Thursday, October 25, 2012

Using Lead Generation To Combat Poorly Cheap Alternatives To Proper Software

When people think marketing and lead generation, they immediately think promotion. They forget that it serves a purpose that could arguably far more important: sharing information. And in this day and age, information is the key to combating the sudden rise of 'cheap alternatives' in business. 

Generating Software Leads Among Tight-Budget Businesses

For example, suppose you are a frustrated HR software vendor. The reason for your frustrations are not the result of making a bad product or being outdone by competitors. But rather, your HR leads are being stolen by competition that uses a bad product. 
The bad product in question is a so-called 'cheap alternative' to your recruitment software. The reason why this is so bad is because this alternative is not only wrong for you but also from the eyes of equally legitimate competitors! The method relies more on cutting corners and marketing hype than actual quality. 
Make no mistake, it is not wrong to save up on costs and at times it is more advantageous to employ the cheaper of two alternatives when they produce the same results. 
But that is the condition: The results must be the same. 
In the case of your poorly cheap alternative, you have the tactic of using sites like Facebook to qualify candidates. But according to Amit De on Mashable, such a tactic results in a dangerous and confusing mix between the professional and the personal. 
So what happens when the professional merges with the personal? The fact is, Facebook simply isn’t the core of your job search experience, as it’s been traditionally used for our social lives. How can you ensure employers won’t see anything that could cast you in a negative light, like pictures from this weekend or a less-than-professional wall post from a friend? 
One way to ensure employers can’t snoop is to keep your Facebook profile as private as you can. First, run a quick Google search to make sure your profile no longer pops up in association with your name. If it does, you can make your profile unreachable by search engines by clicking on the “Ads, Apps, and Websites” option under “Privacy settings,” then edit your settings under the “Public search” category. Consider restricting who can send you friend requests, and keep your phone number and email address limited to only friends. You can also restrict who sends you messages and who can see what others post on your timeline — choose from pre-determined options or customize it to specifically block this information from those who you may have friended for professional reasons.” 
Now supposed that De's advice were to be followed by many job seekers. The result is the cheap alternative produces lesser results because they do not want prospective employers looking up their social lives. They will divulge details that only give out information on their professional ones. The problem is your prospects might not know that and this is where software lead generation comes in. 
It is like the professional doctor calling out the snake-oil salesman. You need to share this information so that not only will they be interested, they will not waste time with something that clearly does not work well and comes with strings attached. 
To summarize, never despair when someone suddenly comes around calling your prospects with false promises. Head them off by approaching your HR sales leads with real information!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Use Appointment Setting To Explore More Possibilities

There does not seem to be an end to the constant mantra of “Do Not Need”. What hope can be found in appointment setting when you cannot even spark a prospect's interest over the phone let alone in an entire business meeting?

The key is to not lose hope and to always find more possibilities.

Spread Your Lead Generation Plan Across The Bigger Picture

For example, suppose you were a CRM software vendor and have been recently marketing the promises of integrating the mobile experience for a more accurate assessment of consumer behavior. Unfortunately, you just cannot seem to generate enough CRM leads with the idea simply because your prospects do not see consumers paying with their mobile phones.

How can you get more of them interested in something that not even the average consumer seems to need? The answer is obvious. You are not focusing on the greater possibilities.

Read again, you want to offer a software solution that integrates technology that is seeing increasing use and relevance when it comes to customer data. Sales do matter but is it not also important to learn what lead to those sales?

Related Content: Software Sales Leads – Leaving Your Own Mark On Consumer Experience

The fact is just because somebody cites how only a few people use their smart phones to pay for something does not mean they have a point. Like any other sales process, there is more to using mobile than using it instead of paper and coin. MediaPost, for instance, has just reported that consumers still use their mobile to assist in shopping even though they do not make the actual purchase with a mobile device.

Mobile devices have already revolutionized shopping. Last year, four out of five U.S. smartphone owners used their devices to help with shopping, according to Google/Ipsos. Of those people, 76 percent purchased in store; 59 percent purchased on their PCs; and 35 percent made their purchases on their smartphones. As mobile commerce becomes easier and more secure, expect that last number to rise considerably.

Such statistics make it tempting to predict the death of brick-and-mortar retail. But rather than cede their business, retailers like Best Buy will be forced to embrace mobile as part of the in-store experience, says Mark Silber, executive creative director of WPP mobile agency Joule.”

If you really want to present the possibilities then all you have to do is touch upon those possibilities during your software appointment setting campaign. For a basic start, take the following steps:

  • Re-evaluate the possibilities and add more research – Again, do not be taken aback by negative findings. Make sure your marketers still keep in mind that what you have goes beyond them. Try to find more statistics like the ones cited from MediaPost as well.

  • Keep it simple for them – The bottom-line is still important so avoid trying to impress prospects with excessive jargon and long-winded explanations. Save it for the actual appointment if you have to. When you think about it, the more simple and frank you are, the sooner they might realize what they are missing.

Related Content: Why Software Leads Do Not Mix With Software Lingo

At this point, it also pays to be cautious when it comes to being too presumptuous. You cannot expand over something if you do not know what that something is. Tell your lead generation services to wait and listen first and then respond by suggesting your prospect can realize more possibilities.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Telemarketing – Another Tool For Transparency

Telemarketing and transparency actually go far better together than some might think. With the entire business world shifting to digital, people are losing sight of the simple fact that there's still more to what's you see on your computer screen.

The advantage of B2B telemarketing actually draws from not being a very digitized process. Instead, the process is always best with a real human voice. And as cliché this may sound, something digital will still pale in comparison to the real thing. But because of digital business trends like cloud-computing, some people are forgetting this same fact. No matter how much information you store on an online database, it has to be stored somewhere on this planet. And by stored, this in reference to physical storage, not purely digital. Two articles actually draw attention to this fact and why service providers need more transparency in their marketing as well as everything else.

The first comes from the New York Times and it reports on the software giant's famous 'data farms' (large buildings used solely for the purpose of storing data):

The technology giant created a stir here in 2006 when it bought about 75 acres of bean fields to build a giant data center, a digital warehouse to support various Internet services.”

