19
Sep

Well Organized Surveys can Provide Important Qualifiers for Enterprise IT Software Prospects

As we wrote in the prior post to this blog, market surveys certainly provide enterprise IT ISVs with a highly useful vehicle to engage with businesses on topics that can engender a relaxed and forthcoming attitude from respondents. In fact, it is not at all atypical to find that respondents do most of the talking during a telephone survey. Therefore, the information collected from surveys can be highly useful and, where surveys are carefully designed and worded, highly informative, especially on the question of whether or not respondents have a high probability to develop into sales prospects. Of course, for high probability respondents it makes sense to design a program to maintain contact and, thereby, “nurture” these leads as they develop into sales-ready opportunities.

On the other hand, surveys will not lend themselves to this type of application where product marketing has not finished its job. If a clear picture of a qualified sales prospect is not at hand, it does not make sense to spend much time on surveys. The only exception to this prescription is a plan to use a survey to find out where a market is headed. Usually research firms will sponsor this type of market sampling activity. However, it does make sense for enterprise IT ISVs to use the same approach as they consider renovating existing products, or even as they go about the job of collecting the information they require to plan new products and/or new entrances to markets.

We plan on writing a post or two on market sampling surveys in the future. For the purposes of this post, we are specifically discussing how to use a questionnaire to identify companies that ought to be on a “watch list” based upon indicators of qualification for specific products/services/integrated solutions. As we just mentioned, a clear picture of a highly qualified prospect must be available. At a minimum, a section of the survey should be designed to include the questions that need to be asked to collect these qualifiers. If a survey is correctly designed, and promoted to respondents, there should be nothing unnatural about this set of questions. Rather, they should flow right out of the overall theme of the survey. Nevertheless, the answers collected from respondents to the questions included in these sections can prove to be highly reliable indicators of sales prospect potential.

If you are looking to develop a lead nurturing program, you should think about starting the job of cultivating these opportunities from the seeds of qualification collected from your surveys. If, for one reason or another, you either lack a clear sense of a qualified prospect for your product, or do not have the internal resources to put together a survey correctly for this type of objective, then you ought to contract with a third party to get the job done.

IMB Enterprises, Inc. would like to be on your short list. Our retained services (3 mos minimum) start at $3200.00 per month. Please contact us to learn further. You can call Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about our services plan. You may also email Ira at imblonder@imbenterprises.com.

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

14
May

Surveys are a Useful Tool for Lead Generation for Enterprise Software Sales

It makes sense for innovative, early stage technology businesses that produce software for enterprise markets to implement market survey campaigns. These campaigns need to be entirely separated from the sales function of the business. Awarding a contract to a telemarketing company to perform the surveys is an excellent option. The questions on the survey should be specifically designed to reveal areas of opportunity for further discussions with contacts. We think it makes sense for the telemarketing firm to include mention of the sponsor’s name somewhere in the introductory message as the task of transitioning leads back to the sponsor will be made smoother if prospects are aware of the connection between the companies from the start of a dialogue. If managed correctly these campaigns can produce high quality leads for, at a minimum, further engagement.

It may be helpful to spend another few moments discussing how the questions on the survey ought to be organized. The purpose of the survey, after all, is to produce the names of prospects who are worth further engagement. Further engagement makes sense where answers to survey questions reveal a potential benefit for a prospect as the result of implementing the type of enterprise software produced by the business. Therefore, to be truly useful, a business ought to have completed the construction of a very clear prospect profile. Further, a business ought to have a good idea of the general value that the market targeted by the business has obtained from the product. In sum, very early stage businesses that neither have a clear prospect profile, nor a general idea of product benefits as perceived by the target market should not undertake market surveys as a lead generation activity.

For businesses that do meet the above criteria, sets of questions need to be included in the survey to highlight specific prospects that meet the prospect profile criteria. Usually, putting together these specific questions is not a challenging task. Of course, an appropriate telemarketing company must be chosen to conduct the survey, meaning a firm that demonstrates the quality of staff expertise that can be counted upon to produce useful conversations with high level contacts at prospect businesses. Further, it makes sense to require that the telemarketing firm provide recordings for all telephone conversations. At a minimum, a proportion of the call recordings must be reviewed to ensure that conversations with contacts are handled correctly and at a high level.

We have lots of recent experience with these types of lead generation activities. If you would like to speak with us about an outbound lead generation program that is presently on the table for discussion, 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

13
Nov

Use Teleprospecting to survey customers

Sell what they buy.

Building a product marketing strategy that pulls 20% of efforts from technical innovation (internally generated) and 80% of efforts from listening, analyzing, and summarizing what customers within a market segment need and look for from products and services (externally generated) makes sense. In my experience there is a significant opportunity for success for products crafted to match what customers are buying. Further, accomplished marketers like Peppers & Rogers Group, and George S. Day emphasize the importance of surveying customers to determine what:

  1. value means
  2. solutions they are purchasing to deliver value
  3. and, finally over time, whether they got the value they were after when they purchased and implemented solutions

Teleprospecting provides an effective means of collecting information from customers and prospects. Put the information you capture from teleprospecting interviews or surveys into a picture of a market from the perspective of customers and prospects. Of course, with regards to determining a useful answer to objective (1), above, keep in mind that the question is very broad; therefore, the answers received will be useful as you assemble a broad value proposition for the market, but not especially useful on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, simply putting together an broad, but accurate, value statement for a market segment will be a very worthwhile endeavor. Further, by obtaining answers to objective (3), above, whether or not solutions, once implemented, deliver the value that they promised, you will have another gold nugget to enrichen the products that you, subsequently, decide to build or, perhaps renovate.

It’s best if the teleprospecting effort can be made by independent parties, but for a business operating under the radar with few sales, and limited means, the slate is still clean enough to permit internal staff to undertake the teleprospecting effort. Anyways, if your best prospect is larger business, then engaging in lead generation from a teleprospecting effort makes the most sense. After all, larger businesses pose longer sales cycles complete with complex systems for making buying decisions.

One last point on value: As I’ve written in earlier posts, if your product or service is complex, then you must dig as deep as possible through sales qualification steps (that you have carefully designed for a specific prospect opportunity) to determine the specific value that the prospect at hand is after. I emphasize that this value statement must be framed in terms of cost savings if it is to be truly persuasive and convincing. Further, the greatest reward (in terms of the magnitude of revenue to be received from an order) will be greatest where the prospect understands that by purchasing your solution she/he will save the most money with regards to ongoing operations.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved