Some software vendors might struggle with the concept of using software telemarketing to spark interest. However, it is as good a lead generation tool as any other digital ones currently trending the market. The challenge of mastering it is in fact one of the things telemarketing has in common with them. Many social and online marketers say that their methods require experience and effort. Using the phone is no exception.
Software telemarketing and follow-ups go hand in hand. There is never a guarantee that you can score a lead (let alone a sale) during the first call. In fact, the rise of criticism against cold calling might as well have killed what little guarantee there was left in the first place. Furthermore, as a CRM software vendor, you might occasionally have your image as a tech company work against you if you resort to telemarketing. Wrong or right, it is a popular opinion that the landline phone is going the complete opposite direction of advanced.
Despite all optimism, some companies do create products that are not always needed. And once the lack of need has been established, it gets harder to market yourself and soon, your lead generation campaigns run dry. It is like a sad end to what started as a happy tale of entrepreneurship. It hurts even more when you have people actively insisting on this lack of a need and calling for the cessation of innovation.
Generate Leads By Patiently Raising Up Needs
A big example of what has been described above is actually the technology that lets people pay using mobile. Despite all the hope and hype, the usage of the technology is slow among consumers. An article from Quartz has more:
“Similar ‘mobile wallets’ have been available in Japan since 2004, and yet by the end of 2010, in a typical month only 10% of Japanese consumers were using their phones to make a purchase.”
No doubt that this will come as quite a shock to those who constantly read about how mobile is the next step in information and business technology. Some might further argue that this may only have to do with consumers. It is not like this will affect their own sales leads (even though some mobile technologies place themselves directly in between their target business and its consumers).
Related Content: Software Sales Leads – Leaving Your Own Mark On Consumer Experience
Regardless, you will have to face the facts like everyone else when you realize your creation actually lacks the impact to be a game-changer:
“Just asking the question points to the answer: in rich countries, at least, the existing means of paying for things are already pretty great. And none of the competing mobile-wallet technologies has too much of an edge either over the old methods, or over each other.”
So what do you do? How can you market something that nobody really needs? What if your entire CRM lead generation campaign has been banking on technologies like this and now you have to make an completely new game plan? Perhaps the clue lies in this next citation:
“It’s true that mobile wallets could allow for all kinds of new features, from helping shoppers keep track of their spending to giving retailers new ways to reward loyal customers; but technologies tend to catch on fast only when they solve a pressing problem. Those that merely make life a bit better take time for people to adopt.”
They key is patience. More specifically, you need patience in the following tasks:
- Observation – You need to observe your markets carefully. Carefully spot any sign of more problems you can improve your product upon.
- Qualification – Never rush prospects when qualifying them. Again, be mindful of anything they say that could indicate a stronger need.
- Persistence – Despite rejection, keep moving on to the next prospect. Whether you use telemarketing, email, or web advertising, never give up.
Related Content: Outsourced Telemarketing – A Classic Tool To Direct Traffic
It’s not even as expensive as it sounds. Outsourced telemarketing or email can already help your campaign drive and establish a need so start striving today!
If you think that resorting to telemarketing will just give your prospects more reason to reject you, then you might be barking up the wrong tree. As the title implies, the use of the telephone isn’t automatically the reason why your software company is not getting as many leads as you hope.
More than that, any form of marketing isn’t always to blame for lack of interest in a product. You’d be naïve to think that email marketing or online advertising won’t find the same amount of opposition and rejection.
What you’re dealing with is the concept of rejection itself. And frankly, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it 100%, telemarketing or not.
There is still a lot you can do when it comes to handling it.
On that note, Minda Zetlin of Inc.com published this article listing 4 tips about handling rejection. These tips can actually applied even if you’re not an entrepreneur and your business can definitely relate in terms of software:
“1. Accept that you’ll hear ‘no’ much more often than ‘yes.’”
This is something that many telemarketers can definitely relate to. This doesn’t mean that telemarketing is some kind of numbers game. There are ways to improve a strong ratio of turning calls into leads. Like any other form of marketing, there is emphasis on proper targeting, timing, and also information gathering. All those things require more skills and less chance. However, it’s important to accept rejection because it’s only unrealistic to expect a yes every single time even with proper skills and resources.
“2. Take it as a compliment.”
Hearing a negative can also be seen as a positive. At the end of the campaign (or even in the middle of it), you can measure the results and use it to further refine your targeting. It’s why telemarketers have the help of data analysts and peer deeper into the details for why you’re getting rejected.
“3. Show off your product whenever you can.”
Luckily, both you and your telemarketers have the technical resources to spread images and other online content showcasing your software. Just because you’re using telemarketing doesn’t mean you’re closed off to anything else. In fact, even outsourced telemarketing companies invest their budgets in more than just call center agents and telephone networks. They provide themselves with back-up material for when they call and can even support them in bypassing company gatekeepers.
“4. Surround yourself with believers.”
Naturally, you’d want your marketers to actually believe in what you’re trying to give to the world. If they don’t, then how do you expect them to get your prospects interested? More than that, they should have the industry expertise to both market your software and make it relevant to your targets.
If you can’t handle rejection in telemarketing, switching to an entirely different form of communication will hardly net you any more software leads. It’s more than about using a tool you’re most comfortable with. The things that cause potential clients to reject you will have more to do with higher critical factors than simply just your marketing strategies. Instead of jumping to every new form that’s trending, dig deeper and use what has already been long available by changing your attitudes towards rejection.
Despite the technological advancements, business crimes are still committed. In fact, it has only grown more sophisticated that it’s hard to deny that any company can sell software tools and indirectly enable these crimes. This is why it’s imperative to use any strategy, even those in lead generation, to help discourage the use of software in questionable practices.
It might seem a little off-base to suggest lead generation but the advantage of its marketing resources is that they can allow you to communicate (and even influence) your market.
So how specifically can software be used to enable financial crimes? A few examples can be found in accounting software. You have tax evasion, fraudulent financial reporting, and perhaps even identity theft! Of course, many will argue that there is a human element to all those crimes. That is in fact true. However, there is also a human element in maintaining software security as well and you don’t shy away from recommending a policy or two do you?
As the software provider, you can still play a role in discouraging such crimes when mentioning specific features such as:
- Processing – Tools are only as good as the users. So logically, what standards are applied to the users extend to the tools as well. In terms of accounting software, don’t hesitate to put a mark of approval from certified agencies stating that your tools have been verified for a good reason: to abide by the law. You’re likely to attract more accounting leads from businesses who don’t want to land in trouble.
- Transparency – The use of your software must be easily understood not just by your prospects but also by those who have a right to know the processes with which the software is used in. One basic definition of transparency is clear communication, which is something businesses are already called to in marketing.
- Data storage – Privacy is often a controversial topic that touches all subjects of marketing, accounting, and law-making. Yes, you have a duty to protect your customer’s privacy but on the other hand, you need to counterbalance that by making sure that privacy doesn’t enable questionable practices (like storing illegal information or withholding it). As a suggestion, consider mentioning this when your prospects would like to navigate the complications of your ToS agreement.
In the above, you already see a few hints on how lead generation can be used. But for the more specific tools, you can try:
- Telemarketing advisory – This can be targeted towards you current customers or to new prospects who feel that their current software may not be living up to new standards. Small businesses may not have a need but the bigger they get, the more financial information they will inevitably have to handle, and thus, more standards for their accountants must know about (and comply).
- Events – Marketing events and trade shows are another popular form of sales lead generation. Attend or organize events that touch on the topic of questionable practices and how to prevent them. Make sure to also demonstrate how software like yours have come to play an important role.
- Publish a few online articles – This is similar to the telemarketing advisory but through text and website optimization instead of just the phone. Try to condense the more basic facts about avoiding shady accounting practices in relation to software. When going for transparency, the simpler the better.
