Friday, December 21, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Have you ever considered hiring a lead generation company? If you have, then you perhaps already know about how you need to go into contract with them. Of course, no business can occur between two companies without some written document stating that you two are indeed working together. However, did you know that a thing such as a contract could seriously hamper your progress and results?
We're all aiming to get some long-term business deals. A smart businessman knows that the best type of business is one that yields continuous profits. And what better way to secure a constant inflow of cash than with ensuring your business with one of your clients? Well, you're not the only one who's aiming to secure a long-term business contract with your prospects; your lead generation company seeks one with you as well.
So the question now is will a locked-up contract with my lead generation company affect me in any way? The answer is yes. The answer can also be either good or bad. So depending on what transpires, being limited to what you can do due to your contract may just mean something positive or negative for your company.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Software companies that want to get more software leads often employ the use of software telemarketing into their marketing campaigns. As a lead generator, telemarketing remains to be among one of the best ways in which to acquire high-quality leads. However, results can vary and success with a telemarketing campaign is never assured.
One major reason as to why a telemarketing campaign fails is due to lack of preparation. In order for you to improve your software telemarketing campaign, you are going to have to make sure that you prepare for it before your campaign even starts. In order to help you out, this post will tell you about the key parts of your campaign which you need to look out to improve your results with using telemarketing to acquire software leads for your company.
As said in the opening paragraph of this post, success with telemarketing is never assured. However, you can make a difference just by making sure you are well-prepared before the launch of your campaign. So to help improve your software telemarketing campaign, here are the key areas which you need to take a look at.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
If you're a software company, then you must have a website, right (or not)? If you do not have one, then it is highly recommended that you get one up and running so that you can maximize your exposure, marketing efforts, and increase your chances at getting software leads. This post, however, is going to assume that you already have a website.
So on to our main topic: landing pages. These are the pages that you have in order to generate leads from search engine users and other online advertisements you have in place. The question now is... how many landing pages do you have?
We found this awesome post over at Hubspot that talks about why you need to create more landing pages. Read it full here. Seeing as it was really an excellent article, I decided to make it the basis of this one and how landing pages can help increase the rate at which you acquire high-quality software leads generated through an inbound marketing approach.
While we're on the general topic of software, you may already be well aware of the fact that you're playing with a difficult hand. Not that many people see the value in good software and it is hard to get more clients. Luckily, the fraction of the population that do not see the worth of software is but a small figure and you'll be pleased to know that a lot of people, your target prospects included, are in the market and looking for a good firm that really knows its chops! Want to know the value that landing pages have in generating software sales leads for you? If yes, then read on!
More variety in your offers.
One of the reasons as to why your marketing offers do not effectively generate software leads may be due to repetition. When you keep on doing something over and over it just becomes monotonous and eventually boring. You may not be converting any of your site visitors into leads because your offers lack variety.
Thankfully, you can remedy that through your landing pages. The more landing pages you have, the more variety you will be able to put into your offers.
More chances of conversion.
Some say that too much of a good thing is bad. Well, that really doesn't seem to be the case with landing pages. Actually, companies that have more landing pages have seen better lead acquisition rates than their counterparts that keep only a handful. And why is this? Well, this is due to the fact that you will have more chances to convert your site visitors into software leads! As said in the previous point, more variety in your offers helps in software lead generation. Combined with the effect of having more pages, you will have more offers that will appear before your prospects, and certainly more chances of visitor-to-lead conversion.
More segmentation opportunities.
It is always easier to determine your approach when you know about your buyer personas. As such, segmentation makes it easier to deal with certain leads that need a certain way of handling, or for us to be able to gauge how far along the buying cycle they are already on. More landing pages allows you to create more segment-specific content which you can use to not only generate more leads but also to determine the different buyer personas of your audience as you generate more software leads.
Now you know the benefit that having more landing pages can bring about for your software company. Do you want to maximize your use of inbound marketing to generate leads for your business? If so, then let it be known that more landing pages can help you out!
Thursday, October 18, 2012
People like freebies whether it is from a B2B or B2C business. However, how can they specifically attract business software leads? More experienced software marketers might already be thinking along the lines of e-books or even demo versions of their product.
Should you really just go right ahead though? And more importantly, are you aware of how heavy these offers might actually be for you or your prospect?
Attracting B2B Leads With Their Value Proposition
Entrepreneur lists several steps when publishing a book for marketing purposes.
On the other hand, take a look at those steps and note the contrast between them and the simplicity of their ultimate goal:
'It's a value proposition. We will often offer [the book] for free in exchange for a name and an email address,' says Feighery, who wrote his book in 2007 in preparation for launching his business the following year. 'This gives us a chance to communicate with that user.'
This is where you can determine a 'weight' factor that will tell you if your dabbling with really heavy marketing materials. Now if you are something like a CRM software vendor and would like to employ the same strategy as Feighery, this weight can affect the success and quality behind your CRM leads.
Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Will this weigh down on your prospect? - Offering an entire book in exchange for just simple contact details sounds like a really good idea from the perspective of any B2B business. What about the customer's perspective though? Are they aware that this is in fact the bargain you are making? Will this burden them with spam or having their phones of the hook from telemarketing calls? Will these freebies nurture an unhealthy dependence on your business?
