Lulalend increase their funding limit to R1 million for South African small businesses

OCTOBER 16, 2018

Moderator-Tblog

Lulalend increase their funding limit to R1 million for
South African small businesses

Now you can apply for funding through Lulalend of up to R1 000 000 and make your business dream become a reality. All you need to meet Lulalend’s minimum requirements is for your business to be older than 1 year and have an annual turnover of R500 000*.​

Get approved for a credit facility today and access the funds whenever you need it. No fees, no commitments.

PayFast merchant benefits:

  • Apply for funding directly from your PayFast account
  • Get better rates because you’re a merchant with PayFast
  • Complete an online application in under 10 minutes
  • Access business funding of up to R1 000 000 in 24 hours

To apply, simply login to your PayFast account, go to the Settings tab and select Payment Methods. In the bottom right corner click Apply next to Lulalend and follow the steps.

The Do’s & Don’ts of Marketing to Senior IT Leaders – Real Insight to Know How and When to Engage

Voula Hantziantonakis

Voula Hantziantonakis

Sr. Client Consulting Manager, EMEA

One of the more popular panels at our annual London ROI Summit is the CIO panel, and 2018 was no exception.   Hosted by Bryan Glick, Editor-in-Chief of ComputerWeekly, this year’s panel featured two IT leaders from contrasting sectors – Not-for-profit and Big Oil.   Despite being from vastly different industry sectors, there were a lot of commonalities in how the panelists research IT solutions and make decisions that ultimately lead to IT purchases.

This year’s CIO panel included Avril Chester, Founder & CEO of Cancer Central and former IT Director, of Scope, and Mike McCormick, CIO of Vivo Energy Group.

To watch the full 34-minute video of the panel session, click here.

The purchase buying process is changing – use the right data sources to help you stay in front of it

According to Mike McCormick the buying process in no longer a linear one and it doesn’t focus on a single source of information.  In the past it was more straightforward: (1) identifying the need, (2) find the product, (3) roll it out.  But nowadays an IT technology purchase has to form a part of the existing IT ecosystem and the ecosystem is ever changing.  Evaluating how to bring the product into his ecosystem seamlessly and with maximum functionality is a key component of the research and decision-making process and IT suppliers who help address this are the ones that end up on the purchase shortlist.

Another driver of change in the buying process stems from the root of the issue.  As Mike notes, every solution purchase starts off by asking “What is the problem?”

  1. Is it a problem because something broke?
  2. Is it a problem because the business is changing?
  3. Is it a problem because a technology solves a problem you were never aware of?

Identifying the source of the problem – is it a reaction or is it a plan? – determines the urgency of the buy cycle and the prioritization of the purchase against his overall IT strategy and budget constraints.

Consider this:

In order for marketing and sales teams to be successful in reaching senior leaders and their buying teams, they need to be armed with the right data to help them:

  1. Identify when an account is in market based on the recency and velocity of activity – As Mike indicates, buyers must determine the root cause of their problem, an exercise which always involves research – done by senior leaders and/or their teams. The large majority of the time, this research starts with Google. As buyers typically perform 12+ searches before ending up on a vendor’s site (source: Think with Google), you won’t even see most of their buyer’s journey. If you wait for them to come to you, it is often too late. You must seek out sources of purchase intent insight that can identify active demand in the market that you cannot see in your own systems as it is happening. Identifying a ramp in content consumption around very specific topics will help you reach buyers in an active cycle rather than missing out on the shortlist.
  2. Leverage buyer insights to understand current purchase drivers and installed technology environment – The right sources of intent provide insights into topical interests, vendors being considered and the technology that companies currently have installed within their environment. As Mike notes, understanding how a product will fit in his current environment is critical to his purchase decision. Marketing and sales teams can use intent insight to create customized messaging and productive conversations to fit account and buyer needs.

Case study insight is key to helping IT Leaders build their vendor shortlist

“I’m not looking for a sales glossy from you,” says Avril Chester.  “What I look for is a case study.” Comparative information is a significant part of the research she does during the buying process. “We do look at articles and go on to websites, but what I look for in the articles is something that compares stuff and gives me real information.”  Trusted publisher websites (like ComputerWeekly), shared feedback on sites like LinkedIn, as well as CIO networking events offer a substantial source of research material. Ultimately, there are key questions that determine Avril’s interest in an IT supplier:

  1. What was the issue?
  2. How was it resolved?
  3. How did your IT partner help?

As mentioned above, buyers are doing a tremendous amount of research in independent environments to support purchase decisions. By the time they are ready to engage with you, they will assume you already understand their needs, which you will have with the right data sources. At this point, they don’t need questions from you or your salespeople, they are looking for answers in the form of case study or proof of concept insight. Be prepared to leverage case studies in late stage nurture and make sure sales is prepared to have fact-based engagements with senior buyers aligned to specific need and backed by success with similar clients.

