Restricting your appointment setting campaigns to certain business sizes is common knowledge. However, doing it all the time may not be healthy. Small businesses do not always stay small. So just when you thought you would never have to qualify certain businesses again, it still helps to use your appointment setting too to keep an eye on them.
Abusing the marketing means to acquiring software leads is a problem that dates back even to the early days of advertising. Businesses would often employ the strategy that seems to work real well at first but slowly lose their edge once people catch on to the tricks. And as more software leads are generated online, history stands a chance to repeat itself.
It can be argued that telemarketing holds an advantage over reliance on online exposure for inboud software leads. See, when you rely on things like search engine results to present your business, keywords alone can cause for some confused prospects coming into your funnel. Telemarketing on the other hand can give you the responsibility to completely dispel that confusion for every prospect you encounter.
When search for software sales leads, a popular indicator is a need for ease in a particular business process. For example, software leads for HR-related software are marked by a prospect’s need for easier management tasks. In this turbulent age of information, most people cannot afford delays and that includes processes like employee evaluation and recruiting. The higher this demand is, the more likely you will find your software leads.
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.
As you know, sales leads are not just opportunities to make money. They are not just there to help your salespeople fill their quotas. The most basic but important purpose of those leads has always been to find opportunities to do some good.
No matter what people say, the world thrives on business. Everything from the food you eat to the places that you sleep has a business somewhere behind it. In fact, anyone who has ever dabbled in SCM and manufacturing gets a first-hand glimpse on how even the most trivial office supplies are produced by a large industry or groups of industries working together.
In marketing, few things make a product or service more appealing than relevancy. And when you achieve high appeal, you get more sales leads. You can proclaim an endless amount of software features and advantages but those mean nothing if they do not resonate with a prospect’s needs.
Creating B2B Leads By ‘Creating’ Needs
Technically, you cannot really ‘create’ a need so much as you can point it out. Unfortunately, there are some people who perceive this strategy as rather underhanded. To them, ‘creating’ a need implies creating a problem and you are trying to get a fast buck from that problem by solving it.
For example, suppose you are a recruitment software vendor in search of HR leads. Somewhere along the way, you encounter someone who questions the need to point out these problems. They say they have other things to concern themselves with and find no reason to worry about more things.
What do you do? While it is often advised to not argue directly, you should start deconstructing that argument:
- Review the consequences – They insist that the problems you are pointing out are a minimum concern. They do not think that digitizing and managing applicant information is a necessity. They even go as far as to say they value the old-fashioned art of making five-page resumes (even though some positions require no more than a name, a picture, and basic background information). But as they are saying this, try and recall the amount of paper and space that such documents occupy. You may not tell it to them directly but displaying such consequences in your marketing materials can surely send a message to all others who think the same way.
Related Content: How To Tweak Telemarketing To Discover Overlooked Problems
- Mentally demonstrate how the problem is created – If they insist on accusing you of seeing a problem that is not there, review the actual mechanics behind such a problem. Why do documents create space? How can it grow into a massive waste of paper resources? Afraid of playing the environmentalist card? Why not? It is not like you are the paper manufacturer. Another thing you can suggest is that just because you do not point out a problem, it ceases to exist. The elephant in the room is not going to disappear just because they pretend it has.
- Keep it simple – Above all, keep it simple. You do not attract software sales leads by just piling torrents of information be it on a website or directly before your prospects. The best way to send a wall of denial crumbling down is at the basic level. As with the consequences, use your marketing materials to make an easily understood demonstration on why paper applications get cumbersome over time. The business world is in a constant state of turbulence so saving time by digitizing and compressing such information is now a must that many businesses need to accept.
Relevancy requires that you satisfy needs, including ones that are not acknowledged. Needs that are not acknowledged will still result in consequences whether if a prospect was aware of them or not. Hence, make sure that your entire marketing process (from qualification to B2B appointment setting) exposes these needs.
Sales leads are indicators of promise. Whether it is via marketing or sales, you do not want to make promises that you cannot keep. Such unethical practices will only result in a loss of trust and could land a lot of involved parties in prison (including you).
Software Leads Should Result In Delivered Software
Do not fall under the misconception that everything is over and done with once the sales process is over. The promises you make from the start of your lead generation campaign will go beyond a successful appointment. For example, if you are a CRM vendor, has your software really improved your customers’ understanding of their own markets? Has it improved retention as much as you claim it should have?
