Software appointments are not just supposed to be a short-term success. They have long term implications as well. And when it comes to long-term business relationships, even something like punctuality is a big deal. Many in the field of SCM can certainly attest to the importance of a date beyond just those scheduled in software appointments. They also have deadlines to worry about!
The term “technical difficulties” can be quite convenient but not to the point that you start making excuses for bad appointment setting. When something gets in the way of your communication or a bug in your email filter blocked out a prospect’s response message, know that there are some things about such accidents that keep you from using them constantly for a poor appointment setting strategy!
Some appointment setting experts give off the impression that looks are everything or at least play an integral part in showing reliability. Others though wish to deviate from this rule on the count that showing off just simply goes against their company values. If you are ever the latter though, know that you are not wrong. It is just a matter of actually proving that you are more reliable than you appear.
You may have heard this before but jargon does not attract software leads. On the other hand, so many people in the IT industry get so immersed in their own culture that this little marketing tip needs repeating. This is not about sucking up or selling out just to please prospect customers. It is simply accepting the importance of getting your point across in plain English.
Just this week, InfoWorld published a slideshow highlighting the big-name entries into the cloud-computing race. While Amazon continues to dominate, the arrival of new tech giants could only mean you’ll have a lot more heavy contenders to compete with for cloud computing leads.
“In the past few months, Google, HP, and Microsoft have announced they’re getting into the IaaS game. Amazon now dominates the space, but can it fend off the invading tech giants? Smaller players like Rackspace — now famous for its OpenStack ‘cloud operating system’ — and insurgents like Joyent are also intent on grabbing a piece of Amazon’s pie.”
Competitors always pose a significant threat the to success of your lead generation campaign. The more news of big-time competition gets out, even qualified cloud computing leads will lose their value as interest begins to shift in their favor. Cloud computing remains to be a growing market but it’s a market that’s growing fast. And when it grows fast, it’s likely that the competition will only become more intense. Below are a few factors in cloud computing which could cause a shift in favor of your competitors:
- Trends – Cloud computing is still a new industry. Despite that, more and more companies are starting to employ the cloud (even if it’s only for non-critical functions). Many are also predicting that this new technology will play a significant role in changing the enterprise software game. It’s these predictions that have been drawing the attention of the tech giants for quite a while.
- Flaws – Cloud computing isn’t without its flaws as critics of the trend are pointing out great risks to security. In addition to that is the rising threat of online criminal activities such as hacking and the classical spread of viruses. By now though, both you and your competitors already know enough about these common threats and are rushing to keep back doors closed as well as meet compliance.
- Customer Service – It’s good that the slideshow chooses to mention Amazon as recent disasters in its infrastructure may have blunted it’s edge over these incoming competitors. It’s poor handling of its recent (and major) outage has already sparked outcry from critics and could hand the advantage over to the new players.
What’s interesting is that the slideshow mentions a few other big-name companies such as Terremark and IBM:
“But other names bear watching, too, such as IBM and its SmartCloud Enterprise and the VMware-centric Terremark Enterprise Cloud, although both require you to engage with a rep rather than perform your own self-service startup.”
If these companies would still like to engage, then perhaps you should too! All of the three factors above can be dealt with if you’re engaging customers or pursuing ERP leads. There’s a lot that you can learn about their needs. You can also learn about any security concerns they might have. It also gives them someone they can contact should they start having problems.
On the other hand, such engagement is more likely to succeed with a multi-channel approach. Don’t hesitate to make phone calls, send emails, or schedule appointments with your prospects. Learn as much about your prospects as possible and you can keep up with the competition.
Cutting costs for the generation of EMR leads is a must nowadays.
Last week, Businessweek published a report announcing that SAIC is to buy maxIT Healthcare Holdings Inc., a healthcare IT company that possesses a wide variety of medical technology and has served over 600 hospitals in the United States and Canada:
“SAIC, a scientific, engineering and technology applications company based in McLean, Va., said late Tuesday maxIT provides a wide variety of IT services to the health care industry including planning, electronic record implementation and management consulting.”
Seeing as how SAIC also has ties to several defense and security departments of the U.S. government, it only goes to show how much value there is in integrating healthcare with IT and other new forms of software technology. It also goes to show how it’s becoming more critical to use such technology in order to drive back the costs of healthcare:
“SAIC said the combination will allow it to provide better service to health care providers, by helping them cut costs, use their data better and improve patient care.”
Sadly, the only way such cuts in costs can be achieved is through maximized use of the technology. Today, many physicians and other institutions still have trouble figuring out just that: what it means to meaningfully use medical software.
