In 2012, enterprise IT buyers certainly rule the sales landscape. Lots of businesses that make money selling automated sales and marketing tools have noted a “new” reality, seemingly a different world, which, they claim, has resulted from the advent of a very rich repository of information that can be found online, AKA the Internet. Certainly, we agree that direct marketing methods, including telemarketing, need to be rethought (and re-positioned) for this new marketplace. In theory, the offerings of these businesses are that much more compelling, as they can be found within the very exclusive ranks of products that produce useful results in this tough enterprise IT market, meaning genuine, relevant marketing leads that can be “nurtured” into sales opportunities.
We need to note a bit of skepticism on this topic. We are not disputing the relevance of the picture of the enterprise IT market that these businesses portray. In fact, we are largely in agreement with their opinion, but for a different set of reasons. Our skepticism has arisen as the result of our observation that the new attitude of enterprise IT buyers has arisen as the result of a very long string of failed IT projects, rather than as the result of buyers doing more of their preparation online, regardless of whether by desktop computer, smart phone or tablet. In fact, we think the real point that innovative tech businesses targeting enterprise IT markets need to understand about today’s market is that enterprise IT buyers are, to a large extent, doubtful about any/all purported solutions and, therefore, have opted for limited engagement with sales and marketing. Further, we think that these buyers will be held accountable for delivering tangible costs savings as the result of each approved purchase; therefore, the buyers are, pervasively, taking on the task, unilaterally, of framing problems, and solutions. If you follow our thought, then you can see why the role of vendor sales has been relegated to little more than a response mechanism across most sales opportunities. Of course, we leverage our skills and experience to mine much greater value from the 20% of these opportunities that we can transform into something truly valuable for customers and vendors.
Regardless of how the market actually evolved to its current condition, the realities are still the same, whether we are looking at them, or other businesses like Marketo, Alinean, Marketing Sherpa, etc are looking at them. Further, given the realities, the question then is how to work successfully with current conditions to develop marketing leads that can then be fostered (or nurtured to use a common phrase voiced by most of these businesses) into genuine sales opportunities.
We are in agreement that positioning online content represents a useful opportunity for sales and marketing teams to develop a predictable flow of leads. We are simply not sure as to how best to position content for the results that we are after. We will certainly write on this topic as we make progress towards our goal.
Until a useful system of at least capturing a steady flow of names from online promotional efforts can be achieved at manageable cost for very early stage tech companies, it is incumbent on entrepeneurs to build sales and marketing organizations that utilize direct marketing strategies to produce at least names for further contact. Once those names are in hand, then relationship development strategies can be implemented, loosely the equivalent of “nurturing” programs, to develop bonafide sales opportunities. Naturally, these strategies must be very carefully designed and consistently implemented.
If you need an opinion as to the usefulness of your sales and marketing programs, and need to fill gaps while you fine tune your online lead development program, we would be happy to hear from you. We will be happy to spend 15 minutes with you on the telephone at no charge. Please complete our contact form if you would like to take advantage of our offer.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved