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The Lifecycle of MSP Leads: Using Content to Convert MSP Buyers

Managed service providers (MSPs) often find themselves in this dilemma — a business prospect listens to your proposed plan of how to manage their system, and they seem to agree with it. However, when they heard how much it would cost them, they forgot all the problems and pains they’d mentioned earlier.

So poof! There goes your prospect! This scenario, however, is not uncommon because a lot of SMBs are still skeptical about managed services. They might have a myriad of reasons why they have difficulty investing in the solution you are presenting to them.

No matter what the reason is, MSPs need to understand that if they want to sell their services successfully, they have to educate their customers. To quote former Hubspot Academy Vice President, Mark Kilens :

The businesses that are the best educators will be the most successful.

Remember, though that leading your customers to a buying decision is a journey that requires steps. In other words, education takes time — a lot of time.

Hence, the million dollar question is — what types of content will help MSP leads transition smoothly from level to level until they arrive at the buying decision?

 

Creating Product/Brand Awareness Without Being Annoying

Purple balloon standing out against yellow balloons (branding metaphor)

The buyer journey starts here, and there’s no better place to build and create awareness for your brand than on your website or blog.

Brand awareness is a tricky business, though. If you don’t do it right at this point, you can potentially hurt your business.

How?

Most often than not, businesses have this impression that building your brand means talking about yourself and your achievement all the time. That’s a big mistake, of course. Have you ever tried talking to someone who only talks about himself all the time?

It’s annoying and tiresome. That’s because each of us has our problems, and our default is always to focus on ourselves rather than the other person. We don’t want another talker, especially if we are looking for a solution to our problem. All we need is someone listening to us.

Therefore, if you keep talking about the latest award you received or a new employee you hired, they might click, but they won’t stay. Your award or your new employee is not the answer to their pain. And you know for sure that clicks do not mean anything unless you are a news website. What you want is a conversion that leads to a sale.

What do your MSP leads want at this point? How do you introduce your brand while making them aware of who you are as a business?

Give them content in the form of how-tos and 101 articles. Through these types of content, you are giving them a step-by-step solution that makes life easier for them. Those solutions introduce the system and technology you have as well as showcase your expertise.

Get your FREE Cold Calling Scripts for Key Buyer Personas in Managed IT.

 

Nurturing MSP Leads at the Consideration Stage

At this point, your prospect already knows a thing or two about their needs and the types of solutions available. They are also beginning to compare solutions and usually choose the top three vendors before they finally decide.

To further strengthen your claim as an expert in the field and demonstrate your desire to help them, use demo videos and case studies on how you can solve the pain point they are experiencing at the moment through demo videos and case studies.

Remember: don’t make a sales pitch during this stage.

Although your prospect is looking for a solution, they are still gathering information. Making a sales pitch during this time can destroy your lead nurturing strategy.

Aside from demos and case studies, you can also present success stories that are both educational and entertaining. No matter what stage they are in their buyer’s journey, help them. If you can satisfy their needs, they will go with you onto the next level.

 

Getting More Personal at the Decision Stage

During this stage, your prospective customer has a thorough knowledge of your product and the solution you offer him. He might be “holding his wallet” at this point. If you convince him to make the purchase, a highly personalized content that highlights your competitive advantage and unique value proposition.

The type of content at this stage should not only provide all the information your prospect would like to know before buying but also eliminate any objections they have that give them second thoughts.

The ideal content types you can use to accomplish this are FAQs, testimonials, case studies, product/service demos, and product comparisons. You can also offer a free trial or conduct an audit, so your MPS leads and prospects have a first-hand experience of your product.

Learn how we planned, executed, and refined this managed IT firm’s campaigns in this short video.

 

Wrapping It All Up

Content is indeed essential in attracting, nurturing, and converting customers; thus, MSPs need to consider the purpose of each content they put out there. They also need to understand that at the heart of every successful content marketing campaign is a solid buyer persona. When you, as a service provider, know who your ideal customer is, you’ll be able to create content that will inspire your MSP leads and make them take further action.

Once you have your buyer persona, you also need to consider each sales cycle stage. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and imagine what kind of content would you consume at each stage. More so, what type of content would lead them to a purchasing decision?

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

Cold Call Scripts That Land Meetings with MSP Buyers [Free Download]

Managed IT providers know that they need to reach out to both IT and non IT decision makers to gain new customers. That’s because IT purchases are increasingly being decided not only by multiple people, but also across multiple business functions.

These trends highlight the critical role that targeted, one-on-one outreach plays in selling MSP solutions, and cold calling remains one of the best tools for the job.

That’s why we recently released a downloadable eBook that contains sample call scripts for finding and qualifying potential MSP customers. Each script is tailored for a specific buyer persona and includes a few helpful notes and comments.

The resource is available for download here. The rest of this blog post provides added insights to help you fine-tune your cold call pitch.

 

Who Makes Managed IT Purchases?

IDC reports that non-IT line of business (LOB) buyers now account for around half of technology spending. These are purchases made without the involvement or knowledge of an organization’s IT department.

Even when IT does get involved, LOB managers still hold a huge sway in the tech purchase process. TechTarget estimates that nearly 30% of buying decisions made by an organization’s IT leadership depend on inputs from non-IT staff.

This makes it clear that selling MSP solutions now needs to move past solely targeting IT decision makers. This underscores a growing challenge for MSP vendors that rely on reaching buying consensus with multiple stakeholders to close deals.

Not only do LOB managers’ priorities and pain points differ from those of IT decision makers, but these two buying groups often disagree about key items on the IT buying checklist.

What’s also important is that these divergences have a huge impact on how MSP buyers start their purchase journey. This means that connecting and building relationships with stakeholders require messaging that takes these gaps into account, even in the initial stages of the buying process.

In this post, we learn about 3 types of people that drive IT buying decisions and how to effectively engage them.

 

Targeted Cold Calls to Key MSP Buyer Personas

Targeted cold calls make up a vital layer of touch points for proactively reaching out and engaging potential MSP customers.

Cold calling works well for top-of-funnel outreach activities since it enables one-on-one conversations that prepare prospects for the next stages in the sales cycle.

For complex-sale products like managed IT solutions, cold calls help move contacts from initial awareness to active leads.

With the MSP prospect pool growing to include more and more non-IT decision makers, your cold call messaging strategy also needs to capture this new audience.

One way to refine your outreach message is to segment potential stakeholders based on buyer personas and then tweaking your cold call pitch accordingly.

In most technology purchases like managed IT solutions, key decision makers consist of four buyer personas (although the number can certainly increase, depending on the complexity of your sales cycle):

  • End User: These are typically non-IT LOB managers of departments and business areas that stand to benefit the most from your offer.
  • Influencer: These are mid- to senior-level decision makers that drive purchase decisions.
  • Technical Buyer: These are IT-focused specialists that can block a purchase if it doesn’t meet their requirements.
  • Economic Buyer: These decision makers oversee the budget and give the final go-ahead for a purchase.

The following visual guide goes into the details of the account selection and contacts profiling process.

 

End User

In MSP sales, the end user buyer persona consists of non-IT LOB decision makers that oversee specific functional business areas that directly benefit from your solution.