Setting that aside for a moment, it’s easy to see that no matter drives up these costs, the costs of healthcare has been a major concern in American politics. If you’re a healthcare software vendor, there’s no doubt that you’ve already heard some of the ways to help drive those costs down:
- Meaningful Use – As stated before, educating a prospect on the importance of meaningful use is the key to unlocking the cost-saving power of technologies like EMR. Misusing EMR actually adds to the costs but proper usage and improved working processes will definitely accomplish the opposite.
- Streamlining – The point of the technology itself is to cut the costs of lengthy processes and the acquisition of critical data. Please know that even a lengthy waiting period can kill patients if you don’t find ways to speed up time-consuming procedures.
- Outsourcing Non-Core Functions – This might sound unlikely but it still makes sense. If you can save up on non-core processes that raise up the costs for your own business, then it’s another way to help lower the overall price of your EMR system. For instance, if you’re focused on educating prospects via scheduled appointments, then try using outsourced telemarketing to invite prospects instead of building up your own call center.
As you can see, what all three have in common is that they can directly affect costs by cutting back on the factors which contribute to them. Educating prospects can help them save time and therefore money when they effectively use things like EMR. The EMR system itself should naturally support such meaningful use and speed up time-consuming processes. And finally, even while you’re still struggling to achieve the other two, you can at least cut costs for yourself and outsource non-core functions like software appointment setting. And the more costs are cut, the closer you are to achieving the goal of more affordable health care.
Before you read on, this is the definition of ‘friction’ according to a blog from the Harvard Business Review. In here, you will also find explanations as to why you need to be careful when pursuing the HR department for offering software solutions specific to its function.
“Friction is anything that makes it more difficult for people in critical roles to win with the customer. Flow, on the other hand, is doing everything possible to remove barriers and promote better performance. The question applies to virtually any company in any business and it will take you farther down the road faster than the hazy, abstract injunction to become a strategic partner.”
Now read that last phrase, just what does it mean when it says HR needs to be a ‘strategic partner’? Well that’s because, according to this blog, HR leaders aren’t always in tune with the overall action plan. So what does this mean for you as a vendor of recruitment and payroll software? It might mean that while your attempts to sell might be well-received, it doesn’t mean the rest of the organization will follow.
Granted, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go straight to HR. Contacting that department still should be your first order of business when you’re qualifying other companies for B2B sales leads. It just simply means that you have to be on your toes when it turns out that your target HR department is experiencing friction with the rest of its organization.
Diving right in without fully grasping the situation could land you right in the middle of internal politicking. That’s a conflict you don’t want to get caught up in when you don’t even have much of a strong relationship with that company in the first place. Establishing ties in the following manner should be your top priority:
- Contact HR – First, you need to know the proper contact details and the right decision maker in charge of the department. And by ‘right decision maker’, don’t just stop at titles and identify who is really calling the shots.
- See things from different perspectives – Second, you must ask about why there is friction. After asking about it and hearing the story from the point-of-view of HR, try making calls to other departments involved and see their side of the story. Doing so will give you the different pieces you need to form the whole picture.
- Offer a supportive solution – Finally, go back to HR and show a software solution that can help HR resolve this conflict as well as help it contribute more to the company’s overall strategy.
It may look time consuming at first. In fact, that last step is highly likely to warrant software appointment setting just so you can have enough time to talk and find the right meeting place to present your solution. However, you should always remember that you’re only targeting one part of a whole business entity. If that particular part is causing friction, then you should think twice before diving into the fray. Try to see a more complete picture of the problem and offer a relevant software solution to HR that can help ease the tension.
With today’s technology, from mobile SMS to email, most people are assuming that direct mail is dying (if not dead already). Electronic and digital forms of communication are making the old-fashioned mailing system look not only obsolete but also more expensive.
However, new findings from the DMA’s 2012 Response Rate Report are showing that people actually give more response to direct mail than they do to digital forms of marketing. In the graph below, you will see that despite the relatively low percentage of responses for direct mail, email is quite dismal by comparison:
Another thing you will notice from the graph however is that the response rate to the phone is actually higher than the rest of them! This could be good news for telemarketers but what’s truly interesting is that both telemarketing and direct mail have been popularly depicted as behind the times.
And make no mistake, they both possess flaws which justify this depiction. For telemarketing, you may have already heard enough about the typical objections of being pushy and disruptive. It’s why B2B telemarketers have to contend with gatekeepers who in turn indirectly delay your efforts to generate sales leads.
Direct mail, on the other hand, suffers similar though not as disruptive deficiencies.
- It can be slower in comparison to digital and electronic channels.
- The costs of printing an appealing and well-designed marketing letter significantly add to the costs.
- Responses are even harder to measure. There’s no magical way to know that your letter was opened.
