13
Sep

Marketing Lead Generation Programs for Enterprise IT Software Need to be Tightly Coordinated If Best Results are to be Gained

Lead generation programs for enterprise IT software, for example, a campaign to set appointments for product marketing and/or sales to speak with prospects, need to be carefully coordinated if top results are to be achieved. It is important to keep in mind that commencing a direct outreach effort via telemarketing, rarely makes sense where promotional collateral has not been successfully developed (and tested). Further, once prospect interest has been identified, the next phase of marketing lead development needs to be carefully scripted. Missing on either of these points can entirely obliterate the value of identifying prospects. We think it makes more sense to delay the launch of lead campaigns until all of the campaign features have been certified by a test sample of contacts, etc.

As we have written elsewhere in this blog, we think that market surveys provide an excellent basis for developing prospect opportunities for enterprise IT software vendors. However, it is key to keep in mind that the objective of a survey is not to sell a product, but rather, to collect information about market sentiment on office automation software, as well as to identify specific prospects who would like to be added to mailing lists. The addition of a features “satisfaction” gauge to the list of points to be covered through a survey questionnaire certainly affords the survey respondent an opportunity to identify areas of potential needs. Once a survey respondent voices some significant level of dissatisfaction with features of an application, it certainly makes sense for a telemarketer to request the respondent’s permission to push contact information along to the next process in the lead development cycle. But it does not make sense for the next process to proceed in any other way than to simply continue to collect information on the specifics about the missing features in effort to properly assess the likelihood of solving a possible need that the prospect may have to improve these features.

In sum, it is imperative that the marketing and sales teams work very closely to completely orchestrate a plan for a lead campaign from first step, to last. Building these campaigns from a “ready, fire, aim” methodology should only be attempted as the campaign plan is in the formulation phase, certainly not with the finished product.

If you understand the importance of successfully designing marketing lead generation campaigns, but lack the internal staff to coordinate each step in the design, look to IMB Enterprises, Inc. We maintain a highly talented network of contacts, which we can call upon to match your requirements with the right individual to get you the expertise you need to deliver a campaign with a high probability of success. Our monthly retained services plans start at $3200.00 (3 month minimum commitment). Please call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about how we can help you improve your return on investment in online promotion. You may also email Ira at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

24
Aug

How to Use Teleprospecting to Compile Information About Competitors

Teleprospecting can be used successfully to compile information about competitors. Roughly speaking, there are 3 different methods worth considering:

  1. Covert activity, commonly referred to as G2 calls
  2. Overt activity
  3. and discussions with Prospects/Customers

Covert activity
We like the definition of G2 as presented on the Acronyms dot com web site. IMB Enterprises, Inc. has provided customers with G2 gathering services, exclusively from telemarketing and teleprospecting engagements, since the mid 1980s. The purpose of these calls is to find out as much about a competitor’s public offer, success rate, etc under the guise of an incoming inquiry to a competitor’s sales organization.

Overt activity
Very useful information about competitors can also be gathered from overt activities, including telephone calls placed to parties identified in success stories, case studies, and white papers published by competitors. In our experience these individuals will often share very useful information about important topics like return on investment (ROI), implementation experiences, factors that drove a purchase decision, and more. Of course, it is mandatory that teleprospecting agents selected for this type of activity exhibit the poise and demeanor required to maintain productive conversations with senior managers at enterprise class businesses. Simply scripting conversations and requiring tight adherence to these scripts will not be enough to ensure success.

Discussions with Prospects/Custoers
IMB Enterprises, Inc. has successfully conducted customer surveys on the behalf of clients. Usually these clients have chosen to implement a channel distribution strategy. Therefore, the customers and/or prospects that we have contacted have been selected from what was formerly known as a value added reseller (VAR) channel. In these cases it is quite useful to script these conversations. Further, the script ought to be put together from a set of questions specifically designed to “connect the dots” with regards to important questions; for example, the real impact of reseller margins as compared to consulting fees, and/or the real impact of competitive channel marketing — meaning VAR vs. National Acounts vs. OEM (white box) — marketing programs.

We also have very recent experience developing testimonials and/or case studies from end users. The promotional information collected through these conversations can certainly be expanded to include important insight about competitors. The real work is to “weave” these questions, with skill, into a broader discussion so that is inviting to all parties, not the least the customers, or prospects on the other end of the telephone.