Farther along this article however, this one passage should get your attention:

While the term 'cloud' is often used loosely to refer to remote memory or other computing services accessed by the Internet, it is hardly some vaporous formation.

'Quite simply, data centers are the cloud,' Eric S. Laschever, a Microsoft lawyer, said during the legal challenge to its backup generators. 'You’ve seen it on TV. The heart of the cloud are these data centers, and the data centers are really at the heart of Microsoft’s business.'”

These could also be the heart of your business and even the businesses of your customers and prospects. While your qualifying cloud computing leads, make sure that your prospects are not too enchanted by the digital advantage that they forget their information is still being stored somewhere in an actual, physical, space. This means that you shouldn't just be transparent about who you are and where your business is located but also where your actual hardware is located.

The second article is from Wired and is in fact just one of the many reactions to the NYT article. However, this one speaks of Google's take on the topic of data centers:

We know that companies like Google are pretty secretive about some of the tricks they use to make their data centers more efficient — that’s a competitive advantage. But they are considerably more open, however, when it comes to talking about the things they’re doing to make the actual sources of their electricity more environmentally friendly.”

Whether or not you agree with the NYT, one thing remains clear: You need to be transparent with the physical side of your cloud-service. It's not just limited to environmental concerns but also adhering to your customer's right to knowing where their data is actually at.

Telemarketing is just one tool to that end because it emulates that simple reality of using a real representative, not a digitized one. You can hardly get any more open than an actual phone call. You can even just outsource a telemarketing company to help you enact your transparency. The fact is that no matter how impressive you make yourself on the virtual world, it's important to still show how your business operates in the physical world.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Lead Generation Can Create Or Clear Up Misunderstanding

Lead generation falls under marketing and like any marketing effort, it deploys a message that could either create or clear up misunderstanding. In B2B software, it's easy for people to read a marketing message that could result with false expectations.

This is something your business obviously has to avoid. Nobody likes a dishonest marketer any more than they like a dishonest salesperson. Be it B2B or B2C, you need to immediately react if prospects approach you with an impression of your product that is far different from the one your lead generation team intended.

On the other hand, sometimes this misunderstanding is the result of people seeing one message through one channel and a different message in another. In other words, your marketers are scattered and need to rein in some consistency.

For example, if you're offering or announcing some form of mobile support for business intelligence, the core message shouldn't end up fragmented and scattered during B2B lead generation. In each channel, always pose the same set of questions to yourself. Why are you including mobile? What benefit is it supposed to serve your clients? If you're still developing it, then make sure people have a complete understanding of your progress.

If you want a rough example of what kind of damage control you'd have to do, look at Mark Zuckerberg. AllThingsD just reported that the Facebook CEO clearly stated that its mobile strategy is misunderstood and is now giving readers a clearer picture of what's been going on inside:

'Mobile is a lot closer to TV than it is to desktop,' Zuckerberg said, when comparing the ability to make money. There just isn’t room to have ads on the side, but that means they are more integrated and immersive.' We know we are going to do well on that,' he said, but added, 'We’ve had a bunch of missteps.'

Elaborating, Zuckerberg said that 'the biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native,' he said. It just wasn’t ready.'”

Unfortunately, the damage may already be done if you've reached that point. This is why it's important to keep the message whole from the very beginning. In fact, information from your software leads is supposed to have the same consistency so it's highly ironic that you're demanding it while not being clear enough with your prospects.

So to summarize, here are a few basic steps to follow so that your marketing message avoids misunderstanding and stays in one piece:

  • Transparency – Like Zuckerberg, be open to sharing information that your customers and prospects deserve to know. If you want to surprise them with your announcements, fine. However, you should at least have some form of representative from your market to stand in for how they might react (e.g. closely collaborate with veteran buyers in your industry). 
  • Consistency – Make sure that your emails don't say one thing and your telemarketers say something else. If you can, try to have both forms in the same office space so that marketers using either tool can keep each other in check. 
  • Flexibility – There's a fine line between a static, repetitive message, and a message that is consistent. Adjust the message only according to the medium through which is being transmitted. Do not ever change the content of the core message. For example, if you're telemarketing, shorten your message accordingly to what a prospect would like to know more specifically but don't give answers that the message doesn't have.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

During Lead Generation, Don't Use Data To Discriminate!

Now what does the title mean by discriminate? Hot-button topics like racial and sexual discrimination seem a far cry from either lead generation or CRM software. But if you read this article from O'Reilly Radar, the use of big data in CRM could bring these civil rights issues a lot closer to home than you think:

If I collect information on the music you listen to, you might assume I will use that data in order to suggest new songs, or share it with your friends. But instead, I could use it to guess at your racial background. And then I could use that data to deny you a loan.”

You will also find a few paragraphs warning against using data to personlize. While you don't have to agree that it leads to discrimination, it's still a possibility. The lesson you must learn here is that your data shouldn't be used to discriminate. This goes not just for your CRM software but also for your own lead generation services and tools.

In B2C, it's so easy to generalize but in B2B, generalizing comes at a higher price when done in excess. Just because you've obtained the necessary tools to guess at a company's entire profile doesn't mean you should assume and decide whether or not they should meet your sales team. You must never, ever be too quick to assume.

At the very least, hear it right out of their mouths before doing a major action just based on the assumption. Your CRM software leads should be at their highest value before sending them over to sales and that requires more than that data profile you've assembled without direct interaction. The two more things to obtain this value are:

  • High level of interest – They need to be interested in your offer. Your marketers should first get their interest (be it through advertising, telemarketing, website marketing etc). Wait for a positive response and then build upon that response. Ask questions that they are willing to answer and tread carefully when you're starting to sound nosy.
  • High level of trust – Speaking of which, the only way you can avoid sounding too nosy is if you've gained enough trust. If you've gathered information on their business prior to contact, then it should be used to benefit them and not be a cause for disappointment, inconvenience, worse, suspicion.

You need to use what you've learned to find out the whole truth instead of just discriminating based on data. Businesses can be a lot harder to generalize because there are more factors that could determine their need that not even big data technology can automatically acquire. That data should only be the beginning and not the end-all of your entire qualification process.