- Like email, it can be just tossed in the trash but it’s slightly worse given the physical space it actually occupies (as well as additional environmental concerns).
- B2B software can be a complicated thing to market. You need to be careful not to overwhelm or underwhelm the prospect with excess or insufficient information respectively. It’s far more difficult considering the physical restrictions of a letter.
Still, despite that, the higher response rate of direct mail can actually make it a more powerful tool to integrate with telemarketing. Email marketing and telemarketing can also be used together to improve the rate of connecting with a B2B prospect. The mail is meant to either signal the arrival of a call or encourage a call from the prospects themselves. This minimizes the disruptive effect that people hate about telemarketing. Either way, you can actually think of direct mail as an upgraded version of using email. It may be slower and more expensive, but the response rate is higher.
And at this point, you might be wondering, “How is this possible?” This might surprise you but some of the guesses are based simply on common sense. Because of the mass use of SMS and email, messages have lost their personal touch. It can be argued, for example, that even a decision maker is more likely to look at a message when they can tell the effort it took to design and print it. This is something worth considering if you feel that email is not doing enough for your telemarketing services and would like to turn it up a notch.
Out of all the lead generation tools people discuss, banner ads are either overrated or underrated when it’s time to compare. When they’re compared to telemarketing, for instance, some tend to make the mistake of saying that banner ads give more exposure to a business compared to older marketing tools.
What they don’t realize is that banner advertising is heavily reliant on website marketing. These ads don’t work by themselves. There are so many limitations in terms of physical dimensions. Furthermore, advertising itself is no longer as effective now as it was back then. The internet has allowed more information to disseminate so that those on the receiving end of advertising are more knowledgeable about what is being marketed to them. The limitations of advertising certainly undermines its value for marketing ERP software.
The people who will represent your ERP leads are the type who will not just need information. They will demand it. An enterprise software solution isn’t just some application you can install on your desktop PC. It’s a large, complex system that could take months to implement for an entire company.
Ironically, despite their need for more product information, these are the same busy business professionals who don’t have a lot of time to obtain that information. And speaking of time, banner ads are indeed not the best to use when you’re trying to get their attention. Mashable once published a top ten list of “Most Clickable Banner Ads”. Despite how impressive (and even touching) they are, these same ads are filled with mini-games and other quirks that you can’t exactly imagine a busy CEO spending his or her time on.
Setting that aside, the purpose of a banner ad is to take you somewhere else on the internet and in most cases it’s a website. If you can’t rely on time-wasting bells and whistles, your ads must at least get themselves clicked while your website keeps the prospects hooked.
However, why then only a website? Why can’t a banner ad simply display your number or your email address? Well, that is where people tend to underrate it. But first, the primary reason why people prefer a website is because scammers often operate in a similar fashion when it comes to banners displaying contact numbers or email addresses. Again, the problem with banners is their incapacity to display more information. So instead, you should have them redirect your prospects to a space where you have more room to explain who you are and what you do.
Guess what though? Websites have limitations when it comes to information as well. You can’t expect a decision maker to spend so much time reading your content. This is where you can integrate additional lead generation tools like telemarketing. This even works with outsourced telemarketing! You provide the website and the ads while your outsourced call center will simply take the calls and qualify the prospects for you.
Banner advertising is, in fact, well-suited for addressing the flaws of outbound marketing efforts by replacing more aggressive tactics (e.g. cold calling). Instead of using random calls, you simply use ads in the right places to attract interested prospects and then throw in more traditional tools. Don’t overestimate these online banners but don’t underestimate them either!
Suppose you’re already in the final stages of the lead generation process. You’ve made contact with a potential client, learned about they do, figured out their needs, and confirmed that they have the necessary budget. So what now? Better yet, do you even know what qualifies as the final stage or what qualifies a certain lead?
In other words, do you know how to finish it up and attempt the sale?
Think of lead generation as aiming a hunting rifle. You make sure that the target is not moving or if it is, you try to time the shot and move the barrel at an appropriate pace. The process is finished when you finally pull the trigger.
That won’t matter if you don’t know how and when to shoot the gun in the first place.
Hence, you need to know how to plan your process so that you have a cutoff time or a set date in which you can attempt the sale. In other words, you need to really schedule your attempts. The idea of implementing something as high-end as ERP software will definitely be something that company decision makers need time to think over. And it’s not just them either, when you consider parts of the package such as CRM and HR software, they’ll be talking this over with their employees as well. You will need the full support of their organization.
These things take time, lots of it. Some companies even go as far add in software appointment setting so that their potential clients will have a really comprehensive idea of what they’re being offered. The only way to finish the process that way however is if you take note of their schedule.