Where possible, enterprise IT ISVs should maintain teams of trained telemarketers. We have often alluded to these specially trained telemarketers as “teleprospectors.” The objective of teleprospecting is clearly to gather as much information as possible from opportunities to engage with the public over telephone calls. This objective contrasts with the usual objective of telemarketing, which amounts to securing the agreement of the other party on a telephone call to purchase a product, or to sign up for an event, etc. Teleprospecting not only works very well for sales leads development for enterprise IT software. This activity also works well for software companies that need to do an effective job of managing public relations.
We think it makes sense to include teleprospectors in a public relations team. When teleprospecting is applied to the overall task of managing a business’ public persona, the activity can produce useful information on a variety of points, not the least of which (in terms of importance) amounts to an estimate of marketplace visibility. For some ISVs, opting to operate under the radar, the purpose of implementing teleprospecting within a public relations function will be to ensure complete marketplace opacity. For other ISVs, the same function can be highly useful to ensure that message and brand are familiar to an appropriately sized, and positioned segment of targeted markets.
With specific regards to ISVs that opt to use teleprospecting for this latter purpose, in other words, to ensure that targeted levels of transparency are achieved by public relations efforts, we highly recommend that a representative sample of targeted markets provide the pool of contacts for the teleprospecting function. Putting together this representative sample does not require purchasing a potentially expensive method of building statistical accuracy. Rather, operating off of an accurate list of prominent prospects — specifically picked to represent each important level (small/medium/large) within targeted markets — should suffice for a successful effort.
Once groups of contacts have been collected as useful samples, then teleprospecting efforts should be designed that can be successfully used to obtain marketplace information on enterprise software product visibility, as required. In this manner the teleprospecting effort amounts to an outbound effort to engage with the market. Of course, as needs arise, the same team can be used to respond to incoming requests for contact. Finally, the same team can be used to quickly determine market sentiment about changes in products.
It is likely a given, but nonetheless worth stating here that ISVs with an accurate familiarity with their public persona should be better equipped to predict business performance than their counterparts that lack this information.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved