Monthly Archives: July 2012

How To Prioritize Your Methods Of Generating Software Leads

Software Sales Leads

If you’ve been following the status of Facebook’s stock market performance, then you’re well aware of the debate that ranges around its value for advertising. On the other hand, the value of online advertising itself has long been called to question. If this is already a problem for B2C brands, how much more for B2B brands like those in ERP software? Cases like this are a good reason to seriously re-evaluate the ways with which you generate software leads.

 

Generating software leads starts with getting a prospect’s attention. Naturally, marketers assume that online advertising will get them that attention. After all, these are advertisements are on the Internet. Like anything on the Internet, they’ll be presented to an audience of over a million people.

 

However, that value is being put to question because, ironically, both online and social media have diminished the role of advertising as a source of information. (Then again, some might even argue that advertising was never that informative to begin with.) Customers (both B2C and B2B) have been empowered to obtain more information on their own as well as from their own peers. No doubt, advertising still gets attention but by itself, it has lost much of its capacity to push prospects all the way through the sales process. You don’t need to just grab their attention. You need to first avoid making assumptions about that interest, learn about the finer details about their need for an enterprise solution, and set an appointment should the sales team specify the moment where you pass over the baton.

 

This means that it’s about time to consider the alternatives. And by now, you might already be familiar with several of them: email marketing, social media, telemarketing, direct mail etc. These alternatives have to be prioritized according to how effective they might be. Of course, with so many advocates each saying that their method works better, it’s hard to come up with some proper guidelines. Fortunately, just take the following steps to come up with an objective conclusion:

 

  • Find what appeals to your target market – Since you’re an ERP software vendor, your target market comprises of influential decision makers and high-ranking business executives. And as you can already tell, getting their attention won’t be easy. These people are clearly a bit above your average consumer so appealing to them is about appealing to their preferences. Most likely, these decision makers would want a one-on-one, direct marketing approach. This could mean telemarketing or email. You don’t have to start cold calling immediately or firing off email blasts but engagement through these channels must be done early.
  • Play to your strengths while outsourcing – Your market can suddenly shift their preferences to any popular channel and it might be hard to constantly invest in a fully multi-channel approach just to keep up. Your resources could get painfully divided. You should play according to your strengths and maintain your mastery over a certain approach. Meanwhile, outsource those other tools so that their respective channels can still be covered. Outsource a web design team if you need a website or outsource a telemarketer if you need a call center.
  • Use the others methods as support – The other methods don’t have to be entirely discarded. They just need to be directed to give support to the main component of your ERP lead generation process. Find ways to integrate them all.

ERP Software – Not All Customers Need To Know You’re Expanding

B2B Sales LeadsExpansion occurs in different forms but it’s always seen as a good sign. Setting up a factory could mean that you’ve increased production. Developing new features for your ERP software can be a mark of innovation. Even just an increase in business size (and profits) looks promising enough. In any case, they all indicate one thing: growth.

 

It’s natural to see that business growth is a mark of success. Your ERP software business is making more and more money as you serve more and more businesses. Why wouldn’t you celebrate it?

 

However, your current customers may not always be willing to ‘share’ in the celebration.

 

What does this mean? Well, you know those moments where you try to tell them that you’ve successfully expanded in any of the different ways mentioned above?

 

Here’s the bad news: they don’t always care about that.

 

You might think that putting up a new factory or office somewhere might mean something to you. The doesn’t mean the same thing to your prospect if the location isn’t all that relevant.

 

You might think that adding new features or developing specialized versions of enterprise solutions might improve the overall quality of your business. On the other hand, your clients might wonder how that matters if none of those features cater to any need they have at the moment.

 

You might think having more employees and more profits is something everyone needs to know. But the truth is, they’ll only care if an increase in employees includes a bigger and better customer service department.

 

So, why do you need to be aware of this?

