Keeping software leads safe in your database has never been harder. At least, that is what the likes of Mat Honan seem to imply as more evidence shows the virtual password is more vulnerable than ever. With even the most high-end, business-oriented systems still reliant on their use, Honan’s view offers only a glimpse of software security’s cloudy future.
Product demos are a popular way to attract sales leads for software. It gives prospects an idea of what many features they can enjoy from your applications and technology. It is important though to demonstrate the features that matter most. When it comes to CRM, one of those features would be security.
As technology advances, the range of application widens. And with wider applications, there come wider markets for your software sales leads. The interesting catch is that these new applications could be taking your focus away from the office experience and closer to the consumer experience.
How Are Sales Leads Tied To Consumer Experience?
Many professionals may have already discovered the answer before. It is not like they have not invented software that can help them manage and visualize information on consumer behavior. On the other hand, technology is establishing a stronger place in the actual interactions between both. Business software companies big and small can generate new software leads by advancing this latest role. You are no longer limited to functions taking large sets of data and visualizing them as charts at the next board meeting. Today, you have a chance to leave your own mark on the consumer experience itself.
Related Content: B2B Mobile – Potential Markets To Target For Software Leads
If you want a hint on how consumer experience is your new marketing frontier, here is a quote from one of GigaOm‘s latest article about Adidas’ new store front design:
“The new storefront window is a fully functioning virtual store with life-size products. The intuitive interface of the touch-screen window lets shoppers explore, play and drag life-size products they are interested in directly into their smartphone for easy and convenient purchase from adidas NEO online.”
Retailers are just the first among the many other kinds of businesses you could target when it comes to helping them give a truly innovative customer experience. The best part is that this is still placed well under the category of B2B. Simply put, you are still serving your actual customer by improving the experiences they will share with their own. What Adidas did is only a hint as to the mark that business software vendors can leave on the customer experience. Your new B2B sales leads can offer you the same chance.
However, even in the past, touching on the relationships between businesses and customers has been a risky venture. It is a sad but undeniable reality that no new form of technology can fully bypass these objections of consumer advocates:
- Privacy – Consumers want a convenient form of shopping but not all of them are too thrilled about businesses watching over their shoulder. Then again, there is always room for paranoia which is why you must be prepared to come to your defense as well as your B2B customer.
Related Topic: How B2B Appointment Setting Responds To Consumer Behavior
- Transparency – Trust is just as much important between your clients and their consumers as it is between your business and theirs. Guide your prospects and clients on how to demonstrate transparency with these new technologies.
- Guarantee – Speaking of trust, you need to always guarantee that things go smoothly. And even in cases that they do not, be ready for damage control and quick response.
If you have already any experience with these issues though, you should not be intimidated as these barks do not always have a real bite to them. More than that, if your marketers and salespeople are truly driven by this vision of giving this new customer experience, then you should start your software lead generation campaign today and get ready to leave your mark!
CRM software vendors are no strangers to contending with consumer privacy advocates. These are the same advocates that contended with telemarketing firms and, further back, door-to-door salesmen. But now, as businesses have grown more sophisticated in analyzing their markets, these advocates are sniffing every legal nook and cranny to make sure that even retailers put a leash on incorporating new technologies.
This does not only pose a challenge to retailers but also to vendors who use telemarketing and other B2B marketing tools to approach these retailers. The reactions of the consumers will reflect on retailer’s interest and willingness to adopt their technologies.
But first, as an example of what some of these technologies are, here’s a report from Christopher Matthews of Time Business about how retailers are employing them to compete with their online counterparts:
“As I detailed in a recent article, store managers have been fighting back by trying to re-create in physical stores the sort of analytics available to e-commerce firms.”
And of course, the reaction from consumer privacy advocates gets a strong mention as Matthews cite Pam Dixon, an executive of the World Privacy Forum:
“That kind of tracking is, according to Dixon, unethical and contrary to shoppers’ expectation of privacy. ‘Legally, stores have the right to put up security cameras, but the consumer expectation of privacy is being circumvented here,’ she says. ‘Because when a consumer looks into that camera, they expect it’s being used for security, not marketing purposes.’”
Fortunately for both retailers and software vendors, you have as much right to challenge these accusations. For example, if you’re qualifying CRM leads and a prospect raises this concern, pose the following questions in return:
Is it truly illegal?
Take note that even Dixon admits:
“And even if retailers were using facial-recognition software to identify individual shoppers and combining that information with other data like financial histories, there is nothing necessarily illegal about doing so.”
Just as telemarketing laws actually have exceptions when it comes to businesses, so should you and your agents be quick to rationally defend the use of such technologies. Their customers are the ones entering the store and providing information. In the same manner, your target businesses provided information that allowed you and your telemarketers to call them. How are any of these illegal when there is still a fair amount of responsibility on the part of both customer types?
Is it such a big deal?
Citing Bill Gerba, CEO of WireSpring Technologies:
“He thinks consumers should be informed about these marketing tactics but believes most retailers are too wary of the public backlash to use facial-recognition software to individually identify their customers.”
This should carry over to your business. As a matter of fact, a telemarketing company would also tell you something similar and add that you may be confusing reactions from consumers with that of B2B customers.
Is it not transparent?
“Says Dixon: ‘I think it’s absolutely crucial for these companies to come clean with the public and disclose what is happening.’”
Coming clean isn’t as difficult or horrible for either retailers or software telemarketers. The technology exists and everyone knows about it just as businesses know their numbers are public and anyone, even other B2B marketers, can call them.
Ultimately, it just goes to show how pointless this debate is. No matter how the more extreme anti-marketing advocates decry this technology, even those who genuinely defend consumer privacy realize there’s not much to really argue over.
When faced with the decision between outsourcing for sales leads versus having your own B2B marketers, cost will eventually make itself a factor. On that subject however, one can logically conclude that leads generated in-house can be produced but an outsourced company can accomplish the same at a significantly different costs.
In business software, examples of this reasoning exist as well. In fact, when it comes to big data CRM databases, both marketers and IT professionals have common grounds when it comes to sales leads.
Speaking of big data however, GigaOm just recently published an article about how even an in-house group of a large company can share similar levels of capability as small businesses that operate the same function. The large company in question is none other than Disney and its Technology Solutions & Services group:
“By the sheer power of its will (and ingenuity), a small team has been able to craft a large custom platform out of Hadoop, NoSQL databases and other open-source technologies.”
So what’s the counterpart to this in marketing and generating CRM leads? Simple. What they did was not much different from an in-house group using a mix of cheap but effective marketing strategies and trying to get them to work. On the other hand, these are usually the same strategies being deployed by smaller lead generator companies. In fact, even the head of Disney’s tech team treated his own group not much differently:
“Initially, Jacob said, “We treated ourself like a small consulting organization and we had something to sell.” When a division wanted it to use the platform for a particular function, Jacob would say yes and then get busy actually figuring out how to build it.”
Now at this point, here is where you’ll see the difference in costs despite the similarities (if not exact replication) of the results.
“Building custom tools is fine when you don’t have a choice, but it’s not always wise when buying something could save untold man-hours and headaches.”
Most of the article explains the exact process through which Disney’s own in-house team developed their big data platform. But despite attempts to reduce costs, there will always be the challenge of more man-hours and the painful process of overcoming mistakes. And unlike a Fortune 100 company like Disney, your business might not have the right marketing team willing enough to generate the same amount of software sales leads as an outsourced company.
To conclude, here are some factors you should review when comparing the possible costs of your sales leads to that of many outsourced providers:
- Time: Just as Arun Jacob decided to spend time in learning how to manage the open-source software, so must your in-house marketers be willing to pour the extra time to learning what form of marketing works best for them. Keep in mind however that when it comes generating leads, you have to be quick as you’re in a race with competitors.
- Experience: On the subject of learning, this is where experience plays a critical role. How adept are the people you recruited in terms of promoting your software? It’s not just in terms of individuals by the way, but as a team.
- Will: And of course, whoever is in charge of your marketing must have the will to actually push on despite failure and despite the pressure. This is where the headaches come in. If you’d think they’d perform other tasks better when free of such pressure, then outsourcing seems a more logical option.