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Industry Insights: Tapping into the Growing Demand for Edge Computing

If we look past the hype, it’s clear that edge computing promises to transform business IT in a fundamental way. We’re now seeing more and more business use-cases for edge computing, which in turn drives growth in demand for the technology among businesses and enterprises.

The main question for providers today is how to capture this increasing opportunity – how to approach customer acquisition for edge computing solutions? While the potential is certainly there, so too are the unique challenges that come with trying to sell a new product in a new market. That’s what we’ll talk about in this post.

 

Edge Computing Beyond the Hype

Just like a lot of IT innovations over the years, edge computing has already seen its fair share of hype-vs-reality moments. As the technology matures and adoption broadens, edge computing solutions now cover core business uses, not just niche applications.

The same thing also happened to cloud computing. As Gartner pointed out back in 2010, cloud computing was still at the “Peak of  Inflated Expectations” stage of its hype cycle, which meant that the Cloud still had a long way to go before gaining widespread adoption.

It would take a couple more years for cloud computing to become the business-critical tool that it is today.

Similar to how cloud computing had evolved, edge computing has also been slowly climbing the hype curve and is now considered to be gradually maturing.

Edge computing’s primary role had originally been to serve as data collection endpoints that filter and send data to the Cloud. Today, however, edge computing systems have gained the capability to compute, store, and analyze data at or near the data source. This is what makes modern edge computing such a key component in today’s business IT processes.

Companies collect petabytes of information as data packets from embedded sensors, ecommerce sites, social media platforms, and streaming services. These packets of data then have to travel all the way to a cloud system to be stored, analyzed, and converted into actionable insights.

By placing computing power and storage resources close to or at the edge of the network, edge computing makes the entire process faster and more efficient.

But there’s more to edge computing than lower latency. Edge computing’s distributed architecture enables:

  • Better security compared to centralized cloud platform
  • Improved reliability through redundancies
  • Increased scalability and versatility to adapt to changing requirements

That’s why IDC estimates 40% of IoT data will be stored, processed, and used at the network periphery by 2019. ZDNet also points out a growing list of business use-cases for edge computing:

  • Industrial automation
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Software-defined networking
  • Blockchain
  • Retail

From registration to conversion, Callbox helped maximize the marketing potential of this cloud CRM company’s live events, providing targeted one-on-one engagement at each step of the way. Read Case Study

 

The Challenge of Selling a New Product in a New Market

An interesting HBR article tries to answer why it’s so hard to sell new products. It can be surprising how many pioneering companies fail at marketing and selling groundbreaking innovations. It all boils down to having the mistaken belief that shiny new things sell themselves.

While edge computing has been around long enough already, its most recent iteration makes it a relatively new product in the IT solutions landscape. What’s more is that the market for edge computing products and services also happens to be a new one.

As McKinsey points out, the several hundred or so edge computing use-cases have driven the need for custom response from vendors. IoT devices operate in vastly different environments and conditions (than in typical office or factory applications). This requires a whole new set of technologies that enable computing in those specific conditions.

The main challenges in selling a new solution like edge computing can be summed up in the following key points:

  • Acquiring familiarity with the new market
  • Gaining target customers’ trust and confidence
  • Establishing reputation and awareness
  • Navigating around the competition
  • Building a network of potential and actual customers

In short, selling a new product means that the vendor needs to become a change agent, which is something very different than selling an existing solution.

 

Turning Pain Points to Proof Points

According to IoT Now Magazine, the key to reaching early IoT success relies on being able to turn “pain points to proof points.” Investments in IoT projects often require a huge “leap of fate” from companies since it can be difficult to come up with a reasonable ROI estimate. The key to gaining buy-in is to find a well-defined pain point and work from there.

The same can be said of edge computing solutions. In the absence of measurable ROI figures, vendors need to focus on specific business areas or activities where edge computing impact can reliably be demonstrated.

  • Start with one or two small applications to demonstrate edge capabilities (e.g., identify a particular activity affected by high latency)
  • Make sure to choose known business issues or performance areas which can later be extended or scaled up into other activities
  • Select performance metrics that can serve as proxies for ROI (e.g., cost reduction, productivity boost, satisfaction metrics, etc.)

The key idea here is to solve small, well-scoped problems to demonstrate the value that edge computing solutions can deliver and then scale it up into other activities or areas.

