Getting ERP Leads Without The Expensive Learning Curve

Published: 30th March 2012
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Just from the term Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP for short), you can already tell that any computer software package with that label is going to be heavily specialized for B2B. However, with that comes an equally heavy amount of work to be done when it comes to marketing.

Unlike any marketing research conducted for B2C products, companies selling B2B products need to know about each individual company to determine how they can make their software appeal individually to each one of them. It doesn't matter if they all have a common industry or are targeting a common market of their own. The actual people you want to show your product to need to be impressed by making your ERP product relevant to their needs.

Now that you know that, you're most likely eager to start gathering your staff to begin such research and then implementing it. Unfortunately, it's not that simple if you're lacking experience. Every step (from the research to the implementation) is riddled with inevitable trial-and-error periods because you're just starting out.

Here's an example. Now one of the first steps to getting the interest of business prospects (otherwise known as B2B lead generation), is to obtain accurate contact data. Here, you might already have some problems if you don't have a concrete idea of how to start. Google searching or scouring the phonebooks barely scratch the surface when you'll be targeting specific individuals in a company. Worst, these people could be even higher up the corporate ladder than you expected. There are also other things as well like the state of affairs in certain departments. That information can be most helpful when trying to make your product relevant and showing your prospect that you care about their own company's problems.

Suppose you somehow managed to get a list done (like you discovered a seller of contact information on the internet and decided to buy). You now come to the second step of actually trying to make contact. Popular lead generation methods come in a wide range from email marketing to telemarketing. The difficulty here is that even the most middle-rank decision maker is likely to be too busy to hear or read anything. This is where relevance from the first step starts to shine. Mentioning the specific problems they're having is more likely to grab their attention. However, it can also be a double-edged sword if they have a gatekeeper or a secretary receiving these things for them and might not like how you know so much. Another problem is how your method might end up sounding too automated, generic, and in the case of something as highly sophisticated as ERP software, you risk inflicting information overload. That is something that will definitely kill a prospect's interest, even if you did manage to bypass a gatekeeper.

These are just two forms of the many potential trials that await you if you don't know what you're doing. Aside from that, you have issues like knowing when to follow up. What is the appropriate time to make a call? What keywords do you use or avoid when writing your emails so that it won't come off as spam? Sometimes you find yourself that you'll need more than one method and feel compelled to mix both. This type of learning curve can be quite costly. However, if outsourcing to lead generation services can easily cut all those costs in half without too many losses. There's a lot you can learn from those who have already gained the experience before you.

Claire Hansen works as a marketing communications program manager. She is inviting you to visit to learn more about lead generation and appointment setting for the software industry.

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