Monthly Archives: August 2012

Telemarketing For Big Data – What Markets To Test

Telemarketing, Sales Lads, ERP Software LeadsLast week on Forbes, Alistair Croll from O’Reilly Media has made three predictions about big data technology in three respective areas of the business world. Now if these predictions are right, it could prove that incorporating big data technology in ERP software will be your advantage. Although, you still need to test the market yourself and use tools like telemarketing to generate feedback and affirm their expectations.

For example, you can use a telemarketing survey and directly ask a set of target prospects (or even your current customers). You can announce the big data features and encourage viewers to call your business and give their opinions. But first, it’s time to identify what these areas are, what aspect of your ERP software solution to highlight, and what markets you can appeal to:

Enterprise BI 2.0”

“For decades, analysts have relied on business intelligence (BI) products like Hyperion, Microstrategy and Cognos to crunch large amounts of information and generate reports. Data warehouses and BI tools are great at answering the same question—such as “what were Mary’s sales this quarter?”—over and over again. But they’ve been less good at the exploratory, what-if, unpredictable questions that matter for planning and decision-making because that kind of fast exploration of unstructured data is traditionally hard to do and therefore expensive.”

So as you can see, you have business intelligence. If you’re planning a survey, you might want to target CEOs along with perhaps financial planners and IT managers. Telemarketing can get you to their desk phone provided that your agents have the skill to bypass gatekeepers as well as apply additional channels.

Civil Engineering”

Cities are facing budget crunches, infrastructure problems, and a crowding from rural citizens. Solving these problems is urgent, and cities are perfect labs for big data initiatives. Take a metropolis like New York: hackathons; open feeds of public data; and a population that generates a flood of information as it shops, commutes, gets sick, eats, and just goes about its daily life.”

Instead of a survey, try contacting city planners and government officials. The problems cited can be unique to each city and thus, the same will be for the feedback you can generate from a separate governing body. Use a combination of telemarketing as well awareness of current events to plan your marketing campaign.

Customer Relationship Optimization”

The number of contact points in a company has multiplied significantly. Where once there was a phone number and a mailing address, today there are web pages, social media accounts, and more. Tracking users across all these channels — and turning every click, like, share, friend, or retweet into the start of a long funnel that leads, inexorably, to revenue is a big challenge.”

Vendors with a highly successful CRM feature can have a strong advantage with big data if it’s properly marketed. However, the sheer increase in customer contact information not only demands big data but at the same time, compliance and security with such sensitive information. Make sure this is kept in mind when qualifying ERP leads that have a particular focus on CRM software.

In fact, even if just one of these areas prove faithful to Croll’s predictions, all of them fall very well under the umbrella of ERP software. Regardless, don’t underestimate the wide applications of big data and test what specific markets this new technology most likely appeals to.

Attract Cost-Efficient Sales Leads Using Cost-Efficient Features

Sales Leads, Lead Generation, TelemarketingOutsourced marketing has a lot in common with what’s coming in the future of HR software technology. The former seeks to become a more cost-efficient source of quality sales leads. The latter seeks to cut costs as well in terms of office space, productivity, and even commuting costs.

Therefore, it only makes sense that if you’re marketing the latter, you wouldn’t want the cost of marketing to eat up what you managed to save. On the other hand, outsourcing for your sales leads requires your provider to closely collaborate with your business and possess an understanding of what the new face of HR software is all about.

This interview from Freakonomics Radio should give them a basic idea.
One of the features promised by future HR technologies is enabling employees to do their work at home. And contrary to popular opinion, the research cited in the interview has proven that out-of-office workers are in fact more productive than their cubicle counterparts:

Dubner: Exactly. Now keep in mind, these Ctrip workers were essentially call center employees — not all jobs are as easily transferred to home as that. But that said, the home workers — the people that worked from home — were about 13 percent more productive than an equivalent group of office workers.”

Remember, if you’re going to outsource lead generation, you have to make sure your provider understands just why this is so. A reduction of costs can be a selling point but if they can’t explain that to skeptical decision makers, then they won’t take interest. It’s only common rule of thumb in business that just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s good. Funnily enough, that’s why you also need to be critical of who you select as an outsourced marketing provider.

Now, here are some things that your marketing message must contain. Take note that it should relay sufficient enough information without being too much for the prospects. Not everyone would consider these cost reductions beneficial so make sure your marketers specify their targets:

  • Reduction of office space – Workers at home minimize the need for any office space and infrastructure. Businesses who struggle with maintaining such spaces would make ideal prospects. This could not only cut costs financially but the same resources could be dedicated for something else. If your business has more specific proposals for what that might be, don’t hesitate to promise the full details in your software appointments.
  • Increased productivity – Not all workers are comfortable working at home. However, it would help to ask about the state of the workers and see if there are those among them who in fact feel less productive due to the clamor in the office. Knowing the kind of work they do also helps.
  • Reducing commutes – The interview also cites an additional research that demonstrates daily commuting might in fact be bad for your health: “So we found that people who commuted longer distances were less physically active, less physically fit, weighed more and had higher blood pressure than people who had shorter commute distances.” Companies looking to improve working conditions by reducing commutes are another possible set of candidates for your HR software leads.

Your marketers don’t necessarily have to be full-blown technical experts themselves. But on the other hand, outsourcing the right company requires that company to be very familiar with your market. This includes the latest developments (like those in HR software) and how their cost-efficient features can translate into cost-efficient sales leads.

Widening The Scope Of Lead Generation Can Help Overtake Competition

Lead Generation, B2B Leads, Qualified LeadsYou know that your competitors aren’t always just targeting the same industries. That however could only mean that your lead generation strategy needs to be more comprehensive. While targeting is good (and even admirable if your targets are quite elusive), you should add to that advantage by widening the scope of your search. It minimizes the risk of competitors taking advantage of businesses and industries that you haven’t covered.

For example, you may have recently heard about Square, a mobile payments company, and its famed deal with Starbucks. Now recently, one of Square’s competitors has made a similar groundbreaking move. According to All Things, that competitor is PayPal and they just forged a similar partnership with Discovery.

Both have been considered big deals but one expert cited in the report believes that PayPal has it bigger and if you read closely, you can find that a similar strategy can be applied for lead generation:

In ranking the two deals, Ken Paterson, VP of Research at Mercator Advisory Group, says he would guess that PayPal’s deal is potentially larger. ‘It could bring PayPal to the majority of card-accepting merchants across the country,’ he said. ‘The potential scale involved here is very significant.’

Discover may not hold the same cachet among consumers as Visa and MasterCard, but it reaches nearly as many merchants, roughly 95 percent of the two other payment networks combined. And when matched up with PayPal’s more than 50 million users in the U.S., the two could mark the first mobile payments network that spans both millions of users and millions of locations.”

Simply put, PayPal’s new partnership has enabled it to cover a wider market compared to Square. In lead generation, your competitors could easily overtake you in just the same way. They will look out for any large gaps in your marketing, sales, products and find ways to cover them.

The good news is you can do the same if you broaden your search for software leads. Again, don’t stick too close to what you’re targeting. Targeting is good but you need to expand eventually. Even during current marketing campaigns, you can conduct these activities on the side:

  • Market Surveys – You don’t have to market directly but you can acquire information about demands via surveys. Look to industries you haven’t covered yet, get their feedback, then have both sales and R&D figure out what the gaps are.
  • Market Engagement – Have agents participate in social media and make small reports on what the community is favoring. Look for community influencers and ask for their additional input.
  • Customer Support – Interactions with your customer service can also provide more information. If you’re looking for gaps specifically in the product itself, few things can replace customer input.

Once you have enough information and made the necessary changes and developments, start your lead generation campaign immediately.

Overtaking the competition means finding areas your competitors haven’t yet covered yet. These gaps can be found anywhere (even inside) but the ones outside are best left discovered by your marketing tools. Start expanding your targets to more industries, gain their feedback, and don’t forget insights from customer input.

How Pictures Can Attract ERP Leads

ERP Leads, Cloud Computing Leads, Lead GenerationEveryone uses a variety of media in marketing. It’s not surprising then that generating ERP leads would occasionally dip into using multimedia. It’s more or less a staple and you can even say it’s been taken for granted. Regardless, they can still be important for keeping prospects interested. It’s not just your salespeople who can benefit from a good, visual presentation.

On the other hand, enterprise software is a B2B industry so pictures could serve a purpose beyond just gimmicks and eye-candy. After all, B2B lead generation can demand a heavy mix of multi-channel marketing and extensive prospect engagement prior to qualification.