All these tools may not even be as effective alone as they are together so don’t just reject one. Help the fight against questionable practices!
If you think the title sounds ironic, please know that in telemarketing, the lesser you spend time on the phone, the more calls you can make.
But more than that, its goal is to connect salespeople with customers much like any other form of marketing. The tricky thing about that job is that it requires you to view things from the perspective of the customer. And more of than not, a customer doesn’t always have the same level of knowledge as your salespeople. This results in telemarketing firms giving the impression that their own knowledge level isn’t any higher.
This is something that salespeople make the mistake of underestimating. Sure, telemarketers may not be able to grasp any better than customers but the truth is that’s actually a good thing! Ask yourself, just why is it that customers can only grasp this or that feature? Why can they not realize the possibilities?
It’s because those are the things that really concern them.
For example, what if you’re an ERP vendor but the only interest that some of your prospects will have is just enough to classify them as possible HR Leads. They don’t really understand why you’re offering the additional tools of SCM or BI. They just want something that helps them manage employees. Why do you persist about talking more when all they want is less?
An outsourced telemarketing firm should play the role of teaching you how accomplish just that. Hence, you need to focus on the following qualities instead of looking for marketers that are ultimately just carbon copies of your salespeople:
- Wider general knowledge – While it does seem that marketers have no more a clue about your software than your prospects, the ideal level of expertise should just be a little bit higher. And while it may seem little, that little bit of expertise is what lets them bridge the gap between customers and sales. They may not understand everything but what they do understand is something they know many customers want.
- Is comfortable going beyond software – Viewing software in the context of a much larger work culture is closer to a customer’s point of view. You may boast that your software can be implemented and function flawlessly but don’t forget that flaws don’t always have to come in the form of computer glitches or viruses.
- Is aware of a prospect’s time – It sounds trivial but as you’re in the business world, time is always critical. With work life always busy, your prospect’s spare minutes will always be on short supply. A good telemarketing firm can teach your salespeople the importance of managing time by helping them organize their appointments more closely along the comfort of prospects.
Today, with information being all the more available, even some customers are more knowledgeable and refined in their buying decisions to the bewilderment of salespeople. Like marketers, their knowledge may not still grasp the finer points but that knowledge is coupled with a firm emphasis on what they want. This combination results in a view that deems anything else unnecessary as simply more talk. This should only make it more urgent for you to find a telemarketing group that can teach you to talk less.
When marketing HR software, your lead generation strategy must utilize a marketing message that’s capable of transforming itself once a particular need has been discovered. This is so that this message doesn’t remain static for all prospects and at the same time, it brings your business much closer to relevance.
Given the usual length of the B2B sales process, it’s easy to make the mistake of having one phase do all the hard work. This usually leads to imbalances like salespeople letting marketers do all the work of influencing the buyer or marketers delivering unqualified software leads to the salespeople. In either case, there’s too much information being condensed into one phase (whether that phase is in lead generation or in the sales appointment).
Instead, that information must be evenly spread out through the whole process. Marketers start with the basics and leave the more technical presentations to sales. These basics, in turn, should be about finding basic needs and molding the marketing message that promotes the basic feature that corresponds to them.
For HR software, these would be:
- Recruitment – Many people will say that the HR department isn’t really the one in charge of recruiting. Regardless, recruitment software is still utilized by businesses and might be considered a feature. Prospects demonstrating a need for it must be asked whether they’re looking for something more or less automated. Your marketers therefore, must be knowledgeable about basic pros and cons. You should also be aware of what they’ve been using as an alternative (e.g. social media).
- Payroll – There are cases when payroll is no longer within the hands of HR but in accounting but that doesn’t mean your payroll system is no longer needed. Change the target decision maker accordingly. This targeting technique should be applied to all your marketing channels whether it’s the phone or email. Security shouldn’t be neglected either as payroll data is sensitive information. Compliance and database safety policies should also be a matter of concern.
