TECHNOLOGY: Prospect management systems

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Information is king in the world of marketing

None more so than in the B2B sector where high quality sales leads are a commercial imperative for all enterprises. Traditional sources of marketing data have been available for decades, but until now the analysis of that data has not offered marketers a means of focusing their specific needs and retrieving potential customer data via an easily accessible interface.

One of the key drivers that have made today’s prospecting tools a practical proposition is the Internet. Prior to this, marketing information was bought from vendors who would provide little more than list databases. The Internet has changed not only how marketing data is bought and sold, but has also added a new layer of sophistication that has enabled businesses to fine tune the prospect data they are buying.

“One thing we are seeing is a focus on quality of information and a more targeted approach,”

Says Nick Frazer, head of B2B marketing at Experian. “Prospecting tools are increasingly being used in a more targeted manner. We’re seeing smaller downloads of data that allow clients to focus on best prospects and to go after them. There has also been an increase in directory-based tools that allow additional data to be downloaded.”

Prospecting for new clients is now more of a science, but the tools that are available today must be taken in context. In this market, one size definitely doesn’t fit all, as each business’s sales lead requirements will be unique to them.

At first glance the new species of prospecting tools offer solutions that can deliver highly qualified sales leads for very little outlay and effort. Jeremy Keohane, MD at TW Connect however, warns that this evolution of the traditional sales tool must not be taken at face value.

“Clients are seduced by the ‘out of the box’ promise as it seems a quick easy fix. There is often a massive unforeseen investment in learning and adaptation – sometimes this can outweigh the initial capital investment. It can also make the prospecting tool redundant if it does not live up to the hype.”

He continues,

“Another concern often raised is that many businesses are complex, fast moving or have channel components. This makes the identification and distribution of prospects a non-linear activity – many prospecting tools do not accommodate for this complexity in the business structure and process.”

Adaptation over time will give you a sales tool that will improve the quality of the leads it returns, but it is unlikely that an off-the-shelf product will instantly have the depth of data your business will require

. Be prepared to put in substantial levels of work and resources to bring your prospecting tool within the confines of your existing sales systems and develop it into a prospecting tool that can regularly offer qualified sales leads.

Targeted sales

One key component of any prospect tool that your business would like to use is the flexibility of the search criteria when selecting a potential prospect’s report. Qualified sales leads by their nature are highly targeted and usually of bespoke design. Applying a universal search criteria may result in many hits, but it will always be the quality of those potential sales leads that will determine whether the prospecting tool can deliver the sales levels you require to give a good ROI.

Larger data suppliers tend to aim their services, at not surprisingly, larger companies in the B2B sector. For the smaller businesses, the prospecting tools that have developed offer a more tailored – and therefore more cost effective – means of identifying potential leads.

Have the new prospecting tools enabled even the smallest B2B enterprise access to high-quality business data?

Andy Smith, MD of CorpData, says, “It suits the resources available within many smaller companies to undertake regular direct marketing in small batches rather than single large hits. Our own product, Sales Turbine, can be tailored to suit the individual needs of businesses of all sizes looking at ongoing prospecting activity. Fresh, clean data is delivered in batches each day, week or month. And with a minimum requirement of just 100 records each month it is suited to even the smallest B2B enterprise.”

Kirsty McKinney,

Brand manager at Market Location, also says, “There is no reason why data analysis should have to mean big budgets. We wanted to create a tool that was accessible by all. Horizon (which will be updated next year) has four different levels of sophistication so a smaller firm can purchase the lowest, cheapest level but still be able to gain valuable insight to drive its prospecting.

It is also available on a monthly subscription so businesses are not tied into a long-term commitment. The other critical aspect of Horizon is that it is created to be used by marketers. We recognised most businesses cannot afford an analyst – so why create a data analysis tool that requires that kind of high-level statistical experience?”

Off-the-shelf prospecting tools are attractive as they can provide a tailored sale lead for relatively small outlay. Systems like Sales Turbine can provide just a few prospects starting at a cost of just 24p per contact. The unit cost of sales data must always be put into the context of the search criteria you are using. Low cost is attractive, but look closely at how you can analyse the available data that provides the end contact details.

