Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Professional Telemarketers Know That You Don't


It's easy to be confident about selling something when you seem to know everything about what makes it worth buying. However, nasty consequences await those who are too cocky about relying on know-how alone. In the case of ERP software, it can surprising how some prospects are more confused than interested when you start going off about the technical aspects of your software. To you, these aspects are technological miracles. To your prospect however, all they hear is the jargon of computer enthusiasts.

A reaction like that only spells disaster for your B2B lead generation campaign. It not only fails to spark the interest of your target prospect, it doesn't even try to make the product relevant to their needs. This can be a major turn-off when you're targeting very influential decision makers. Their words can carry a lot of weight, not just within a company, but possibly outside it too. The last thing you want is to leave a bad impression that mutates into a string of bad rumors, and ultimately into a bad reputation.

The truth is there can be more to marketing than simply knowing what your product can do. You need to be more personal and engage in things that are more socially demanding than intellectual. Believe it or not but B2B telemarketers are in fact one of the sorts who can help you out with that.

These people may not know a lot about the hard stuff when it comes to developing software but they do know the hard stuff when it comes to finding out what prospects want and determining if it's something that you can satisfy.

But wait? Aren't telemarketers the same people who harass old wives in their homes and trying to rip them off with some new-fangled microwave? Actually no. You might be thinking about the telemarketers of old who marketed to consumers but you're forgetting that they're not even your target market. B2B telemarketers can be surprisingly different.

Granted there can be bad ones in that area as well and decision makers aren't happy with them. The really experienced ones however have a strong knack for being where these influential people are at. They don't just mindlessly recite the scripts given to them. On the contrary, a script to them is something to be studied and molded constantly for each person that they call. Is that something they teach you in a computer class? It's doubtful.

They also have more than just callers on their team. Data analysts are also employed. But before you say that data is something within your field, remember it can be a loose word and it's employed by others as well. In this case, these analysts deal less with raw computer data and more with business information on a prospect. Their objective is to break down information (which could include the information that they had been gathering for years) to suit the particular needs of a client.

In fact, some groups even incorporate other methods to augment their telemarketing. You might find email marketers, blog miners, and SEO specialists working along with telemarketing agents in the same call center. Outsourcing might as well be outsourcing to an entire marketing package but you won't know that yourself until you actually give it a try!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pursue Foreign Software Leads With Precise Timing

Going international can indeed expand your client base and add a significant boost to your B2B software sales. However, that's only because pursuing foreign prospects for B2B lead generation is an obviously bigger challenge. Language barriers need to be overcome. Entire national economies might need to be discussed. Finally, you have time zones to worry about.

Whether you decide on emails or phone calls (or even both) when contacting potential clients, none of them will get you a decision maker's ear if you don't know the right time to call. Suppose you live in the US and decided to target companies in Asian countries like Japan or Singapore. Do you really expect someone to pick up a phone when your day time is their night time? Most likely, your target CEO is already on his or her way home.

Timing requires strategy and part of that strategy includes location. You need to a more active presence in the area that goes beyond just a website. Now of course, you can always just send some representatives and have them take a look around. However, are you prepared to pay the costs?

Just to be safe, try first outsourcing a B2B telemarketing that's based in Asia or at least has the resources to conduct telemarketing there. It could be a company with Japanese contacts in its database or a call center Singapore. That way, you can at least get a good idea from them on the average working time in those countries (or other countries for that matter as some companies have quite a coverage).

SCM Software Leads: Keep the Machine Going


Every business-minded person knows how easily complicated supply chains can become. Perhaps one key factor is that no matter how interconnected, you have to painstakingly monitor it every step of the way. From locating suppliers of the most basic raw materials to finding industry-appropriate retailers, you literally have to keep your eyes on everything.

It's not surprising then that you'll have your own hands full trying to create and maintain software technology designed to streamline that very daunting task.

As a result, you're going to be focusing all your money and recruited manpower towards development. The slightest glitch could be devastating. However, this could also mean that you'll be too caught up specializing in your industry that your company might not do well in tasks that require a different kind of expertise.

Lead generation is one of them. Knowing what your product can do may not be the same in knowing how to get your prospects interested. And since Supply Chain Management software is a B2B product, it's guaranteed that generating leads for it will be tough.

First of all, there's the issue of knowing how much information you need to give and to gain. Give the many potential features that your SCM software might possess, there would be too much information to pack in no matter what method you use be it email, advertising, or even an entire website. Remember, the specific people who represent the leads you're targeting will be the influential executives and decision makers of the entire company. These people don't have time to read up and digest what you're trying to give. You need a quick way to show how your software might matter and gradually point them in the direction of the meeting room.