No matter how many CRM leads you attract, always make sure that you live up to the things you stated in order to get their attention. This does not mean that you cannot exaggerate or give the truth a slight stretch but that is not the same as failing to deliver that which your prospects first saw upon encountering your business.
Related Content: A Review Of CRM Expectations When Marketing For CRM Software Leads
One example of a company struggling to fulfill its promises is none other than Facebook. Despite how several have come to company’s defense, many of its investors continue to demand that it deliver on its promise to improve its advertising model as well generate revenue. Fortunately, a recent New York Times article reports that there might still be hope as the company’s latest revenue report beats forecasts:
“Facebook posted revenue that slightly beat forecasts, and it said 14 percent of its advertising revenue came from ads on mobile devices. With those results, its shares rallied more than 8 percent in after-hours trading. Even so, they were at about 45 percent of the initial public offering price.”
It is easy to see the similarities between what Facebook is going through and what you might be going through if you market an image of your CRM application that is far too ideal than the real thing. Your software sales leads are not sales but merely the go signal that you need to start pursuing them!
- Do not be content with qualification – First off, a qualified lead now can lose its quality in as little as a few months (or even less). Do not waste time either waiting around or getting your schedule in place. Once they know that a prospect is clearly interested (complete with budget and time), your salespeople should get moving!
- Focus on quality as much as marketing – One thing people forget about marketing is that you must still remember to invest in your core despite the costs of promoting your business and attracting potential clients. In fact, that is why some businesses tend to outsource the marketing heavy work because they want to remain focused on their core. Marketing is no good without it!
Related Content: Attracting Software Leads With ‘Heavy’ Marketing Materials
- Settle disputes between marketers and sales – The parties heavily involved in your sales process should not tire themselves out just by pointing fingers. Get them to work together! It does not matter if one or the other is outsourced. Each holds a level of responsibility that affects your entire business so be quick in settling conflicts!
One half of your business is finding the opportunity to give something while the other half though is actually acting upon that opportunity. You cannot expect your leads to deliver anything automatically whether it is from within your own firm or through other lead generation companies!
Before, there were huge differences between B2B and B2C in terms of marketing. Unlike B2C, determining the success of a B2B sale can go even beyond the actual signing of the deal. Few things can paint this picture quite clearly like ERP software. Despite the successful attempts of attracting a prospecting, discovering their interests and needs, then finally closing the sale, many companies still struggle terribly with software implementation and miscommunication.
Ideally however, the process of generating and qualifying software sales leads for ERP is supposed to teach your business on how to avoid such obstacles. If you had truly understood the needs of a client and kept in constant communication, then you’d know the best course of action. There’ll be no surprises, no power struggles over ownership, and no unexpected protests from parties inside the client company.
B2C however, does it on a worse scale. Or at least, that’s what’s being implied by this Forbes article where it describes the sort of marketing done prior to the rise of social media. These days, social media is the new channel through which marketers are looking to promote their company’s brand. However, the styles often used remain to be as impersonal and overgeneralized as the more ‘traditional’ forms of marketing have been:
“Social has undoubtedly influenced daily client conversations as well (‘We need more fans’).”
“How many brands really know the people who are in their circle (buying their product) or in their communities? As old as it may seem, many brands still define their audiences by demographics – for example, 21 to 44-year-old women. It’s not how you’d describe a friend. Who is that person? What do you really know about them? We need to work harder at really knowing people as people. It’s even truer with social media. You’ve gained fans. Do you know who they are? Are they people you want as fans? What’s their role in your social group? What’s their value within your community?”
But with ideas like this pervading the B2C marketing sphere, it’s becoming clear that even they are being directed down the same path as B2B. That path being the path of connecting more deeply with each individual client and prospect. Take cloud computing providers as another example. Offering SaaS has allowed for lower costs of ERP and given software companies a more global reach.
This leads to a wider market but while such a market can promise more leads, it also tempts companies to start adopting the impersonal habits of B2C. This must not happen. The fact that B2C marketers are already walking down the same path of sociability and connecting even more deeply with each customer proves that B2B businesses should stay true to that path themselves.
Why? Because you all now know the importance of treating your customers as individuals with individual needs. Acknowledging that individuality is not only a way to succeed in social media marketing. It can apply to any marketing approach (from email, website, and even telemarketing). Social media has only made it harder for company’s to be impersonal. The fact that B2C companies are beginning to share your path should only mean that you need to keep walking that right direction.
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.