Is there a Quick Route to Lead Generation for Technology Vendors? You might have the best thing since sliced bread and every customer should bite your hand off for it. But, reality is somewhat different to theory. Whilst, no doubt, many technology vendors do indeed have great innovations, sometimes the market just isn’t ready to embrace these solutions. As a consequence, lead generation for technology vendors is often a marathon not a sprint.
Why are Vendors Impatient?
It’s understandable that vendors want fast results. Often, advanced tech solutions have been funded by hungry investors. Even without investors, often the cost of development is high and ROI weighs heavily on the minds of the senior management team.
New solutions including artificial intelligence, robotics, apps and the like have a clearly defined benefit that can significantly enhance the business of customers that purchase. Yet, inertia can still be the case when confronted with this brave new world of innovation. Maintaining the status quo is easier and, often, less softly in terms of disruption and up-front cost. So, buyers take the easy route.
Identify Early Adopters and Change-Makers
Marketing aficionados will talk about early adopters. These are the innovators and early adopters that make up around 15% of any market. These are the individuals and business people that are early to market to test new solutions. Naturally, in business, there are many factors that influence the adoption of what you offer. These include budget, timing, risk and so on.
But, not every tech vendor has a true innovation. There are plenty of me-too products that are undifferentiated. Tech buyers are usually savvy and time poor. They have ongoing projects and have committed to new projects within the budget period. However, most businesses are looking to streamline what they do and technology solutions usually drive improved productivity. S, it’s a case of trying to unearth these change-makers at the right time.
Awareness and Persistence Drive Acquisition
With the above in mind, whilst there may be a massive audience for your technology solution, how many are ready to buy now? Change cycles can be long. If implementation is complex, this is another hurdle to overcome. Multiple decision-makers can be involved. And, if awareness is low and user-case examples are few, adoption may be slower than ideal.
What’s more, awareness and engagement are not always fast or cheap. Arguably, where the value of sale is high, why would that be the case anyhow? It almost goes with the territory that, for considered purchases, it takes time and time costs money.
Multi-Channel Outreach is Key
Target market identification is crucial when it comes to successful lead generation. There’s no point firing at the wrong target. And, to give your sales teams the best chance of success, deploying a number of different channels is important. There are any number of routes to market and all have their merits. The challenge is that tech buyers are elusive. They can be unresponsive. They are definitely busy.
Whether you run email nurturing campaigns through HubSpot, Mailchimp or similar, advertising and outreach using LinkedIn, trade media and the like, and/or utilize more traditional routes such as outbound calling, it’s not a quick fix. The more integrated the approach, the better the likely results will be.
Elusive Buyers Need Nurturing
Tech buyers can be less responsive than other buyers. It’s perhaps the nature of their job. In most cases, the needs of the business should drive purchase decisions. This means that committee decisions can slow things down and it may not be the CTO, IT Director, CIO or Ecommerce Director that is the best initial contact. Therefore, identifying the right decision-makers can prove problematic.
What’s more, big projects don’t come around that often. The tech world moves at such a pace. If we add to this the fact that customers are increasingly demanding, these decision-makers can be hard to pin down. So, a considered approach, and nurturing, across a number of channels over time is probably necessary.
Inbound Versus Outbound
Wouldn’t it be great if your buyers simply knocked on your door. If there’s enough buzz around your product launch, that may be the case. However, advertising and PR and not necessarily quick fixes either. And, however you play things, that also won’t come cheap.
In an ideal world, it’s always better to encourage buyers to come to you. Leads are warmer and, usually, easier to convert. However, depending on the business needs, that may not be at the required pace to fuel growth. Usually, some outreach will be necessary. Most technology suppliers use a blend of inbound and outbound including telemarketing to follow up leads generated from advertising and social media.
How Quickly can Success be Achieved?
ROI is essential. We all want the maximum bang for buck. Usually, we want fast results too.Yet, there’s no silver bullet, and the speed of your return on investment is the 64,000 dollar question.
Different channels will have different response rates. If advertising is the route, whether it’s pay-per-click, sponsored ads on LinkedIn or other avenues, you may be able to at least ballpark the costs to deliver marketing qualified leads that hit your website or landing page. A lead generation agency such as GSA can estimate the likely number of leads from telemarketing in any given period of time..
However, estimates may or may not be accurate since there are so many variables. There are few, if any, guarantees. What’s more, leads from indirect sources such as social media and advertising will absorb management or agency time to qualify them further. Therefore, the headline expectations may not provide the full picture. The more deeply qualified the requirement and lead criteria are, the longer it will take to identify such leads and the higher the cost will be.
What’s the Answer
Perhaps the argument about quality over quantity might seem like a cop-out by service providers that aren’t confident in their ability to generate sufficient leads. Yet,this is often what technology vendors claim they’re looking for. But, when push comes to shove, they need leads in the pipeline whether they’re MQL, SQL, or BANT. Of course, the more deeply qualified the better. And, therein lies the challenge. Qualification takes time. And, time is money.
A sensible approach, using different channels, is to build a bank of leads that go into your nurturing and account based marketing approaches. Tight persona-based segmentation, to refine the target audience, is needed to reduce wastage. And, using a blend of content development, relevant social channels, email and LinkedIn direct outreach, advertising, and human intervention though telemarketing relationship-building is probably your best route to success.
Key Considerations for the Future
It may feel like we’re presenting a depressing picture of lead generation for technology companies. That isn’t the intention. Effective lead generation is definitely feasible. However, vendors should be under no illusions. A number of key considerations are important to keep in mind when building your technology sales pipeline:
- Senior decision-makers are hard to reach.
- You may need to reach out using multiple channels and marketing methods
- Integrate channels where possible e.g. drive prospects to a landing page and call them.
- Test and measure but be brave enough to give your efforts time to work.
- Committee decisions can play a part so work out who you need to reach.
- Buying cycles can be long, especially for high-value products and services.
- Risk and cost-based inertia can impede the speed of adoption. How can you de-risk?
- It may not be a marathon but it’s certainly not a sprint unless you have deep pockets
- Try to be realistic in your expectations based on the strength of competition, typically change cycles and the level of marketing at your disposal.
- Be persistent. Rome was definitely built in a day so think long-term.
If you’d like to discuss your technology lead generation project, give us a call and we will share our experiences and ratios.