Still, what are you going to do? On one hand, you're too busy hiring experts and software technicians to actually make the product into what you say it is, but on the other, you need a different set to find the people who you'd do best presenting it to. Either group requires a hefty amount of resources. Trying to take both at a limited budget will only cripple both. There's also the slight chance that you might prefer focusing on what you do best and prioritize in making your SCM software better and better above all else.

Surprisingly, the dilemma is actually quite common with an equally common solution: Outsourcing.

In your case, outsourcing to a telemarketing companies could be your best bet. Supply chains are very complicated networks and the type of communication you need is the one that can swiftly gather all information regarding them and their relationship with your prospect. You can't get any faster than a simple, polite phone call. The only difference is outsourcing to a telemarketer means you're asking the aid of multiple agents that can potentially call a high number of important people per day. It also means you get to benefit from a large contact database that has been constantly compiled and updated throughout their many years in the practice. Who knows? May already even know some of the prospects you have previously targeted and can tell you things you didn't back then. Finally, letting them take care of lead generation takes the burden of it off your shoulders so you can focus on what you really want your company to do. Call one today and you can save your resources to keep your machine going!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Professional Telemarketers – Saying Only What Matters


It's surprising but being knowledgeable about the hardcore technical aspects of your ERP software is not an automatic guarantee that people will take interest. Rather, it could even be the opposite. Say for instance, you eagerly invest in a lead generation campaign that made use of various methods. You sent emails advertising your product. You set up a website about it. You even go so far as to use telemarketing and inserted another advertisement in a target magazine.

Guess what? Nothing happens. Very few people are interested. Your site gets only a few visitors. Telemarketing calls are rejected before your callers can even say a word.

Why is this? Well there are a number of reasons but one thing they all have in common is that they all involve talking too much about yourself, your company, and your product and less about your prospect. The emails you sent are way overloaded with information for a busy decision maker to read through. The same thing goes for your website. And if you think they don't have time to read, how much more would they dislike hearing it out loud over the phone?

Believe it or not, but experienced B2B telemarketers are the type to go in the complete opposite direction. Instead of barraging their receivers with details that don't often mean much to them, they try and get information so that they can make it relevant. They politely ask for names and about the current state of the company. They can even try to convince some of those who already have a competitor's product to switch.

In other words, they say things that only matter to a prospect. Contrary to popular opinion, many B2B telemarketing companies still stand because their approach to important decision makers fits that ideal. True, it's still important to have a strong familiarity with what they're promoting (in your case, an ERP software package). However, do they really think the finer and more hardcore details matter much in the eyes of a prospect?

After all, ERP software isn't something exclusive only to the computer savvy crowd. It's something that a lot of businesses can benefit from. Still, the decision makers of these companies aren't all CS or IT graduates. For your lead generation campaign to succeed, you need to put yourself in their shoes, without too much technical know-how. You need to see how they might enjoy and take interest into what your software can do for them.

As mentioned before, hiring telemarketers can be the ideal approach to help stem and control information on your product so that only the stuff that matters comes through to your prospects. On the other hand, there's a good chance that you'll still need to invest in other things (from a large contact database to a good deal of time mastering telemarketing techniques). If the cost becomes too high for you, just simply outsource to the many telemarketing lead generation companies out there. Besides, given their experience, you can definitely count on learning something about saying only what matters.

Monday, March 12, 2012

International Telemarketing – Getting B2B Leads From All Over

The world is shrinking. But unlike how the explorers of old have shrunk it through discovery of uncharted territories, 21st century man has shrunk it through the vast, new frontier that is the internet. With the internet, we have managed to bridge connections without the need for so much wait or travel.

And naturally, new technology and new discoveries only herald more business opportunities. While the age of exploration brought about trade, our age of information brought about its own version in the form of lead generation. B2B businesses in particular (like those in the ERP software industry) are now able to look up and pursue prospects from all over the world. Couple this with how the internet has enabled the transfer of software products in particular, and virtually any software company can now go beyond national borders without ever leaving their headquarters.

However, people shouldn't be too excited. The age of exploration did open entire nations to each other but voyages were never without peril and not all inhabitants of the New World took kindly to their colonial visitors. A similar world awaits those sailing the internet for possible software leads. Communication is faster sure but that still doesn't eliminate the barriers of language, culture, as well as timezone.