 

You have to be if announcing these successful expansions is your way of getting your foot in the door and testing to see which among your current clients can make for new software leads. While making leads out of your current (or even past) clients is a classical marketing strategy, it’s still prone to some of the same mistakes businesses make when approaching entirely new prospects.

 

The key to avoiding these mistakes is to see things from the prospect’s perspective. If you want some ideas, go back to the different ways you can expand your business and see why marketing them may not matter to particular clients.

 

  • More Production? – Recall the reasons why you chose to increase production. Can any of these give your clients an advantage of their own? For example, will it lower costs? Does the actual location enable you to reach out to businesses nearby?
  • New Features? – Do these features address the needs of your client? What drove the innovations in the first place? If you did a survey which indicated the demand for these features, maybe you should start with the clients who participated in it instead of all of them at once.
  • Bigger Business? – More likely, only your stakeholders and investors will care about this more compared to your customers. Then again, this is ERP. Maybe some (if not all) your customers can be considered stakeholders as well. But like all stakeholders, you need to tell them how it directly affects their own business.

 

In summary, expansion is good but it’s also good by itself. You don’t necessarily have to announce it to the whole world. Maybe you just need to limit the announcements to those who also think such expansions help their own business and can see the reason to celebrate.

Turn Current ERP Clients Into Cloud Computing Leads (But Only If They’re Ready!)

Software Sales LeadsAs you may have heard, many big-names in the tech world are slowly making their way into the cloud and foreshadowing heavy competition. Like some of them however, you may have already felt the change in the winds and have started to lift up a version of your previous, on-premise system into the cloud. Now all you need is to start generating cloud computing leads.

 

But wait, since this is a new market and the competition is just starting to come in, new challenges are bound to surface. Finding new leads might be hard because companies are still trying to familiarize with not only the benefits but also the risks that come with using cloud-based software for their business processes. As a new cloud-based provider yourself, you need to be careful about approaching those who are still using on-premise systems. While it does sound like the cloud can give you an edge over competitors who still market those systems, they might be hesitant if you just appear out of the blue.

 

On the other hand, you might just have a better chance if you start turning your own clients first into cloud computing leads. You’ve already developed a cloud-based version of your software. Now it’s time you took your current client’s software into the cloud too.

 

Make no mistake, this doesn’t mean they’re not ready either. You still have to be careful. Still, the advantage is they’re already clients. They won’t be as surprised when you approach them. All you need to do is to ask yourself the following questions before approaching them.

 

  • How satisfied are they with your software?– Obviously, if even your traditional, on-premise system isn’t serving them as well as both of you had hoped, then how will the cloud be any better? Careful now, that question can become a double-edged sword. Maybe your cloud is better or maybe they’d first have their on-premise system improved in the same way you improved things in the cloud before considering it. Either way, you need to make sure your enterprise software solution is at least satisfactory.
  • How have you handled complaints and inquiries so far? – In other words, how good is your customer service? This is an age-old question but so is the relationship between marketing and customer relations. If you’re not there to help your customers during times of need, then how will shifting to the cloud give you more reason to do better?
  • Do they like your software but also wish it cost less? – A popular selling point among cloud-computing marketers is low costs. It may not always be the main concern but in this case, this would be a good time to say that your cloud-based software has the cost advantage over your previous products.
  • Are they looking to shift more responsibility to the cloud? – Another advantage of the cloud is having to devote fewer resources to technical maintenance. That responsibility will be shifted to you, the provider. However, not all businesses are willing to turn over that responsibility (even your current clients). Major (and tricky) issues like compliance are just some of the reasons. Properly using ERP software can be a hassle for both the vendor and the client but there are times when the latter likes to learn instead of giving up responsibility.

 

All these questions can be answered if you know how to gather information that indicates that your clients are ready. For a start, you can outsource telemarketing to do a quick survey or improve your customer service to acquire more information.

Competitors – More And More Are Out For Your Cloud Computing Leads!

Software Lead GenerationJust 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.

Some Basic Tips To Cut Costs Of Both EMR and EMR Leads

Software Leads

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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...