End users have the most to gain from your offer. That’s why they tend to be your biggest advocates in your target accounts. That is, if you can find a way to build a relationship with them early on in the sales process.

LOB decision makers care about business outcomes rather than product specifics. If a product solves a real problem, the results matter more to them than the underlying details.

According to professional services automation provider Promys, the decision-making process that LOB managers follow typically includes:

  • Decide if there’s a specific problem
  • Determine if the problem is worth devoting resources to
  • Identify possible ways of solving the problem
  • Pick out the “best” way
  • Look up vendors that provide the “best” solution
  • Choose the “best” vendor

Influencer

Even though buying decisions have now become more distributed, the process is still significantly driven by stakeholders that span different business areas and functions.

These decision makers have a huge influence on the buying process and help move the deal forward. That’s why they’re typically labeled as “influencers.” They commonly consist of mid- to senior-level managers that directly handle your target LOB prospects.

Influencers look for strategic impact of MSP solutions instead of operational or technical details. They’re more into seeing how your offer fits their big-picture goals of growth, profitability, competitiveness, industry trends, disruption, etc.

That’s why your cold call messaging strategy needs to achieve the below three key points. These ensure that your pitch will be able to capture influencers’ attention and obtain the response you want:

  • What does your offer bring to the organization?
  • How can you earn your prospects’ trust?
  • What line of fresh thinking can you offer?

Technical Buyer

The rise of the LOB buyer hasn’t made the IT department irrelevant in MSP purchases. The risks and limitations associated with shadow IT (such as interoperability, security, resilience, etc.) still support the case for IT’s close involvement.

While technical buyers typically don’t have final authority over tech purchases, they do have the power to reject a potential managed IT proposal. The goal when reaching out to technical buyers is to make sure they don’t shake their head sideways at your offer.

When crafting a cold call pitch aimed at technical buyers, it’s important to keep the following points from Lean B2B in mind:

  • They have in-depth and specialized expertise in your field.
  • Their main concern is to verify whether your solution really does what you claim it does.
  • They focus on the measurable and quantifiable items of your offer.
  • They look for details on usage, testing, deployment, and maintenance.

Economic Buyer

The persona that has the final say in MSP purchases is the economic buyer. In fact, most marketing experts consider economic buyers as the “ultimate decision maker” because even if everyone else says yes, it’s the economic buyer’s approval that determines whether a purchase happens or not.

Economic buyers can be a single person or a committee that directly controls budget and spending. The larger the deal size, the more senior the economic buyers will be involved. Smaller purchases commonly require only the approval of managers lower in the org chart, while deals with six-figure price tags can involve a board- or C-level evaluation committee.

The key to winning economic buyers over is to deeply understand the things that tend to make them say yes:

  • Finding the best-fit managed IT vendor for their organization
  • Ensuring long-term stability of both the MSP provider and the working partnership
  • Knowing the vendor’s approach to risk mitigation
  • Verifying different proof points about a vendor’s ability to deliver
  • Being able to objectively weigh costs against benefits

 

Conclusion:

Now more than ever, cold calls help MSP vendors reach and connect with the different decision makers involved in the purchase process. But this requires refining your MSP pitch to make it more relevant to what each decision maker actually cares about.

To see how to put this strategy into action, check out our latest collection of cold calling scripts for various MSP buyer personas.

Turn cold MSP leads into sales meetings. Get your free sample scripts now.

Download your Sample Cold Calling Scripts for Key Buyer Personas in Managed IT eBook

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.

4 Benefits of Account-based Marketing for IT and Software Companies

Email inboxes and Mondays – name a “better” duo.

Last week, I received an email which on most Mondays I would have probably ignored due to its rather bland subject line – “[No subject]”. However, despite the obvious rush in its composition, the trailing preview text of the message caught my attention.

For those unaware, we are currently heading into the end game of our preparations for our upcoming sales prospecting workshop for ICT companies to be held in Singapore and the aforementioned message which was sent by one of my readers (I presume) presents a very interesting question in relation to the said event:

Will you be covering ABM’s role in IT and software selling?

The short answer, of course, is “YES” so I thought that it would be valuable to dip our toes into this topic for today’s post.

To gain a better understanding of ABM’s positive impact in tech selling, let’s first take a quick look at the most common sales and marketing challenges facing IT and software companies today:

  1. With the tech space becoming increasingly crowded, IT and software companies are finding it very difficult to grab prospects attention.
  2. Longer sales cycles mean IT and software companies must get new business faster and at a more frequent pace
  3. Let’s face it, marketing and sales rarely align. For IT and software, the added product technicalities do not really help in closing this gap.
  4. Most IT and software companies are in a competitive disadvantage and to cut deeper into that wound, they also tend to sell to very specific and targeted accounts.

While these may not sound too appealing to IT and software companies, the good news is that ABM provides the means to overcome these challenges, let’s find out how:

 

1. Calculated and effective alignment.

Marketing and sales teams can now easily work together because of their ability to keep track of the same accounts. The use of AMB-specific tactics and tools enable them to massively communicate products and services to right people within their target accounts’ org chart.

 

2. Personalized messaging delivered across multiple channels

Account-based marketing lets teams create personalized marketing content and offer that’s tailored to each contact’s position within a single target company/account.

Instead of just sending out generic promotional materials, personalized content has been proven to generate better responses from targets over the years. Phone touch points, display ads, and direct emails are common platforms that are being personalized.

Additionally, by engaging multiple contacts across different marketing channels, IT and software companies can improve their brand’s chances of getting picked up on a potential customer’s radar.

As a positive effect, this shortens the already long sales cycle of technology selling.

 

3. Accurate and reliable analytics.

Marketers now have the ability to keep track of their promotional initiatives in terms of how these translate to actual revenue. This is made possible through closed-loop reporting allowing marketers to see ahead of time how specific efforts can impact financial outcomes.

 

Track and measure your campaign’s performance with the Callbox Pipeline Account-based Marketing CRM

 

4. Much improved prospecting techniques.

ABM-driven sales prospecting relies on 3 things to be efficient and successful: data, messaging, and context.

Data is not limited to your mapped prospects and expanded contacts. The right data should also include competitive analysis information. Where and how your brand stands among the competition plays an important role in how you craft and deliver your prospecting messaging.

much improved prospecting techniques

While optimized data paired with tailored messaging can take your prospecting activities to the next level, the lack of proper context in your outreach means that ABM is being under-utilized.

Technology solutions solve specific problems and when it comes to account-based marketing for IT and software companies, it pays to take extra steps to ensure that your sales prospecting touchpoints are always in context.

 

Conclusion

Although we’re just scratching the surface, these 4 benefits clearly show that using an account-based marketing approach can signifcantly impact lead generation and sales prospecting for IT and software companies.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

Generate More IT sales leads in the competitive IT industry.
Check out some of our successful IT campaigns!




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A Guide to Smarter Lead Generation for IoT Solutions

With the explosive growth of computing devices connected to internet, IoT is on an upward trend in recent years. So the question is:

How do you generate leads for IoT solutions?

Let’s get down to IoT (we meant “it” – pun intended) and show how you can generate leads for your Internet of Things solutions. Read on, we won’t let you down!