Data analysis

Segmentation has been a key tool within every business’s marketing department. Targeted sales messages have always been the foundation of the customer-to-business relationship. What the new prospecting tools have done is enable analysis of the available data to be carried out quickly and efficiently within a user interface that anyone can use.

As Per Löfgren, director of EuroContactPool outlines, the marketing information is the same, but how this is interrogated and then utilised has changed thanks to these new tools. “The type of information requested is the same as it always was,” he says.

“Databases contain the same types of information now as they did five years ago. There are still companies buying large volumes of data in bulk for campaigns but we see the trend of volumes going down and there is more targeting and less ‘spraying and praying’.”

Catalysts of change

The prospecting tools that have developed over the last few years have been in direct response to a market that requires more precisely targeted sales data to survive in the long term.

Large-scale direct marketing campaigns certainly have their place in your marketing mix, but increasingly, the B2B sector is demanding more focus in its marketing activity and therefore the data that it uses.

What drivers have enabled the prospecting tool market to develop? McKinney says, “Environmental concerns and pressures have been a major catalyst, and the realisation that we have to be more responsible in our marketing. Bulk-buying and mailing are not the future of sustainable marketing.

Also, there is more pressure on marketers than ever before. They need to be able to justify their actions to secure their budgets. Data analysis and prospecting tools are just some of the new ways in which they are doing this.”

Tim Wise, director of MarketingFile, outlines his view of the future of prospecting tools, saying, “The most likely developments are those of ‘hot’ leads rather than cold data, although this has implications for the data collection processes of large data owners.

Additionally, data is being sourced from a number of non-traditional sources such as the ‘failed quote’ insurance data available from The Trading Floor.”

He continues, “A further development will be the addition of low volume fulfilment services, as the online tools link with digital print companies and mail aggregators, allowing low-volume mailings to be undertaken at no greater cost-per-item than a larger campaign.

MarketingFile also makes available a number of cheap, simple tools to ensure compliance with TPS/FPS legislation, and MPS suppression files, which can be integrated into contact management software such as Act or Goldmine.”

More integration with asset management and CRM systems is also in the future for prospecting tools. As the tools stand at the moment they offer an additional layer of functionality that can be advantageous to all enterprises in the B2B sector who have previously bought raw sale lead data, or generated their own in-house.

In this market one size definitely doesn’t fit all, as the sales criteria of your company may be widely different than that of even your strategic partners. Prospecting tools certainly have their place in your marketing armoury, but choose the service and tool that you use carefully.

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Picking the Best Technical Services Program

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Picking the Best Technical Services ProgramPicking the Best Technical Services Program

As the importance of IT continues to grow, in almost every industry, be it a financial institution or any other business, almost every businesses both large and small have requirements for IT support services. The demand for IT support services develops because businesses and their employees need full technical support to address everyday IT challenges that the company faces. The IT support services also allow companies to handle high end technical challenges that may risk the loss of vital business data. When a company puts together its IT infrastructure the first thing it does is works with a computer support services expert in order to set up the software and hardware by proper approach and best practices as well as to get fundamental technical support.

At present there is no dearth of companies that provide IT support services. But it ends up being challenging to hire one IT support company that will provide professional IT support services. To know steps to find the best IT support firm, keep reading!Picking the Best Technical Services Program

There are numerous considerations that one should think about when picking out an IT support professional online. The considerations to be noticed regarding the vendor are:

* Prior experience: The initial thing you need to learn about your support professional is the time they have been in business. Expertise comes with time thus the greater the level of experience better will be the IT support service and IT solutions provided to meet your company needs.

* Qualifications: As the industry is full of IT support service specialists it becomes necessary to confirm certification of your support service provider. Frequently IT support services companies are Dell Certified. There are other certifications as well. Make sure you hire Support services from an authentic IT support service provider.

* Reviews: Review the client reviews of the IT service provider to get an accurate assessment regarding the solutions it has been providing previously and the approval level of its other clients. Carry out a thorough analysis before hiring an IT support services provider. Reading feedback & testimonials is a must.

