Finding leads in any profession is a timely task that requires a lot of patience, thick skin, and perseverance. As an ERP consultant, you are aware of the mud you have to crawl through just to identify leads, nurture them and (hopefully) get them to sign a contract with you. With that said, mastering how to generate ERP leads for your business can be the most confusing aspect to the job.
Luckily, with the power of specific ERP resources at your disposal such as this, you will be able to take away a few new ideas on how to get the leads that make or break your business.
Generating ERP Leads
Leads. Are they the sales unicorn everyone is talking about?
When selling ERP software, you will need to spend a lot of time and focus on marketing your product to the right people. This challenge in itself is just as hard, or even harder to accomplish than closing sales.
Because truly knowing what your buyers want is the biggest challenge in itself.
According to B2B Marketing, you will need to understand a few nuances of ERP lead generation before you can truly start adding the quality leads you are looking for.
- Know what your certain segments want
- Listen to what they are talking about
- Stay social
- Establish thought leadership
- Use quality prospecting and marketing services
Once you establish some good ERP leads, read How to Sell ERP Solutions to Tech Pros and Their C-Suite Superiors.
Which industries need ERP systems?
There are many businesses in different industries that could all use the help of an automated ERP platform to streamline repetitive tasks, knockdown departmental silos and to create more efficiency for organizations to focus on their business-critical goals. Some industries that could use a boost from an ERP solution include, but are not limited to:
- Professional Services
- Industrial Services
ERP systems help solve countless issues companies in these industries face, including a need for:
- Improved visibility into all areas of supply chain, payroll, accounting, CRM, human resources and increased efficiencies
- A single-source of truth, as all critical data is compiled into one system
- Reducing human error and saving money for the business
- Automating manual processes such as:
- Creating reports, invoices and other communications
- Product and service delivery
- Transferring business-critical data to make smarter decisions to meet the goals of the company
- Sharing data between modules such as payroll, benefits management and other HRIS modules
Who do I target in the companies that are in these industries?
There are many different and multiple levels of contact points that consultants can focus on when creating a sales and marketing strategy to amass ERP leads. Consultants should research the company they are interested in selling to extensively before throwing darts at a board to find leads.
The following list contains some ideas of potential leads ERP consultants can research more on and eventually reach out to:
- End users who use the platform daily
- Administrators in charge of technology maintenance and ease-of-use
- End users in management in charge of scouting out for future solutions to improve efficiency for the team(s) they manage
- C-Suite decision makers
As each level of stakeholder can only get you so far in your quest to get a sale, you can leverage each level off each other to reach your ultimate goal of convincing the decision-maker in charge that your ERP solution is the best return on investment for them.
How should I approach these people?
Before you begin approaching / contacting these leads, you should ask yourself the following questions beforehand to make sure your time in contact with them as efficient as possible:
- Do I have a clear message?
- Is the person I am contacting indeed a good lead?
- What is my goal during this contact period?
- Provide a quote?
- Set up a demo?
- Leave a brochure?
- Make a sale?
Now that you are ready to contact your lead, you have to decide what the best way to approach them is. As the art of the sale has always featured a face-to-face segment (which it should), there will be many times where that method of contact isn’t possible. However, the following communication methods offer a variety of alternative avenues of access to your leads.
The second preferred method to a face-to-face meeting is pulling out that landline or cell phone and cold calling your lead. If they answer, this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself, your solution and to see what pain points your solution can do to solve the problems your lead is trying to solve.
However, getting someone to pick up a number they don’t recognize has its challenges. Another challenge is purely the timing of your call too. They might be in a busy season, or maybe certain days of the week are just impossible to get a hold of them. You will experience a lot of trial-and-error in cold calling, but the ones who engage with you can provide you with amazing opportunities.
It’s recommended that you combine this method with your cold calling opportunities. It’s a great way to let a lead know beforehand that you would like to schedule some time to speak with them as well as provide them with direct marketing focusing on some common pain points that your ERP platform can fix.
The challenge with this method is actually getting your leads to engage with the content you send them via email. You will need to create messaging that sticks out from all of your competitors just to get some activity reciprocated back to you in the form of setting up a time to tell them what you have to offer.
There a many, many dedicated marketing websites such as HubSpot or Marketo to help you craft the messaging that matters most to your audience(s).
Using various social media channels such as LinkedIn and Facebook provides a great opportunity for ERP consultants to dive into the areas that their leads spend the most time in to establish a means of communication with them. Doing basic industry research on your segments should reveal the websites and other areas where these leads hangout to discuss ERP-related topics.
You can post short videos, infographics and more in these spaces, or you can direct message them with this available content too. Industry related social media groups are also a great way to connect with potential leads.
With this method of communication, ERP consultants can also use various marketing resources to help create the messaging and content that matters most to their audience.
This route of communicating with your leads has been around forever. You can use brochures, flyers, letters, pamphlets and more to keep your message short, concise and effective. Don’t ever forget to leave a clear call to action of some sort on there too!
Depending on the demographics of your audience, this method of communication can be effective with more of your older leads, while the younger ones may not be impressed with it (not all stereotypes are true obviously).
Increase your odds of responses by combining all these communication methods
Heck, the more touch points you can establish the better. By combining all these means of communications in your direct marketing plan for your leads, you will have a better shot at receiving a lot more requests for more information!