Here are helpful and pragmatic steps you can follow in order to generate concrete leads for your IoT solutions:

 

1. Brainstorm with influential individuals in your network.

Most of the time the best promising leads can be generated from your close circle of acquaintances and friends in the software industry. Of course, these should be people you trust and trust you in return. Gather information about big players in the market who would most likely be in search of IoT solutions.

brainstorm-with-influential-individuals-in-your-network

This process may eventually pave the way for a possible partnership – this will make your job a little bit easier as you have another group helping out in convincing targets to consider your IoT solution. Partnering with another business will give you access to existing clients from the other party. They may already have leads that you do not and marrying your efforts get the job done faster.

Lead generation for IoT solutions through networking, how does it work?

Events and tradeshows offer excellent opportunities for you to rub elbows not only with potential IoT customers but with your next brand advocates as well.

If you don’t have any IoT events lined up at this time, one good place to start would be the upcoming IoT Asia 2019 expo happening on March 27-28 in Singapore.

IoT Asia 2019 will also be followed by Callbox’s Sales Prospecting Masterclass for ICT on March 29, so you might want to check that out, too. The free workshop is going to help you gain solid strategies to convert tech prospects into customers, as well as provide you with more opportunities to network with other marketing leaders in Singapore’s ICT industry.

 

2. Identify, expand and engage multiple potential contacts

An average of 7 to 20 people is involved in today’s B2B buying process which means a longer sales cycle. Contrary to what you’d expect, having multiple stakeholders involved is not a setback but a very welcome development in today’s B2B lead generation.

Instead of focusing on a selected few prospects who may or may not influence the buying decision for your IoT offer, you can connect to as many stakeholders as necessary within your target company accounts.

By building relationships across the company, you’re setting the stage for your brand to reach your target decision makers. Talking to multiple contacts gives you more opportunities for a referral or introduction to the right person in the organization.

That’s basically how you’ll get in front of higher-level prospects.

Where can you find a good B2B lead list for IoT solutions?

We go against list buying as it does not guarantee the quality of the leads you get.

A preferred option is to employ the services of a lead generation firm to help you build the right lead list using proper customer profiling methods such as phone verification, data cleansing/scrubbing, deduplication, and database management.

LinkedIn is a very practical approach in order to find the right people. You simply have to check out which company they belong to. You may also consider using keywords that suit your lead generation requirements.

Additionally, this resource goes in-depth on how to build and profile the right B2B lead list for your lead generation campaign.

 

3. Get targeted, Go Industry-specific

Here are some industries you may want to look into that are constantly in need of IoT solutions:

Urban Planning

An IoT solution is very crucial in initiatives intending to create smart cities all over the globe that can manage and regulate basic utilities such as garbage collection, water supply management, and energy supply management. Connecting various tools and devices through the internet makes the task of running things a lot easier and more efficient.

Banking and Finance

Ordinary individuals do mobile banking as easily as they turn on their stoves in order to cook a meal nowadays. We pay our bills online, send and receive money without leaving the confines of our homes, shop online while we are in our PJs, and even invest in stock exchange with ease. These are made possible because of a complex yet connected network of tools and devices that your business is able to provide.

Healthcare and Medical

Groundbreaking initiatives have been accomplished because of the revolutionizing benefits of IoT. Medical practitioners are able to monitor the progress of their patients remotely through this technology. Heart monitors and insulin pumps are two examples of tools that have become easy to manage through this solution.

Transportation

A few years from now, our generation will go beyond cars on autopilot or self-drive modes. Smart cars are clearly a product of IoT solutions that really work. The transportation industry will always be looking for new ways to level up the functions of new cars and it will only get better and better.

Manufacturing

The way products reach customers has greatly improved in this generation. The process has become faster and more efficient with a lot of help from the Internet. Consumers are able to easily track their items and manufacturers can rely on a software program that gets their products out effectively.

 

4. Outsource (or co-source) to an External Lead Generation Firm

With B2B marketing’s ever-increasing complexity, IT and software companies are now shifting towards technical B2B marketing approaches such as account-based marketing, influencer marketing, multi-channel touch points, advocacy programs, etc.

This adoption exposes a common gap among B2B tech companies – the shortage of marketing talent, the need for fresh or unbiased perspective and lack of technology needed to fulfill these activities’ demands.

Outsourcing part or all of marketing to a lead generation firm allows IoT solutions providers to scale their lead generation efficiently. IoT companies can take advantage of the skills and expertise needed to achieve their sales prospecting goals. Plus they get supplementary expertise such as project management which is highly needed in today’s lead generation projects.

 

5. Ask for referrals

You can never go wrong with referrals. It becomes a lot easier to conduct business when you have the endorsement of a trusted friend. Moreover, target clients are more open to the idea of listening to you because you were connected by a familiar person. Trust is key.

You may also want to consider reconnecting with old referrals. Some may have declined your product in the past, but they may have a need for it now. Who knows? There is no harm in trying.

 

6. Consistently do customer care calls.

After sales care is often a neglected stage in the sales process. We have done the hard part which is to sell the product, we can now move on. Unknown to many, a solid percentage of businesses are highly likely to make another purchase in the future when they realize that your company cares for them.

consistently-do-customer-care-calls

Go ahead and check on your clients and ask them how the product is helping their business. You may also want to get valuable feedback such as additional features you can add in the future in order to improve the product.

 

In a Sea of Sameness, Here’s How IT Staffing Firms Can Stand Out

In my experience working with different IT staffing companies over the years, I’ve noticed an almost universal theme: they tend to rely on the same pitch. To be clear, I’m not saying IT staffing firms have nothing unique to offer. It’s just that finding ways to communicate a compelling UVP seems to be extra challenging in this industry.

But difficult isn’t the same as impossible. We’ve actually partnered with a couple of staffing companies that were able to genuinely set themselves apart from their competitors. We’ve also helped other IT staffing firms position their offer with unique selling points as part of preparing their Callbox marketing campaigns.

That’s what I’ll talk about in this short blog post. We’ll explore the main reasons why IT staffing firms encounter enormous challenges when differentiating themselves. We’ll also learn some proven ways staffing firms can adapt to help them stand out in a sea of sameness.

 

Why Differentiation is Harder for IT Staffing Services

It’s easy to blame the continued commoditization of IT outsourcing for the seeming sameness we’re seeing across the IT staffing industry. After all, if you try to flip through different vendor websites, you’ll right away notice that almost all their UVPs boil down to “faster, better, cheaper”—which defeats the point of having a “unique” value proposition in the first place.

But it isn’t entirely the fault of staffing companies themselves. The way that their target customers view the value of IT staffing services also makes carving out a unique market position very difficult.

why-differentiation-is-harder-for-it-staffing-services

Most IT managers only typically consider staffing issues as an afterthought, which means they tend to have a very narrow idea in mind for what constitutes value. Oftentimes, the (sole) objective is to minimize cost and nothing else.

In cases where staffing considerations do enter the picture, it’s actually not service quality that matters the most to a potential buyer, but more immediate factors like RFP processes, transition phases, time to ROI, lack of internal expertise, ability to meet deadlines, and risk of project failures—which are selling points familiar to practically all IT staffing vendors.