That's why despite the birth of new methods, old methods shouldn't be discarded and in fact both should be used together. Look at telemarketing for example. If you're sending emails to Singaporean prospects, respond to the interested ones by outsourcing a company that does telemarketing in Singapore. That way you come off as more active and you also get to know each of your prospects even if they're from any part of the world.

B2B Lead Generation – Gatekeepers VS Spam Filters



On the subject of B2B lead generation, there seems to be an amusing war between those who opt for classical methods (e.g. telemarketing) and those who prefer the latest trends of internet marketing (email marketing). On one hand, you have people saying that telemarketing is dead. People, even business people, don't like receiving random cold calls and hear a salesmen on the other end. However, those on the side of telemarketing end up with a strong case upon pointing out that spam email comes off just as annoying (if not even more dangerous given the viruses that some spam messages contain).

Take a step back though. Do you really have to take a side on this issue? First off, perhaps you should do a brief review on what it takes for a successful b2b lead generation. For the sake of an example, let's use Business Intelligence software. BI software is probably one of the heaviest and most sophisticated B2B products out there because of its powerful means of delivering and receiving important business information to and from the whole of an entire enterprise. It's only fitting then to see that people who desire this kind of software the most are those who are the very top of the corporate ladder.

While this might sound a bit harsh, CEOs and other high-ranking corporate executives are in fact very professional and very busy people. Be it through email or telephone, it takes a lot to get through them. For email, you have a spam filter and perhaps even hired secretary as an obstacle. For telemarketers, there's always the classic gatekeeper.

Now comes the part where the debate might heat up again. Who has the highest hurdle? The emails and the spam filter or the telemarketers and the gatekeeper? At first, it would seem that at the very least, a gatekeeper is an actual person whilst a spam filter is just a mindless program wired to identify certain words and other mathematical factors to do its job. It's like comparing a security guard with a motion sensor alarm. The thing is that the former has a higher chance (however slight) of being negotiated whilst the latter actually doesn't distinguish friend from foe.

However, even that can fall apart when considering how email marketers are now calling on themselves to personalize their invitations. That's a wise move for sure but you can never tell when a spam filter changes its settings or algorithms.

So this just brings the whole thing back to a stalemate. Then again, why is there a need to put one against the other? Is it possible that they can be used together?

Well guess what? They can.

Perhaps instead of narrowing oneself to just one method, how about being open to all of them? For instance, you can send a personalized email invitation, giving your target CEO just a brief background on your BI software product. The email has a link that gives them control if whether or not they're interested. Give them options if they want to discuss this more over the phone or over email exchange. Finally, whichever method you choose, you or your representatives set an appointment with your target executive.

Naturally there will always be a last-minute object, most often involving the entire costs of using different methods. Granted one method alone is costly however, aren't you forgetting that there are in fact lead generation services out there who actually make use of more than one method? You could always just outsource to them you know.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

On B2B Lead Generation – Focus More On Your Prospect, Less On Yourself!


It seems to be a common mistake for a lot of software companies to put too much focus on what their software can do and less about how it would matter to a prospect. In industries like accounting software, that can be fatal for your lead generation.

The emphasis on knowing one's own product is quite natural though. In fact, it's even a necessity. However, that's only to a certain degree. Sure, it's important to have a good background in both accounting and software development to actually make the product.

When it comes to finally presenting that product and get potential leads interested though, you might be shocked at how very little of your actual knowledge applies.

This where you were supposed to stop focusing on yourself and more on your prospect. You don't want yourself desiring the prospect, you want them. And frankly, their standards can great differ from someone of technical background.

To get accounting leads, knowing about who you're targeting is even more important because yours is a product that has bases in both B2B and B2C sides of the market. You need to know which one your software appeals to more. If you don't, then you might end up marketing to the wrong people (who in turn, will really dislike you for it).

What's worse is that the consequences don't discriminate against methods. The consequences are all the same and all very capable of wasting your time and money. The emails you send end up in the spam filter because your software was deemed too low-end by the executives who received it. Your telemarketing calls are ill-received because your calls targeted a suburban neighborhood.

These things are would less likely (if not never) occur had you focused more on your prospect and less on yourself.

So how does one go about learning about their prospects so well? Well first off, know which side of the market you're on. For the sake of an example, assume that yours is meant for the use of businesses. With that in mind, you would want to use a medium of communication that can mold itself easily to bypass gatekeepers and speak directly with decision makers for your lead generation. In such cases, telemarketing is suggested because the telephone can be the most direct way to get you that real-time communication.

