In the previous blog, I discussed how to get to know your technology or software business’s target market. In this part, I’ll talk about why how much you know makes a difference.
Different things appeal to different people. Different people buy the same product for entirely different reasons. For example, suppose you are marketing to people that drive SUVs. For people living in northern areas, you can talk about never getting stranded in a snow storm. But for people living in Florida, talk of snow storms is meaningless. You’d be better off discussing the extra room for all the things you have to carry.
If you don’t currently use direct mail for your targeted marketing campaigns, I’ll encourage you to do so. Using a direct mail letter or postcard allows you to tailor the message to the software or technology customer segment with more precision. I’m not talking about writing individual letters to every person in your database. I’m suggesting dividing your list into several smaller segments, for example, prospects that have attended one of your software seminars and prospects that haven’t attended.
Even small changes in a general letter can generate huge results. People love to be part of exclusive groups. They like to be acknowledged as having traits or characteristics that make them stand out from the crowd, something that makes them unique. You can take the same letter and by tailoring a few words here or there in the text of the letter, you can target a smaller segment of your list of prospects or customers. This type of list or database segmentation increases your odds of success because you’re acknowledging a trait or characteristic of your audience that they also acknowledge to be true. As a result, they’ll read it and think you’re directing it to them. It doesn’t take as much to personalize a letter as you might think. The important thing is that however you segment your list, make sure that the trait you used to segment the list is accurate. Using our earlier example of attending a seminar or not, if you send me a letter that says I should attend one of your seminars or software demos and I’ve already gone to one, I’m going to think it’s just a form letter, not target marketing.
I’m looking for examples of how you’re using target marketing. Please send me stories of your successes in targeted marketing or examples of materials you’ve used for a targeted marketing campaign. Send me your success stories, or examples of where you need to fine tune at email@example.com. If you’d rather be interviewed, give me a call at 614-932-0655. I’ll use them as examples in future blogs (with or without your name, as you prefer).
In future blog postings, I’ll talk about how to do database marketing, so you don’t get caught sending the wrong message to a customer or prospect. I’ll also be talking about message to market match and different types of communications with your customer and prospects. Stay tuned.
I’m always reading books, websites, articles, looking for the issues and challenges you, the reader, are facing. From everything I’ve seen, lead generation is a big topic of interest. In just a cursory search on Google using the keywords lead generation, I found the following searches took place in the last month:
• 199,600 searches for business lead generation and variations on the term
• 682,900 searches for lead generation in general and variations on the term
• 76,900 searches for free lead generation and variations on the term
• 47,900 searches for buying leads and variations on the term
• 374,210 searches for sales leads and variations on the term
I won’t submit to the temptation of adding all of the numbers together, because that’s not how it works. But the fact is there are a lot of searches in the course of a month looking for help on lead generation. I’ve read and believe that lead generation has changed forever because of social media and the changing relationships between client and seller. I would be intersted in finding out how lead generation has changed and what technology businesses are doing to find their best customers.
I happened to pick up a book recently because the subtitle caught my eye — How to Generate All the Sales Leads You’ll Ever Need — Quickly, Easily, and Inexpensively. The author, incidentally, is Bob Bly, an outstanding copywriter and educator on the art of copywriting.
How to Generate All the Sales Leads You’ll Ever Need — Quickly, Easily, and Inexpensively. That’s the silver bullet we’re all really looking for, isn’t it? The secret to filling a huge funnel with all the sales leads we’d ever need with people who have raised their hands to say, “Hey I want what you have to sell!” And not only get all those leads, but get them without a lot of time, effort, or money. Wouldn’t that be great?
I’m not saying the title of the book is wrong. I’m just saying that what might be easy or quick for one person may be more time consuming or difficult for another. Also, most of you have some kind of lead generation system in place. Do you throw out what you have, even if it’s working, just not as well as you’d hoped it would? How do you integrate a new system with the one you have now? These questions are not so easy to answer. Success doesn’t come from copying someone else’s formula. Sometimes you have to learn all of the different options to determine which would work for you and which wouldn’t.
At the beginning of next week, we’re launching a short survey to see where everyone is in their lead generation process. Is it working for you? Do you feel like something is missing? Is it ok, but you want to get more out of your lead generation system? After we get the responses to the survey in, I’ll be having a teleseminar to discuss the results of the survey and provide tips and strategies to help you get the most out of your lead generation system. Check back early next week for your chance to tell us how your lead generation system is working and to get an invitation to the teleseminar for the results.
I’m writing this post because I have something important to communicate. The information is specific to SMB B2B companies.
As I listen to my clients and prospects talk about social media, they’re all telling me one of the following basic messages:
1. “I don’t get social media. I think it’s a fad. I’m not going to waste resources on it.”
2. “I think there’s something to this social media stuff, but I’m not an early adopter. I’ll wait and see how it all shakes out.”
3. “We’ve done some social media activities. I can see how powerful they are, but I don’t have the time to make it work. How do we approach it?”
I can tell you that social media is here to stay. It’s a paradigm shift that is changing how business is conducted. The last 75 years or so (comprising the rise, reign and fall of the mass media selling model) were an aberration. Social media is allowing us to return to the natural human interactions that governed commerce for the previous six thousand years.
Social media can drastically reduce your cost of sales. You can bet your business (you ARE betting your business) that your smartest and toughest competitors are immersed in it… and are gaining every bit of knowledge that they can.
