Friday, December 21, 2012

Offshore Lead Generation? Kick Mediocrity Out the Door!

lead generation, lead generation companies, B2B telemarketing, IT sales leads, call center services
When we talk about outsourcing, you sometimes get the idea of lesser quality in services. Well, you may think so because you cannot directly monitor the flow of these types of campaigns and hold only so little influence when it comes to bringing about an outcome we can be pleased with. When it comes to lead generation, however, it seems like more and more businesses are choosing to outsource their campaigns to service providers, even to offshore lead generation companies.

Some business owners understand that cutting down on costs is all part of how they can keep their business in a profitable state. Others, however, frown upon outsourcing their lead generation campaigns because they believe that offshore services providers bring in mediocre results. True enough, some companies do bring in mediocre results, however, one should not lump all offshore companies into one basket.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lead Generation Lessons From Santa's Little Helper

lead generation, business to business leads, sales lead generation
It looks like Christmas came early this year as I looked under my desk to find one of Santa's little helpers feasting on my stash of chocolate chip cookies. Seeing as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk to an elf, I decided to lock the doors and just chat with the little guy while he devoured my oh so delicious cookies. We talked about how life was at the North Pole and I found out that what he told me can be equated to lead generation during the holidays.

I sat the little guy up on my desk and we started to talk about things.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lead Generation Troubleshooting – Fixing A Clogged Pipeline

lead generation, business to business leads, telemarketing
No marketer wants to face having to deal with a clogged pipeline. If your sales pipeline is clogged, then you are not going to be able to effectively handle all your B2B leads and sales are not going to flow freely through your pipeline. Such a problem could stem from how you are doing lead generation and could thus affect your close rate and marketing performance.

Just like when you are at home, you do not want to be dealing with a clogged pipe. The water doesn't go down and harmful microorganisms could start growing in the rancid water that's stuck underneath your sink. As a marketer, you need to be quick on your feet and remedy your problems with lead generation. If you don't act fast, you risk putting all of your company's efforts at risk and you may even start losing those much wanted sales.

If you've come to find some tips on how to deal with such a problem then you have come to the right place. Here's what you want to know and came to find out about lead generation to help you deal with an annoying pipeline problem!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Telemarketing Tips – Beating Fear

telemarketing, telemarketing services, lead generation
There are many reasons as to why a marketing campaign feels especially when telemarketing is what's being talked about. A lack of budget could lead to the death of a campaign, a disgruntled employee could make risk pissing of each and every prospect they contact. As said, there are numerous reasons as to why a telemarketing campaign can crumble into pieces.

If you are a telemarketing services provider, you of course want to provide your clients with the best quality of service. But before you can achieve such a level of performance, you first need to make sure that you can overcome the challenges that comes with being a telemarketing company.

One major thing which inhibits the capabilities of any telemarketer is fear. When you are afraid, your mind functions differently and your entire thought process is affected. You start grasping at the right words, tremble all over and even feel a cold sweat all over you. Fear can hamper the progress and success of any telemarketing campaign when those that are tasked with making calls are experiencing it.

Well instead of shivering at your desk and staring at the phone warily like it's going to bite you, here are a few tips to helping you overcome your fear!

Identify the problem.

Before you can start battling that monster that lurks underneath your bed, you first have to find out what it is. After all, a problem can only be solved after we know what it is, just like how we take different kinds of medicine depending on what ails us. What is it that you fear? Identify what each of your staff members is afraid of about doing telemarketing.

Identify the cause of the problem.

Once you know just what it is you fear, you should find out what is causing it. For staff that work in a telemarketing company, one common cause of fear is rejection. Telemarketers that perform tasks such as lead generation appointment setting often expect that the prospects they call will give them a “no” before they even pick up the phone and make the call. This assumption puts them into a mindset in which they truly do believe that a negative reply is coming their way.

Another thing that adds up to this fear is the presence of their duty. They are working for a telemarketing firm thus they know that they must make calls.

Come up with a solution.

Just because an employee has a fear about a certain part of their job does not mean that you should outright fire them. Every staff member is still a valuable part of your lead generation force and once they overcome their fear they should be able to perform their tasks effectively. So after you have found out what the problem is and what is causing it, the time has come to come up with a solution.

One of the best solutions for getting rid of fear is positive reinforcement. If your employees keep thinking that they will fail, then chances are they really will. But you can make a difference through just being positive. When your employees start telling themselves that they're not going to succeed, you tell them the exact opposite! There are other ways to counter fear, however the problem and cause must still be identified before any action can be taken.