 

Conclusion:

Setting aside the hype, edge computing has the power to fundamentally disrupt business and enterprise IT. This creates both opportunities and challenges for providers. Keep in mind the ideas discussed in this article when creating your approach at marketing and selling edge solutions.

 

Software Lead Generation: Keys to Selling Cloud BI Solutions

There’s no doubt that cloud business intelligence (BI) software presents a lot of benefits to businesses and organizations. It helps companies respond to market changes and improve their business strategies because it gives them access to real-time data. Most of all, it comes with fewer capital expenses helping businesses save more.

Despite all the benefits cloud BI and analytics solutions offer, most tech experts agree that selling or marketing these solutions to corporate executives and other end users is still a great challenge. Although some companies are already adopting cloud business and analytics, there is still a significant percentage who either do not want it or have doubts about it.

The primary reasons for such hesitation are security and privacy. Then, there’s also the issue around the loss of control.

How do you get past these challenges and convince organizations that the benefits outweigh the risks? How would you approach software lead generation for your cloud BI and analytics solutions?

 

Business Intelligence Is a ‘Family Affair’

In an interview about cloud BI trends, Howard Dresner, Founder, President and Chief Research Officer at Dresner Advisory Services, said that the most reluctant people about the cloud BI adoption are the IT guys.

Their concerns are not unfounded since they are the ones who take care of large, enterprise-scale projects in the company. When someone suddenly finds themselves not managing the system, concerns around privacy, security, and loss of control get bigger.

Engaging tech buyers in software lead generation

As a BI seller, the most logical thing to do is convince the CTO or CIO of an organization; however, that is not the best approach. Doing so will not bring you to the next level of the sales funnel. Instead, you need to engage and involve the key people in each key business area of the company throughout the process. That’s because BI is a ‘family affair.’

Your best bet is engaging an executive —  ideally the CMO or CFO — who sees the bigger picture of the company’s goals and strategy.  Someone who also has the expertise to translate and focus the company’s mission into KPIs.

The following visual guide demonstrates the 3 C’s of selling to the C-Suite, you might want to check it out.

If you want to succeed in selling cloud BI solutions (or software lead generation in general), you need to involve every key person and their business areas in the process. By doing so, you will be able to touch the different kinds of BI users in the company as well as create a customized solution for each of them. By determining who the users are and the type of information needed, you can guide them into a buying decision.

 

Software Lead Generation needs Outbound

It’s common for cloud software companies to rely heavily on inbound channels for their software lead generation efforts. In an ideal setting, the potential customer signs up for a trial, sees the value in the product, and then proceeds to upgrade to a paid tier. However, for complex SaaS solutions such as cloud BI and analytics, this sales model doesn’t work most of the time.

Outbound software lead generation strategy

We’ve heard the phrase “consult, don’t sell” and this is true in every sense. Consultation plays a big role in software selling which means sales meetings drive software sales. And when we say sales meetings, one thing comes into mind – outbound appointment setting.

In a previous topic, my colleague, Rebecca went over 4 steps in appointment setting to boost sales meetings with prospects.

Outbound channels such as personalized email send outs, phone sales calls, and SMM will allow cloud BI solutions to reach wider audiences, engage the right software buyers, and shorten the already lengthy tech buying process. In short, leveraging targeted outbound software lead generation strategies can fill the gaps of inbound.

Combining inbound and outbound marketing requires resources like data, tech stack, expertise, and budget – which most companies lack. This brings us to…

 

Partner with a Software Lead Generation Agency

Employing the services of a lead generation services company (in USA) is common across B2B firms, especially with IT and software companies. With the demands and complexities of modern B2B marketing, it makes more business sense to outsource marketing or at the least, the top of the funnel lead gen activities to an agency.

Software lead generation requires planning and a more granular approach. In fact, 60% percent of process is spent on preparation rather than the actual execution. Software companies might be able to replicate the infrastructure of a lead gen services company if they choose to go the DIY route, but the pros of outsourcing outweighs the cons that surface when keeping it in-house.

