The process of lead generation is like a mission that helps start other missions. In your case for example, its objective is to find companies who are suffering from technical software problems. Once you do though, the next step for software lead generation is to call in those who will take part in handling it.
Adopting a personal approach to connect with software leads has its pros and cons. But in keeping with the idea, I’ve decided to make this blog post a little more personal as well by adopting a first-person perspective. Now you might be thinking, what does that have to do with software leads? How does putting more personality behind marketing make it better? How do you keep it from turning off these software leads?
The concept of lead generation seems to run counter to the idea of keeping your business isolated. Then again, hiding in a shell seems counter-intuitive to business in general. The idea behind lead generation is to get you connected with the world. Why would you keep your company a secret? Is it for protection or are you just a little shy? Well, maybe nobody can blame you. Maybe your business cannot afford the loud marketing tactics and excess promotion that lead generation is known for.
You still need to get out every now and then though.
A B2B lead generation campaign targets businesses but you still need to speak to an individual in order to qualify. However, even those with an extensive understanding of corporate structure still find it challenging to identify this person. Company politics usually get in the way. Sometimes the people you contact are not even sure they are the ones in charge!
It is becoming increasingly common among software marketers to treat their software leads as if they were gods. The best example would be the rising movement among marketers to place focus solely on the customer. Marketing materials center on their experience and use lead generation tools so as to learn (and satisfy) more needs.
Many marketing and lead generation professionals have a general idea of what selling out is, what negative implications it has, as well as what looks like it. Upon further reflection though, it can be a little more complicated. When people think of selling out, they usually just think of folks compromising themselves to please big business. Going just by that though can be pretty narrow-minded. What about business software firms like yours? You also have integrity, principles, and a sense of identity right? On the other hand, you cater to all kinds of business whether it is the Millennial entrepreneur in flip-flops or an entire board of directors in suits. It looks like no matter who you decide to cater to the most, anybody can accuse you of selling out.
Lead generation can induce stress no differently from any other business function. When results are not showing, investment is being wasted, and there is just simply no progress, how can anyone not worry? But more specifically, how aware are you that your lead generation efforts are also stressing others besides yourself?
Given the Internet-based model of cloud computing, the use of telemarketing seems out of place. It makes more sense to use social media, online marketing, and web advertising to promote your cloud-based solution and communicate with your market.
However, are you aware that what telemarketing is the precursor to all of those?
It all goes back the same way the Internet you know and love goes back to the telephone. Telemarketing made use of available technology. It targeted a certain audience. And most of all, it was eventually faced with opposition and restriction. The first two are also important for attracting your cloud computing leads and increase subscriptions. If you think that last one is the exception though, you’ll soon find yourself wrong.
Now, here’s how telemarketers specifically fulfilled each objective:
It made use of technology.
The telephone may have advanced a long way when telemarketing was first used in the past 20th century. However, when telemarketing was first introduced, it was just as much a new thing for businesses then as internet marketing is the new thing now. Furthermore, even today’s telemarketers are coming to apply much of their experience on new tools like email.
It targeted a certain audience
Both B2C and B2B companies have always used a form of targeting when sending out their messages. Today, Internet marketers have email listings, the power of social media profiling, as well as behavioral tracking to identify the people viewing their sites. But back then, they had similar counterparts in mailing lists, call lists, and good, old-fashioned market research. In either case, both acknowledge the importance of keeping in touch with one’s customers.
It faced opposition and restriction
Speaking of behavioral tracking though, here’s the part where you’d be wrong about how online marketing is not facing a restriction that strongly parallels that of telemarketing. According to Venture Beat, this restriction is none other than the new, “Do not Track” option:
“For advertisers, behavioral tracking is an effective way to develop a strong profile on web users so they can better target ads. But for privacy groups and web users, it’s a massive breach in privacy that goes against the most basic tenets of the web. Originally proposed in 2009, Do Not Track is the “Do not call” of the digital age, a way for users to tell advertising companies that they want to opt out of behavioral tracking.”
Honestly, one big mistake people make when pitting new marketing tools like websites against traditional ones like B2B telemarketing is they forget they share the same opposition. The Do-Not-Call registers were developed in the same way. Customers grew fed up of intrusive calls and wanted them locked down.
Be it B2B or B2C, it’s this demand for customer privacy that has always kept marketing, as a whole, in check. No matter what you do, that is the customer’s right and no new form of marketing is going to change that demand.
The bright side to this however is that it calls everyone on the side of marketing and sales to look back and realize how history is only repeating itself. As a cloud service provider, you yourself would know a thing or two about customer privacy. Instead of figuring out new ways to violate that privacy, why not look to how the old ways have come to respect them instead? That’s the thing about consulting precursors like the telemarketers. They’ve long learned lessons that are still being learned by their successors.
Like many software companies, vendors of SCM technologies like to use case studies, reliable research, and impressive statistics to attract sales leads. After all, it’s not very easy to argue with solid proof.
Despite that, many people not only underestimate the amount of effort required but also the effort of determining what actually drives the point home to your prospects. The numbers, percentages, and sheer size of data is double edged. As an analogy, think of it as staring up a giant. For some, a giant’s size is impressive but for others, it’s terrifying. That is the risk you’re taking each time you present findings and research in the hopes of generating software sales leads.
Although, it’s also hard to argue against the inevitable event that a prospect will have people look into the finer details. Many SCM professionals are all about looking more deeply into the flow between suppliers and retailers. The slightest anomaly in any phase is enough to be of grave concern.
Regardless, it’s still a fact that you grab their interest by citing things that hold a lot of significance to them. Attract your SCM leads by using the sales funnel as a guide to focus on the basics of what your prospects want. Only after that should you expound upon them.
- Step 1: Start with what’s simple – How you begin the conversation between yourself and your prospects slightly depends on your main channel of communication but mostly depends on focusing first on their simple grievances. You should also simplify the research results and find out which of these results are the ones your target businesses are looking for. Speak more in their language but avoid too much jargon (even of the business variety).
- Step 2: Maintain focus during the conversation - For example, if your case findings are available for download on your website, there’s a chance that you’ll get emailed about a certain quotation. Focus only on that. They expressed concern about this part for a reason and that reason it’s something they consider very relevant to their own situation. When elaborating, still keep simplicity in mind. Exert all effort if you want but don’t demand the same from your prospect.
- Step 3: Qualify within reasonable parameters – All right so your conversation is going good. The prospect is getting more interested in the results and wants to experience the same for his or her company. Yet despite that, there’s still a desire to keep the discussion going. You (or at least your marketers) are hitting the limits of their own knowledge. Signs like these are indicators that it’s time to qualify. Politely tell them that your salespeople know more and are willing to go deeper into what solutions can be offered.
Generating sales leads has always been about starting with simple information and then diving deeper into the complex. SCM professionals aren’t total strangers to this as some of them actually have to exercise these same skills when reporting findings to their own superiors (as well as subordinates). But like them, you have to start first with the simplified stats.