Related: Steer Your Managed IT Firm Away from Lead Generation Mistakes

 

How IT Staffing Firms Can Set Themselves Apart

Again, it’s not easy but it’s not impossible either. IT staffing firms need to get out of IT outsourcing’s race to the bottom. The only way to do that is to set your offer or solutions apart from the competition. Here’s how successful IT staffing firms make this happen:

1. Emphasize where you specialize

Although it’s hard to pin an exact number on this, the majority of IT staffing firms tend to offer generic, undifferentiated services designed to fill any technical need. While this strategy broadens your pool of potential customers, it’s not going to help you stand out from the rest.

As discussed here, focusing on a specialized market does not mean you’ll limit your market reach, thus, minimizing your sales opportunities.

There are several ways (e.g.: niche lead generation or multi-channel marketing) that you can bring your offer to right customers – giving you more impactful results.

A smarter approach is to choose a specific IT area where you can carve out a position as a unique provider based on your expertise and your ability to tap into the right talent. This can be done in one of several ways:

  • Functional: Software development, networking, security, infrastructure, etc.
  • Vertical: Healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, public sector, military/defense, etc.
  • Technographic: Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, AWS, etc.
  • Firmographic: Startups, enterprise, SMEs, etc.

Related: The Best Lead Generation Tactics for Tapping B2B Niches

2. Place staffing in a project context

In many cases, IT staffing companies gain the most success from being able to position their services in the bigger context of a project or deliverable. Highlighting how (and how well) your solutions fit into the greater scheme of things is a good way to set yourself apart from your competitors.

Going back to our case study – multi-channel lead generation for a staffing firm

By bringing attention to the client’s end-to-end staffing solutions, Callbox was able to acquire new sales opportunities (through qualified appointments) for the client albeit the oversaturated staffing services market.

Another way to align staffing solutions with specific IT outcomes is for your firm to perform the whole project itself. In this arrangement, you’re not only providing the needed talent but managing the project and delivering the end-product as well.

Of course, this greatly expands your responsibilities and risks (making it not suitable for some staffing firms), but the rewards in terms of improved differentiation can be worth it.

3. Focus on delivering experiences

Closely related to the previous point, staffing services need to be positioned as ongoing engagements instead of ad hoc or stop-gap solutions. Doing so lets you signal your willingness to enter into longer-term commitments, not just aim for a quick sale.

focus-on-delivering-experiences

Packaging your IT staffing services as best-in-class experiences also puts you in a better position to attract higher-caliber talent since, aside from compensation, skilled IT professionals also tend to gravitate toward companies that offer rewarding work opportunities.

It goes without saying that your staffing firm’s success depends on the quality of talent you can access and provide to customers. So, attracting the right people through delivering excellent customer experiences is a win-win strategy.

Related: Multi-channel Customer Experience and How it Impacts your Lead Gen Strategy

Conclusion:

While there’s little your IT staffing firm can do about the market forces behind the continued commoditization of IT outsourcing, there’s a lot you can do about setting your services apart from the competition.

 

Author Bio:

Rebecca Matias

Rebecca Matias is a Business Development Manager at Callbox. She is a proactive marketer who is willing to share her passion, leadership principles and craft in marketing. Follow Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.

Generate More IT sales leads in the competitive IT industry.
Check out some of our successful IT campaigns!




Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOKBy the Numbers: Marketing Stats that Drive Top B2B Industries in 2019! Get an in-depth look at marketing trends in nine (9) key B2B industries.

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Industry Insights: A Telco Player’s Guide to Win B2B Buying Teams Over

As B2B customers now occupy a growing share of telco’s revenue mix, companies continue to proactively look for ways to capture more of this increasingly-critical market segment. But to really thrive in the B2B telecom sector, vendors need to understand the unique factors that affect customers’ buying decisions.

One such factor that plays a key role in the B2B purchase process is the involvement of multiple stakeholders in evaluating and acquiring business solutions. On average, it takes 6.8 decision makers to formally greenlight a B2B purchase, with the number of stakeholders in some buying groups reaching double-digit figures.

In a buying team, each decision maker has her own objectives and priorities in the purchase. Winning a customer requires the ability to tailor your marketing message for each stakeholder in the group so that they’ll have the information and insight needed to make an informed choice.

This blog article examines how recent marketing developments impact the way buying groups reach a consensus when purchasing B2B telecom solutions. The post then explains some concrete ideas for adapting your messaging strategy around these changes.

 

The Changing Rules of the Game

The evolution in both how telecom vendors sell and how customers buy contributes to the purchase process’s growing complexity. This, in turn, drives the changes we’re seeing in the size and makeup of B2B buying groups.

The boundary between telecom and IT gets narrower.

Bane & Co. estimates that the B2B telecom market will grow by 2.6% each year, which is 4.3 times faster than the consumer segment’s 0.6% annual expansion. A great deal of this disparity largely boils down to the strong demand from SMBs and enterprise customers for end-to-end ICT solutions, while the market for consumer telecom remains highly saturated.

According to Deloitte, the distinction between telco and ICT continues to get thinner as shown by systems integrators getting the lion’s share of B2B telecom growth. Inside client organizations, “CTO types” now make procurement choices alongside traditional decision makers such as CIOs and other IT executives.

Inside the Telecom Industry: The Trends that Matter for 2018 (Blog Thumbnail)

Learn about the most important trends that will define how telecom companies will operate in the future.

As product scope grows, so does the need for stakeholder buy-in.

McKinsey points out that around 67% of B2B deals never make it to an RFP process. Much of this stems from the “many gateways of influence” involved in reviewing an offer. More B2B buyers now prefer to evaluate solutions on a modular basis, bringing in cross-functional teams to assess specific areas of a potential purchase.

Again, traditional decision maker roles now closely collaborate with other stakeholders impacted by the purchase in order to take a careful look at offer details that concern them the most. As McKinsey notes, this has led to an increase in the number of customers sending out modular RFPs.

Buyers of complex solutions tend to be risk-averse.

As a side effect of B2B telecom vendors’ shift toward providing more ICT solutions in their product mix, potential customers now increasingly rely on buying committees. While this indicates increased thoroughness in buyers’ due diligence activities, it’s also a sign that customers want to minimize risk by spreading accountability among different stakeholders.

Research from Aberdeen shows that buyers of complex business products and services tend to be the most risk-averse type of customer. This group recorded the lowest average risk tolerance in their study.

Flatter decision hierarchy means bigger buying groups.

The widely-cited 6.8-decision-maker buying group statistic actually originates from a 2017 CEB research publication. The study also mentions that, as a result of a flatter organizational structure, the size of B2B buying committees has equivalently expanded.

There’s a strong trend toward decentralization among potential B2B customers. More people toward the bottom of the organizational structure now play an increasing role in the buying process, significantly growing the pool of buyer roles involved in B2B purchases.

Telecom Campaign Ideas for 2018: Consultative + Digital Marketing (Blog Thumbnail)

Check out some practical telecom campaign ideas and tips and see how you can work the consultative approach into your digital marketing playbook.

 

Winning the B2B Buying Consensus

A buying team reaches consensus when each member agrees on the problem to be solved, the criteria for choosing a solution, and the specific objectives for implementing the solution.