If you see a value for intelligence-gathering for your business, and see the value in using third party services to successfully capture your objective, please consider IMB Enterprises, Inc. Please call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Ira at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

13
Aug

Teleprospecting can be Used in Either a Marketing or Sales Campaign for Enterprise IT Software Products

Teleprospecting can be used with positive results across a range of marketing efforts for enterprise IT software products, services and integrated solutions. This method of directly engaging with the public and/or sales prospects can also be particularly useful for innovative enterprise ISVs within a coordinated direct marketing effort that includes a targeted marketing communications (MARCOM) piece. As we wrote earlier in this blog, the most effective delivery method for your MARCOM piece is email.

Teleprospecting should be used in a product development process to collect the opinions of a useful sample of a market for an enterprise IT software concept. Enterprise IT ISVs must exercise care to select technically knowledgeable teleprospectors who can be trusted to faithfully communicate information while engaging in a meaningful manner with contacts who will, themselves, bring technical perspective to these market sampling surveys. It is equally important that a teleprospecting script for this type of activity be composed with enough open questions — who, what, where, why, how — to stimulate contacts to offer the type of information that must be available if a product refinement process, post sampling survey, is to produce useful results. Nevertheless, this teleprospecting script must also include strategically positioned directive questions — meaning questions where only a yes, or no answer will do — to ensure that an answer is clear and unequivocal, as required.

Similarly, teleprospecting can be used, post sale, to survey customers. Using teleprospecting in this manner is particularly useful to determine general assumptions about typical customer purchase satisfaction, product application, and future needs. In the interests of insulating customers from an otherwise bothersome process, a small set of customers should be contacted, which should include a representative sample of all types of customers and, specifically, contacts who are using a product as well as contacts who approved a purchase decision. By contacting individuals who approved a purchase decision, enterprise IT ISVs gain an opportunity to determine the extent to which positive return on investment (ROI) has been realized for specific products across markets. As we have written elsewhere in this blog, collecting accurate information on this topic is very useful in 2012 and looks to stay this way for some time to come.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. offers substantial, current experience with teleprospecting activity for enterprise IT software product development. We can also collaborate with MARCOM teams as they put together the communications collateral required for sampling surveys. Finally, we can certainly draft teleprospecting scripts. Our monthly retainer plans start at $1599.00, with a 3 month minimum term. You can contact us online or telephone us at +1 631-673-2929 to discuss your specific requirement.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

10
Aug

As the Result of Cloud Conundrum Securing Enterprise IT Data is an Exponentially Larger Market than Previously Thought

As the result of a massive amount of daily editorial content on the topics of so-called “cloud” computing and “software-as-a-service”, we think that enterprise IT organizations are under increasing pressure from business lines to permit end user access to online processes which, in all likelihood, are not only insecure, but dangerous as they represent potential gateways back into enterprise data centers, themselves. Therefore, we think that innovative tech businesses with security solutions for these cloud computing venues are looking at a promising near term future.

The average enterprise CIO has developed something of a blind eye to this ever increasing set of positive editorial content about the ultra low cost of cloud computing as well as the rich set of benefits that it can deliver to end users who can do all sorts of sophisticated computing tasks through simply a web browser and an online account. On the other hand, they cannot afford to ignore the growing number of alarming reports of serious vulnerabilities in cloud computing solutions, which threaten to open entire enterprise IT organizations to malicious intrusion.

Therefore, innovative tech businesses with security solutions for enterprise IT markets have a decent chance to make some headway as the result of what we refer to as the cloud computing frenzy. Of course, the marketing communications themes for these products must be carefully crafted to talk to cloud and/or SaaS topics in a credible manner, but there should be no risk in emphasizing security vulnerabilites.

Marketing and sales teams for cloud security solutions targeted to enterprise IT should include individuals with a proven track record of success in these enterprise IT markets. Perhaps no other type of IT product benefits more from a foundation of a trusted relationship between vendor and buyer than security products. If an individual with a suitable track record is not presently included in the management team, nor within sales or marketing staff, then it will make sense to engage with an individual of this caliber on a consulting basis, in order to secure a suitable endorsement.