Now if you're going to insist on using that data, at least compare it to the information you obtained from directly engaging with them. Does it confirm or deny it? For example, you've learned a particular industry is bad to target. All of a sudden you get a call from a business working in this industry, do you automatically disqualify them? No, you shouldn't. It's better to talk to them first. They could be an exception to the rule or the data itself is not as informative as you think. Learn to weight both to determine all the facts. Pure data should never be used to discriminate!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Risks Of Qualifying ERP Leads In The Midst Of An Upgrade

If you're in the middle of implementing new features, be careful if you're doing it around the same time you're qualifying ERP leads. It's not even enough that your prospects should be made aware. It's the fact that these new upgrades could still have flaws.

Of course, like any other software product, you'd have R&D do some form of beta testing in order to assure prospects who are skeptical of these new and major modifications to the systems that you seek to provide them with. After all, addressing causes for skepticism is part and parcel to maintaining their interest which in turn makes them easier to qualify as ERP leads.

However, this little piece of news from NPR should show you that there's still room for flaws that you aren't aware of.

The report is about the Federal Aviation Administration's latest move to upgrade from its current radar-based location system:

The cornerstone of this new system is automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast or ADS-B. Basically, planes will be equipped with GPS and will constantly send out little radio broadcasts announcing to the world who they are and where they are. (NextGen is being phased in over the next eight years. By 2020, planes will be required to use ADS-B to enter the more crowded areas of U.S. airspace.)

And recently, ADS-B has caught the attention of hackers.”

See that last sentence? What if you just found out something along the lines of what hackers discovered below?

It turns out that ADS-B signals look a lot like little bits of computer code. But unlike traffic on the Internet, these signals are unencrypted and unauthenticated. And for computer security geeks like Haines, these are huge red flags. He soon realized he could spoof these signals and create fake "ghost planes" in the sky.”

If you've managed to qualify a large number of prospects, they might not like it if news like this got out. It would be extremely disappointing after all the effort you went to finding out how to contact them, offer to solve their problems, and have them qualified. However, it's obviously unethical for you to keep these mistakes from being known.

Instead, your lead generator should help in the damage control. Here is what you can do:

  • Target IT experts within your prospect's company – If a prospect is skeptical, don't just stick to convincing them over the phone. Ask them to thoroughly explain their doubts and who has been informing them regarding possible flaws. They could contribute to the discussion with your sales representative. Just as a software security junkie discovered these flaws, maybe they could point out something your own R&D failed to notice.
  • Send an apologetic message – It sounds typical but a little bit of humility can go a long way. The only danger here is if you wait too long to do it. If someone has proven a serious flaw in your new ERP upgrade, send out a message as soon as possible with an additional assurance that you'll deal with the issue just as quickly.
  • Keep in touch even after the upgrade – Flaws can also pop up right after the upgrade. This can be dangerous for vendors of cloud-based ERP. Use as many communication channels as you can for customer support.

Sometimes there are just some flaws that surface only after the software testing period. Companies who you have qualified as sales leads may not take kindly to hearing this bad news. Despite that, be prepared to do damage control when upgrading while generating qualified leads.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What Amazon Does With Email, You Can Try With Telemarketing Services

Both email and telemarketing services are heavily used in B2B marketing. In the end, pitting one against the other isn't nearly as effective as combining both. Conversations through email that are taking too long now find themselves speeding up as that conversation is switched over to a live conversation over the phone. Cold calling need no longer be random and unwarranted if your company successfully sends an email requesting permission.

Those of you in the business of CRM software might be interested in reading this Fortune article about Amazon's classic but still effective recommendation system. Around the end however, it touches on the subject of email marketing and what you find can actually have similar applications for software telemarketing services.

Amazon also doles out recommendations to users via email. Whereas the web site recommendation process is more automated, there remains to this day a large manual component. According to one employee, the company provides some staffers with numerous software tools to target customers based on purchasing and browsing behavior. But the actual targeting is done by the employees and not by machine. If an employee is tasked with promoting a movie to purchase like say, Captain America, they may think up similar film titles and make sure customers who have viewed other comic book action films receive an email encouraging them to check out Captain America in the future.”

But what email conversations and cold calling have in common is that even marketing with them separately demands manual action, not automatic. And just as Amazon has provided tools to help email marketers target, so should you give the same tech support to your telemarketing team. Then again, as a CRM vendor, you've probably already got the tools themselves covered. It's only a matter of understanding how telemarketers can also draw insight from them in the same way email marketers do.

What you should remember is that the channel of communication is the only difference. This difference does not matter with regards to using information about a customer's behavior. For example, it could help determine the preferences of a decision maker:

  • Software Preferences – Obviously, you will always need to know exactly what a decision maker wants out of a CRM system. They also want to know what to tell their salespeople and understand the benefits of such a system.
  • Communication Preferences – Now even before knowing their software preferences, you'd want to know how to best communicate before approaching them directly through the phone. You might realize that a prospect would rather be approached first through social media and reserve phone conversations only after more trust has been established.
  • Appointment Preferences – If they finally decide to meet with your company, they still have different preferences for them as well. These preferences can carry on when meeting them again for other reasons (like during implementation). Some would want to remain on the phone but for a longer time and at a set schedule. Others would like to have a webinar.

What Amazon's email marketers do is simply research the preferences of their customers and send messages in according to what they've learned. How can you not apply the same thing with telemarketing? It's all simply about tailoring the message. Even if you don't use either one as back up for the other, know that the medium doesn't matter compared to the message.

Friday, July 20, 2012

B2B Telemarkerting – Acknowledging The Humanity Of Their Target Decision Makers

In the world of B2B software, people seem to get so caught up in their need to contact as many decision makers as possible to generate leads. These range from CEOs for BI software all the way down to managers for HR leads.

Because of that rush however, they seem to neglect the humanity of these decision makers in general. For example, once a manager indicates too weak an interest, they never contact them again. It gets worse if they hear a flat out rejection. In their defense, they would say there are still other people to qualify for HR leads anyway.