- Will this weigh down on your business? - One of the steps mentioned requires you to be really original and engaging in terms of content. In other words, just because your book is supposed to serve a marketing purpose does not mean it is only a copy-paste rehash of your blog posts or a compilation of your acquired case studies. It is still a book and you need to go beyond the messages you have sent out so far. More than that, you should also be aware of how both the content and the means of publishing will pile on additional costs in terms of both time and money.
- Can you bear the weight? – Both previous questions ultimately lead to this one. Will this attract enough CRM software leads to justify the burden of effort (for both yourself and your clients)? Will the sales make up for the amount that was spent? Will the book ultimately lead to a successful business relationship for your prospects or just another thing they regret downloading?
Weight does not have to be of an entirely physical nature. Some things can be heavy because they are heavy on the mind or heavy on your pocketbooks. That is not actually a bad thing. What you must test however is the capacity of your software lead generation strategy to bear such a weight in terms of return and customer satisfaction.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Lead generation falls under marketing. And from there, it is not much of a stretch to assume that it has to depend on publicity at some level. The question is just what would that level be? How much of the people's attention are you after? How does that benefit translate into interested customers and furthermore, paying customers?
For consumer-targeted brands, finding the answer seems like cakewalk. But for B2B companies like ERP vendors, it soon becomes a question of whether or not publicity is even something their business should thrive upon.
Do Many B2B Leads Result From Publicity?
BetaBeat. It talks about an upcoming reality talent show that is meant to feature tech entrepreneurs. At the end of the article however, the author makes a sobering observation:
“The show seems to still be in its very early stages, but one thing is clear: These producers obviously have no idea how boring working to become a successful entrepreneur actually is. How will the show even test the contestants’ skills? 'Write a PHP script that generates the numbers 1-10 in a vertical line.' 'Write a blog post about your morning routine and post it to App.net.' 'Get a controversial screed against MongoDB to the front page of Hacker News.'”
Many people in the business software industry (or even just B2B industries in general) are not always parroting when they question the relevance of publicizing their companies in this manner. The above article is hard proof of their actual reasoning. The quality of ERP leads do not simply thrive on just exposure and sheer numbers. It can be argued that conversion is strongly emphasized (if not by marketers, then by the salespeople who are actually meeting with the prospects that marketers set them up with).
Related Content: Can Lead Generation Depend On Superstar Investors?
At this point, it might be time to review the advantages of having a public face and see if any of these ring well with the actual objectives of B2B marketing:
- A large audience – Television shows come with a large audience. But then again, it is not like TV still has the monopoly. These days traditional advertisers are now either competing with their online counterparts or integrating them. Furthermore, one advantage held by the web is that ability to choose and search. This means your ERP lead generation not only attracts decision makers. These are decision makers who are actively searching and are clearly interested in an enterprise solution.
- Relevance to culture – Being a cultural icon sounds fun but exactly what culture are you trying to engage? What about the culture you represent? Is there a disconnection between the two? Are you speaking the same language or are you alienating each other with your own exclusive lingo?
- Marketing engagement – Speaking of engaging, just how much will this public image play in your interactions with a prospect? Will this help your marketers identify prospect needs? Will this help your sales meetings go well?
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Vendors of CRM software are B2B companies yet you can already tell that consumer behavior will have quite an impact on their own success in appointment setting. The difference is in terms of focus and which one do they impact less directly.
To the man on the street, it can seem a strange thing to see so many businesses thriving so hard alongside high-end IT technology and software. But for those in business, there is only an increasingly stronger connection between the need for information and using it to successfully market brands (even consumer ones).
From Forbes, Louis Columbus reports on a Gartner survey regarding the attitudes of CIOs towards tools that are becoming increasingly prominent in analyzing customer data. As a result of this trend, their own behaviors as your CRM customers have in correspondence to certain priorities:
“CIOs need to be just as strong at strategic planning and execution as they are at technology. Many are quickly prioritizing analytics, cloud and mobile strategies to stay in step with their rapidly changing customer bases.”
Below are a few more details on the Gartner survey:
“Gartner’s annual survey of CIOs includes 2,300 respondents located in 44 countries, competing in all major industries. As of the last annual survey, the three-highest rated priorities for investment from 2012 to 2015 included Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI), Mobile Technologies and Cloud Computing.”
As a matter of fact, these statistics could be something worth looking into when it comes to evaluating your own CRM leads. If you're providing any of those three tools being prioritized, it might be time to get busy.
But take a step back, why again is this all happening? Well, just from the start of Columbus' article, he says:
“Customers are quickly reinventing how they choose to learn about new products, keep current on existing ones, and stay loyal to those brands they most value. The best-run companies are all over this, orchestrating their IT strategies to be as responsive as possible.”
It's a simple domino effect: if consumer behavior changes, then so will the behavior of your B2B customer. As a matter of fact, this isn't just exclusively limited to CRM software. Any piece of technology that gets in between a B2C interaction is likely to be affected be that relationship.
Furthermore, the behavior that's changing consumers can be applied to B2B customers as well. The risky thing about marketing to CIOs is that their knowledge will contend with yours (just as their customers are starting to contend with their business through their means of learning about new products).
This is why the IT world and the business world are intensely working hand-in-hand. This is truly the age of information and its implications affect everyone at the same time, from consumers to other businesses. As a business within the IT-side, it's ideal for you to have necessary information to not only understand your own customer's behavior but also how your technology can help them understand theirs. Make sure that your appointment setting services don't have the bad habit of just sticking to minimal information (e.g. budget, size, business name). They must also show signs that they're responding to changes in consumer behavior.