If you are going to market with a security solution for enterprise IT, but are unsure as to how best handle marketing communications for your product you ought to consider a firm like IMB Enterprises, Inc. to help you along. You can contact us online or telephone us at +1 631-673-2929. The first 15 mins of any consultation is always on us.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

19
Apr

A Cohesive and Integrated Direct Marketing Strategy is an Imperative for all Planned Events

One of our client recently subscribed to our recommendation to coordinate email newsletter campaigns with telemarketing outreach. As we have recently written in this blog, we pieced together much of our strategy in this area from Ernan Roman’s “Integrated Direct Marketing” published by NTC. We regret that this useful book has gone out of print. We did manage to obtain a used copy through Amazon and expect that others can do the same. Bottom line: we highly recommend reading this book and implementing the pieces of the strategy that makes sense for one’s business.

Our client enjoys a very high open rate on his email newsletters. He distributes his copy through iContact. When we accessed the receipt data we were amazed at some of the corporate names in the list of recipients. Our amazement arose from the fact that our client had been largely unaware of the important enterprise prospects (and even customers) that receive each of his publications without fail but, nevertheless, remain lurking on the periphery of his business focus. Now, with an added telemarketing follow up within no more than 72 hours of an email open, we are able to add considerable value to his publication by contacting the most important prospects from the group. All contact information is added to our client’s CRM.

We are pleased to say that the ratio of engagement with these leads has been far greater than is the general rule for unsolicited telemarketing outreach programs; therefore, we can confirm the statistics that Ernan Ronan includes in his book, approximately an engagement rate of 15-20% as measured against all outbound calls placed. We carefully scripted our presentation to recipients around a simple “thank you” for their interest in our client’s offering and an offer to field any/all questions that they may have about our client’s market message.

The result has been a bonanza of information. Our contact staff has strictly adhered to a diagnostic approach to the remainder of each of these calls, peppering prospect engagement conversations with many questions which have facilitated collection of invaluable information on our client’s value proposition, market place perception of his products, and areas of enormous potential still untapped but readily accessible. With specific regard to the latter, we identified a government agency with well in excess of 100K staff members where our client’s penetration, to date, has amounted to no more than sales to 20 of these staff members. Thankfully, the 20 customers are quite influential at this government agency, which sheds a favorable light on the likelihood of our client penetrating further into this opportunity. The old story “your best customer is your customer” still holds true.

If you would like to hear further about this success story, then please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

10
Apr

Telemarketing Calls Deliver More Return as a Follow Up to Marketing Communications

Tech innovators with products and services for complex markets should include telemarketing programs within their sales efforts. But telemarketing campaigns will deliver much higher results when they are initiated subsequent to completion of electronic and/or print marketing communications efforts. Simply placing telemarketing calls from “out of the blue” to unsolicited recipients will deliver substantially less favorable results.

Obviously, the trick is how to obtain addresses for mailings, email blasts, etc. Certainly the best solution for accumulating addresses is to reach out to existing contacts (prospects, customers, industry participants, etc) to collect addresses; there is a stronger likelihood that these “familiar” contacts will be willing to provide addresses. We don’t see much value in purchasing address lists. We think participants in these lists have little “skin in the game” and, therefore, constitute a low probability as regards sales development. Therefore, better to collect addresses through any/all ongoing market outreach activities. Over time a sufficient number of addresses can be accumulated to justify an initial marketing communications campaign.

As Ernan Roman pointed out in “Integrated Direct Marketing”, NTC Publishing, 1995, the telemarketing campaign should commence within 24 to 72 hours of distribution of marketing communications. If your marketing communications effort is an email blast, we think it makes sense for you to use an email delivery service that will provide you with statistics on the number of times your email piece is opened and, even better, by targeted recipient. This type of tracking can be obtained by popular services like Constant Contact or through Outlook Services for Microsoft Office 365. Obviously, telemarketing should reach out to known recipients before working on the larger group of recipients who do not appear to have opened the communications piece.

Where truly opt-in recipient addresses are in short supply, another method of contacting the market is to distribute a press release. There are lots of services presently available in spring, 2012 to distribute press releases. It must be noted, however, that contacting a market through a press release will produce a bunch of contacts from the press, itself. Any sales prospect contact will have to be forthcoming from readers of your press release who opt to reach out to you for contact. These responders will be much fewer in number than participants throughout the rest of the market.

The best use of telemarketing in the aftermath of a press release campaign is to call media contacts who received the press release through the campaign. Once again, time is of the essence. Therefore these reporters, etc. should receive calls no later than 72 hours after your press release has been opened.