- Work time – Monitoring and recording work time has grown a lot more sophisticated than the simple systems of punching in and punching out. Today, newer forms of HR technology are allowing mobile work forces, enabling access to data from outside the office, and even transforming the entire infrastructure of the traditional office work space. These new technologies could be seeing increasing demand some time in the future but all of that depends if the prospects have really demonstrated a need for them. Are they ready to embrace these changes? What do they demand in terms of monitoring access? Knowing these answers could be important for salespeople when they’re finally face-to-face with these prospects.
You can think of marketing as the filter for sales. Information relayed through them helps tackle the more non-software related issues that software salespeople might be too specialized to resolve. However, once your marketers have obtained sufficient information to turn over to sales, salespeople should be ready to elaborate further but based only on that knowledge. One other purpose of covering the basics is to help outline the features that really matter to them so that salespeople have a point of focus during the meeting. Discover the basic needs, respond with basic features, and then start building up a solution from there.
U.S. manufacturers might have reason to rejoice as web giant Google is currently testing the waters of local manufacturing. From the New York Times, there are reports that Google is turning the Nexus Q into a product that many concerned Americans have long been wanting to see:
“Etched into the base of Google’s new wireless home media player that was introduced on Wednesday is its most intriguing feature. On the underside of the Nexus Q is a simple inscription: ‘Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.’”
However, the real good news is that Google is no longer the only company that is considering the option of ‘reshoring’: a term used to describe the relocation of manufacturing operations from overseas (like those in China) to stateside. In the article, a report by Boston Consulting Group cites some very promising statistics:
“The firm reported in April that one-third of American companies with revenue greater than $1 billion were either planning or considering to move manufacturing back to the United States. Boston Consulting predicted that the reversal could bring two million to three million jobs back to this country. ”
This is not only good news for those looking to create more jobs for Americans but also for those who are marketing to American manufacturers for SCM software. Still, don’t get too excited. While this shift in demand could be more natural than relying on government incentives and imposed regulations, you still have competitors who also want to take the advantage.
In the end, the race is on once again for SCM software firms to provide streamlined solutions for organizing supply chains and manufacturers. This time the course is domestic with manufacturers within the U.S. serving as the finish line. On the bright side, this same course is now fully laid out for everyone to see. It’s only a matter of who can get to the goal first.
As usual, the following strategies are advised:
- Speed up your B2B lead generation campaign – You need to find a way to connect with your prospects and have them qualified before the competitors do. It helps if you have a long but comprehensive list of contact information.
- Ensure your methods are thorough – Speed is useless without control. Make sure your lead generator knows how to exhaust all options to contact a prospect. Once a connection has been established, try to evaluate their interest and how it reflects their needs (even needs that are not easily identified by the prospects themselves).
- Set an appointment once qualification is complete – Use software appointment setting as the final test of the prospect’s interest. Through it, you can see if they’re interested enough to consent an actual business meeting with your sales team.
When a rise in demand is brought about by a collective desire in any market, those who target said market can only expect genuinely interested clients. In this case, they are not being compelled by anything but a desire to try something they have long been wanting to pursue: a product that says “Made in the U.S.A.” SCM software firms should realize that the race is now stateside and it’s time to change course!
A recent article from the Harvard Business Review shows that the traditional form of B2B sales is now facing a decline in popularity. By traditional, this means the approach of B2B salespeople who wait for the prospects to become very familiar with their problems and then come in, offering a solution.
According to the article, this is no longer sufficient because with “increasingly sophisticated procurement teams and purchasing consultants armed with troves of data, companies can readily define solutions for themselves.” This could be bad news for your sales team if all they’ve been doing is finding prospects who are very familiar with their problems but don’t know any solutions. Today, that’s no longer the case. Not only are prospects knowledgeable about their problems, they know exactly what to look for in products such as an enterprise software solution.
There are also some actual statistics included in the article:
“In fact, a recent Corporate Executive Board study of more than 1,400 B2B customers found that those customers completed, on average, nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision—researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on—before even having a conversation with a supplier.”
