Sunday, May 27, 2012
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
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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.