Fear really is a common problem in telemarketing. I too have had my share of being afraid to pick up the phone just because I kind of knew what was coming at the end of the conversation. However, once you master how to beat what you are afraid of, you can turn it into strength and succeed in what you do, be it telemarketing!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How Telemarketing Can Avoid Driving People Crazy

The idea of telemarketing driving people crazy is nothing new. What is also not new however is the idea that telemarketers can do a lot to actually run counter to that image. It is not just about how DNC lists have put a hamper to consumer marketing calls. It is about how the remaining markets that telemarketers can target are likely filled with many people who do not need much to go nuts.

The B2B Lead Generation Market

If you are a B2B company, there is a chance that you have thought of telemarketing (or may even be using it already). How is this possible when decision makers are likely to be more secure and more critical against marketers? More importantly, how can you have a contact center that does not drive them up the wall?

  • #1: They are not as tightly guarded as you believe – If you are under the assumption that cold calling will land you an automatic rejection, you are only half-right. The negative thing about cold-calling is that it is unexpected. But it is not so much given that businesses are not actually granted immunity from marketing calls. So long as you communicate right, you can actually avoid the cold shoulder that comes from cold calling.

  • #2: Know the proper time to call – It is a common rule for telemarketers but first-timers often struggle with it because they simply do not know the best time to call. So as a start, go for more physical indicators like figuring out a prospect's location. Are they in a different time zone? Should you call in the middle of the day or just when they are about to punch out? After that, try a more indirect form of communication like an email exchange prior to a telephone one.

  • #3: Value their time as well – B2B telemarketing does not always have to involve direct, outbound calls. Your call center could also be employing inbound services both for marketing as well as customer support. But in all cases, you should learn to value your caller's time. It is highly likely that they have other things pressing on their minds so a quick response is mandatory!

  • #4: Your follow-ups are well-spaced – The tricky thing about follow-ups is that it is like walking on a tightrope. You cannot make too many calls in a short span of time nor can you just take too long in between. It is like the extension of knowing the proper time to call and can be difficult without enough decent engagement with a prospect. But that is the keyword: engagement. At this point, you have already achieved making contact so use it as an opportunity to converse with a prospect and figure out the best time to contact again.

Never forget that when you are targeting others who are just as much as steeped into the business world as you, you run the risk of adding to their trust. But surprisingly, it is this same business culture than can bring you success if you exhibit a matching level of professionalism and strategic marketing. It is arguably a lot easier compared to consumers who are only too quick to press the DNC violation button. The best part is these basic sales lead generation tips are all that you need!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Find Sales Leads That Define Your Business Identity

In business, many people still underestimate the power of an image when it comes to attracting sales leads. While it is true that your business should be more than just looks, the concept of a business identity may not just be about looks either. Your marketing strategies can go beyond simply drawing out a picture of yourself.

Creating A Lead Generator That Projects Your Core

The basic concept is to take the core of your business and broadcast it via lead generation. While complexity is a guarantee in B2B, the very heart of what your business is about can fit even in the shortest marketing message. All you need is to take the following attributes and use them as parts of your image: 
  • Your methods – The truth is any method can be used to suit your business. It is only a matter of figuring out how you get them all to fit, how well you can stick with them, and how well they can adapt. For example, telemarketing alone can serve a variety of methods but why stick to using a singular approach when it is so much more effective to integrate it with others? 
  • Your industry – If you are in the construction business, use visuals that immediately relay that image. The same goes for your brand name. If not, why would you mislead your prospects and customers about what you do? The good thing about a simplified industry image is that it automatically relays the small stuff while giving you more time to elaborate on the complications. 
  • Your target industries – Ideally, you do not generate sales leads from just one industry. That is why your industry identity must meld with the ones you are targeting. Think of it like this: Your business has already presented the tool and now its time to show how well it can serve different purposes. People like variety and that includes your B2B customers. Better yet, they like a variety from which they can generate maximum benefit. 
  • Your budget – But of course, you should not be too unrealistic when it comes to presenting yourself. An effective marketing plan only works well if it is being honest or otherwise it will backfire very badly. Instead of viewing your budget as a restrictive limit, view it as the outlining sketch on which you can start drawing out your image. Otherwise, you risk disappointing prospects when the time comes to admit the costs they did not expect from doing business with you. 
So as you can see, the result is not just an image but an image the projects what you do and what your business is. Maybe there are many other situations where you do not wear an identity on your sleeves but when it comes to business, transparency and honesty are important. Do not be afraid to use tools like B2B telemarketing or targeting industries outside those you would be generally familiar with so long as they honestly express the core identity of your business.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lead Generation Tips – If You're Gonna Go Political, Don't Take Sides

Do you really feel that your marketing and lead generation strategy is just irrelevant and out of date without playing the tune of the election season? Do you honestly feel that, despite all risks of a major PR suicide, you want your own business to have a voice in politics?