If your firm would like to learn more about how to coordinate telemarketing with print marketing communications, then please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

2
Apr

Implement a Lead Scoring System to Gain a Useful View of Revenue Prospects for Technology Products

Product marketing plans must include prospect profiles for businesses and related contacts. In parallel, a typical maturation cycle for leads must also be assembled. With a prospect profile and a typical lead maturity cycle in hand, then a scoring system can be implemented for leads. Through the application of this lead scoring system a useful picture of present, near term future and longer term future sales activity takes shape. This picture will become more valuable over time as more data is incorporated within calculations.

Using a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents the lowest value, a numeric value can be assigned to any and all leads. This numeric value directly correlates to a stage of lead maturity for a specific prospect interaction, as follows:

  1. Gathering Information from Prospects
  2. Communicating Information to Prospects
  3. Formulating an Initial Needs Assessment for an Opportunity
  4. Collecting a List of all Contacts within a Prospect who must be included in steps 1-3 above
  5. Establishing the authenticity of decision makers as well as presumed requirements through additional conversations with contacts at the prospect business
  6. Utilizing internal and external contacts to schedule a meeting with decision maker(s)
  7. A meeting with contacts who appear to be decision maker(s) to discuss potential requirements for products and/or services
  8. A meeting with a decision maker who needs to find a solution to a specific requirement for products and/or services manufactured by our company
  9. Presenting this decision maker with a specific proposal, complete with cost information
  10. An Engagement Letter is signed, or a purchase order is received for our product or service

Steps 1-6 in this maturity model are the responsibility of lead generation personnel. Step 7 can include lead generation and sales personnel. Steps 8-10 are entirely the province of sales personnel.

Utilizing this lead maturity model it is possible to obtain very efficient results from sales personnel who ought not be involved in steps 1-6. Sales activity should be categorized into each of the 10 steps. Usually, at an early stage of implementing this method, sales activities will overlap lead generation activities. Management can use this information to require changes in sales activity to eliminate duplication of effort. Indeed, for very early stage businesses with lots of leads scored as a 1-6 value, there is little need for sales involvement at all. Rather, we recommend that sales personnel utilize these early stages for product and market training. Better to leave the task of nurturing leads through stage 1-6 to lead generation experts who can be much more effective at this task.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. specializes in identifying sales leads for information technology companies targeting enterprise business and large user groups in the public sector. We nurture leads through stages 1 through 7. We collaborate with sales on stages 7 and 8. We offer monthly and annual services plans that will produce targeted lead levels to be determined by our clients. Please call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

11
Mar

Mapping Prospect Opportunities by Account is Sales Lead Development Activity 101

Account mapping is an essential activity for sales personnel marketing IT products to enterprise business customers. Too often, sales personnel simply speak with one or two contacts (almost always from an IT organization) and render a ranking opinion as to the likelihood of business to be forthcoming from enterprise business opportunities.

This level of prospect engagement is too superficial and, of most importance, simply restricted to the IT organization. For example, we recently followed up on some aged leads for a client at a major financial services firm. Two of the individuals with whom we spoke were members of the IT organization. One of the individuals is a technology architect for the global IT organization, the other a manager. Both of these individuals refused to engage with us in conversations. We suspected that there might be further opportunities at this prospect. We had gained almost no information about the prospect and, therefore, decided to look further for opportunities to engage with contacts.

Our business CRM system included contact information for the CFO for this prospect. We placed a call to his office, spoke with his administrator who was entirely willing to provide us with direct contact information for the current CIO as well as direct contact information for a prominent business manager, in communications, who, she felt, owns much of the prospect’s engagement around the IT product that our client services. On merely a first attempt to reach the prominent business manager we engaged with the individual who let us know of his interest in hearing further about our client’s product offering. Best of all, this individual committed to ensuring that a member of the IT organization would participate in a follow up conversation with us.

In sum, it is essential to scale sales integrated direct marketing efforts and, specifically, outbound teleprospecting, in keeping with the size of a business prospect. The bigger the enterprise at the prospect, the more effort required from the integrated direct marketing effort. Where ever possible, engagement should include business contacts along with IT contacts. Simply restricting contacts to an IT organization will not deliver an adequate amount of information to use as the basis of a decision about the suitability of a prospect for your product. Any/all conversations should be thoroughly documented and analyzed to glean as much meaningful information as possible about the prospect business. Sales milestones should be relaxed enough to permit the effort that may be required, over time, to collect an adequate amount of information about prospects.

