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.