Technology end-users play a significant role in the evaluation process – you must influence the entire buying team

This sentiment resonated across the board – the final purchase decision takes into consideration the needs and feedback from the technology end users and other business stakeholders.  Mike’s team “directly engages with the end users of the technology and getting them in very early in the process because they understand their requirements far better than we do.”

So why are technology end-users having a say in the buying process? As Avril notes, “it’s not just a partnership with technology.”  An IT supplier has to be the right fit for the organisation: does the IT supplier have the right values and approach to work with all the business teams? Will they be a good fit with the organisation?   Mike says, “We’ve been quite arrogant as IT in the past to tell [our end users] how to do [their] job.”  For IT solutions that affect his end users (both internal or customer-facing), Mike’s evaluation process evolved to gather their feedback first – essentially letting end users’ needs dictate IT solutions they research and evaluate.

Technology buying is a team decision-making process. Senior leaders may ultimately lead the process, but what sets companies apart in the shortlisting process is the ability to identify and influence each member of the buying team, including end-users or business counterparts. This is no easy task and you will want to look for 3rd party data partners that can help you identify when an account is in market, but also identify the named, active members of the buying team actually doing research on related topics and solutions like yours.

IT Leaders are looking for understanding, patience & honesty from potential IT suppliers

“Understand who we are as a company and what we’re about”, said Mike McCormick.  Organizations that have done well are those that have done research on his company and have an understanding of who they are as a business and the complexities that they deal with.  Avril echoed the same insight: “it’s about understanding who we are and going your homework.”

Be patient with the sales process. “Don’t call me when I don’t want you, but be there for me when I need you,” said Mike.  “Understand that if we buy something from you this is going to be a relationship, not a sale,” so don’t push too hard from the get-go.  IT suppliers who push incessantly are the ones that are dropped off the purchase shortlist: “Know when to back off,” says Mike.

Be honest about your capabilities. Both Mike and Avril were direct on this point! No single product will be perfect, but be open about where your strengths lie and how it can help the organisation.  “We want an open and honest relationship” with IT suppliers, said Avril.

Beware of the “False Economy” of Low-Cost Leads

OCTOBER 25, 2018

Michael Box

Michael Box

Content Creator::

To fill their funnels, B2B marketers need leads—so much that sometimes they are willing to forego quality in order to hit their targets. And to satisfy mostly meaningless KPIs like cost per lead, marketers are constantly tempted to go with a cheap, high-volume approach. But no matter how low-cost the leads are, if they don’t convert, what’s the point? Focusing on the more relevant KPI of cost per conversion helps bring the “false economy” of low-cost leads into much clearer focus.

Two ways low-cost leads result in higher long-term costs

What is a false economy? It is something that costs less at first but ultimately results in higher costs in the long run. The false economy of low-cost leads will result in higher long-term costs in two ways:

  1. More false positives or “dead ends” = higher cost of conversion: If the bulk of cheap leads you buy is made up of individuals who have no interest in buying your solutions, your cost to convert becomes unmanageable very quickly.
  2. Wasted time, resources and human capital: According to MarketingProfs, bad prospect data can cost sales departments up to 550 hours in wasted labor and up to $32,000 for each sales representative. These are very real costs that your organization cannot recoup.

It doesn’t end there. Buying low-quality leads that don’t convert can also result in hidden costs that can damage sales and marketing trust and brand reputation.

Determining lead quality

Demand in your market is finite and when providers sell you low-cost leads, they are most likely not real leads at all, but merely names on a spreadsheet. In order to determine lead quality, you must be prepared to ask your providers the right questions. To learn more about the true cost of bad leads as well as a detailed checklist on essential questions to ask your lead providers, download the new white paper What Are Low-Cost Leads Really Costing You?

More resources to help you understand the organizational impact of bad leads

Here are 4 additional resources that demonstrate how low-cost, low-quality leads are damaging your business:

1) Dirty Data Done Dirt Cheap—Franklin Bear—DiscoverOrg Blog

Want to know why bad data is bad for your business? Check out this fun but important article.

2) The Staggering Cost of Chasing Bad Sales Leads—John Ternieden—InsideSales.com

Altify discovered that salespeople with $1 million quota and $100,000 average deal size lost $218,000 a year by pursuing the wrong leads and opportunities.

3) Why Measuring Success on Cost Per Lead is a Huge Mistake—Dan McDade—PointClear

Cost-per-lead, according to this useful blog, is not the correct metric for measuring marketing initiative success. It incorrectly emphasizes volume over quality, cost over ROI, and creates inaction in sales. Read on to discover the right marketing KPIs.