Here’s what I’ve learned in working with my clients on social media. Common mistakes include:
• Relegating social media to the most junior person on the Sales team.
• Investing 10 or 20 hours in it, and declaring it a failure.
• Treating it as a peripheral endeavor – something not core to the success of the business.
On the surface it makes sense to have a junior (i.e. young) person handle social media. After all, they understand this stuff, right? Yes… they understand the platforms and technologies. The danger is that they typically don’t have a deep understanding of your business, the industries it serves, and (HUGE) the nuances of interacting with clients and prospects. Social media are conversations. What is said, and how information is delivered, are extremely important. Sophisticated people skills are required.
Social media is relatively inexpensive. The price of admission is almost zero; but leveraging social media effectively takes a considerable investment of time. Social media reflects how we interact in the offline world. You must spend time listening and learning about the people you want to interact with; and then you must earn their trust. Plan on spending 10 to 20 hours a week for approximately three months before you see a significant payback. Too large an investment? It’s either that or compete on price. You choose.
The most important message I want to communicate is that social media should be an intrinsic part of your business. It can drastically improve the effectiveness of everything from Customer Service to Marketing (including market research and PR) to Sales. Assign or hire a fairly senior person to manage your social media activities across your organization; and give that person a seat at the table along with the rest of your executives. This person will deliver significant value (more than you can imagine) if you give them the time, resources and respect that they deserve. Expect them to deliver golden nuggets of information. Listen to what they have to tell you. Integrate them into the formulation and execution of your business development strategy.
If you want to learn more about how I’m helping my clients grow their businesses, you can download a whitepaper I just wrote. This one is on lessons learned in Evolving MSPs and VARs into High Margin Cloud Services Providers. You can sign up for this free whitepaper at http://www.acsellerant.com/cloud-offer-landing-page/
Bob Leonard is the managing consultant at acSellerant. He’s a veteran B2B marketer with stints as a marketing executive at Interleaf, GTE and EMC. Prior to that Bob worked in Sales and Sales Support at Digital Equipment Corp. Today Bob works with SMB (20 to 100 employees) B2B IT providers (ISVs, MSPs, SIs and VARs); helping them grow their businesses, navigate an evolution to Cloud Services, and maximize valuations in anticipation of a business sale.
This week’s guest blogger is Bob Leonard of acSellerant. I’m pleased to introduce Bob to the readers of the Market Leadership Journal. I learned about Bob while working on a project for one of my MSP clients. Bob brings significant experience to the B2B space and has worked with many leader technology businesses to help them grow to the next level. This week, on Wednesday, Bob is going to be sharing his thinking on why your business must explore social media to grow your business. He will share the strategies that have helped his clients successfuly move into social media. At the end of tommorow’s blog, he will offer a white paper that many of you have been asking for and I’ve asked Bob to share with you. So check back tommorow to read Bob’s guest blog and get his white paper on the evolving role of Cloud services in your business. Here’s Bob’s biography. Make sure you come back on Wednesday to read his blog.
Bob Leonard is the managing consultant at acSellerant. He’s a veteran B2B marketer with stints as a marketing executive at Interleaf, GTE, and EMC. Prior to that, Bob worked in Sales and Sales Support at Digital Equipment Corp. Today Bob works with SMB (20 to 100 employees) B2B IT providers (ISVs, MSPs, SIs and VARs); helping them grow their businesses, navigate an evolution to Cloud Services, and maximizes valuations in anticipation of a business sale.
A lot of you use social media for your marketing and to stay current with what’s going on in your markets. Have you noticed though, you see a great tweet, and unless you follow it or retweet it immediately, you can never find it again? Even if you have a moderate number of followers, it’s easy to get buried under the number of tweets in an average day. Most of you don’t have time to sit and watch Twitter or track down the information that would help you in your business every day. It’s just too much. As part of sharing my ongoing research for the Software Marketing Toolkit, I’ve developed a page on Facebook called Sales Safari. Check it out at www.facebook.com/salessafari. This site provides marketing and sale tips and strategies for increasing sales in small software and technology businesses through social media. I guarantee you’ll find helpful interesting, worthwhile sales and marketing information you can immediately apply.
Though I enjoy finding solid software and technology sales and marketing content for Sales Safari, I’m starting to spend more time with clients in the field. Between writing blog postings, developing new partnerships, and running a successful business (Strategic Performance Partners), it’s getting harder and harder to keep all of the balls in the air, and do it successfully. As a result, I’ve decided to bring in a new editor for Sales Safari.
I’m proud to introduce Tricia Braden to you as the new editor. She’s uniquely qualified to serve in this role. Tricia has been involved in sales automation since 1989, developing training programs for major pharmaceutical and consumer goods companies. For the last 18 years, she’s been involved in software technology and telecommunications, developing materials to assist in all aspects of sales and marketing. Tricia has the background to find the most up-to-date content to help you grow and prosper in today’s new economy.
So please, join me in welcoming Tricia onboard. Stop in and take a look at Sales Safari for news you can use right away. Tricia is looking forward to adding you to our regular audience.
Tripp Braden is an IT marketing and sales consultant who specializes in developing seven figure partnerships and businesses. He is also the editor of Market Leadership Journal. Discover how to grow your company through extraordinary partnerships by visiting http://www.HighGrowthBusiness.com where you can find information on our Software Marketing Toolkit.