Would you buy your wedding suit or gown all by yourself? Or would you consider some opinions, do some research and take your best friend or a sibling with you?
I think if you are like most of us and aren't a wedding stylist, you'll probably choose to consider some opinions and tag along with a friend to the store.
Now, I get it, buying a lead generation software isn't as important as your wedding but it sure is important for you to be successful in your job. So why would you buy a lead-gen software-driven by feeling?
If you are a methodical person who relies on logic and reasonable frameworks to decide then you need a guide to help you decide what to buy.
In this article, I provide you with a detailed guide on how to choose your next lead generation software by keeping in mind your business requirements and the latest technological developments.
Let's get started.
Know Thyself: Start by defining your requirements
Not knowing your requirements and boundaries can make you commit to the wrong decisions in life and it is the same when buying lead-generation software. The only difference here is that the entity you are deciding for is your business or your employer.
So, the first step is to understand the unique position of your business in the market and outline your business requirements.
Make a list of questions to understand your business needs and involve other stakeholders to answer them. These questions can be like:
How many leads do we want to get from our software every month?
How many reps are going to use the lead-gen software?
What categories/segments/territories do we care about the most?
Are we growing as a team? How does our growth potential affect our software buying choices?
What budget do we have for software spending in sales? What percentage of the budget can be allocated to lead-generation software?
These are representative questions that can help you gauge your business requirements. Of course, you might want to add more questions that are specific to your company's needs.
Outline the shortcomings of your current prospecting tool and process
To understand your business requirements better, you will also need to outline your current lead generation process and the prospecting tools associated with it. Create a list of all tools and their purpose.
Also besides each tool, point out what you think is lacking in the tool right now? In another column, point out what do you expect the ideal situation to look like?
Define your data requirements
Each lead is different and so is every rep in their sales methods. But you need to define the minimum data points that you must-have for each lead or account.
Since lead generation software can vary a lot in terms of the data they provide you must define your data requirements early on in the buying process.
For example, you might want Facebook profiles, Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile URLs, verified phone numbers, personal email, and work emails. Now, if these data points are essential for your omni channel campaigns then you would want to make sure that your lead-generation software has it for every lead.
The easiest way to get data requirements is to float a form or a google doc to the relevant team heads and ask them to provide their data requirements. For example, you could send a google doc to the Demand-gen head, the sales managers, Ad campaigns manager, and SDRs to get their requirements on the minimum data needed for campaigns.
Define your integration requirements
Chances are high that you are using specialized software for each part of the sales process to maximize your productivity. So you will want to make sure that your lead generation software integrates well with your CRM and other outreach tools.
First, make a list of all software that your lead-generation software needs to integrate with. It can be a CRM, an email outreach software, Ads network, and others.
You might also want to check with your IT administrator about the integration requirements for each of these software solutions.
Defining integration requirements early on will spare you any surprises when you short-list products.
Research products and make a short-list
Once your requirements have been well-defined you need to start with your product research. There are quite a few ways to find lead-generation software but the best way is to rely on your requirements.
It is advisable to take advice from your peers and conduct online research about products. But, ultimately you need to find products that suit your business and company's needs.
You’ve created your list of must-have features, found the products that have them, and reviewed the user reviews online. Now it’s time to create a shortlist of products that will work for you and your team.
Involve all other stakeholders and share the list of requirements documents with each one of them. Next, assign each researcher a task to suggest 2-3 lead-generation software vendors that fulfill the must-haves and the nice-to-haves in the requirements doc.
Also, make sure that you have the pricing model and pricing tiers available for each product. If the pricing isn't public, ask the researchers to drop a sales inquiry and get a quote.
When this is done, round up all the names and carry out a proper evaluation by going through the list of requirements again. Vet each product again using your research or appending their reviews with your experiences.
Since most sales reps are likely to have different preferences, make sure that you evaluate each product from multiple perspectives before buying one.
Eliminate products based on budget
Now that you have a list of products to consider and their respective prices, you will need to eliminate a few that don't fit your budget.
Doing this early makes sure that you aren't overshooting your budget. As a rule, you will want to eliminate all products that cost you more than 1.1 times your allocated budget.
Talk to the reps to understand your shortlisted products better
Once you have a final shortlist you need to try out products to get a feel of whether you will get what you are being promised by vendors.
Get a demo of the product or even better get a trial account for a few members of the team who will use it daily. While getting a demo ensures that you as a decision-maker have confidence in the product, a trial gets you a nod from your end-users.
A great way to further narrow down your final choice can be to get feedback for each product from your end-users. Objective feedback from end-users can help in the faster evaluation of products and in some cases, you might find a perfect fit for your team in the first go.
Negotiate pricing for your chosen product
Once you have lead-generation software that fits all your needs, budget and has been well-tested by users in the team it's time to negotiate pricing.
Make sure when negotiating lead generation software prices ensures you get value for every dollar spent on lead generation. This will also imply getting the highest possible discount from vendors.
Sending email inquiries about discounts or any special offers allows you to build rapport with sales representatives who will be able to offer reasonable discounts because compared to other lead generation tools their product is superior in quality and value for money.
You shouldn't sacrifice quality just to save some hard-earned cash as lead generation is a key component of your marketing strategy. Also, you must understand that lead generation software is not a one-time expense but an investment for the future since lead generation is self-sustaining and comes with savings on lead nurturing costs too.
Review competitor prices or better still make a quick call to established vendors and negotiate over email instead. This allows you to extract the maximum value from them by getting more information about pricing models and discounts.
Sign contract based on best value.
Once you have negotiated the best contract for yourself, request an email contract with all your final specifications.
As soon as this contract is signed, make sure that you inform sales reps about contract sign-off. This way they can start working immediately on adding your company on lead generation software services.
If needed, you can ask sales reps to schedule a demo or call with end-users who'll be using the tool daily.
The contract should include lead generation software pricing tiers, product features, and their functions, payment schedules, and terms of usage even before the first invoice is sent.
Post contract sign-off, no contract changes should be made without written approval from all parties. And once you find lead generation software that meets all your requirements and charges the best possible price do use it for as long as you can to get maximum value out of it.
I hope that this guide helps you make an objective assessment of the software present in the market and makes software purchases easy for you.
And while you are at it, you can also include Truebase, our AI-powered lead generation software in your list of products. Since trying out a product is the best way to find out whether it fits your requirements, I encourage you to try our 14-day free trial when you are ready.
Till then, keep rocking.