The problem is a single experience with a decision maker isn't enough to tell you everything about them. In fact, sometimes even multiple encounters with them isn't enough. A good example would be Yahoo's new CEO Marissa Mayer who, according to Business Insider has had two public images spawned from the experiences people have had while working with her:

  • “One is that she is a brand name product leader who played a crucial role in helping Google develop its most valuable business—search—and then went on to guide the development of several other popular products including Gmail, Google Maps, and Google News.”
  • “The other view, more common amongst long-time Googlers, is that Mayer is a publicity-craving, lucky early Googler, whose public persona outstripped her actual authority and power at the company, where she was once a rising star—thanks to a bullying managerial style—but had become marginalized over the past couple of years.”

Perhaps what should be noted is the article's conclusion that attempts to resolve the two conflicting images:

“It seems entirely clear to us that Mayer has alienated some people who have worked with her over the years—and that these people probably have plenty of good reason to be chaffed.

But it also seems clear that much of this alienation stems from the fact that Mayer has always worked harder than any of her colleagues and her reports—and has often been smarter than both—but has not always known how to deal with this disparity in a productive way.

According to a source we trust, she has matured and learned to deal with this issue.”

The thing about having different views and different experiences about a person is that it actually highlights their humanity. There are times that people often have very exaggerated perceptions of certain individuals from just one encounter (whether they're a famous industry celebrity like Mayer or simply the other people who share her new position that you've called to qualify for software leads).

However, people can change (just as how Mayer has changed from what she was like in her early Google years). A change in a CEO's behavior is definitely something that a telemarketing agent can attest to. After all, contacting them directly is part of what they do given that these decision makers are the only ones who are most likely to have software appointments with you.

However, these telemarketers are also the ones hearing the actual person's voice and perhaps more aware that they're communicating with a real human being. Human beings can change. Their minds can change and their attitudes can change. Therefore, don't be too quick to dismiss their rejection or think badly of them for it. They may not be the same, the next time you call. (For all you know, maybe they just needed some time to think about it.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Qualify B2B Leads By Overcoming The Limits Of Information

There are just so many ways that new technologies are making information more available and accessible. Plenty of businesses big and small have established some form of online presence. For B2B organizations, this can make research more viable. Whether you're using email marketing or looking for numbers to call, the internet is a new source of information.

Social media has its perks too. It's become another new channel for marketers and lead generators to engage their market and attract interest. For CRM software vendors, it's also a new source of data. It has also taught lessons that can be applied to all strategies centered around other forms of communication (from website marketing to direct mail):

  • Value relationships over sales.
  • Define your target market more specifically.
  • Listen to customer input and include it in your data.

Unfortunately, that information has its limits. Knowing the phone number of a particular company doesn't tell you lot about its needs. On the other hand, communicating with an alleged decision maker through an email or social media exchange still leaves out a lot of essential details. Are all the people you meet really who they say they are? Don't forget that this is one of the common dangers of the internet: not everybody is telling the truth.

Now if you're trying to market something like a CRM solution, you'll usually need software appointment setting in order to properly demonstrate the product and also learn about the prospect's situation. However, that can be akin to meeting up with someone on the net after a chat. That never ends well when your correspondents aren't really who they say they are. For instance, they may not show up at all. There might be some unseen warning signs indicating that their budget isn't as big as they state. In fact, even something as believable as hearing a person's voice still has its shortcomings (which is why it's best to end it by seeing the person face-to-face).

Simply put, information from just one source has its limits. The challenges of software lead generation lies in overcoming those limits and completing the pictures you have of your prospects. Below are a few strategies:

  • Email and Social Media – Try to start a connection through social media. Engage the prospects as much as you can and then swiftly offer to take the conversation elsewhere (like in a phone call or maybe even straight to an appointment). Communicating with the prospect through text-based, digital channels sounds easier because you can only talk for so long on the phone. Regardless, you need to make sure that the people on the other end are really who they say they are.
  • Telephone Numbers – Hearing the actual person's voice is still more convincing than reading their words (which could have been written by anybody, actually). Once you've acquired a number, give them a call. It's best if you were given this number willingly through social media or email (as suggested above). That way the prospect will know that it's you who'll be calling. Still, they might have trouble relaying all their thoughts so assure them that they can still write it all down for you to read in an email message.

Information has its limits, despite all the hype about the internet leading humanity into an age of information. Learn to discern those limits and seek other channels in order to overcome them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Outsourced Telemarketing – A Classic Tool To Direct Traffic

In this age of cloud computing, it's no surprise that more accounting software firms are taking their products towards that direction. However, their marketing challenge now lies in establishing a strong online presence so that more clients will come over and sign up. It's only natural that when you offer your software as an online service, you'll need a piece of internet space that the people in your market can locate and access. This means that all attempts to generate software sales leads must be heavily digitized and online.

Obviously, this requires the construction a website and using optimization techniques to draw attention to it. Usually, companies would first try to appear on search engines like Google and experiment with SEO techniques that would give them good page ranks.

However, there are times when SEO isn't enough. There are just too many companies who are also using the same techniques. There's also the danger of having so much traffic but it's not the kind that really reflects the attention of potential clients (and to extent, bring in sales). You also have to be careful about distinguishing between white hat and black hat methods because you don't want your company to be accused of unethical internet practices.

Sometimes it's better if you boost these efforts with offline forms of marketing.Your website may act as the 'main entrance' to your business and to your software but that doesn't mean you can't use something else to draw other businesses to it. The processes of connecting with prospects, measuring their interest, and inviting them over don't necessarily have to be done on the internet. Amazon is a heavily web-based company but it's not afraid to occasionally advertise itself on television or print media.

You could do something similar. Even small businesses use unlikely means to direct people to their websites. Some people do it through their social circles and not just social media. Others leave their site addresses on their business cards and fly-posters. Finally, you also have telemarketing. Granted, it's not just about getting a contact list and start firing off sales pitches. You have to study the prospect for a bit prior to the call and remember that the only thing you're doing is informing them about your website.

It might surprise you to learn how cost-efficient telemarketing can be if you outsource it to an experienced telemarketing company. You don't have to hire any more people or build up your own call center. They'll just do the telemarketing for you and even give you access to their records as proof that they're making calls on your behalf.

Every little bit helps when it comes to directing traffic and having people checking in on your website. This doesn't include junk traffic by the way. Using offline referral methods like telemarketing can direct authentic prospects who will at least give your cloud-based accounting software a look. And who knows? You might even be a step ahead of your competitors because they're just sitting around hoping that their websites alone will get them attention. Meanwhile, not only is your site getting attention. You're also deliberately pointing people into its direction and thus, you're getting more authentic traffic.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adding A Back Up Method Upgrades Your Telemarketing Services

Despite the prevalence of online communication, telemarketing is still a common tool among lead generation companies. This is worth noting because these are the same companies that many B2B organizations outsource to in order save up on costs. In fact, despite the involvement of said costs, they are not even the primary reason anymore (as some people might think). It's simply the fact that the less a company spends resources on it out of its own pocket, the more it can spend on its core functions.

Now on the subject of telemarketing, the continued existence of its industry still doesn't mean that new online methods haven't posed a challenge. With communications technology rapidly progressing alongside IT, there are more new ways of getting in touch while more old ways are dying out. Companies who have long relied on the latter for business still have a good reason to feel even just a bit intimidated. The same goes for companies who are now reassessing the type of companies they outsource to for leads.

If you want an industry that gives a clear example, look to ERP software. Plenty of the latest developments in ERP are directly related to online communication. Companies are now revising their systems to support SaaS and cloud computing. Assuming you're one such company, it would appear that online communication is more desirable for software lead generation because it suits this change. On the other hand, telemarketing always had to deal with a list of common obstacles that would roughly sound like this:

  • Phone calls are too short. - This is difficult because there really is a need for them to be. Too much information turns prospect off but so does a severe lack of it.
  • Gatekeepers are as vigilant as ever. - They know a pitch when they hear one and every day, professional telemarketers are challenged by them to find ways to creatively reword their scripts.
  • Voice mail can still be ignored. For all you know, the decision maker may not even be the one checking it and messages left there meet the same fate as they would if they tried to get past the gatekeeper.

This is just a rough outline but the fact is, email seems to have an advantage in two out of the three above. You can spell out more details. Your message goes straight to the decision makers inbox instead of passing through the gatekeeper. With regards to the voice mail case, it's only on even grounds with telemarketing because the messages from either medium are left in their own respective boxes, waiting to be read.

The truth though is, a second look at email will reveal that it has flaws of its own. A lengthy email message commits the same crime of information overload. If the subject line sounds too much like spam, your message gets tossed in the trash just like it would have if you sent it into voice mail. Gatekeepers may not be in charge of the inbox but decision makers can still hire someone to manage it for them while they go about other tasks.

Instead of pitting these two together however, why not use them both instead? This is what is meant by having a backup method. And guess what? Plenty of professional telemarketers are already taking this hint and are now using email in case their initial attempt over the phone has failed. It could also be the reverse as some would first send emails announcing their call. This would give higher chances of passing by the gatekeeper because a decision maker who has taken interest in the email will tell them to let you through. So the next time you're looking for a group to outsource, don't rule out the telemarketers just yet because they might have found ways to make email an excellent backup method.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Some Methods Have To Be Fast For B2B Lead Generation

If you think getting customer interest wasn't easy, that's nothing compared to getting the interest of a business executive. First of all, when you think about the numerous advertising methods out there, how can you really think it's that hard to get the attention of a passer by?

Sure, you might run into some statistics showing that consumers are having a lower and lower response rate to advertising. However, that hasn't stopped advertisers from being more creative, thought-provoking, and even controversial with their work. The result? It goes to the point that even the advertisements themselves are considered high quality products (and high quality works of art even). These go from memorable television commercials to really innovative web banner ads.

On the other hand, when you consider the life of your typical CEO, expect the response rate to be absolute zero. These people are busy folks. Even if they wanted to, they'll hardly have enough time to enjoy these forms of advertising. Their days are spent having meetings, granting approvals, making evaluations, and God knows what other heavy business work needs to be done by them in a single day.

Of course, if your company supplies BI software, that's exactly where you come in. You're in the business of making computer systems that make their job easier and more streamlined. Since decision makers are always so busy though, how are you going to get them interested?

That there is the reason why you need to be careful with your marketing methods. At this point, you might want to consider approaching them one by one and then measuring their interest in the form of qualified software leads. The biggest question however is exactly how do you start connecting with them?

The methods between lead generation and advertising may differ but their goal is more or less the same. Their goal is to connect with the target market, attract interest, and attempt a conversion into a sale. You need to find out what accomplishes just that for your software.

It's obvious that regular advertising and banner ads are out. You need a method that doesn't consume much of the decision maker's time. Examples cover a range of everything that has to do with quick, direct, one-on-one communication. This would cover emails, phone calls, and direct mail. Furthermore, you need to take advantage of how fast these methods can make you communicate. Don't make the mistake that just because you're using them, things are going to go smoothly. Whichever of the examples you choose, the message contained must be quick enough but at the same time, it gets them interested.

The factors which affect their interest involve how much you know about their needs. It also has to do with the way you present yourself. The difficult thing about generating B2B leads is not only the initial contact but the qualification process that follows. Despite the speed, the process actually needs to be done over a certain period of time. The speed helps because it makes it easier for you to be less pushy and can make for quick follow-ups.

The next thing you need to concern yourself with are the resources to pull this off. From here on though, it's only a matter of cost. You can go the route of sparing no expense by hiring your own team of professional telemarketers or online lead generators. In case your budget is a little short though, you can also just outsource (and there are a lot of lead generation companies out there who are very eager to serve).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Generate Sales Leads That Keep You Out Of Trouble

Companies have various expectations when it comes to handling information. However, those expectations need not necessarily come from just them. They can be shared by those who expectations ensure public order and national security.

That's right, you guessed it. It's expectations based on the law.

Whether you're supplier of HR, CRM, BI, or SCM software, you can bet that the companies you're targeting have a legal requirement or two. Most of these requirements are related to confidentiality and in the world where B2B software is moving further to the internet, the subjects of privacy, sensitive information, and online access to it have become hot-topics rife with controversy.

Wherever or however you get your leads, you need to prepare everyone in both marketing and sales in case these issues pop up. Some people think that your business won't be held accountable but the truth is, that's the very reason why your prospects will scrutinize your business. They will (and can) find ways to make sure that you're not the type of SaaS provider that gets everyone in trouble.