With buying decisions now requiring the approval of a larger group of stakeholders, getting everyone’s buy-in remains a difficult challenge for telecom vendors. That’s because each member of the buying committee has his or her own expectations and responsibilities which oftentimes misalign with others, leading to group conflicts.

CEB finds that customers are typically 37% into the buying journey when group conflict peaks, stalling the process or even killing the deal altogether.

So, how can telecom vendors gain a buying consensus? Experts at winning the consensus sale suggest taking the following things into account when crafting your plan:

  • Identify all stakeholders and group them according to buyer roles
  • Make sure to involve the right people at the right time
  • Work closely with each buying team member on how the solution impacts a specific business area

Here’s how to achieve each of these items:

Identify all stakeholders and group them according to buyer roles

It’s crucial to identify ALL stakeholders involved in the purchase and how each impacts the decision at hand. The first challenge is to list out who actually has a stake in the decision in question.

Bob Apollo at Inflection Point Strategy Partners outlines five key criteria that a prospect needs to meet in order to be a valid stakeholder:

  • Role in the decision-making process (more on this below)
  • Perspective and point-of-view (strategic, financial, operational, technical, contractual)
  • Level of influence (dominant, strong, weak, nonexistent, and uncertain)
  • Attitude toward your company/brand (positive, neutral, and negative)
  • Accessibility and availability (unrestricted, frequent, infrequent, and inaccessible)

Different marketers follow different buyer role categories when classifying stakeholders, but these mostly fall into three main types of stakeholders (as noted by Bob Apollo):

  • Core Buying Decision Group (stakeholders who determine the need, define the ideal solution, and evaluate/select options)
  • Negotiating Terms Group (their role is to protect the company and ensure the company gets the best possible terms)
  • Final Approver Group (has the last word in a decision and can override decisions made by the two other groups)

ABM Best Practices: Selecting and Profiling High-Value Accounts [INFOGRAPHIC] (Blog Image)

Build a solid foundation for your ABM program with a robust account selection and profiling process that leverage these proven ABM best practices.

 

Make sure to involve the right people at the right time

When identifying stakeholders, it’s critical to determine your primary contact in the target organization. The primary contact serves as your leading advocate (champion) in the buying group, helping you gain access to the other stakeholders.

Additionally, the primary contact (or champion) can help you acquire some useful insights on the other stakeholders to ensure relevant and personalized engagement.

Brent Adamson provides some very helpful pieces of advice on how and when to involve stakeholders in order to make the consensus sale:

  • Find the personalization sweet spot. While personalized and relevant content is the fuel that drives consensus sale, personalization can also drive a wedge between stakeholders, especially if it focuses exclusively on a stakeholder’s business area and ignores the others.
  • Know that reaching consensus is difficult early in the buying process. Most group conflicts arise when customers are somewhere in the awareness and consideration stages. This means that you should be convincing stakeholders to agree on a solution instead of persuading them to choose you already.
  • Choose champions that have both the willingness and ability to advocate. Around half of the primary contacts who said they were willing to buy a solution also claimed they weren’t ready to publicly advocate for it (50% feared reputational damage and 12% were afraid of job loss from a problematic purchase).

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Grab our FREE Targeted B2B Handbook – a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on each of the four key areas of targeted marketing (customers, buying process, channels, and message)

 

Work closely with each stakeholder on how the solution impacts a specific business area

Buying committees consist of functional executives, managers, users, gatekeepers, and other decision-making roles. With a diverse group of people from different business areas and backgrounds, it can be very hard to collaborate to hammer out the right solution that everyone can agree on.

Reaching a consensus requires that you work with everyone involved and uncover what the pain points are, what an ideal solution looks like, and what a successful resolution of the problem means.

  • Focus on clear and specific business outcomes
  • Specify the metrics for measuring each outcome
  • Set and review benchmarks and yardsticks
  • Understand that your biggest competitor is always the status quo

 

Conclusion: Buying committees form just another fact of life for B2B marketers, especially for telecom vendors. With the right insights, it’s easier to navigate around the different stakeholders and how they relate with each other.

Callbox can help you identify and connect with key stakeholders that impact telecom solution purchases. Contact us today for a free strategy session.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.



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How to Handle The 5 Common Sales Objections in IT Selling

Computers are non-negotiables for any thriving business. Small enterprises to large companies have them. It follows that IT sales experts are in-demand.

While selling IT products and services can bring you immense good fortune (if you earn uncapped commission), it’s not an easy sale.

The world of computers and networking is dynamic, continually changing. It can be confusing and overwhelming to the layman. Hence, it is your job as the IT sales expert to guide your clients to make the best decision for the sake of productivity, efficiency, and growth of the organization.

 

What Makes IT Selling Difficult?

A career in IT sales is good because there are plenty of job opportunities in this global industry. However, IT selling is highly-technical. You need to convince your clients that something they barely understand can provide a significant value to their organization. You could be a great salesman before you enter the IT sector only to find it’s a world of new knowledge itself. If you want to succeed in IT sales you must have these qualities:

  • Excellent selling skills
  • A passion for IT issues
  • Negotiation skills
  • Excellent Time-management and Self-management skills
  • Report writing and proposal writing skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Team Player
  • Most important, strong technical knowledge

Related: IT Consulting Leads: Finding New Business for Your Tech Consulting Firm

 

It Matters What You’re Selling

IT Selling can be categorized into three: Hardware, Software, and Services, each of which comes with challenges. If you want to have experience in all three, you may find that it’s an entirely different ride every time.

Hardware sales are the easiest to understand and sell; primarily because you can see it and touch it. Computers, monitors, routers, and servers fall under this category. However, it is a vast market with a lot of competition. The profit margin of hardware sales continues to contract as the industry moves forward to go hardware-free.

Software sales require specialization. Much like selling custom products, software can be expensive. To be effective, IT sales professionals need to know an industry-specific software inside and out. Income can be promising, but the sales cycle is often lengthy and complicated.

IT Service sales is the most profitable of all three. It combines hardware and software solutions bundled with installation and perhaps maintenance and servicing, all in one package. As an IT service sales professional, expect to work with experts in various areas of the IT sector as a team.

Related: The Secret to Making Irresistible Offers: An IT Company’s Guide to Selling

 

Facing the Difficulties of IT Selling

There is nothing easy about IT selling, but it is highly-rewarding as you influence a positive change in an organization. When issues in the sales cycle arise, you may be tempted to avoid the issue and hope it will resolve on its own.

However, an objection can be a golden opportunity to reassure your client that you are an expert and the best person to help them with their problem. If you are currently faced with a decision maker who is only half-convinced of your proposition, here are the five common objections you should study and learn to overcome:

1. Cost

Price is a primary concern of IT professionals. These people are working with budget constraints—even more, limited in the case of small enterprises. Consider offering a lightweight solution that is effective and suitable to their budget. Be creative in your value proposition and convince your client of the long-term cost savings that will balance the upfront cost in time.

2. Necessity or Luxury?

When you are selling an upgrade, automation or software coverage, you may have to deal with a skeptical client; again with a limited budget. You have to be the expert that can tell your client when a system is cutting-edge and when it is already outdated. Emphasize the speed of software evolution.

Also, convince your customer of the cost-efficiency of buying the product or service. For instance, a software upgrade can increase performance and security, eliminating the need to buy new hardware.

