friendly competitor when in doubt. To ensure that the TYPO3 ecosystem doesn't lose potential users and facilitates scalability with the system, there is a need for a solution that minimizes entry barriers.

It’s also important to ensure customers know that pricing decisions shouldn’t just consider the short term, but also take long term maintenance and company scaling into account. Most companies have long-term growth plans. These often require major overhauls of their web presence, including building new pages and new websites, and adding the latest security features, all of which can become expensive in the long run.

CMS with Multisite Capabilities: Scaling Effectively 

As a CMS with extensive multisite capabilities, TYPO3 can deliver lower long-term costs to end users, who will be using a content management system that can scale at the same rate as their company does.

Additionally, solutions like toujou offer low-cost alternatives for TYPO3 installations and can support customers with included maintenance and updates, delivering enhanced security and technical support. Communicating the value that an agency adds is important. What might initially seem like a steep cost, can also be perceived as money saved in the long run.

CMS Maintenance: The Hidden Cost of Ownership

When deciding on a content management system, a forward-looking perspective plays a crucial role. If the agency provides operational support as a long-term partner, that becomes a strong selling point. However, if the potential customer cannot allocate a sufficiently high budget for technical maintenance or hasn't considered this in advance, it might terminate the collaboration before it even begins. Therefore, the choice of a CMS should be made both with the present and the future in mind, whereby maintenance should not be dismissed with a black box or even the "open sources means free" mentality.

The line between a feature being a deal-maker or a deal-breaker is often as thin as the understanding of the customer's needs. Complexity, pricing, and maintenance don’t inherently win or lose pitches; it's the alignment of these attributes with the client's expectations and experiences that determines the outcome. As CMS providers and marketers, it is crucial to listen, adapt, and communicate the value of our products in a way that resonates with the diverse needs of our potential customers. In the dance of sales, every step, every feature, and every attribute must be choreographed with the audience in mind. It’s not just about what our CMS can do; it’s about how it fits into the narratives and the perception of those who will use it.

Scalable CMS Solutions: Long-term Support and Customer Needs

Customer needs can vary, however focusing on common motivating factors companies looking to make the most out of their enterprise CMS allows a TYPO3 partner agency to shape the narrative in a favorable way. 

For example, at toujou we place a special emphasis on the fact that working with a TYPO3 agency partner saves time and delivers increased security, all while covering upgrades, maintenance, and long-term support. Customers working with toujou can avoid security breaches, and costly re-launches every few years, and make the most out of a scalable, flexible content management system.

Customers can focus on their core business operations, and the agency takes care of the rest. Companies like toujou take care of the TYPO3 upgrades, and agency partners provide a service (ex. design). Ultimately, it’s a win-win for all parties involved.

A lost pitch isn't just a missed opportunity—it's a learning experience.

– Viviane Gebelein, DFAU Gmbh / toujou

How to Pitch a CMS? A Summary

In the end, a lost pitch isn't just a missed opportunity—it's a learning experience.By understanding how the same features that attract one segment of the market might be a turn-off for another, we can refine our approach, enhance our products, and ultimately, convert challenges into triumphs. 

Whether it's through customizable modules that simplify complexity, flexible pricing structures, or tiered maintenance support, there is always a path to turn potential weaknesses into compelling selling points. Let's embrace the dual nature of our features and turn the double-edged sword into a tool of mastery in the art of sales.

Would you like to learn more about winning new clients with TYPO3? Learn more about the TYPO3 Partner Program.

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