Friday, September 7, 2012
In business software, many security experts will tell you that today's hackers really love to brag and make statements. Their claims are sent through a variety of digital channels from email to social media. But when they make such claims against your software and your company, why not go beyond them and include telemarketing in your response?
Now just recently, All Things D just reported about one example of how many companies these days typically respond to claims by hacktivist groups. Its report details the FBI's rebuttal to a claim made by AntiSec regarding a breach on a device owned by one of the former's personnel:
“The FBI has shot down today’s claim by the AntiSec hacking group that it breached an agency-owned computer and stole a database said to contain some 12 million unique ID numbers for iPhones and iPads around the world.
The FBI computer from which the data was supposedly taken was never hacked, the Bureau said. What’s more, it said it never gathered the information in the first place.”
As you can see, this way of spreading the message is through the assistance of online news publications. But why stop there? You already know that hacktivists use similar channels. Once you've determined that no breach at all took place, you have every obligation to make sure all your customers and prospects will get that message. Therefore, giving them a phone call in response to such claims really brings it straight to their desk. And with the existence of outsourced telemarketing, you don't even have to build your own call center!
Remember, you're not contending with just the threats of hackers themselves. You're also contending with the fears they spread across your target markets. Integrating telemarketing as one of your communication channels gives you its unique set of advantages:
- It's fast – It's not just fast in terms of connecting directly to a decision maker's phone. It's also a quick way of disseminating information at a prospect's preferred pace.
- It gets attention – Skilled telemarketers know how to deal with the obstacles of voice mail and lack of response. Furthermore, when faced with gatekeepers, you've at least gotten the business' attention.
- It goes both ways – You can use outbound, inbound, or both! Whichever you prefer, know that it's no big deal when prospects prefer to be called or want to be the ones calling in case hackers start spreading their claims.
Of course, there's no denying that online attacks are still a major threat to both software companies as well as any other businesses in this digital age. In fact, CNNMoney cites Shawn Henry, a former FBI official on cybercrime, who insists they stop downplaying:
“What he's seen there is a growing army of patient, sophisticated hackers who are siphoning off some of America's key military and commercial intellectual property. Awareness is increasing, but companies are still in denial about the scale of the problem, he thinks.”
You would do well not to deny the scale but you have a duty to deny any claims by hackers when such claims are being used to spread fear and misinformation. Fear is the last thing you want when trying to qualify ERP leads and establish trust. The hackers may only have the Internet but businesses like yours have more resources to spread your message against them (whether it's outsourced telemarketing providers or your own professionals).
Thursday, August 23, 2012
More experts in the field of business software are saying the security issues aren't necessarily the fault of any application or hardware. More than half the time, there will always room for human error. More specifically, it's errors within security practices. Your sales leads should do everything to help sales uncover these flaws because they can still undermine the work and quality of software systems like CRM.
Now securing CRM ranks very high in terms of priority. This is because the database within such a system contains sensitive information on customers that could be risky if they were leaked into the public (from passwords to even credit card information). And according to Ars Technica, passwords are already weakening not because of just software alone but because of bad security habits. Your sales leads should expose these habits or at least give a hint to your salespeople so that they can avert disasters during software implementation (and beyond).
The article cites Sean Brooks, a Program Associate at CDT. Here's one of his brief quotes on declining password habits:
“'The danger of weak password habits is becoming increasingly well-recognized,' said Brooks, who at the time blogged about the warnings as the Program Associate for the Center for Democracy and Technology. The warnings, he told me, 'show [that] these companies understand how a security breach outside their systems can create a vulnerability within their networks.'”
It is further hinted in the article that the problem's just getting worse:
“The ancient art of password cracking has advanced further in the past five years than it did in the previous several decades combined. At the same time, the dangerous practice of password reuse has surged. The result: security provided by the average password in 2012 has never been weaker.”
Generating sales leads isn't just about marketing and attracting interest. It's about getting information on the market (both on a general and an individual level) so as to help your company and your salespeople offer the right solution. And if articles like this mean anything, it could take more than your R&D department to provide countermeasures that protect CRM data. You shouldn't ignore the possibility of simple human error and bad security practices.
On that note, here are some things that your marketers can do to help determine the severity of bad practices. If you don't have the means yourself, you should at least outsource them:
- Surveys – Before marketing directly, ask feedback from your market community. Pose questions that aren't just about the software but their habits in accessing its data, how passwords are created, how they're changed etc.
- Events – You can organize webinars that increase awareness of common bad practices. You can also offer software appointments to customers who'd want your help implementing your suggestions.
- Website information – Tips and FAQs can be placed on your website regarding security practices. They can also contain questionnaires that help customers check themselves for problems.
Bad security practices could expose more vulnerabilities than flaws in the software itself. Your CRM software leads shouldn't neglect to check if potential problems may not be inside the computers but in the organizations using them.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
There's no question that hacking is a constant and major threat to anyone in the business IT industry. Software lead generation campaigns should usually make a point to learn about any security concerns that a prospect has before completely qualifying them or setting software appointments.
In case you still haven't heard, Wired just recently reported on a devastating hack on one of its journalists Mat Honan. In this article written by Honan himself, he admits to making some mistakes of his own. On the other hand, he also makes references to security flaws of Apple and Amazon, the major companies that were involved. More specifically, these flaws were in fact found within customer support. And if your customer support has made the same sloppy mistakes, you might just be compromising the integrity of security when you're marketing for software lead generation.