The process of software lead generation gathers information with different types of relevancy. This includes needs, time, budget constraints, company size etc. And with this should come information about their expectations of integrity, reputability, and security. Be careful of those who think you won't be held directly responsible because chances are, they'll only show you the many ways that your client can make you responsible. Don't wait around and risk them finding out and make sure your sales leads will tell you what it takes to stay out of trouble.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Software Sales Leads – Seeing Things From A Prospect's Perspective

When it comes to customer relations, it's always a good idea to see things from the customer's perspective. It's no different when your business is CRM software supplier. The problem though arises when you approach a prospect with too many presumptions of how a prospect might view a relationship. In fact, this is exactly the sort of mistake that seeing things from their perspective should first teach you to avoid.

It's like that old zen cliche. You can't fill a cup that's already full. Cliche it may be, it rings truth. You need to first empty your cup.

But then you might ask, what then? How do you start with nothing?

  1. Start by looking to the prospects themselves, and try to see how they define a relationship with you. How do you they see you and your services? Would they expect you to be a reliable business partner or simply the group that's giving them software?
  2. What do you and the prospect agree on when it comes to CRM problems and solutions? How much do you see eye to eye? Common sense would tell you that the more in common you have, the greater chance of success.
  3. Let them talk more because the conversation won't go well in your favor if you do that. You're here to solve their problems and not bombard them solutions that they don't need.

In fact, it doesn't even matter if you had a website marketer or outsourced telemarketing services acting in between you too. You still need to make sure that they keep the above three points in mind because there are many among them who also commit the same mistakes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Software Appointment Setting – Taking Lessons From Social Media

Advertising on social media sites have become a hot-button issue it brings into question and a subject controversy. And as usual Facebook is in the middle of it all (or at least close to it). For a long time, many of its critics have accused its CEO Mark Zuckerberg for 'selling out' its users by providing the information to advertisers. This is has been sparked by the presence of advertisements on the site as well as the growing dislike for advertising in general.

On the other hand, defenders of social media are actually saying that the value of social media marketing lies not in ads but making use of the social experience to connect with markets.

Now does this sound familiar?

If it does, it's likely because this has long been the approach of B2B software companies who have always been striving to establish relationships and trust to quality their business leads. This is can be become the imperative when the direct approach suddenly becomes the only viable option for approaching targets. A few examples would be telemarketing and targeted email. Both are methods which require a certain amount of time to nurture and qualify before a a chance at a sale can be certain.

A good example would be Business Intelligence Software which is targeted at CEOs and other higher-ups of the corporate ladder. It's highly unlikely that such people will have the free time to go on Facebook often but a phone call has a higher chance. However, the only way they'll ever keep listening or willing to receive your call again is if you take a leaf out of the social media book and start connecting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Know Yourself And You'll Know Your Software Sales Leads

The title may state the obvious for some but for others, it's easier said than done. This especially goes for those new to industries that normally don't just jump on the latest marketing trends. As a good example, look to the ERP software industry.

An ERP software solution clearly isn't for everybody but even if you knew that, you might still be in danger of jumping on bandwagons too quickly. Take social media marketing for instance. Facebook's booming popularity (coupled with the recent events surrounding its IPO) have only stimulated the social media hype in general.

But if you really knew what your business is offering to the world, now would be one of those times to move against the tide.

This isn't to say that social media is not a viable tool for lead generation but by knowing your company's identity, you will know the place to find people who'll make promising leads. There's a good chance though that Facebook may not be that place.

There are still other places to generate sales leads as well as other methods. You can go to places where business owners are more likely to frequent or try offline methods like telemarketing or attending trade shows. Establishing your business' identity will lead you to the first step of successful marketing: knowing your audience.

It doesn't even matter whether you do it directly yourself or ask another group to promote your company for you. You still have to and figure out where your business stands and an outsourced company still needs to know that identify from you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Everyone's Approval For ERP Leads

ERP software needs a lot of time to implement because of the sheer size of its coverage. It touches everything from Business Intelligence to Customer Relations. As such, there's a chance that you'll need more than one person's approval before you can list their company as one of your business leads. In fact, you can even say that a nod from the highest level may not necessarily merit you a sale.

This is because, again, it covers everything. And thus, you'll need approval of those areas as well. This goes for not just the employers but for the employed too. HR and CRM in particular would have significant effects that might concern the employee community.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that your efforts would have to scour the internal network from bottom to top. Sometimes, it's just best to contact a few people and then give them time to discuss with others for their input. That input in turn will affect their decision so you have a sort of indirect approval.

Take not, indirect does not mean subtle and the purpose of giving them time is supposed to serve as the period to which the person you're contacting has the approval you'll need. You can even assume that one or two persons are all that's needed to convince the entire organization.

Still, even that will require time for them to get everyone together and have them agree. It may even help if your software lead generation comes with set appointments. In any case, your efforts should still be considerate enough to give them time to think and talk things over with themselves.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Budget – Refining The Way You Generate Sales Leads

When salespeople hear the word budget, some would cringe. Who can blame them? To them, budget is alike a prison and a grim reminder of how hard money can come by these days. It's an limiter on disposable income as well the capacity of other businesses to 'upgrade' themselves as it were.

And as far as upgrading is concerned, medical software probably stands as making it most imperative. It takes a government mandate in order for institutions and medical organizations to realize the gravity of technologically improving their services at a constant rate.

However, when all reasons fail, it's hard to argue when it comes to budget. In fact, it's one reason why entities like th U.S. government have decided to hand out incentives so that suppliers become more eager to pursue medical leads. In turn, it allows the market more financial freedom to purchase and implement this software.

That still doesn't keep budget from playing a role in decision making.

Regardless, it's the influence of budget that can help you mold your strategy. Knowledge of it can go beyond telling you a company is a potential client or not. Budget implies the amount of money they can spend at the current time for one thing. You can use that to predict the next best time to approach. And even if they won't be able to raise it up any time in the near future, you can always use it to do something that makes you more affordable.

In conclusion, don't feel bad if your prospects start talking about budget. There are so many ways that such knowledge can refine software lead generation.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Software Lead Generation – Don't Just Sell, Sell A Service!

