Where competitors have either lost market share, or are in the process of doing so, their published success stories can be a useful source of contacts willing to talk and to provide referrals. Companies with a significant commitment to IT systems in attrition likely are feeling some pain, whether as the result of having to pay hefty hourly rates for consultants with unique skills not common in the market, or for projects that have failed to consistently deliver operational savings over a product life cycle. Finally, where IT solutions have “stood still” while the rest of the market has continued to evolve, obsolescence is either at hand or just around the corner; therefore, large communities of users will likely be considering major changes.
We have had useful telephone conversations with CIOs mentioned in a number of these published case studies. Almost always, these conversations have produced referrals to lower level contacts within an organization, which is just the type of successful mapping that we were after. We prefer a top down contact strategy. Reaching out to high level contacts mentioned in case studies is an example of putting our strategy to work.
It is difficult to avoid some type of presentation on these calls, but we counsel keeping as clear of presentation as possible. In 2012 avoiding presentation has become difficult. Here is an example of this difficulty: we spoke recently with a senior IT analyst at a public organization at a state government level here in the United States who requested some information for review prior to proceeding with a conversation with us on behalf of one of our clients. His rationale was simply, “if I do not know anything about you, then I will not talk with you.” We sent this contact a whitepaper, conference flyer and a brief overview of our client’s product. However, had we known more about this contact prior to reaching out to him, we could, perhaps, have provided him with a reference to one of his peers as an example of the type of implementation that is usually made with our client’s product in his particular market. We think a referral would have sufficed.
Another option would have been to have sent him a direct marketing piece crafted to provide some information, without a formal presentation of products/services/integrated solutions. An invitation to discuss well known industry-specific issues with a representative, or to review a white paper, could have constituted the MARCOM content for such a direct marketing piece. Closing the piece with a sentence to the effect that representatives would shortly call to field any questions that recipients may have would provide a useful segue to a follow up telephone call (which ought to be placed between 24 and 72 hours of direct mail reciept).
If your business plan calls for contact with CIOs and other prominent decision makers in enterprise IT organizations and you would like to learn further about our work, then please telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at email@example.com.
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