Likewise, IT support can save your customer on the cost of purchasing upgrades in the future. In particular, if your customer does not have a valid application software coverage, their company would have to pay more to upgrade their applications. Incompatibility of current applications with future network additions also leads to additional costs.

Related: Enterprise Sales vs SMB Sales: A Side-by-Side Comparison [INFOGRAPHIC]

3. Complexity

Another primary concern is that it may be difficult for employees to learn and adapt to the new system. Introduce solutions that are user-friendly. These customers require plug and play products. If training is necessary, ensure that they will be guided throughout the process and emphasize sustainability.

4. Integration with Current System

Most companies will avoid a complete overhaul and replacement of their current systems. Your goal is to show them how they can improve performance and efficiency with ease. Introduce solutions that integrate seamlessly with their system for little cost and downtime.

Related: Industry Insights: The 5 Types of Buyers You Meet in Cloud Selling

5. Employees

A company that employs in-house technicians can make it harder for you to sell your IT solutions to them. Emphasize that your goal is to support their in-house team and help identify and resolve issues quickly. Open them to issues that are outside the scope and experience of their in-house techs. You may be offering solutions that increase employee efficiency through the delegation of menial and repetitive tasks. Hence, they can focus on more important business matters.

Related: How to Sell to Match the 3 Types of IT Decision Makers

 

In Conclusion

There are times when you will encounter clients that resist change. Win them over to your side, guiding them through solutions that can help them succeed in their business. An effective IT sales professional will listen to a client’s concerns and flawlessly provide the answers as the expert they can count on.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

 

 

Do you want more IT leads?

Dial 888.810.7464 | Chat on WhatsApp

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide to targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

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How to Sell to Match the 3 Types of IT Decision Makers

When you are in the IT B2B arena, chances are you will deal with different types of decision-makers in different levels of management. These people can be the IT Managers, CIOs, CTOs, VPs, or CEOs.

If you are lucky enough (pun intended), you might find yourself like a bouncing ball as one decision maker tells you to go to another decision maker. In fact, you might be making the same pitch in front of different high-ranking people in the same company.

Doing the same thing over and over again gets easier in time, but the real challenge is convincing different decision makers with different values to buy your product or services.

Before you map out a strategy, get to know the different types of IT Decision Makers and how to deal with them:

 

The Usual Target

When thinking of decision makers, top-level executives come to mind. After all, C-suite executives get the final word in the buying decision. However, they have a lesser role in the buying process than you may expect. If you focus your marketing efforts solely on them, the effectiveness of your approach is limited because:

  • C-Suite executives are smaller in number.
  • It is expensive and time-consuming to reach them.
  • They are busy people and will most likely delegate your marketing to their IT team for analysis.

What You Can Do

The best approach is to contact only one C-Suite executive. This person has access to other decision-makers and greatly influences the buying decision. It is the C-Suite executive who will gain or lose the most by deciding for or against your sales opportunity.

However, you have to gain their trust first. You can’t sell to these organizations if you’re a stranger to them and their world. It includes understanding the industry they are in, their business goals, the people that will be affected by their buying decision, and the factors that can influence their buying decisions at the last minute.

Establish yourself as a credible advisor with integrity first. You need to have the solutions they have been trying to develop, and the C-Suite executive can see that the organization will benefit from the experience.

Related: The 3 C’s of Selling to the C-Suite and Closing Large Deals [INFOGRAPHIC]

 

The Do-it-all

Small IT business owners are IT buyers, but they don’t have the time it takes to review your proposal for consideration. They most likely have a small team that lacks experience in the strategies you are a master at.

You may have the solution to the problems or challenges they face, but they are unwilling to spend time learning about your organization.

What You Can Do

If you talk about future ROI and a long-term plan, you may not get their attention quickly.  Small IT business owners are focused on their problems now. If you can provide them with solutions for instant relief, then you can win more of their time.

Like C-Suite executives, you need to prove you understand their business and the pain points they are experiencing now. Skip the sales talk because not one of the three IT decision makers is influenced by selling to them.

Instead, focus on building a deeper relationship. Educate your target audience, and you can position yourself as the go-to advisor for solving their pain points and achieving their desire.

Make it as pain-free as possible for them to adopt your solutions. This means providing constant support throughout the process. You need to help them understand what they bought, how they can reap the most benefits from your products and services, and how to add features along the way.

Related: IT Consulting Leads: Finding New Business for Your Tech Consulting Firm

 

The Know-It-All

Do you know what happens to your marketing proposal after you submit it to an organization? Most of the time, it will get passed on to an IT team along with a bunch of other proposals from your competitors. B2B marketers often bypass them, but they are the ones who are most heavily involved in the buying process.

Most of the efforts of studying your organization and your proposal will be handed over to the IT pros. If you can’t convince them that your solution is what they need, the Business Decision Maker won’t even get to see it.

The IT pro’s job is to recommend the best solution to the Business Decision Maker. This will immensely affect the final purchasing decision.

What You Can Do

There are two ways to get to them. One, influence those above them and two be smarter than them (or at least as knowledgeable). The first technique requires working with a deep tech PR expert to publish content that will directly influence his higher-ups.

If you can get his boss to look into your organization and give his thoughts, you must be prepared with highly-visible solutions. This brings us to the second point which is knowledge of their industry and business goals.

You need to show them how you can add value to their company. It includes understanding their needs and pain points more than the solution you have. Doing this will help you make the solution personalized, a gesture they will greatly appreciate because you clearly took the time to find out about their problems and needs.

Conveying what you know about their problems without any mention of sales will earn you their respect.  Don’t overtly sell something and don’t offer them your biased point-of-view towards a single solution.

Related: Utilize a Data-Driven Approach to Generate Technology Leads

 

Closing the Deal

Build trust and position yourself an asset to the whole organization. Your knowledge of their industry, their pains, desires, and your assurance of guidance and support throughout the process will earn their trust. Do your research and consider all the influential factors in the buying process.

Move towards earning their respect, trust, and cultivating a relationship. Position yourself as a knowledgeable problem-solver rather than an annoying salesman. As Zig Ziglar puts it, “You can have everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Related: How to Skillfully Recognize and Respond to True Buying Signals

 

Speaking of IT selling, Callbox provides tailored IT marketing solutions that can help put your IT solutions in front of people that drive IT buying decisions. Talk to us now!

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

 

 

Do you want more leads?

Dial 888.810.7464 | WhatsApp +65 8232 2417

 

 

Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide to targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

Download Targeted B2B Marketing Guide, Checklists and Worksheets [Free eBook] CTA

IT Consulting Leads: Finding New Business for Your Tech Consulting Firm

We’ve all been there before, we’re stuck in front of our monitors, and we’ve found that we’ve run out of leads. The feeling can happen in any industry and looking for new IT consulting leads is not insulated from this.

Take it from us; there is no such thing as running out of leads, we’ve solved this problem in the past. In this article, we’ll show you how you can find, nurture and make the most out of the leads you have.

Are you stuck in a rut and have run out of IT consulting leads? Then, this article is designed for you.