Now, just what exactly were these mistakes?
Lax Call Center Agents
One of the flaws was the lax attitude of the agents who received calls during the time that the hacking took place.
“At 4:33 p.m., according to Apple’s tech support records, someone called AppleCare claiming to be me. Apple says the caller reported that he couldn’t get into his .Me e-mail — which, of course was my .Me e-mail.
In response, Apple issued a temporary password. It did this despite the caller’s inability to answer security questions I had set up. And it did this after the hacker supplied only two pieces of information that anyone with an internet connection and a phone can discover.”
Seeing as how customer support calls are usually received in a call center (be it outsourced or in-house), agents in charge of receiving such calls shouldn't be lax when it comes to protocol. Your customer support department should be very strict in following security policies when dealing with callers. Just because software security isn't lax doesn't mean your agents should. Both have to compliment each other.
Perhaps what's more embarrassing was when the real Honan made a call right after discovering he was hacked.
“I spent an hour and a half talking to AppleCare. One of the reasons it took me so long to get anything resolved with Apple during my initial phone call was because I couldn’t answer the security questions it had on file for me. It turned out there’s a good reason for that. Perhaps an hour or so into the call, the Apple representative on the line said 'Mr. Herman, I….'
'Wait. What did you call me?'
'My name is Honan.'
Apple had been looking at the wrong account all along.”
An hour and a half sounds pretty long by B2C standards. How much worse do you think it could've been if the same happened when your B2B customer called about problems, say with your cloud-based CRM? You might end up needing to look for more new CRM software leads because they stopped subscribing to your cloud.
Aside from adherence to security policies, your call center support shouldn't waste time making such simple mistakes. If they can't even remember something as basic as a name, how much worse when you get into the more technical details of the software problem?
Software security features aren't the only thing you need to concern yourself with when marketing your B2B software. Such tight and rigid features are moot if your customer support is the complete opposite of it in terms of their own security.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
However, there are many things than can affect such interest and therefore, affect the success of your ERP lead generation campaign. These shifts in interest can be affected by the following factors: online regions, trends, and geographical regions.
- Online Regions – It can be argued that the Internet is an entire world of its own. However, like any other world, it has its regions. These regions can be represented by websites or the presence of businesses on online networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube. These businesses can be on these sites for various reasons besides marketing. On the other hand, should the site itself weaken in some way, the presence of these businesses might shift. In such cases, it might be best to move along with them.
- Trends – Naturally, trends can also affect the interests of your prospects. It's one of the reasons why many business IT companies drive innovation in order to remain competitive. While it's more likely that your R&D department has a more significant role in coping with this change, your marketing efforts can still do their part by being their eyes and ears on what's currently trending on the market. And once you've developed products that can compete, they should also have the same marketing support.
- Geographical Regions – Different countries have different economies. Different economies have different markets. If you're targeting based on region, it's important to be aware of any changes (regardless if it's driven even by political or cultural factors). For example, a change in the economy might make it less desirable to target one country for a certain software product. Even before that happens, you should be ready to predict which country or region to target next.
The factors are different but the answer to them is more or less the same. If there is a change in interests, your lead generation should be ready to change along with it. Changing your strategy accordingly to these three factors helps mitigate the negative effects when interest in your products is no longer as strong. This keeps your flow of software leads constant. (It's almost paradoxical when you think about it, in fact.)
You should also be prepared even before these changes happen. Keep yourself informed with news and never underestimate the ability of non-business events to affect your market's behavior. For example, even if you have an online presence in every popular social network, there is still a question of which one you should be more active in. Your page on one site might be buzzing with engagement and activity but the page on the other is completely desolate save for your own updates. It's the same with geographical regions. Even if you have an established global presence, you should measure the amount of focus you pour into a particular region. Dividing it equally, when one area is clearly more promising than the other, will only waste both resources and opportunities. Interests will always change so you will need to change along with them.
Friday, July 13, 2012
The prime selling points often raised by cloud based software vendors are cost-efficiency and lesser hassle. However, these advantages are for the buyers. What about the vendors themselves? Why would they offer this service? Will they just simply bank in on the lower costs and the ease of use?
That may be so but don't forget, there's also the global advantage. When you start offering B2B software on the cloud, your market expands to all business owners located across the planet! However, a market of that size demands a marketing effort with an equally wide coverage. That includes software lead generation.
Why? Well a good way to illustrate this is by looking at the SCM software industry. The bigger supply chains have a tendency to go beyond the capacity of national boundaries. Offshore manufacturing is commonplace even among medium-sized businesses. However, sudden changes in the global economy might, in turn, result in radical changes to international supply chain networks. The factors behind these changes include:
- Economy of offshored countries – Both offshoring and cloud based software share the same selling point of lower costs. On the other hand, circumstances related to the economy of the outsourced country might affect those costs.
- Relocation – Changes in costs would encourage changes in location. Businesses might decide to outsource a company that manufactures better and at a lower costs. They might even try reshoring (taking manufacturing back to local companies) if outside options no longer look viable.
- Political factors – While highly controversial, it's impossible to deny that the hand of politics and government intervention can also provoke significant changes in international supply chains. Tariffs, trade regulations, currency, and even local labor laws additionally add or subtract to the costs of offshore outsourcing.
Now if you're actively trying to generate SCM leads, you obviously have to keep an eye on factors like those listed above. All of these changes will affect the location of places where the concentration of manufacturing business is high. You can't just set up your software, open up a web portal, and then go back into a cave until a client inquiry draws you back out again. Think of it like fishing on a boat that's far out at sea. You need to keep an eye on what's stirring up the water and affecting the behavior of the fish. It could be the arrival of a predator, a change in the weather, or simply a shortage of a natural food supply. As a result, you must change course.
Although in this case, the only way you'll find the best course to take is to know how these changes have shifted the concentration of manufacturing. This applies both to in-house lead generation campaigns and lead generation firms that you can outsource yourself. Being active in your search for B2B leads is a good start but that shouldn't be a reason to underestimate the implications of having a global market. Be aware of big changes happening all around the world because they could end up stirring up a storm for you in your cloud.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Initially, it's natural to assume that nothing can make something more imperative than having the government behind your back. Have you found an efficient replacement for mercury thermometers? Have government agencies mandate it! Do you want to spread awareness of a seasonal virus? Let the government impose new rules and start programs to assist prevention! Meanwhile, you can just sit back, focus more on improving your services, and wait as the prospects come in because they need to comply with the new regulations.
No doubt you have heard that this has also been what's going on in the medical technology industry. In different parts of the world, governments are issuing new laws and regulations that are more or less putting pressure on all those in the fields of health care to 'upgrade' their tools and facilities. Systems like EMR and EHR are being made more necessary to meet standard requirements, despite the still widespread hesitation and, at times, outright dissension of medical professionals and institutions alike.
Of course, you would insist on the urgency. The use of increasingly aging technology and inefficient practices will always do more harm than good in the long run. You can cite statistics showing how faster and more cost effective hospital and medial work can be through the use of EMR. The accuracy of new applications and the greater availability of information can greatly assist doctors and other professionals in diagnosing patients and organizing their data.
The question is, do they really know that? When your medical software business suddenly gets a bigger swarm of software sales leads, is that really the result of them being informed? Chances are, they may just be hastily falling in line because they don't want their hospitals shut down or lose their licenses. They don't know or maybe even care to know about what it is they're asking from you.
And as a result, you get the many problems plaguing the medical software industry. Implementation is less than perfect. People aren't really using the software as well as you'd hope. Some of your clients develop unrealistic expectations from your technology. Others are just bitter that they have to put up with more work that's been piled on by your systems.
The thing you're missing is that the government can't teach these people about your technology better than you can. In fact, sometimes having the government back you up means you have to teach them first before anyone else! After all, they have to know why it's so urgent that you need the weight of federal law to encourage usage.
The real tragedy though is that medical prospects can be taught to appreciate the new tools and applications. They're not entirely opposed to change and they even acknowledge the value of having better ways to obtain information on a patient. They just have other grievances that neither you or the government seem willing to hear.
That has to change and the government won't do this for you. You need to really focus on the relationship between yourself and each prospect. Software appointment setting isn't just there so you can bombard them with the benefits. It's there so you can exchange information, address concerns, and make it easier for them to understand why implementing (and using) your software is so important!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Cloud computing and mobile are all the rage in the B2B software world. With companies like SAP and Oracle both making moves to integrate this new technology and start offering SaaS, it only goes to show that taking things to the cloud is becoming the next step in advancing business technology.
However, not everything is perfect and certainly not cloud computing. The biggest issue facing developers and clients alike is the safety and security of putting sensitive information and delicate processes online. Such a move puts both in dangerous exposure to hackers and other online threats. Furthermore, if something happens to you that compromises your ERP system, your clients are going to be filing in with a lot of complaints.
If you think a ticketing system is enough to get all their inquiries in line, think again. You might as well be giving them another thing to complain about. And the thing with complaints is, once you get enough of them, your business will be served a whole buffet of bad referrals.
A bad reputation like that spells bad news for business growth. For instance, your B2B lead generation campaign won't be bringing in interested prospects because a lot of people have been taking in too many negative reviews about your service. What else can you expect?
The solution to that though is just as obvious. You have to be in constant connection with both your current clients but at the same time, you need to know how to effectively establish that while trying to get new ones. Here are several steps:
- Don't just depend on the internet. - This might sound ironic but just relying on input from an online ticket system is not enough. Utilize other means of communication for prospects with different preferences. For those who can't wait, give them a number and have inbound telemarketers ready to handle their calls.
- Inform them as soon as possible. - This should be done by any means necessary. If something has happened and your system has been compromised, your clients should be the first to know. As with the above, don't limit yourself to just one form of communication. Spread the word in any way you can. And yes, telemarketing can also be used towards that end.
- Always keep them in the loop – It's not just during emergencies that you need to keep in touch. There are times when you have made your own changes so your clients need to know about that as well. There might even be new services that you can offer that they would like to know about. (On that note, this is perfect when you're trying to make software sales leads out of current and past clients.)
Out of all criticisms levied against cloud computing, security has remained to be the one where the proponents are still struggling to overcome. The above steps may not be perfect either but you should at least acknowledge the validity of these concerns, set a few things straight, and all in all, keep in close touch with your clients.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The controversial thing about Facebook has always been with regards the to relationship between information and privacy. Then again, such controversies have been around since the big internet boom itself. Some however might argue that Facebook has taken it to new heights.
So how does this relate to lead generation? Well for one thing, the recent buzz surrounding Facebook's IPO has cast plenty of skeptical light on its value as an online advertiser. This is bad news considering the increasingly common knowledge that the social networking site earns 85% of its revenue from advertising.
This in turn may have a strong impact in the world of social media marketing, including those who have begun testing out the waters for B2B leads. At this point, it's important to note that Facebook is not the whole of social media. You still have other sites such as LinkedIn and Google+ (with the latter even becoming a subject of criticism purely on the grounds that it's ripping off Facebook).
However, if one were to see this from a B2B perspective, Facebook may not be the best place to start.
First off, one of the few ways to generate leads via social media is by using the social aspects to connect with prospects, establish trust, and then slowly build a relationship. This might sound like the ideal approach for B2B but oddly enough, Facebook has demonstrated how this might work also for B2C companies. Company pages are slowly becoming outlets for promos and announcements while at the same time attracting only those who are genuinely interested in a brand.
This though has never eliminated the fact that the environment of Facebook has always been too close to the personal life. This is where the subject of privacy and information starts to move in. No matter what the position of your target decision maker, are you really braced to connect with this person and see what's on their timeline? Chances are, you're more likely to see a father of two or funny pictures of cats than the big CEO you'd wan talk to about Business Intelligence Software.
Honestly, not only is that information private, it's not even useful for companies targeting professions and other business owners. If anything business owners are more likely on Facebook to promote something themselves than have something promoted to them. Even outsourced telemarketing has a higher value in terms of quality information for B2B. You don't need to know that which is personal but personal is what Facebook has a lot of regardless of how many professionals try to use it for business.
This is not a call to reject social media but simply a cautious advisory when it comes to picking the right social networking sites to promote your business. Perhaps it would be best to review some of the basics like, who is your target market? What needs do you expect them to have? Where are you likely to find them (both online and offline)? If you'd even just think about this the next time you're thinking of social media, it should help you the best place to be at for generating leads.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Please know that when you're implementing HR software, your client is not just the HR manager or the other higher ups of their company. It's also those who are under them. Your software, your system, is for the employees as much as it is for the employers.
As a such, when you're trying to get the interest of a company for your software lead generation, it won't be just the employers who'll need time to think about it. You may not need to speak with the whole employee population but they certainly play a factor in a potential client's decision.
Think of it this way. You've decided to get yourself some contact information and have it qualified (perhaps you even made the additional request to set appointments with them). At that point, you can either outsource telemarketing services to give your prospects a call or try it out themselves. But guess what? Neither choice matters when it comes to the other end.
Be it outsourced or done in-house, your efforts should take into consideration that the decision maker on the other end isn't the only person who needs to know about your offer. The rest of the employees who will be directly affected by the implementation should also chime in. Something is going to happen that will change the way they're getting paid, the way they'll be bringing new people in, and the way they'll even measure the time they spent working. Obviously, they need to know what that thing is and if it will really do them any good.
Again, this does not need to be done by talking to them as well but you do need to give the decision maker some time to discuss it with them. Hence, they won't be the only ones who'd want to think about it. Give them the time to do so because if you don't have their approval, the implementation process is going get really rough. They won't be familiar with your system, they might even hate it because of that, and in the worst case, the decision maker you contacted is starting to regret ever agreeing to the whole thing.
The same goes for any of the lead generation companies who outsource to represent you. If they're as good as they say they are, they would know what it means to give a prospect some time. Business leads aren't as quickly generated as consumer interest. Therefore, don't feel anxious when things aren't going fast enough. For all you know, you could already be at maximum speed, running right alongside competitors.
If information gathering is what makes for quality software sales leads, then obviously that information goes beyond the decision maker and into the needs of the company which in turn includes who it employs. And since this is specifically about HR software, you have all the more reason to consider their input because it will affect them more than anyone else. Ironically, the quickest way to do that is by giving their superior the time to relay what you're offering and see what the entire community has to say.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Getting leads for BI software demands high-quality information as well as very tactful business communication methods. What else can you expect when the people whose interest you'd want are those up at the very top? Still, the costs of database management, telecommunications technology, and hiring experienced professionals can be too much and if not too much, it would at least make it harder to expand and develop your business closer along the lines of its specialization.
Hence, you'll see why outsourcing is experiencing a rise in popularity. But then again, is that popularity enough for you to make decisions? Speaking of decisions, it's also important for you to choose quickly because you're not the only group that has considered outsourcing.
Now just because you decide to outsource due to all that support doesn't mean outsourcing itself doesn't leave you with some questions of its own. Mainly, these question are:
- Who will you outsource to?
- Where are they located?
So, why these two in particular? #1 is easy to understand but to expand upon it, it also asks you about what kind of lead generation firm do you want to do business with? Do you think that firm will do a good job representing you to such high-end clients?
The second question however, is trickier. No doubt you have already selected a handful of candidates from either searching the internet or looking them up elsewhere. Either way, one other thing that is just as important as who they are is where they are mainly located.
As stated before, if cost is not a primary reason, it still plays other significant roles when it comes to the decision of outsourcing. On the subject of location, that cost is directly related to the currency of the land. A company that's located right within your city (or at least your country) may have a higher compared to others but it is easier to monitor and such a location has a proximity that puts you at ease. On the other hand, if you're outsourcing a company beyond your shores, the costs can be lower if the other country's +currency makes it so.
Although, that's as far as location will ever play as a factor. The thing you really need to measure starting at that point is going back to that company's identity. What is the quality of their telemarketing services? Is there software appointment setting in accordance to your schedule? Does the cost translate into a fair wage for the workers?