4) 3 reasons why your leads are bad & how to evolve the way you deliver for sales—John Steinert—TechTarget

The concept of “leads” was adapted for B2B back when everyone was just trying to figure out how demand gen could work in the industry. This article covers how B2B marketers now have both the learning and the tools to move beyond leads to a more effective approach that can deliver higher yields with less total expense.

This article first appeared on  www.techtarget.com.

Advice to CIOs for crafting a cloud adoption strategy

The answer to the question of when IT organizations should adopt cloud computing has been unambiguously answered by enterprises. According to an IDG cloud computing survey, 77% of enterprises already have at least one application or a portion of their enterprise’s infrastructure in the cloud. That same survey also showed that enterprises predict they’ll invest, on average, $3.5 million on cloud applications, platforms and services this year.

It’s the “how” that can get tricky, said Gartner research director Marco Meinardi at the recent Gartner Catalyst Conference 2018. With so many cloud offerings out there that can be acquired by simply inputting a credit card, Meinardi said it’s more important than ever to have a structured cloud adoption strategy.

In this video interview, Meinardi explains that this cloud adoption strategy needs a team, executive sponsorship and accountability — along with stern CIO oversight.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What are some best practices that CIOs should follow when crafting a cloud adoption strategy?

Marco Meinardi: CIOs should, first and foremost, get going. Cloud adoption has been a priority for many organizations, so the CIO should start now. And the first thing they should be doing is setting up their teamand making sure there is somebody accountable, with an executive sponsorship, to adopt cloud computing services. This process that this person accountable for the adoption should follow should also have an adoption framework in place so that it follows a structured approach to the cloud adoption.

We know that many times a cloud [adoption] strategy starts with ad hoc initiatives. A lot of organizations have departments that just do it because it’s so easy to put their credit card in and get going. But what is missing and what CIOs should focus on is really putting some more structure around the adoption. I’m talking about application placement, assessment frameworks, governance and also how they are going to provision, automate and, ultimately, manage all the services that are working to support the workloads in cloud environments.

We know that many times a cloud [adoption] strategy starts with ad hoc initiatives. A lot of organizations have departments that just do it because it’s so easy to put their credit card in and get going. But what is missing and what CIOs should focus on is really putting some more structure around the adoption. I’m talking about application placement, assessment frameworks, governance and also how they are going to provision, automate and, ultimately, manage all the services that are working to support the workloads in cloud environments.

Cloud computing optimization: A CIO’s perspective

Optimizing cloud means having a solid strategy in place, evaluating the services in use and ensuring the business is served, according to CyrusOne CIO Blake Hankins.

As cloud computing goes mainstream, the term cloud optimizationsounds especially important — something organizations should be doing in order to gain promised benefits such as agility, cost savings and the ability to quickly experiment and innovate. But is it just another buzzword that populates tech articles and vendors’ websites? What is cloud computing optimization?SearchCIO asked Blake Hankins, CIO at CyrusOne. With more than 40 data centers worldwide, the company leases space to companies looking to house their IT infrastructure, including cloud providers, and offers cloud connectivity services. CyrusOne also taps cloud computing for its own IT and business operations, using an assortment of cloud applications and cloud infrastructure services. Hankins’ definition of cloud computing optimization encompasses governance and business needs. Optimizing cloud means laying out a cloud strategy that aims to solve problems and, more important, “is sustainable and helps with the overall business.”In this ask the expert, edited for brevity and clarity, Hankins explains what cloud optimization means for him and his IT organization.

What is cloud computing optimization, and how can IT organizations get started?

Blake Hankins: I would say cloud optimization is how companies are using the cloud and which clouds they’re using — do we have too many clouds? Do we put all of our eggs in one basket? Or should we have different clouds? And how is that being managed from the company’s standpoint?

Blake HankinsBlake Hankins

The best way to go about it is looking at a governance and cloud strategy related to what the needs are of the business and understanding how to most efficiently operate that cloud model. When we’re choosing a platform, my first question is always going to be, ‘Is this a cloud platform?’ — meaning it’s not a hosted application. If it’s not a cloud platform, I’m probably going to rule it out unless there’s nothing else out there that’s a cloud application, that automatically takes workloads off my teams and reduces our risk.

We also want to make sure that cloud platforms can get data to and from the cloud and look at how they fit into the rest of the environment. Take our order to cash process. We’ve been working on a big business transformation to improve the efficiency and timeliness of those things. So, I’m not looking at a cloud to just solve one problem. I’m going to look at it to make sure, one, it solves the problem and, two, it fits into the overall strategy, it is sustainable and helps with the overall business.

How can IT organizations get started on it? I’d look at the inefficient processes that we have or the inefficient systems that we have or something that takes a long time to work on that’s not part of my core business and say, ‘How can the cloud help us? Is there a cloud application? Can I move my existing application to a cloud product?’ And really focus on how that fits into the overall cloud strategy and governance.

This was last published in April 2018

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