The internet has greatly empowered both customers and business clients when it comes to evaluating the things they buy. For consumers, it has allowed them access to more information about more products and thus, more choices and a greater capacity to weigh the options.

For businesses, it allows them to be more critical and more thorough when it comes to screening those who can really help them run their business from those just looking to make a fast buck. If you're a B2B software firm, then you'd obviously want to be the former instead of the latter.

The only way you're going to do that however is actually find out how you can help them. If, for example, you're trying to generate sales leads for accounting software. You need to check if the businesses you're approaching have any accounting issues that need dealing with.

It doesn't matter if you get it during the qualification process (e.g. you call and ask a few questions first) or if you decided to investigate a little more (you check for any news about them on their website). The fact is you can't sell your service if you don't know how to be of service. For instance, you can't qualify accounting leads if you don't know if the prospect company has an accounting management problem.

Now you might think that you're already trying to be of service by making your products into the best there is that you have a hard time. Even so, you can always just outsource for the information anyways. What good is all that improvement if you don't know what a client would consider as improved?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

B2B Sales Leads – To Aid Production, Know First What Is Being Produced

SCM software deals in manufacturing and when you're in manufacturing you obviously need to pay attention to what is being made. However, don't you think it'd be better idea if you knew this about your client even before you began implementation?

It's only common sense but having industry expertise will naturally mean you're equipped with some decent information that will tell you what to expect when you start on an implementation project. Will you be setting up a system that manages the manufacturing of car parts? Can this same system be used to streamline SCM for a company that manufactures toys? Knowing all this information beforehand can really help the process of generating software leads. Seeing the industry of a company will immediately tell you what kind of products it makes and in turn, will tell you what kind of SCM solution they'd want.

And if you know what they want, it will be easier for them to see that you've been doing your homework. If there's one thing that consumers and B2B clients have in common is that they just don't want someone who'll sell them something. They want someone who can fix their problems.

In your case, knowing about their industry can tell you a great deal of what troubles them. In fact, even if you just outsource another company to get this information, it still pays to keep industry expertise in mind. Even the company that you'll be outsourcing will attest that it's something that impresses their clients as well the ones they're marketing to for them. Thus, in order to aid in their manufacturing, know what's being manufactured first!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Contact Details – The Start Of The Information Trail For B2B Lead Generation

If you're supplying SCM software, you must at least have an idea of how supply chains can start with the smallest and simplest of raw materials. Believe it or not but the same can be said for information when you're trying to generate software leads.

Remember, the purpose of lead generation is to get quality information that your company's salespeople can use to identify the needs and problems of a potential client. That's a lot of information ranging from budget down to the more industry-specific data like the state of that company's SCM.

On the other hand, just as how large things are manufactured from the smallest and the simplest components, so do you need to start with something similar in order to extract more and more useful information. In this case, that something simple is contact information.

You may have already read about it several times that contact information does not make qualified leads. While that's true, those are the things you have to start with on your quest to obtain more information. Ask yourself, how can you tell if certain companies make good SCM leads if you don't even know who to contact? Who is the right person to ask in an organization about the state of a company's SCM?

Just because they rank lower in terms of importance doesn't mean you should neglect them outright. In fact, if they're so easy to get then why not start immediately? Even if you're outsourcing another company to not only acquire this contact information but act upon it, that should give you more than enough reason to start with the basics right away!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Underlying Complexity Of Cost-Efficient Appointment Setting

Setting appointments is a popular addition to lead generation services because few things tie down the attention on a potential client like a scheduled meeting. As far as ERP software is concerned, that meeting can be advantageous because it allows you the time and space to formally outline the technical details and features of your product.

However, the lead generation process that precedes it can cost a lot so it's not surprising that companies like yours would outsource. Still, you might do yourself and your business a favor if you try to see exactly how a lead generation group manages to cut its costs.

It's an uncomfortable fact but there are companies who can deliver good results at a low cost but do so via very questionable business practices. This is something you need to watch out for.

It doesn't mean you should hire your own corporate investigators and try to uncover conspiracies. It simply means you need to at least get a basic idea of why and how a company manages to cut its costs and get your software appointments. There could be plenty of reasons ranging from the legitimate to downright unethical.

Believe it or not, the same also applies to companies who cost higher to outsource. Why do they cost higher? Are the results really worth the money you spent or did this company simply tug on some non-business-related strings to compel you?

Either way, you need to stop looking at just the start and the end. The process in the middle still needs to be carefully analyzed or else you might end up outsourcing a company that's either controversial or just plain costly (perhaps even both).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Providing Medical Software Solutions With Software Appointment Setting

Despite the differences between patients and institutions, they are analyzed with the exact same question in mind: Is there something wrong?

On the other hand, what is it that any good doctor does before making a prescription? They do tests, analyze, and make conclusions. They rely on the information provided to them by their tools and methods. If a patient can't give that information, they can't make that conclusion. If they can't make that conclusion, they can't prescribe a solution.

This same logic applies to you if you were a medical software provider. If you don't know enough about who you want to supply to, then you don't know what you can do for them. That's why medical leads are so important. It's not just about doing business. It's about finding out if they have issues that need dealing with. This could issues with their equipment, EMR system, etc. You don't even need to mention the many laws countries have with regards to the quality of these tools. Whether one likes it or not, it will affect the quality of their healthcare (and to an extent, their standards of living).

These leads though won't be enough either unless you make the most out of them like setting an appointment. Even if you use something like outsourced telemarketing to save you the time, money, and personnel in contacting prospects, you'll have to analyze all the information that was gathered and meet with them. On the other hand, that's all the more reason to get that information so you immediately offer the right software solution.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Outsourced Telemarketing – Calling Before The Work Day Is Over

All right so you're a BI software company but you can't afford the heavy work that comes with contacting targets and qualifying them for B2B leads. Granted, it really is quite heavy given that you need to cover even more than one channel of communication. You have mixes of methods old and new (e.g. telemarketing and social media) as well as finding the space (both physical and digital) to do it en masse. Software for business intelligence only sells well to C-level executives and the like. They may pay a lot but that money may come too far and too few in between if you don't generate leads fast enough.