Outsource your communication methods to a 3rd party marketing firm
All of the above options will take a lot of time and effort on your part to create and share the content that matters most to your leads. If you have the resources, you can always hire a third party marketing service to send, track and move your leads down your sales funnel for you.
Depending on the level of stakeholder you are working with initially, you will be using these methods of communication 24/7 to keep advancing your product and message up the chain to who is ultimately the final decision maker.
Nobody said the selling process was easy, but it can be quite rewarding once you hit your stride and find the right leads to sell to!
What should I offer to gain their trust?
Depending on who your lead is during the sales process, you will need to frame your messaging that hits the points that matter most to them. For example, if your first lead is an end user of their current ERP platform, you can hit them with messaging that touch the pain points that they run into every day on the job such as inputting data in a CRM that could easily be automated.
Another example for a lead could very well be the C-suite executive decision-maker. They are more concerned about what the return on investment (ROI) would be with your product. They want the raw data that will show them how your product will improve their operations while also saving them money doing so.
It just really depends on who your lead is at the time of contact.
When you find the right focus, you can then take your marketing smarts to present the information that matters most to them in a productive, digestible way that truly screams your point across to them.
Here are some ideas of offerings that might entice your lead to trust you and to look further into your ERP offering:
- Ask open-ended questions as their ERP consult, leave no stone unturned into their daily wins and losses during the job
- Ask discovering questions about any niche processes your lead’s company does that may possibly affect any data transfers during the implementation process–this is crucial in showing the care, detail and respect of your lead’s business’ livelihood.
- Offer them the solutions to fix their internal processes
- Offer an insurance plan or an “out” from your service in the event your offering doesn’t meet their requirements, or if they incur a bevy of fines and penalties due to system errors preventing the platform from operating successfully
- Provide clear ROI measurements in easy-to-consume content items
- Offer high-level support in both product and implementation troubleshooting and support
How should I nurture my leads?
After you make first contact with your leads, you will then need to continue the interactions if you want to eventually close the sale. After all, buying and implementing a brand new ERP system is a huge commitment to undertake for many businesses.
As these deals take time, you can use the following tips to navigate the new and existing relationships you cultivated:
Communicate often and frequently
This doesn’t mean bombard them daily with phone calls and emails, but to keep you and your product top-of-mind by sending content that continues to reaffirm to them that your ERP offering is the best choice for them.
Spread out your messaging, let your leads breathe.
Come up with meaningful content to send to them
Create and share content that is specific and engaging for your leads to read and learn from. Experiment with short videos, infographics, one-pagers, guides, brochures, blog posts, case studies, whitepapers and more.
Engage them on their terms
If a lead tells you they won’t begin the process to look for a new ERP offering until Q2 of next year, mark that down and plan on engaging them closer to that time.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a salesperson who doesn’t listen to you.
Work within their deadlines
You bend, but do not break. You are flexible. That’s the ERP consultant you are.
Like the example above, if a lead tells you that their business won’t be looking for another ERP system for another six months, it won’t do you any favors to push your product on them and all the wonderful benefits it offers right then and there.
Respect their time and their process.
Markdown in your calendar when you need to reach out again to them at the time they are ready to start pursuing new ERP technology and stick to the plan.
In the grand scheme of generating ERP leads, the most important thing you can do as a consultant is to practice what you’ve learned over time. It’s all about trial-and-error until you see what works and what doesn’t. If you’re taking the time to read these articles with “strategies, tips or tricks,” you better be taking what you consume and are applying it to the real world.
Let’s do a quick recap on how to generate ERP leads.
- Research the industries and businesses that would benefit from your ERP solution.
- Investigate who in the company would qualify as an ERP lead—end users, administrators, managerial end users and C-Suite executives are a good place to start.
- Combine all your means of communication tactics to reach your targeted audience—Face-to-face, cold calling, email, social media, direct mail, or hire a third-party marketing firm to help you craft and send your messaging. (Depending on what level of lead you work with, create specific messaging that resonates with them most and update it as you begin to move up the ladder to eventually the final decision-maker).
- Earn their trust by offering them full transparency on what your ERP offering can do and how it will improve operations for the company your lead works in.
- Nurture your leads until the contract is signed.
- Continue nurturing your clients over time with content that will delight them and make sure to offer excellent implementation and customer support during the duration of their time with you.
- Repeat everything and keep building your clientele base.
Human Capital Management and Payroll Processing combined with ERP
As ERP systems are primarily used for finance, accounting, CRM and logistics, it’s becoming more apparent each year that a lot of these systems are missing out on key components of payroll processing and human capital management (HCM) that a lot of organizations are looking for.
These organizations are looking for scalable solutions that grow with them and/or as their requirements change. They are looking for more automated functionality to manage their most important assets—the very employees that make up their company.
These organizations need a sophisticated, cloud-based solution to manage various processes in the following areas of HR:
- Payroll Processing
- Employee self-service (Employee Portal)
- Benefits Management
- ACA Compliance
- Applicant Tracking
- Time and Attendance
- Performance Management
- Learning Management
- Succession Planning
- Job Posting and more
The Arcoro cloud-based, automated full HCM platform is the perfect option for ERP consultants who need a strong payroll and HCM partner to combine within their current ERP offering. With seamless integrations with Acumatica, Netsuite, Sage 100, 300 and more, consultants partnering with Arcoro have seen their opportunity-share rise in the market they are chasing.
Learn more about what Arcoro’s HR Technology can do for your company by reading our blog, “HR Tech Tools to the Rescue”.