* Professional Sservices Provided: When you hire someone for IT support services check out the entire range of services the provider is delivering. The best IT support service provider is the one who offers comprehensive support services be it launching of hardware and software or handling other technical problems. The services should have the flexibility to be framed according to your unique business requirements.

All these elements combined can help you to contract the best IT support service provider for your business. Select the one who matches your individual needs and standards of your for technical support and IT managed services requirements.

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Picking the Best IT Services Business

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As the importance of IT continues to grow, in almost every vertical, be it a bank or any other business, all businesses both large and small can benefit from an IT managed services company. The demand for IT support services emerges because businesses and their employees need full technical support to deal with everyday IT complications that the company faces. The IT support services also help companies to handle critical technical challenges that may threaten the loss of important company data. When a company builds its IT infrastructure the primary thing it does is works with a technology support services firm in order to install the hardware and software by proper procedure and best practices as well as to get basic technical support.

Nowadays there is no shortage of companies that deliver IT services. But it ends up being challenging to pick one IT support provider that will deliver quality IT support services. To find out ways to select the top IT support expert, read on!

There are numerous considerations that one should certainly think about when selecting an IT support company online. The things to be noted about the provider are:

* Experience: The initial thing you should find out about your support professional is the length of time they have been in business. Expertise comes along with time thus the greater the experience better will be the IT support service and IT solutions provided to meet your enterprise needs.

* Qualifications: As the industry is full of IT support service companies it becomes important to confirm certification of your support service provider. Frequently IT support services firms are Dell Certified. There are other certifications as well. Make sure you hire Support services from a legit IT support service provider.

* Remarks: Go over the client reviews of the IT service provider to get an exact impression regarding the services it has been offering in the past and the satisfaction level of its past clients. Carry out a thorough evaluation prior to hiring an IT support services provider. Reading feedback & testimonials is a must.

* Professional Sservices Provided: When you hire someone for IT support services check the complete range of services the service provider is delivering. The best IT support service provider is the one who offers complete support services be it setup of hardware and software or handling other technical problems. The services should have the flexibility to be framed according to your unique business needs.

All these elements combined can help you to choose the best IT support service provider for your business. Select the one who matches your individual needs and standards of your for technical support and IT managed services requirements.

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Selecting the Very Best IT Services Provider

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Selecting the Very Best IT Services ProviderAs the importance of IT continues to grow, in almost every vertical, be it an investment firm or any other business, all companies both large and small have requirements for IT support services. The demand for IT support services grows because businesses and their employees need full technical support to work on typical IT complications that the company faces. The IT support services also allow companies to tackle high end technical complications that may risk the loss of important business data. When a company puts together its IT infrastructure the first thing it does is works with a computer support services provider in order to set up the software and hardware by proper approach and best practices as well as to get fundamental technical assistance.

At present there is no shortage of contractors that offer IT services. But it becomes difficult to hire one IT support contractor that will deliver the best IT support solutions. To discover effective ways to choose the top IT support supplier, read on!

There are a number of factors that one should consider when picking out an IT support expert online. The things to be discovered about the service provider are:

* Experience: The initial thing you need to find out about your support service provider is the time they have been in business. Expertise comes with time thus the more the prior experience better will be the IT support service and IT solutions supplied to meet your company requirements.

* Certification: As the industry is full of IT support service providers it becomes important to verify certification of your support service provider. Frequently IT support services firms are VMWare Certified. There are other certifications as well. Make sure you hire Support services from a reliable IT support service company.

* Feedback: Go through the client reviews of the IT service company to get an exact assessment regarding the programs it has been providing previously and the satisfaction level of its prior clients. Perform a thorough review before contracting an IT support services provider. Reading feedback & testimonials is a must.

* Solutions Provided: When you hire someone for IT support services check out the entire range of services the provider is delivering. The best IT support service provider is the one who offers integrated support services be it launching of hardware and software or handling other technical problems. The solutions should have the flexibility to be molded according to your unique business requirements.

All these factors combined can help you to select the best IT support service provider for your business. Select the one who matches your individual needs and standards of your for technical support and IT managed services requirements.

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