At the end, there is a brief and well-outlined graphic that illustrates the differences between what your current salespeople might be doing and what you should starting doing. Some of these would be:
- Finding out the problems of a prospect that even they are not aware of.
- Offer those insights as a way to offer your solution.
- Teach the company about the process of acquiring that software solution and help them along the way.
From the looks of it, companies that are just starting out would make ideal targets for this kind of approach. On that note though, it should tell you one more important thing. Remember that you’re in an industry that offers a solution. It may be in the form of software but the solution always comes first. You cannot develop quality business software if you don’t know how it’s supposed to be a solution. Sadly, there have been many cases where an ERP system becomes more of an additional problem as a result of suppliers leaving their clients to solve their problems by themselves.
This change in B2B customer behavior should compel you to start looking for problems even before they’re identified by the prospects themselves. Would you be in this industry if you didn’t have enough confidence and that you knew better about enterprise management systems than everyone else? Learn to offer insight and expertise instead of just leaving the prospects to figure things out at their own expense. Generating software sales leads should no longer be just about figuring out the problem, it’s about figuring out the problem even before the prospect realizes it.
There are dozens of reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to be the one who knows better. If you’re targeting companies who are just starting out and are just learning about what they need, then there’s naturally a high chance that you will have more expertise. You have the knowledge, the experience, and, of course, the solution. Start offering insight today and don’t let those businesses struggle with the heavy process of finding out what they’re looking for.
As of last week, it has been found that more and more companies are shifting to the cloud for their enterprise software solution. According to this Forbes article, about only 23 of the 700 companies surveyed have considered it too risky. As you will read in the article, that is a significant drop from last year’s 11% to 3%.
On the other hand, security concerns are as strong as ever:
“Security remains the primary inhibitor to adoption in the burgeoning cloud marketplace with 55% of respondents identifying it as a concern. The implications of regulatory compliance (38%) also loom large, as do concerns about vendor lock-in (32%). Interestingly, pricing and expenses are way at bottom of the deal-breaker list.”
So if you’ve just started offering business applications in the cloud, it’s best to know this beforehand. You won’t attract a lot of potential clients if you’re going to bank-in on cost-efficiency. Your biggest concerns should be more or less centered around how secure you are and how well they can trust you.
A common complaint against cloud computing is of course, the poor customer service when something goes wrong. Ticket systems are usually used to accept inquiries or concerns. However, that alone barely bridges the gap between your business and your clients. This should tell how much discussing security and stability means to them.
What’s really bad is that cost-efficiency tends to be first on the list when your marketing attempts are citing the features and advantages of enterprise software in the cloud. Naturally, you can’t generate sales leads when you and your prospects don’t see eye to eye. That’s one of the common mistakes in marketing: assuming you think you know what the prospects want. Articles like the one above just go to show how you need to consider things from the client’s perspective and what they consider a top concern. In this case, you should be talking to them about security, not costs.
And speaking of talking, it’s also better if you actually converse with them about these concerns. It’s never a good idea to generalize these same concerns and think all businesses have a common list of objections. And even if you did compile them and put them in one big FAQ or Q&A page on your website, do you think they have the time to read it all until they run into the parts they find most relevant? You should know by now that taking up a decision maker’s tame with any kind of marketing piece is always a very bad idea. There is a need to be quick and at the same time engaging.
Telemarketing is still employed by software lead generation services for that very same reason. Like email and direct mail, they value the accuracy of contact lists. Furthermore though, they also value objective conversation that can quickly determine the security concerns of your prospects. It’s not that complicated. Instead of bombarding them with all the details, an agent can simply ask some questions and quickly identify the relevant issues to address. Don’t be concerned about investing in training either (or any other additional cost). This process can also be outsourced. What you need to focus on is discovering and addressing the top cloud-computing concerns of your prospects. A brief and objective telemarketing call can easily accomplish that.