However, what criteria should you have? Of course, you have the basics of good communication, strategic data management, and thorough qualification process but are there others? Well another one you have already read about is proper timing.

For now though, what exactly are the marks of good timing? For one, a good B2B telemarketer keeps track of what time they're calling. You don't have to be calling internationally either for this. Since you're a BI software group, a good test of timing is knowing when the work day is over.

Remember, even executives still have a human side to them and that side often manifests itself after the day's work is done and they go home. Sure you might hear some people say that they can still be marketed to even after work but that more likely comes from the fact that they become regular consumers which is still one sign of them being regular people. That definitely still rules them out as potential software leads during such time. Make sure you outsource those who can call them before the work day is over!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Generate HR Leads, Prevent Bad Paychecks

Let's face it, nothing sours a hardworking employee more than a bad paycheck. Whether it's a bouncing check or one that has unexplainable deductions, it's more than enough for employers to lose respect amongst the ones they hired. Group them together in larger numbers and a company might even a strike on its hands.

A scenario like that is most likely the result of a mismanaged payroll. And like everything else involving employees, payrolls are managed by HR. Therefore, if you're a reseller or a manufacturer of HR software, these are some of the many kinds of people you should be looking out for. More specifically, these people could be your leads. If you're already in the midst of your own B2B lead generation campaign, you might want to keep that in mind. After all, payroll softwares are one of the many tools expected from HR software manufacturers.

Speaking of which, how does one start generating leads for this kind of product? Even if you did know what kind people to sell to, finding them is another story. It's not very likely that a company will admit to just anyone that they've been having trouble paying their employees. Something like just has so much potential for scandal.

Telemarketers firms can easily solve that as asking the right questions is one of the things their agents do best. In the case of HR manufacturers, firms specializing in software telemarketing (particularly ones familiar with HR software) are the ones to go to. Their databases promise both security and privacy for contacts. So if you're still looking for a hassle-free way to reach those sensitive contacts, you'd best outsource to them now before another company gives a bad check.

Monday, April 2, 2012

B2B Leads – Quality Followed By Quantity

Now suppose you're already outsourcing a B2B telemarketing service for your ERP software package. You already know the benefits of using the phone over the usual marketing methods of media advertising, web banners etc. It's more direct and the flexibility of both the communication and the communicating agent allows for a really fast qualification process.

At some point, you might end up encountering an individual who is all hellbent against telemarketing. This person thinks that all telemarketers do is disrupt people's lives in the attempt to make a fast buck. They even cite entire countries who seem against it (like the way telemarketing in Australia is heavily restricted). The DNC registers would seem a good case against you ever trying to market your product to the Land Down Under at least.

Well that's enough about what such people think and more about the real truth.

You're not really after those on the DNC register are you?

Indeed you're not because when it comes to getting ERP software leads, the quantity in those registers is high but their quality is absolutely non-existent. Those lists are filled with private home and cellphone numbers, not the numbers of an executive's office or even that of a small business owner. Activists who are against telemarketing really do not know how the difference between B2B and B2C plays a role in their prejudice.

Businesses like yours demand quality followed by quantity. Having plenty of leads is good but not as good as having them certified to ensure that you have the highest chances of a sale. The numbers are there to ensure you still have work to do but it's the quality that makes sure of it. Keep telemarketing for those leads because those critics don't even know how the process even works.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Professional Telemarketers Means Professional Information Handling

People who think telemarketing has been snuffed out by the rise of stricter telecommunications regulations around the world (e.g. DNC registers like those in Canada and Australia), actually are the type to have a very incomplete view of the business world.

Remember, there are more or less two kinds of business transactions that keep that world going: B2B and B2C. Businesses engaged in B2C are the ones that the naysayers see everyday selling them the commodities and products they shop for and think it's the only thing businesses do. They don't seem to recognize just how equally important B2B transactions are, how they work, and what significant role they play.

B2B companies like those supplying HR software actually play an integral part because they provide the systems that help a company manage itself (in this case, pay its workers). This is why even today, they use telemarketing for software leads because it's the only way they'll ever get in contact with authorized decision makers (who alone can understand and appreciate what their technology can do).

As for the laws, it hardly poses a challenge and at times it even assists them because businesses are not allowed to register for a national DNC list. Whether they're outsourcing or hiring professionals for an in-house department, emphasizing on the professional aspect is important because they know how to handle the information they get to navigate directories both inside and outside their targets.

It's high time that B2B companies stop worrying about the opinion of those who see things only from the consumer side when it comes to discussing matters regarding B2B that rarely ever involve them. Business calling ventures like telemarketing in Australia aren't as difficult when you have professionals handling B2B information.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Outsourcing Telemarketing Helps You Obtain Warm Business Intelligence Software Leads

Business intelligence software manufacturers and resellers have been helping companies when it comes to benchmarking, data and text mining, predicting analytics, online analytical processing and managing business performance. Since the number of providers are growing and new players are about to come sooner than later, firms may not be able to enjoy the high sales performance that they have experienced before. The challenge of competition is making it hard for the players to get as many ripe business opportunities they can handle. How to fight back harder to land in front of prospects? What is the right way towards the doors of sales-ready buyers? In this case, outsourcing can offer help.
What makes an outsourced telemarketing a viable method to generate warm business intelligence software leads? Why are outbound call centers competent in software lead generation? Here is a list of convincing reasons:
  • Save money. Cost-reduction has been the most popular benefit of outsourcing. Companies can take advantage of the low-cost solutions without worrying the quality of services they will receive. With the prices soaring high and financial pressures, firms need to save as much money as possible and outsourcing can help.
  • Work with the experts. The manpower of reliable service providers are composed of professional telemarketers who have the technical training and proficiency in software lead generation. You will be confident that your campaigns are handled by the right people.
  • Use of leading technology. Outsourcers have also invested so much in acquiring technological applications. They want to provide client services at high-speed performance and with the least number of errors.
  • Get as many qualified b2b leads. Of course, the use of specialists and technology leads to the generation of qualified b2b leads.
Every software firm wants to fill their sales pipeline with warm leads and appointments. You can attain this goal through outsourcing. Get in touch with a first-rate BPO partner now.