 

Getting New IT Consulting Leads

Like any lead generation or lead nurturing campaign, the IT industry does not really differ if you really think about. The basics are pretty much still the same.

There are a couple of ways of generating new leads. If you are still a new startup then you have no choice but to really go out in the field to meet new people. Events are a great place to start and you should also look into creating sales funnels using your own name as your main vehicle for representation.

Build a LinkedIn profile and connect with the movers and shakers in your particular niche, then harness these connections in generating leads. Make sure that you are an accurate representation of what your brand is trying to sell. And, of course, include your landing page somewhere in your bio.

 

Segment and Categorize

We’re sure you’ve got a list of people that you’re ready to tap into, but how many of these people can you reach? It is at this time that you can utilize the principles of account-based marketing and create campaigns explicitly designed for them.

Instead of spending your time looking for new leads, why don’t you try to win some of the people that are already on your list with segmented campaigns?

Related: Approaching Psychographic Segmentation In B2B Marketing

 

The Traditional Email Campaign

Say what you want about email, but we can tell you that it still works. Once you’ve segmented your list, create value in the emails you send. Remember to integrate your email efforts with a proper CRM application so that you can automate and monitor with ease.

Take after the lessons of ABM and make sure that you personalize your campaigns with each niche market segment that you are targeting. This makes your email campaigns more effective.

Related: 5 B2B Email Marketing Goals that Make or Break Results

 

Building Up a Repertoire on Social Media

You can harness the power of social media to create sales funnels as we’ve mentioned earlier. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to start.

Join groups and make sure you’re connected with the right type of people. Don’t push sales on anyone, but instead make sure that you’re active enough that you build a reputation as a thought leader in your industry.

Of course, you still have to optimize your profile – make sure everything is filled out and that you are representing your industry well – but this is a long-term strategy for building sales commitments that are centered on relationships.

You can’t be too sales-y here, but you will find that you can quickly generate leads by just engaging with people.

 

Content Matters

If you want to establish yourself as a resource for valuable information, then the type of content that you release should speak volumes about your company.

Engage in interactive content marketing whenever you can.

Related: How Bad Content is Costing you Quality IT Sales

 

Retargeting Maneuvers

There’s this phrase that digital marketers use called “pre-suasion” and it’s the act of trying to market to a certain client base before you even put forward your proposal. It works by getting your brand in front of them before you even meet with them.

You can utilize a retargeting strategy to make sure that your message appears on their screens when you’re not around. It involves a nifty ad campaign, but we can tell you that it works because even we have tried it before.

You can utilize ad retargeting – even with video – in various social media platforms.

Retargeting for tech companies

Example banner ad

 

Landing Pages

How optimized are your landing pages? Are you sure that your CTA buttons are built in a certain way? Are your forms too long? If your lead generation pipeline breaks during the conversion stage, then you won’t be doing your business any good when it comes to actual conversion.

example landing page for IT consulting

 

Which leads us to…

 

The Feedback Process

Make sure that you record feedback correctly and that you monitor your analytics in order to ensure that you can tweak your campaigns for the better. Get your Google Analytics on point and learn.

This is the opportunity for you to do split testing, too, and it allows you to become more efficient and effective with your resources.

Related: Utilize a Data-Driven Approach to Generate Technology Leads

 

So there you have it, a few simple ways that you can develop new leads for your IT consulting business!

 

Humanize Your Brand: Marketing Your Technology Business With Human Touch

Everything is evolving, including the way how technology companies market themselves.

Technology companies in the B2B sector are doing everything they can to get the attention of decision-makers, a feat that is becoming more challenging with the increased competition on different digital channels. Connecting to these decision makers has a significant impact on the success of their companies.

Despite all the competition, however, some companies manage to rise and do the unexpected. This article will look at various practices that made these companies a success.

 

Manage your expectations

Most, if not all companies, know how important managing the expectations of their customers are. It makes customers happy which, in turn, increases sales. The sad reality, however, is all the strategies for management expectation barely gets done.

Are they difficult? No, but they can be challenging because it requires a change in whatever wrong you’re doing in your marketing strategies.

Managing expectations has primarily three essential components – provide more solutions, be transparent, and provide clear timelines. These simple components are what give your marketing solution a human touch.

Now, expectation management does not start when you negotiate the purchase. It begins at the very touchpoint – on your landing page, when you reach out to your clients first, and even when clients are talking to your customer service support.

When everything is evident at the beginning, especially the pricing, your customer will trust you. And that can translate into sales.

Related: Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: The Expectations vs. The Reality

 

Tell better stories

Stories are an integral part of culture and society. People connect through stories. People relate to stories. In other words, stories give your marketing a human touch.

Stories are abundant, even clickbait advertising has a story. Your competitors also have their stories to tell. Your challenge, therefore, is to create better stories. Observe great and long-lasting brands – what kind of stories do they show?

These stories usually provide a solution to their target audience’s pain point, an idea that impacts the lives of their clients, or simply showing your client an exciting side of your business or company.

What kind of story do you want to tell? Better yet, how do you want to consume information? Use this to tell a compelling story packed with emotion.

Related: A Complete Cheat Sheet to Social Media Branding for Consulting Firms

 

Create a contrast

What makes an exciting story? One which has conflict or contrast.

Not only are these stories exciting but they also stick to your brain. That’s because it affirms what people are already thinking in their minds. Your clients or customers might have liked your product already, but they still have reservations in their minds. Contrast allows you to reframe any objectionable element in your product, such as price or product features that might be unclear to them, so that your audience will proceed to purchase your product.

If you don’t believe that, consider this example:

A person who has plans to go on vacation to a tropical island might be dreaming of getting a tan and reclining on a lounge chair, sipping some piña colada, and reading their favorite book. However, that might change if he or she learns the statistic saying that falling coconuts kill 150 people each year than shark attacks.

One SaaS company that has nailed this strategy is Miva. They created contrast by talking how downtimes happen every time there’s a software update. They used that pain point and created a difference by saying that they don’t break on upgrades.

By creating contrast, they show their difference from their competitors.

 

Make your product appeal to humans

Even if you are a tech company, you are still selling and talking to humans. Thus, it makes sense to give your marketing solution a human touch. You might be offering to solve a technical problem, but you don’t need to sound like a robot.

Humanizing your brand is very simple – think about how you interact or talk to your friends. If you notice, each of you has their unique voice. The same goes true when you communicate with your customer. Find your unique voice and maintain it when talking to your customers and prospects.

Another way of creating a human touch to your strategy is by putting a spotlight on your employees. It tells your audience that they are dealing with humans, who grow the brand. Do this by sharing stories with your employees or sharing the story of an employee on social media. Not only will it humanize your company but it will also boost the morale of your employees.

 

It’s not easy to market your product

The tips given above should guide you towards making a more thoughtful marketing campaign.

Why thoughtful and not successful?

A thoughtful marketing campaign builds trust as people realize you understand them and their pain points.

Eventually, you will increase your ROI rate as they trust you more and more.

 

Author Bio:

Judy Caroll

Judy Caroll is a marketing executive at Callbox. She is a blogger, online marketer and loves to share with you the best stuff in sales and marketing. Follow Judy on Twitter and Google+.

 

 

Check out our recent Client Success Stories!

Micro Market Provider Forecasts Pipeline Value Growth After Campaign

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Grab a copy of our FREE EBOOK, Targeted B2B Marketing: Guide, Checklists, and Worksheets! A comprehensive guide to targeted marketing to help organizations get in front of the right people at the right time through the right channels with the right message to influence a purchase.

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Utilize a Data-Driven Approach to Generate Technology Leads

The modern consumer is much more self-directed because of the wealth of information they can get not only from the Internet but also from other people around the world through the various social media platforms. In fact, Forrester revealed in their survey that 74 percent of the B2B buyers conduct online research first before they decide to buy.

If buyers rely on every piece of data they can find to make a purchase, then companies should all the more adopt a data-driven approach in their IT lead generation campaigns. When vendors apply a data-driven marketing mindset, both seller and buyer reach a more informed decision.

Data-driven marketing, however, is more than just using your customers’ information. It also means using and activating data in an automated or semi-automated manner, giving you more creative strategy.

 

Data  is Power

Data gives you knowledge; thus, data gives you power as a marketer. Your marketing strategy becomes even more powerful if you have the right information in your hands. Armed with that information, you can create a scalable marketing process that can be repeated and can run on auto-pilot. As a result, you have more time in your hands, allowing you to focus more on testing and optimization.

Data also removes any guesswork that exists allowing you to target the right customers and create messages that are both relevant and valuable to your target audience.

The sad truth, however, is only a few marketers can use data effectively. A report released by TrustRadius revealed that there is a big disconnect between the vendor and the buyer in the B2B technology.

However, here’s the good news: there is always room for growth and improvement. So to help you fully utilize the people-first approach, we have prepared five creative marketing tips for your IT lead generation campaign.

Related: 5 New Year’s Resolutions to Refine Your Marketing Analytics Stack

 

#1 Provide customized and personalized hands-on experience

According to the report from TrustRadius,  around 75 percent of the buyers said that demo products have a significant impact on their purchasing decision. Trial versions enable the customer to experience and evaluate the product before buying it. Data can help you create a more personalized demo or trial version that directly addresses that specific customer’s needs. Conversely, they do not want a trial version that seems biased or too general.

 

#2 Encourage customer participation

Make your happy customers feel more loved and valuable by allowing them to participate in case studies and testimonials. You can use the data from customer feedback as a reference for your product strategy or make improvements to your existing products and services. You can also make them a reference contact for other prospects, saving you money in marketing.

Related: How to Write a Compelling Case Study

 

#3 Create valuable personalized content

According to the same report from TrustRadius, many customers think that most of the content created by businesses have only one goal – to convince them to buy rather than address their pain point.

Businesses should remember that for their clients, valuable means more than facts and figures. Instead, it should be something that helps them solve the problem they have at hand.

That can be addressed by creating more personalized content for each target. This strategy sends a message that you care enough about your customers because you had taken the time to study their needs and find a solution for that.

 

#4 Encourage customer review in third-party review sites

Encouraging your customers to review your product or service in other third-party review sites brings customer participation to another level. First, it sends a message that you are confident of your product. Second, you can use the data from those reviews to have honest feedback on the limitations and advantages of your product or service.

 

#5 Design a nurturing strategy for a more personalized experience

The TrustRadius report revealed that 89 percent of the buyers were influenced by the vendor to make the purchase. According to them, they feel the vendor is more of a strategic partner than just a seller. These businesses offered extended trials, conducted on-site visits, provided customization options and real data, and demonstrated ROI.

Related: Value Your Leads: Lead Nurturing Best Practices to Boost Conversion

 

It’s Your Turn

Many companies are reaping the benefits of data-driven marketing and advertising. If it’s your first time, you can start with the tips we shared and develop your strategy as you go along the way. Just remember, this is not a one-time deal but a continuous effort to add more value to your customers.

 

Get More IT Leads: The Things You Should (or Must) Know About Email Marketing

No one can doubt the value of email in lead generation. If anything, email marketing is still an important strategy being pursued by those in the IT arena. The reasons for this is that emails prove to be effective in keeping marketing costs down all the while maintaining an influx of high-quality leads. For IT and software companies, this strategy would be essential in improving their bottom lines. With that being said, let’s take a deeper look at how email marketing can be leveraged to accomplish such goals.

Related: 8 Ways 2017 Will Shape Your 2018 Email Marketing Campaigns

One benefit of this strategy, according to an article published in Shout Me Loud, emails are highly adaptable, meaning they can be incorporated “into any kind of marketing plan that your business might have, without having any additional costs.” On the other hand, Campaign Monitor points out the prevalence of email across various industries, emphasizing email’s impressive ability in “generating the highest ROI” and in giving “marketers the broadest reach of all the channels available to them.”

From these observations, it is safe to say that email marketing can work for the IT crowd as well. But considering the complexities of creating and implementing an effective campaign, IT companies will have to come up with the right approaches to be able to break barriers.

The “right approach” might sound a little subjective since strategy varies from one company to another. Apparently, there’s really no trend to watch out for or standards to follow when it comes down to generating leads using emails. What is certain, though, is that successful campaigns are the result of mastery of the platform itself.

Related: How to Find (and Win Over) New IT Clients

 

Notes from the real world

Notes from the real world

A case in point is SaaS leader Moz. In an article on Inc.com, Moz is cited for its highly effective strategy of content curation. Instead of sending its subscribers with original content, the company would rather collect content from other sources and send them to contacts in its mailing lists under its “Moz Top 10” campaign. This strategy worked out for the best as it allowed them to be viewed as “industry experts for providing a simple and highly valuable resource.

Likewise, ERP software giant STR Software was also able to maximize its email campaigns and achieve a significant increase in organic traffic. This was possible by promoting a platform for their content that captures contact information. Using marketing automation, they were able to perform an email blast with relevant content, resulting in several other successes such as higher conversions and a steady flow of web traffic.

Related: 7 Types of Emails Your Business Should Send

 

Ironing out issues

Ironing out issues

Despite these successes, however, these companies may have at some point encountered several issues along the way. It is only a matter of knowing these common problems in email marketing and coming up with the needed solutions.

Chief among this is the challenge of targeting the right people to subscribe to your mailing list. Resolving this issues requires that you place your fill form in an area where visitors can instantly see them. Aside from that, you may also need to create an effective call-to-action that will entice the right prospects to sign up for your updates and newsletters.

But going beyond this basic strategy, you will also need to craft content that corresponds to specific details. One thing’s for sure, you will be able to increase your email subscriptions significantly if you aim to hit the right notes. It’s only a matter of personalizing your messages based on demographics, particularly location and job titles. For the latter, opt to promote your newsletters to project managers, IT directors, operations managers, and other executive-level positions that handle IT integration.


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Using the right tactics

Using the right tactics

Planning on what to do with your campaign is easier said than done, but you can find a lot of ways to get around. The real challenge comes in rolling out your strategy.When it comes right down to engaging the right audience using your emails, you will only need to underscore the following tips:

  1. Create short and effective subject lines
  2. Schedule the ideal time of the day for sending your emails
  3. Optimize your newsletter for mobile users
  4. Provide giveaways such as coupons, vouchers, and free trials
  5. Personalize your content based on the interests and prior interactions of your audience