Lead Generation Agency vs DIY Lead Generation

 

How to Make Change Less Painful

Change is painful and uncomfortable. That is why a lot of companies, especially SMBs, are still ambivalent about cloud business intelligence. You, as a BI seller, need to accept this including the fact that implementing something new is not easy. It requires a lot of work, especially on the software lead generation end. An essential part of BI implementation is the assessment of the current situation. Analyze what the existing software stack of the company is. Here are some points to look out for:

  • The organizational structures and the processes around it or lack of it
  • What’s working — it’s not practical to remove an effective and efficient process.
  • How do you integrate these processes into the new strategy?
  • What are the current data sources of the company?
  • How are they stored?

Putting those points into consideration will give you an insight into how your BI solution can seamlessly fit into the company’s business strategy.

 

Value is Still on Top of the List

Consumers always consider cost in contrast with value, functionality, and deployment timing. Any product or service that offers value to the consumer and leads them to a better ROI will always win against its competition.

After value comes convenience and simplicity. If your solution can make a company’s business process much more manageable, that’s another selling point for you. Alan Fang, COO of ERP Logic Inc., an enterprise resource planning reseller said that the way of the future is “the simplicity of accessing a large chunk of data without spending a lot of time synchronizing the data.”

 

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+.

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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.

 

7 Lead Generation Mistakes Software Companies Must Avoid

There are plenty of mistakes that can happen when you market your software product and to avoid these unnecessary mishaps certain precautions must be taken. From core competencies to poor timing, there are definitely a lot of things to watch out for.

Here are 7 common lead generation mistakes that software companies make in software selling along with some tips on how to avoid them:

 

1. Not Knowing the Core Competency of your Competitors

It is a natural default for potential buyers to compare and contrast specifications most especially when it entails entrusting their business processes to the effectiveness of the software tool being offered. When marketing your software product, be prepared to counter or give additional details about what you are selling and how it stands out from the competitor mentioned.

Do this professionally. Avoid bad mouthing the features being offered by your competitors. Instead, highlight what makes your product worth investing in and offer to add specific features that will address their needs.

 

2. Not Working with a Software Lead Generation Specialist at the Start

If you want to dominate the market, make sure to do things right from the start. This means establishing a team of specialists in your industry who can give you a better understanding of the process from end-to-end and the right guidance at the same time.

Working together with a software marketing specialist/firm allows you to cut your total marketing spend or get better output (e.g.: more qualified leads, higher conversion, and faster sales turnout) with the same budget.

How to identify the right software lead generation firm?

  1. Narrow down your choices to the companies with experience
  2. Review their track record, specifically their software lead generation experience
  3. Asses how well they integrate with your current marketing system

 

3. Marketing your Product to the Wrong Set of People

Spending so much of your resources marketing to the wrong set of potential buyers is an awful waste of your precious time. Some potential buyers seem promising in the beginning because they will respond to the way you engage them. Unknown to you, they will easily drop your proposal after spending so much time expounding on your product.

Remember that the right people will always translate into actual sales. Finding the right people for your software product is only possible by first identifying businesses who are highly likely going to need your software product. Identify the buyer personas who can be expected to respond well to your marketing initiatives.

A buyer persona, while semi-fictional in essence, represents the kind of buyers you should be targeting. Common data that would be accessible to you include demographics, buying behavior, goals, and motivations.

How can software companies find the right software leads & buyers?

Account-based marketing lets you engage multiple contacts/prospects within a target company using messages tailored to each contact’s role.

By connecting with different company contacts, you can improve your brand’s chances of reaching the right decision maker.

 

4. Believing that Word of Mouth Marketing Happens Naturally

Sure, word of mouth can work for some products. Unfortunately, not as well as you may hope for a software product such as the one you are trying to sell. A person who says he likes your software better than that of your competitor will not create a snowball effect.

If you want word of mouth to work beautifully for you as a marketing initiative, you have to get the information out to as many people as possible in order to start an effective trend. These people need to be convinced that your software product works and that it addresses a very important need. Positioning your product as a solution will really do wonders for your business.

How can ABM drive brand advocacy?

We now know that through ABM, you can bring your offer to multiple stakeholders. But by pairing ABM with multi-channel marketing, your touchpoints are in context, resulting in a better overall experience which is the foundation of every solid brand advocacy program.

 

5. Giving Excessive Amount of Information

If you are unable to summarize the best features of your product in 2-3 sentences, you may have to sit down with your team again to come up with this. Avoid giving too much information that has the potential to confuse or over educate your target clients. It tends to complicate their decision making when they have too many information they need to sift through and understand at the same time.

 

6. Poor Timing

In business, timing is everything. Study what is the best time to launch your marketing campaign, make a sales call or send out sales emails. You wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of a tight season when your target clients are spending on other important expenses and would most likely reject your sales pitch.

How Marketing Automation fixes ill-timed lead generation touchpoints

With the right marketing automation platform, you can deliver relevant personalized messages across channels.

 

7. Making a Complicated Buying Process

A lot of potential buyers get turned off by complicated buying processes. The simpler the process, the better for a lot of business owners. For instance, there are vendors whose call-to-action is unclear or too complex to comprehend.

When buyers encounter this kind of complication, they tend to have second thoughts and this may result in a lost sales opportunity. Make sure that your product is easy to purchase.

 

How to Sell Specialized Software Products and Solutions

It seems as if the world of software is already highly competitive, but there are still ways to leverage your specializations in order for you to drive growth and repeat sales in your organization.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can maneuver and strategize to create solutions for your niche software selling strategy.

Here are 7 things you can employ when trying to sell specialized software products and solutions:

 

1. Provide a solution to your client’s problems.

You can never go wrong with this mindset. Simply provide a proven and tested solution to the common issues being faced by your clients and you will surely go a long way. Before you can achieve this, however, it is necessary that you go out of your way to identify and study the many problems that businesses face where it concerns their specific industry.

In order to zero in on what kind of software solutions you can offer your potential clients, you also need to be able to determine early on what your business is strong at. Do you want to increase productivity? Do you want to make day-to-day operations easy to monitor? Or do you want your target clients to be able to enjoy seamless accounting processes?

Answering the above-mentioned questions will enable you to come up with helpful solutions that companies will surely seek out.

 

2. Use an uncommon approach in letting your presence felt among your target clients.

Niche marketing requires that you design approaches that will surely attract the attention and curiosity of the specific demographic you intend to reach. To start off, you need to be able to identify what specific marketing channels will best reach your target market.

This present generation of highly connected consumers often opt to use social media to look for services or products they need. Social media marketing is one approach you can use, that is if your target market is believed to be rampant social media users. Come up with unique and creative campaigns designed to attract your target clients.

 

3. Be mindful of opportunities opening around you.

Focusing on niche marketing can sometimes be limiting without you knowing it. Keeping your efforts concentrated too much on a specific target market can also potentially prevent you from seeing other opportunities around you. What you need to do is to keep an eye on these opportunities as they start to unfold without compromising the present marketing efforts you are doing.

 

4. Keep track of what your competitors are doing.

There is a way you can keep tabs on what the competition is doing with very minimal effort needed. What do you need to know about the competition? Find out what they are up to, what they are currently focusing on and who they are reaching out to mention a few.

There are software tools available to business operators such as yourself that will help you generate information about the latest movements of your competitors. You can choose the ones suited to your budget. Check out WordStream Advisor, WhatRunsWhere, MixRank, and AdBeat.

 

5. Be smarter than your competitors.

Niche software businesses have a bigger chance of conversion compared to those who market to a wider audience because they cater to a smaller group of people whose needs are being met effectively. Having this in mind, it may not be wise to aim to go head-to-head against big software companies in the market. Focusing on your current niche will allow you to build your own network of followers and loyal clients.

 

6. Give your marketing approaches a personal touch.

A niche audience will naturally respond as you hope they would to a marketing campaign that is carefully designed to catch their attention. To continue to do this, remember to come up with marketing campaigns that will make their experience unforgettable. Good user experience will highly likely result in high conversion rates.

 

7. Invest in paid advertising.

Just as you can reach a wide market by using free platforms, you can even reach a bigger audience with paid advertising that is programmed to reach your specific demographic. You don’t even have to put out a lot of money when you do paid advertising. It is also highly likely you will spend less as you will only target a small demographic in a given region.

Google AdWords can charge extravagantly for their Cost Per Click and this may affect your budget greatly especially if you are just starting out. There are other options to consider and this will allow you to reach your target for a lesser cost.

Takeaway: As you can see, there are a lot of ways for you to market niche software and it all lies in getting into a specific market and maneuvering there. Let us know if you have comments or questions!

 

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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ERP Software Leads: Effective Lead Gen for ERP Solutions

If you are in the tech industry and you are selling enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you know how challenging it is not only to market your products but also to get quality B2B leads. That’s because potential customers are not aware that there are ERP solutions available for various specific needs they have. ERP solutions can help streamline and expedite their processes without compromising the quality.

However, since not a lot of people and businesses are aware of ERP software, firms in this field are hard-pressed to find high-quality ERP software leads. The competition to get a bigger bite of the market is very stiff. More so, they cannot be lax about their lead generation strategy, or they will end up in the dumps.

 

How to Generate Leads Effectively

Generating ERP software leads require precision. You need to focus your time, money, and effort on marketing your product to the right people. To find the right people, you need to understand a few things before you start your ERP software lead gen strategy.

 

1. Identify the Type of Customers Who Will Benefit from Your Product

If you know who you are going to talk to, you will go straight to them, and that saves you a lot of time and effort. It also allows you to create a personalized strategy on how to position and present your product’s features.

When you create your buyer persona, you should also ask what they need your ERP software for. The answer will, of course, vary since no two businesses are alike. For example, a financial establishment has a different need than a healthcare institution. Therefore, they will require different features for their ERP software. You have to find out the industry or segment that will significantly benefit and find value from your ERP software.

Industry Insights: The 5 Types of Buyers You Meet in Cloud Selling (Blog Thumbnail)

Get to know the 5 types of buyers you meet in cloud selling and be more effective at reaching your target audience.

 

2. Focus on SEO

If you have a website, you can use it as a lead generation tool by using the right SEO practices. To ensure that you fully utilize your site as an effective lead gen tool, you have to use the right keywords and meta tags that well describe your ERP software business.

You can begin by understanding what your target wants (which you already did on the first point), and their online behavior. What keywords do they often use when they search for an ERP software? Which sector or industry do they belong to?

Aside from ‘listening’ to what your prospects are looking for, you need to conduct keyword research. You can use tools, such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and more to find out what keywords rank high and which ones fo your competitors use.

Another SEO tactic you can use for lead generation is link building and backlinking. These methods allow you to post your link on socially essential sites. You can also ask fellow bloggers if you can backlink to their sites.

Having a lot of links and backlinks from high authority sites increases your ‘link juice.’ Consequently, the more juice you have, the stronger your site becomes. Your ranking will improve when search engines start recognizing that. And as your ranking improves, more people can find you.

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Make your website ready for Google mobile-first indexing with practical tips and ideas from a number of experts, including first-hand insights from Timothy Hughes of Digital Leadership Associates.

 

3. Run Paid Campaigns

Using SEO to optimize your website can increase your organic traffic. Couple that with paid campaigns on search engine networks and social media to attract more leads.

  • LinkedIn – Even though LinkedIn removed its SlideShare feature, you can still utilize their Lead Gen forms along with your sponsored content to generate more leads.
  • Facebook – Use Facebook’s Lead Ads to run your lead generation campaign on their platform and Instagram.
  • Display ads on Google – Using Google AdWords enables you to display targeted ads on Google and partner websites.

 

4. Partner with a Lead Gen Firm

As mentioned earlier, the competition in the EPR software market is cutthroat, and relying solely on your inbound marketing team for your lead generation will not suffice. Make your lead generation effort more robust and effective by partnering with a lead gen firm.

Allowing a third party to handle your lead generation is not just cost-effective, but your in-house team can focus more on other important tasks to grow your business. More so, a lead generation firm has professionals with years of lead generation experience under their sleeves.

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Here are the 5 things you need to know before outsourcing your lead gen campaign.

 

Conclusion

Even though generating leads for your ERP software is quite daunting, you can still attract the right people to your sales pipeline. Know what customers you want and find out their wants and desires so you can create an effective lead gen strategy. Also, don’t forget SEO and couple that with both organic and paid ads campaign. If you think the job is too overwhelming, partner with a lead gen firm to help you with your efforts. Use all the tools and resources you have and soon your efforts will pay off.

 

SaaS Market Trends for 2019 and How to Align Your Growth Strategy

The SaaS market is a highly competitive one. The question is no longer whether or not businesses are on-board SaaS to cut storage costs to significant values.

Intuit data reveals 85% of small business owners plan to invest more in SaaS solutions that by 2020, SaaS will be the most disruptive technology. On average, enterprises across industries utilize between 25 to 100 SaaS applications.