So, how exactly do pictures fulfill a significant purpose in this process?

  • #1 – They help send a message: Blocks of text might not be good but a single picture may not necessarily speak a thousand words either. Put them together though and you present a clearer idea for prospects who both prefer to read and for those who rely more on visual reference. In business intelligence for example, isn’t it more ideal to see a visual graph instead of just numbers? The representations of various statistics coupled with a complimentary explanation can pack a complex message into a simplified package. Why should your marketing deny this same convenience?
  • #2 – They signify authenticity – Photographic evidence can be arguably more powerful than eye-witness accounts. In your case, it can be powerful evidence that you’re a real business. For example, if your enterprise solution is cloud-based, then it would be convenient for your subscribers to know where you’re located. Other images you can include would be pictures of your hardware, the people in charge of maintenance, and even the picture of the actual building.
  • #3 – They inspire confidence – With both visual statistics and photographic evidence, your prospects now have solid reason to trust you more. And the more they trust you, the more interest they’ll have and the more likely they’ll become verified sales leads. Remember, inspiring trust is one of the most important steps in marketing (whether it’s B2B or B2C).

Do take note that pictures alone won’t work though. Again, just because they can speak a thousand words doesn’t mean all those words need to be said. It’s easy to make it an excuse to be lazy while letting the ‘thousand words’ burden the mind of your prospect. In marketing, that’s supposed to be the other way around.

However, it’s still good to use them as support throughout all channels you’ve been using. You can include some images in your email messages. Pictures could have a gallery of their own in your website. When engaging via telemarketing or social media, they could also be something to share.

Just because it’s B2B marketing, doesn’t mean there’s no place for any form of creative multimedia. On the contrary, the information that needs to be exchanged makes their application even more important. Visual representations can help reduce the burden of text. Photographic evidence can showcase and prove the authenticity of your business. Both can establish the trust and confidence you’ll need to attract ERP leads.

Inbound Telemarketing – There Is Still A Need For The Human Element

Telemarketing, B2B Leads, Sales LeadsContrary to popular opinion, telemarketing only continues to improve with the advancement of new technologies. In outbound marketing it sees integrated use with email, website, and social media. And just last week, CNNMoney has reported that creators of Apple’s Siri are now creating a similar voice application that offers integrated support for customer service call centers.

The application has been dubbed “Nina” and comes with features that not only assists customers troubleshoot their own problems, it will assist customer support agents in resolving the more complicated ones. These same agents still use telemarketing, as hinted below.

The software can also check balances, transfer money, and troubleshoot problems, among other tasks. Nuance said the idea is to make Nina smart and fast enough to encourage users to go to the app first, before dialing a human customer service representative.

If a customer’s issue needs to be handled by a human being, Nina comes with a neat trick: The software can call a rep and provide the company with all the details of what the customer has been trying to accomplish. That means no more sorting through an endless series of call center menus and then having to explain the problem again when you finally get a human being on the other end of the line.

Nina also comes with an analytics engine that informs companies about how customers are using their apps.

‘People will ask their phone different things than they would a representative on the phone,’ said Robert Gary, general manager of Nuance’s mobile care unit. ‘Knowing what people ask Nina will help them determine what should be automated and what shouldn’t.’”

Reading that last paragraph, it’s also implied that this new type of technology has much potential even outside customer support. For instance, it can improve the ways that businesses receive feedback. And as you’re well aware, the power of market feedback can really shape the whole of your software company. Knowing what and what not to automate is just the beginning. It can also tell you what B2B market wants your software to handle and produce. This can direct the whole of your next campaign to generate software leads.

However, you also shouldn’t forget that all these improvements are still for the sake of the human element. It should not be solely bent on being a replacement for it. Aside from customer support, professional telemarketers can also use similar data-gathering technologies used by Nina to deliver more accurate assessments on current customers as well as prospects. For example, if you’re a cloud-based solution provider, you can study the way your software is being used and then have marketers use their insight to determine new demands. Some might think even experienced marketers and salespeople are unable to process large volumes of information but neither can a machine really reach the same level of insight as they can. If anything, the limits of applications like Nina are only an indication.

Thus, both human and technological elements should compliment each other instead of trying to compete. Telemarketing needs to continue improve and not just cursed to die. People never know when the improvements will give far better results than just replacements.

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