One of our clients, Rehmani Consulting, Inc. has been awarded the bronze prize for SharePoint product of the year, 2012, by Windows IT Pro magazine (http://www NULL.windowsitpro NULL.com/content1/topic/windows-it-pro-2012-community-choice-awards-144460/catpath/awards/page/5). Our client’s product that won this award, VisualSP™ (http://www NULL.visualsp NULL.com) is a help system for Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010. We provide Rehmani Consulting, Inc. with teleprospecting services as part of our sales and marketing offer. Teleprospecting provided highly useful information about market requirements for this type of help system, which were incorporated into the design of the feature set for this product.
It is currently a widely accepted precept of product marketing for information technology (IT) products, services and integrated solutions, that building products based upon market requirements makes a lot of sense. In fact, IT product development has matured far beyond the obsessive approach of the early 1980s, best characterized by the notion of entrepeneurs building “solutions without problems.” Now, the two leading tenets for IT product marketers are to
- build products that offer merely the minimum set of features requested by a significant portion of a market, and
- to maintain conversations with representative contacts within markets on topics that can produce useful indication of future product requirements
When social media are used in conjunction with a judicious application of teleprospecting, then highly valuable information can be collected, which, in turn, can be used to put together the type of successful product that Rehmani Consulting, Inc. achieved with VisualSP™.
We need to note that we have implemented a wide open approach to teleprospecting for this client. The primary objective of this type of telephone contact is to collect impressions from contacts on topics relevant to a computing environment (in this case where SharePoint® provides the computing foundation). We have found that discussions on these topics can produce information that may be suitable (depending on a client’s objectives) for inclusion in a features plan for a product like VisualSP™. As we discussed the results of our work with our client, some of the key features of the help system took shape. We do not see how our client could have identified the features included with the VisualSP™ without access to the kind of candid market opinion that we collected through our telephone calls.
Of course, we need to note that the type of marketplace sampling effort we have undertaken with teleprospecting methods for this client is far removed from the type of telephone sales approach that usually typifies lots of telephone outreach campaigns to prospects. Telephone sales is usually very much focused on prospecting for customers. In order to achieve the type of results that we obtained from this teleprospecting effort, we needed to carefully scrutinize ancillary information that generally has little to do with sales prospecting, but lots to do with truly attending to candid statements of marketplace sentiment.
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