If you’ve been following the status of Facebook’s stock market performance, then you’re well aware of the debate that ranges around its value for advertising. On the other hand, the value of online advertising itself has long been called to question. If this is already a problem for B2C brands, how much more for B2B brands like those of ERP software? Cases like this are a good reason to seriously re-evaluate the ways with which you generate software leads.
Generating software leads starts with getting a prospect’s attention. Naturally, marketers assume that online advertising will get them that attention. After all, these are advertisements are on the internet. Like anything on the internet, they’ll be presented to an audience of over a million people.
However, that value is being put to question because, ironically, both online and social media have diminished the role of advertising as a source of information. (Then again, some might even argue that advertising was never that informative to begin with.) Customers (both B2C and B2B) have been empowered to obtain more information on their own as well as from their own peers. No doubt, advertising still gets attention but by itself, it has lost much of its capacity to push prospects all the way through the sales process. While those expecting it for B2C still aren’t entirely disappointed, the lengthier sales process of B2B is a different story. You don’t need to just grab their attention. You need to first avoid making assumptions about that interest, learn about the finer details about their need for an enterprise solution, and set an appointment should the sales team specify the moment where you pass over the baton.
This means that it’s about time to consider the alternatives. And by now, you might already be familiar with several of them: email marketing, social media, telemarketing, direct mail etc. These alternatives have to be prioritized according to how effective they might be. Of course, with so many advocates each saying that their method works better, it’s hard to come up with some proper guidelines. Fortunately, just take the following steps to come up with an objective conclusion:
- Find what appeals to your target market – Since you’re an ERP software vendor, your target market comprises of influential decision makers and high-ranking business executives. And as you can already tell, getting their attention won’t be easy. These people are clearly a bit above your average consumer so appealing to them is about appealing to their preferences. Most likely, these decision makers would want a one-on-one, direct marketing approach. This could mean telemarketing or email. You don’t have to start cold calling immediately or firing off email blasts but engagement through these channels must be done early.
- Play to your strengths while outsourcing – Your market can suddenly shift their preferences to any popular channel and it might be hard to constantly invest in a fully multi-channel approach just to keep up. Your resources could get painfully divided. You should play according to your strengths and maintain your mastery over a certain approach. Meanwhile, outsource those other tools so that their respective channels can still be covered. Outsource a web design team if you need a website or outsource a telemarketer if you need a call center.
- Use the others methods as support – The other methods don’t have to be entirely discarded. They just need to be directed to give support to the main component of your ERP lead generation process. Find ways to integrate them all.