IMB Enterprises, Inc offers considerable experience in this area. We welcome opportunities to expand on the type of detail that we have included in this post. Please call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at imblonder@imbenterprises.com

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

6
Mar

Injecting Brand Strategy into TeleProspecting Activity

Over the last several years we’ve worked with tech innovators who have eschewed traditional marketing communications activities as the result of a larger business effort to operate under the radar. We’ve treated the rational for pursuing this larger business effort in detail in earlier posts to this blog. Nevertheless, it is worth recapping: staying under the radar buys time for tech innovators who do not want to leave a trail that may be easily pursued by bigger competitors. As well, staying under the radar opens up an opportunity to play with ready fire aim while product specifics are refined and/or market hypotheses are tested with minimal exposure of the core business brand. In sum, under the radar marketing sometimes makes lots of sense.

Teleprospecting and any other engagement tactics with prospects provide a legitimate opportunity to implement brand strategy decisions. Indeed, if the marketing communications component of the marketing plan for the business is not to go entirely into sleep mode (absolutely a not recommended approach) it is essential that the brand strategy apply to teleprospecting activities. For example, key phrases within any teleprospecting scripts should align perfectly with brand strategy. As well, objectives for teleprospecting calls should include ensuring that each substantive conversation with prospects include informing the person on the other end of the telephone call with the most important (and easily communicated) features of the brand message. Governance methods for teleprospecting activities should include verification that any/all important features of the brand message were correctly communicated during each substantive conversation with prospects.

With marketing communications established in a healthy, but limited role within the direct marketing activities for the business (including the above mentioned teleprospecting example) an overall brand strategy can continue to evolve within the natural evolution of the business. In sum, there is no need to relegate marketing communications strictly to traditional media; rather, innovative direct marketing tactics like teleprospecting can deliver impressive results for core brand strategy with little risk of exposure for tech businesses operating under the radar.

We strongly encourage out of the box thinking like opting to operate under the radar, just be sure to make a spot for each of the essential pieces of your marketing plan within your operation. When/if you opt to go overt with your new business, then the transition will deliver much stronger results of brand strategy did not take a breather during the under the radar phase.

We welcome opportunities to discuss how powerful direct marketing tactics like teleprospecting can be utilized to build brand strategy for tech innovators targeting enterprise class business targets. Please call me, Ira Michael Blonder, IMB Enterprises, Inc at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved

20
Feb

Build Your eMail Marketing Program on leads generated by TeleProspecting

If we extrapolate from individual experiences it’s safe to say the 95% or more of email messages are ignored by recipients. Few people (and none that we have spoken with recently) have the time to read each of the emails received on a daily basis, let alone email messages that have no other purpose than to promote products or services. Nevertheless, there persists, to this day, a very high level of mass market interest in products that purport to deliver captivating email messages that will get the attention of buyers. Perhaps this interest is the result of observing that the low level of effort required to send email messages en masse, together with the availability of opt in email lists spells profit dollars for advertisers. The catch, as we see it and, in fact, the key to transforming the spam can into the inbox for recipients is to build an opt in list for an email marketing program with leads collected from teleprospecting and other direct marketing efforts.

eMail addresses collected during teleprospecting conversations, or even telemarketing calls have an inherently higher value than email addresses included in so-called opt-in email lists available for purchase. On the one hand, contacts have already exhibited interest in products or services; simply consider the commitment implicit to 20 minutes spent with a teleprospector on an unsolicited telephone call as an example of interest on the part of the prospect. Further, email addresses collected during teleprospecting conversations are usually offered, specifically, to receive additional information after the telephone conversation has concluded; therefore prospects will be waiting for messages that can be sent during an email marketing program.

We recommend that an email marketing program be run at the same time that teleprospecting and other direct marketing efforts are under activity. There is no need to wait to accumulate a “useful” number of email addresses. Further we think it impedes the effectiveness of an overall product marketing effort to focus too tightly on any one tactic. Rather, it is essential that marketing communications efforts encompass interactive and traditional media. We have worked directly with clients who attempted to ignore interactive. We were not pleased with the results of these efforts. Better to be present on all available media from the very start of marketing communications campaigns.

We are interested in your plans for an email marketing program and welcome opportunities to elaborate on our experience, not to mention to learn further about your objectives. Please call Ira Michael Blonder, IMB Enterprises, Inc at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved