Nobody cares about Plone: Selling a Plone website to somebody who doesn't care

published Oct 14, 2022

Talk by Talya Beyers and Karel Calitz at the Plone Conference 2022 in Namur.

The average client has no idea what Plone is, and they don’t really care. They won’t trust something they’ve never heard of, and there are plenty of other solutions out there that claim to offer the same things.

Designers and developers, on the other hand, do care about Plone: an elegant, powerful, secure, scalable, flexible solution to clients’ content management dilemmas. However, clients generally don’t care about the technical stuff – they just want to be online. It’s our job to tell them why Plone is the way to go.

In this talk, we share what we’ve learned about selling Plone to people who don’t care over the last 15 years.

When planning the trip here from South Africa, I was looking for a backpack. Why did I buy this one?

  1. It has some specific features.
  2. It looks good.
  3. It feels good.

I actually started at the bottom of the list. The brand is known to care about environment and their workers. Then number two, I like this black one. And only then I looked at the first item om the list.

We work at Juizi: websites worth having. We use Plone, and need to convince clients that Plone is a good choice. Mostly, they don't care.

Why don't people care about Plone? They don't know the name. Similar functionality is offered by other names that are more familiar.

What is Plone? You are here, so you know it. Plone is not so unique: most features are offered by most other CMSes as well. Some features we like: easy user management, content workflow and rules, many different content types. But the client is after a solution. What are benefits to the client? Explain the Plone features in terms of the customer. Will it get me online? Can my website grow? Is my website safe?

How do we sell Plone to people who don't care? Focus on the benefits, like: presence, freedom, safety.

Solve problems, rather than build new things. Clients think they are unique, but try to see the general feature that the really need. Think inside the box that Plone arrives in. Listen to wants and address needs. Never say never. Help the client funnel their budget to where it is needed.

Our team is our unique selling proposition. It sets us apart from anyone else. We don't just say we know how to use Plone. We highlight use cases. Clients stick around for years. A lot of business comes in through word of mouth.

In the backpack I bought, I could see the maker cared about it. His name was even in the label. We care about Plone.

Remember what clients are buying. They buy presence, freedom, and safety. Ensure they get this and they'll buy you.


These are calls to your emotions, offering presence, freedom, safety. Same as years earlier we said: "Plone gives you peace of mind." Can we prove that we are better at this than others? You can put up testimonials that highlight these things. Marketing in general is an ongoing conversation. Sales is story telling. Get them to listen, and they fall deeper and deeper in love with Plone.

If you enable your client to nicely and easily tell their story to their clients, then you both win.

Send them to the demo sites to try it out.

[Maurits: idea for my own company that I am starting up: have a few pages or paragraphs with features, and link them to a demo page where they can try it out themselves.]