Now it's time to wonder about where to get leads and start calling. There are many options for this. You can buy a list. You can try combining it with other methods (like putting your contact number on an email or website). Whatever you decide however, the information you get is key.

Another option of course would be to simply outsource to lead generation companies. With the rise of new technologies, many firms that were once focused on just a single method have come to combine various others. For other companies though, attempting to emulate the same with an in-house team can be costly. By outsourcing however, not only would you have the information and the means to focus more on your prospects, the costs you save could also be redirected back to yourself so that you can actually focus on both simultaneously! In fact, why don't you try just that? Outsource to a software lead generation firm today and start focusing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Software Appointment Setting Abroad – Busy Flights, Busy Schedule

Implementing B2B software takes a while. However, throwing in the prospect of sometimes having to personally travel around to check on problems and oversee projects really complicates things, especially when it comes to getting new leads to keep work coming in. Hence, plenty of B2B businesses prefer that their lead generation campaigns add in a bit of appointment setting.

Travel still takes time and whilst the amount of time a person spends in going around the world has been significantly reduced in comparison to centuries past, it doesn't eliminate the possibility of a clogged schedule. And remember, it's not just your schedule that needs considering. Your clients too need to be informed of things beforehand.

Such announcements require fast, real-time communication. Short messages, convenient they may be, are not going to cut it. You'll have to use the phone which means using telemarketing methods may be your only chance of giving yourself and your prospects the heads-up.

Now of course, having to deal with so many international clients might already be too much if you need to make another in-house team to call and set appointments. However, that's where outsourcing telemarketing services can come in. You don't have to spend so much hiring and training new personnel or setting them up with new equipment.

When outsourcing however, you should of course choose wisely. The company you're looking for must have agents armed with the communication skills you need but can't afford. The same goes for technology as well as experience and information. A strategic location is also advised (like if you're targeting Asia, you might want a call center in Singapore). More importantly however, is that you should be quick in your decision or else the search will complicate your schedule even further.

The Universal Value of Information For ERP Leads


There come times in the field of lead generation where proponents of a particular method would 'go to war' with the users of other methods. One common clash is the debate of offline marketing versus online marketing. For the latter, the internet is the new frontier and that companies should dedicate their efforts making every possible use of IT resources. The former on the other hand, insists that there is still place for the old ways and that they are in fact even superior to online methods in certain aspects.

The sad thing about all this arguing however is that they focus too much on what makes them different than what makes them similar.

Common flaws are in fact included.

Take for instance the B2B leads generated for ERP software. Now the online marketing camp might immediately say that computer-assisted methods like email marketing, website creation, and social media are the most suitable. However, those who are humble enough to experience failure will cite obstacles like spam filter, competition for search engine attention, general lack of interested visitors, and making a particular product 'social'.

As expected, these are flaws commonly cited by the opposing camp representing offline lead generators. However, that doesn't make them any more infallible. Things like business cards, cold calling, and media advertising are just likely to fail. Telemarketing calls are mostly subject to rejection (angry and irritated ones at that) and advertisements can be mostly ignored if demand isn't high (which most likely isn't for B2B products like ERP software).

So what exactly do all these flaws actually have in common? Frankly, it's lack of information.

For the sake of simplicity, the examples shall be reduced to two methods representing each side. Email marketing for online lead generation and telemarketing for offline. Now as you're well aware, suppliers of ERP software always target key decision makers in their prospect companies. As stated above, the demand really isn't high for more publicized advertising to work for getting ERP leads. In fact, the process for generating these leads is even longer than most B2C products that it even has another term called 'software appointment setting'.

It's expected really. If you were the target decision maker, wouldn't you want at least some time first to think about it?

See this is where a good amount of information would come in handy and boost the effectiveness of both methods. The reason why telemarketing calls can't even bypass the gatekeeper or that emails are sent to the spam filter, is that both approaches acted on poor (if not absolutely zero) information on who they were trying to contact. Honestly, how are you going to get these people to make an appointment with you when you can't even reach them?

Information however, will increase your chances of gaining that access. If you take the time to know each of your individual targets, then you can make your approach more personalized and show that you know enough about them to say you software is exactly what they need.

Granted the costs of time and experience with handling these leads can be taxing on your financial resources. In such cases though, you can still outsource to lead generation companies to help you out. As a matter of fact, these companies even make use of both online and offline methods. They recognize the universal value of information. It's high time you did the same.
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