You can see this has only led to more questions but the good thing is once you've answered them, you will now be able to identify the best group to contact the executives of your target company and represent your business. The image you present might play a big role on their impression of you.
Location has its importance but that's mostly where currency is concerned. Hopefully, this has eliminated some biases from your mind and you can start being more decisive with your outsourcing.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
America is just one of the many countries around the world who have acknowledged the dangers of using outdated medical technology. Its implementation of the HITECH Act should however be another cause to rejoice because it was done with the hope of easing the financial burdens of implementation.
Now medical technology isn't just a field that seeks to improve for financial reasons. It's a field that must improve for the sake of maintained quality.
It's like in the case of the thermometer. For more than a century, mankind had used mercury thermometers in healthcare and have even gone so far as to represent all medical thermometers in media and fiction. However, in recent years it has been phased out due to the very toxic nature of mercury itself. Electronic thermometers are seeing more use in the field and eventually, they'll become the new face of the device.
That is but a small example of how medical technology can change during this high-speed, technological era. On the other hand, there are many situations were practitioners, small clinics, and even whole institutions have persisted with the use of old tools. While this may be admirable at first glance, it's actually a sign of deterioration in the long run. However, there are many reasons as to why they haven't shifted. Some may lack the budget. Others may not simply be aware of new technology. There are others still who may not be aware of new regulations and need to act immediately or risk the charge of serious violations.
What you need is a good way to generate information about such institutions. This may surprise you but this information can easily be found in B2B sales leads. Now of course you might think that medical software is a lot less of an industry and more of a field. In other words, you're probably thinking that the information might be too business-oriented. Well, the truth is information is information, regardless of what connotations you may have.
If you've ever visited the website of any lead generation company, you'll see a lot of them boasting a very thorough qualification process. These people don't just stick to just contact information. They know what the information stands for, who is on the other end, and have personnel with the skills to get the answers that you need. On that note, it's also a reason why telemarketing in particular is still a commonly used tool for the process.
Contrary to what the title implies, an institution doesn't have to be shady in order to persist with bad medical technology. It can simply be unaware and uninformed for a number of reasons. Those reasons however are up to you to find out. If you have to find it out by outsourcing for medical leads, why don't you? The mercury thermometer may not be the only invention that will be phased out in the coming years. You need to act now before more institutions and professionals end up persisting with worn out tools.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
They may have lost their edge in targeting consumers but telemarketers are still quite prominent when it comes to the calls that decision makers and business executives receive. Now is that a bad thing? On the contrary, it's part of everyday life in the corporate world.
Regardless of what you may have heard, companies need to make connections with each other. Telemarketing is just one way they do it. The kind of communication that goes on here can be starkly different from conversations with a regular consumer.
One way to see this is in the challenges of B2B companies like those developing ERP software. Not only is ERP software highly specialize, the costs of implementing it is something only an entire corporation can afford. Clearly, it's not something you'd market the same way you would a toaster or a new brand of breakfast cereal.
If you're an ERP software company, a noteworthy obstacle is figuring out who to contact if you want to propose a software solution for them. This is where the difference between B2C marketing and B2B lead generation really hits hard. It takes a lot to know just one individual company well enough to see if they'd like to do business with you. There are likely as many strategies out there as there are methods and tools. These same tools alone already take a lot to invest in. After that, you have recruitment and training which leads to even more budgeting.
However, it's not just the cost of the effort that you need to worry about. Again, there are likely as many possible strategies out there as there are methods and tools. However, if this is your first time to generate leads as well, your lack of experience is not something money can make up for.
Now there's a chance that you might be aware of how outsourcing helps you bypass those costs. While they do save you the trouble, there's another opportunity for you when you do. Although, you can only avail of it if you specifically pick companies who are transparent with their process.
For example, if you're using telemarketing for ERP leads, then you need to outsource a telemarketer that can give you records of their marketing calls. That way, both of your organizations are working closely together and you can see just what it is they say and do in order to determine the right person in charge. Speaking of which, it can even be argued that hearing a live conversation can make for faster learning because it has a flow thats more fluid yet straight to the point.
You'll be taking dangerous risks if you try contacting and qualifying these companies on your own without prior experience of how to navigate through them. The costs mentioned above are only the starting fee compared to the price you'll end up paying for mistakes. Such mistakes can range from contacting the wrong person, getting caught up in internal politicking, or even just dialing the wrong number. The best you can do is at least take some time to learn what it takes to find out who's in charge.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
You may have heard it before or perhaps got a hint of it from the phrase “experience is the best teacher”. Regardless, there's plenty truth in it as far as getting your own experience goes. That same truth also applies to the art of getting B2B leads.
Now we all know how hard it can be to get leads for something that is specialized only for the benefit of business enterprise (e.g. SCM software). The executives, decision makers, and other important business leaders do not take up most of the population so getting their interest is not going to be a cheap effort.
Still, what's an even bigger determining factor is how well you're used to contacting them and how far you've learned by yourself. This is just something money can't buy. You can't buy the time or the events that transpired which taught you valuable lessons in your encounters.
You can buy the best technology you can get your hands on. You can hire, train, and recruit as many people as you want. You can even invest in whatever lessons or books on the subject. However, if you have never actually tried to apply what you've learned or even just seen it in action, you'd have just wasted your money.