Today, there are thousands of options for SaaS buyers. In a highly-saturated industry, it is crucial more than ever to stand out from other vendors. In this article, we lay out the key marketing trends you need to leverage in your strategy for the coming year.

 

Standalone Features

SaaS solutions are constantly evolving. Research and product development teams are always adding layers, features, tools, and plug-ins. Marketers can make a big mistake of cramming lots of new features in a single campaign.

An emerging trend is to launch marketing campaigns centered around the new feature. Crew: Unsplash and Invision: Studio is the best examples.

Custom Integrations

In the past years, software developers debated over horizontal and vertical models. Some believe that neutral, operations-focused software (horizontal) is more sustainable. Others see more growth in the development of industry-specific, targeted software.

Recently, SaaS developers understood that neither model is superior. In a move towards a do-it-all product, SaaS applications now enable integration of third-party apps and existing business solutions. The products are targeted—designed to meet clients needs across industries.

Push Strategy

New Customer Acquisition is the highest priority for 86% of SaaS business owners. Startups spend almost all of their first-year revenue on acquiring new customers.

It is vital to make prospective clients feel they need your SaaS now. Turn their attention to critical problems that would cost their organization time, money, and lost opportunities. Listen intently to what customers want and market to fill in that need.

The channel of communication is critical to your push strategy. Know what media your client profiles utilize the most and target your campaigns accordingly.

Related: Selling Software and Services: A Short Guide to SaaS Marketing

The Free Strategy

Want to push your customer acquisition strategy? Eliminate concerns over commitment and investment right from the start. Allow prospects to test your SaaS for a limited time or features. This way, potential customers can better understand product functions and learn at their own pace.

61% of SaaS businesses offer variations of the free model including a free trial, freemium model, trial-to-paid, limited version free, 30-day, and 90-day free trial. The free model is a strategic marketing strategy effective for customer acquisition.

For this strategy to work well, you need to understand the client’s touch points, so you know the best times to prompt an upgrade. Also, consider creating free trials that don’t require credit card information. Totango reveals SaaS trials without a credit card generate 2x more paying customers than those who require credit card information.

Sample Telemarketing Scripts for SOFTWARE

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Pricing Strategies

Think in terms of global markets when setting price models. Ideally, as you add new features and technologies to your SaaS application, it is essential to optimize pricing every 6 to 9 months. Set prices in the local currency of the buyers.

Customer Retention

ForEntrepreneurs released data that makes SaaS businesses rethink their view of existing customers. Remember, your current customers are faced with tons of choices every day. They can end their subscription at any time and switch to the competition.

According to ForEntrepreneurs, the average cost for new customer acquisition is $1.18 for every dollar. They further note that it is at least 9 times cheaper to spend on customer retention than acquisition.

Bain & Co. also reveals that 80% of SaaS future revenue will come from only 20% of existing customers. An increase in customer retention by just 5% results increases profitability by up to 75%.

Related: A B2B Guide to Winning New Customers and Repeat Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

So how do you retain the customers you already acquired? The next tips will show you how.

Customer Success

Adopt a customer-focused mentality and be dedicated to your customers’ success. Profit and customer retention will follow as you commit to providing value. It is not enough to provide killer support and proactive guidance.

Help your clients make the most of your SaaS, in particular encouraging increased usage. Totango notes that only 17% of paying customers use their SaaS service daily. 50% never log-in while others sign-in less than once a month.

As the competition grows stronger and bigger companies provide a richer experience, it is vital to focus on the following:

  • Increased product/feature adoption
  • Improved onboarding
  • Increased retention rates
  • Effectively Measure Customer & Account Success
  • Increase Upsells/Account Expansions

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Find out how Callbox’s growth process helped generate 47 appointments for a Healthcare SaaS vendor

Thought Leadership

Educating prospects is one of the best ways to market to them. You can gain 14% more organic traffic by creating educational content than PR-focused blogs.

Yet, only 24% of SaaS businesses publish content to educate. Others are purely company-focused while 11% of the major players don’t even have a blog. Needless to say, there is still a need for educational marketing.

Related: Happy Independence Day! Now Break Free from the Content Marketing Trap

Artificial Intelligence

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has begun developing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for the SaaS-based Amazon Web Services. AI and ML are set to lower the costs of businesses that utilize the technology. In five to ten years, AI will be mainstream in SaaS applications.

Among the possible ways to integrate AI and ML in SaaS include chatbots and constant, hands-free A/B testing.

 

Final Thoughts

Hundreds of SaaS startups are launched every year. It’s time to step up the game with forward-thinking strategies, technologies, and changes to your priorities. Simple steps such as adding a blog, localizing prices, and setting up a free trial with no credit card can push your SaaS to the top of the market.

 

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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Selling Software and Services: A Short Guide to SaaS Marketing

Consumers are changing, and this has never been true than in the SaaS industry. Thanks to the Internet which has made all types of information accessible with just a click. The Internet has also allowed buyers to connect with their peers faster; thus, they can get other people’s opinions about a product or service before they buy.

However, this is not the only change that is happening in the SaaS buying process. There are other areas that you need to understand to effectively reach out to your buyers and ultimately close a deal.

 

Paying Attention to Details: The SaaS Buying Experience

The SaaS landscape is changing, and there are four prevalent factors that SaaS vendors need to focus on if they want to capture the attention of their potential customers effectively:

#1 The buyer makes the purchase decision without vendor engagement.

In the past, buyers interact with vendors when they want to know more about the product. With social media, however, people get more connected, and the modern buyer doesn’t need to go straight to the vendor to ask about the products and services they offer. Instead, they ask their fellow consumers and ask for an honest review – talk about glorified word-of-mouth advertising.

Related: The B2B Buying Process Has Changed: Here’s How Not to Get Left Behind

#2 Vendors with recognizable brands still gain the upper hand.

Whether you like it or not, consumers will still choose the familiar brand over something unfamiliar unless they see something of unique value. A well-thought brand strategy will help put your brand on the map.

Start with your core values – what do your brand and your company stand for? Next, how do you want to present your brand to your consumers? Do you want to be quirky or you want to be the voice of luxury?

#3 If you can’t present your product in a few sentences, forget about it.

If you are an unfamiliar brand, you can gain the upper hand by providing consumers an easy-to-use trial because who wants a hundred and one operation guideline? Stop using jargons and technical words that only you or a chosen few can understand. Start using the language your target audience is using, then you have a fighting chance. So you have a choice if you want to gain some market share – be popular or make consumers’ lives much easier.

Related: How to Make a Compelling Presentation For Your Software Product

#4 There’s not only one decision maker.

Decision makers are not the only ones involved in the buying process these days. In fact, they only get in the picture at the end when a final decision has to be made. It shows that there are other people who are given the responsibility to check different products and services. While they might not be the major decision-makers, these people have the power to influence decisions because they are the ones who give the input to the decision makers.

Related: Savvy Ways to Identify and Qualify B2B Decision Makers

 

Strategy for the SaaS Buyer

Seeing how the SaaS buyer experience has changed, it calls for an overhaul of what is familiarly used in how we present our products and services to buyers. It’s not about changing the selling strategy but the product itself. This time, however, you are also designing the product with sales in mind. Here are some factors to consider so you can engage SaaS enterprises more:

Single sign-on

As mentioned above, SaaS consumers want products or services to be uncomplicated. It will do you good if you can design products that only require a single sign-on because it reduces administration efforts.

Login audits

A lot of documents are passed on to different people and departments that organizations sometimes do not know who has access to which document. Creating a feature that shows who accessed a document and what time they accessed it makes it much easier to trace any errors or mistakes that might have occurred.

Limited credentials

 Aside from login audits, features that give users different levels of access to certain documents and software are recommended. This protects any sensitive information in case some credentials got lost or phished.

Multi-level security

Cybercriminals are busy trying to wreak havoc to any system that has low-security levels. Your product or service will be more appealing to consumers if you have addressed different security concerns and implemented some solutions to those problems.

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

In Conclusion

While there is no panacea to making the perfect SaaS solution to different types of buyers, an excellent marketer knows how their target customers think, what kind of information they have access to and what interactions they have. Doing this can increase your conversion and your revenue as well.

 

Explore how Callbox’s multi-channel approach helped a Healthcare SaaS vendor gain a 2-fold expansion in qualified appointments.

Healthcare SaaS Vendor’s Pipeline Growth Jumps 2-Fold in 3-Pronged Campaign

 

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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