For instance, in SCM software, some people try to use inbound means of drawing leads to them. This could be in the form of websites, fliers, emails etc. If the hired personnel have only just stuck to the examples and scenarios they've just rehearsed but never encountered, it risks a lack of inflexibility. The software appointment setting may not be as successful as you expected when your people (and perhaps even you) are still newbies. Your communication could sound too robotic and unconvincing.
Have you also even considered that the approaches (even to just one method) are the end-all? Have you ever wondered that somewhere out there, someone more experienced than you has also learned to incorporate other strategies? See this is the problem when you have too much confidence in just knowledge.
However, don't despair. Just because you don't have the money to risk getting that experience on your own, doesn't mean you can't ask help from those who have.
In fact, that's exactly what outsourcing really is. You're not buying experience but you are buying experienced people. Telemarketing services are one good example of this. When creating your own in-house telemarketing team, plenty people end up pulling their hair out because their agents always just seem to do it wrong. Experienced telemarketers on the other hand, have already survived that stage and now have their knowledge powerfully backed by their long years in the industry. The know how to do the homework needed to qualify and interest a prospect. They're used to rejection and calling the next number. Plenty of them have also grown to start incorporating other forms of communication besides the telephone. (Because of that last one, some people have gone so far as to call their offices contact centers and no longer just call centers.)
And if you think about it, you might even get to see the experts in action from working together with them. Why not call one today and start getting your own experience?
Monday, April 30, 2012
Social media sites like Facebook have been hailed as another new way for companies to engage their customers (perhaps even more closely than ever). With over millions of users, Facebook (along with Twitter, Digg etc) are places where many consumers are at. It's another way to give brands exposure and inform people of new products.
With that in mind, it's not surprising that CRM software developers are all the way up there with using social media. Their computer technology was meant to help the business-to-consumer connection. It's only expected of them to find some way to integrate social media into their product's features, one way or another.
But wait, what about using social media for getting B2B leads as well? If social media is one way to engage target markets, why can't you use it to target your own leads?
Well while it's a good idea, Facebook may not be the best place to try it.
First off, as a B2B software firm, do you really need to search through the millions of Facebook users when your target market takes up only a very small percent of the population? It's not likely is it? However, you'd be happy to know that there are other sites best suited for that purpose. Sites like LinkedIn can serve as a very good example.
The problem with Facebook is that it's heavily consumer oriented and when people update, it's more likely to be something personal or at least not business-oriented (like a recent game achievement, certain random things they did for the day, or pictures of family and friends).
Frankly, you need to frequent sites often visited by your target decision makers and not guys who just post random pictures from 9gag. In fact, you'd be surprised to learn that some of the companies that have managed to gain a lot from B2B social networking are telemarketing services.
Do remember that generating leads requires plenty of info and it doesn't matter whether these leads are for you as their client or for themselves. So long as they can have something good to start with (like a phone number or even an email address) they can get to work. In LinkedIn, contact information like that abounds so long as you have the connections.
The phone though still shines its brightest when it's finally used to engage a prospect but that engagement now comes faster because they've used social media and the internet to help both parties get familiar. Those are just some of the ways that telemarketers have come to use social media information.
It's gone so far that some of them have even begun referring their call centers to contact centers because there's now more contact information available between businesses because of social networking. Now whether you outsource these people or try it out on your own, perhaps the best thing to do right now is simply see it for yourself. When you're using social media for B2B, use it as a source of contact information and then integrate additional methods of contacting and engaging your targets.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Many people seem to take for granted that the things around them are made up of different kinds of raw materials. Even if it's something like a small teaspoon made entirely of metal, that metal could have been smelted from numerous mined ores.
Such is the life course of raw materials known as the supply chain. By themselves, raw components may not amount to much. However, when innovative minds put them together, the things they create are as wondrous as they are complex.
Alas, innovative these minds may be, they may not be necessarily smart enough to undertake the task of locating these materials and oversee the entire chain of transformation and assembly single-handed. This is the urgent case of many big businesses. With a never ending demand for raw materials and the undertaking of managing so many other partners to utilize them, not even great manpower is sufficient to control it all.
Fortunately, that is the very purpose of supply chain management software (or SCM for short). This software alone possesses the accuracy and vast comprehension needed to help manage the supply chain. The developers of such software only have the utmost duty to procure it.
However, even if they did, how will they know who to give it to? Creating software to manage something as lengthy and complicated as a supply chain is such a task in of itself that developers become business organizations of their own. Just as it is taxing for one company to expend extra resources to manage its supply chains, it is also taxing for developers to have people find parties interested in their software.
Now enter a telemarketing company that specializes in finding leads for such software companies. With them, lies the solution. Whilst SCM software developers can aid companies in controlling their supply chain, software telemarketing companies aid these developers in introducing them to those most in need of their help.
With both companies and developers strongly preferring to focus on what they do best, its up to the telemarketing firms to bring them together. Their task is to bring together those who have the pieces with those who can help them best in putting said pieces together.
Gathering suppliers of raw components and manufacturers is already a mean feat for one large company. The same could be said for developers who devote their knowledge creating software geared for controlling it all. Leaving either of them to the task of finding their right counterparts risks a very painful strain and could force them to develop in areas that they were never meant to specialize in.
Having a telemarketing company to generate the software leads for the developers can lift the burden off both their shoulders. These companies only promise the most accurate and promising leads for their clients. Their agents and research resources can far outclass that of the small teams and departments companies form to generate leads.
Just as both parties perform best when focused in their respective tasks, a telemarketing firm does best when focused on its own: bringing them all together.