Well, if you insist then go ahead. Go political. There is just one thing you need to avoid: actually taking a side.

Political Sales Leads Without The Partisanship

Admittedly, people who advocate politics in marketing do have one fair point: It is a powerful way to connect with your market. That begs one question though: Is it powerful enough to justify the risks?

The answer is no. Here is the good news however: You can still connect that way. The trick is to simply not take sides. There is no question that a connection formed via political appeal can generate more qualified leads from prospects who sympathize (if not, embrace) a certain ideological bent. You can generate this appeal though without necessary doing any embracing yourself.

If you want an example, look to 7-Eleven (as reported by Entrepreneur). It maybe a B2C marketing strategy but take a hard look at the core concept if you really doubt that B2B marketing cannot apply it:

The convenience store 7-Eleven proclaimed that 'politics are brewing' last month as it announced its quadrennial Presidential Coffee Cup Poll. 7-Election 2012 allows customers to indicate their presidential preference when they purchase a cup of coffee -- a blue cup imprinted with a donkey for President Barack Obama or an elephant-emblazoned red cup for Mitt Romney.”

But of course, you cannot be wrong for wanting the finer details of how this works for B2B. A key element in this strategy is understanding the link between politics and work place culture as well as viewing this election season just like you would any other season. In short, it is a form of seasonal marketing.

Related Content: Tips For B2B Telemarketing – Seasonal Myth Busted

Like regular seasons, elections are a theme in of themselves regardless of whether you subscribe to any worldview (or make it a part of your business identity). Your marketing just has to align itself with this theme just like 7-Eleven. That is not the same as aligning with any faction but just mildly tailoring your sales lead generation process accordingly to your prospects' political tastes.
  • Use prospect's opinion to line up with an objective need. - Your business is meant to fulfill objective needs. How do you align them with political opinion? You simply listen. Make a connection with their views with whatever solution or service that you could provide. 
  • Avoid raising the subject yourself – Do not forget that you are not alone if you want to avoid politics. Other business owners are not necessarily eager either. Stick to a neutral image first and wait to see if your prospect is starting lean away. If not, good news. You can now market as normal. 
Related Content: Professional Telemarketing – What Great Leaders Can Teach About Great Communication
  • Make a note so sales can carry on the conversation – Your markers cannot keep up the conversation forever. That is why they are supposed to just qualify and let salespeople make the close. You cannot just pass the baton though without letting them know what you are passing. 
So it would seem that you can appeal to the political side of your prospects without necessarily taking it. The best part is you now have both supplying you with B2B sales leads!

Treat Your Sales Leads Professionally, Not Dramatically!

While getting sales leads is your marketer's job, that does not mean they should not (or cannot) express concern over how your salespeople are treating them. You may have already heard this before but you will still hear it here: sales and marketing work hand-in-hand.

Business Leads Are Valuable For Both Sides

Just because your marketers have outlined their responsibilities on paper does not mean they cannot chime in on the actions of salespeople. Your salespeople in turn should not be afraid of giving and sharing feedback. In short, this is a call for both parties to act professionally and not act as if they are characters in some business drama.

Many negative stereotypes surrounding the business world are spawned from what is actually unprofessional behavior. For example, marketers actually act the part of pushy salespeople when they are just supposed to only qualify interests for appointment setting. Meanwhile, your salespeople are exhibiting behaviors that turn off prospects simply because they cannot tell their business world fantasies from reality.

It does not even matter what method you use. The problem lies at the human behavioral level so therefore, your solutions should focus on fixing that behavior. Because whether you use telemarketing or email marketing, that behavior will kill all your campaigns.

Related Content: The Top 3 Ways To Kill Your Telemarketing Campaign

This might sound more like an HR problem but this is an HR problem that specifically involves the people who are bringing in your customers. They are a critical part, if not an entire half, of your whole business model. So knowing that, you should still view this with the perspective of both parties in mind. A few things you can look into include:
  • Mode of communication – While it has been previously stated that form of communication does not matter, take a small note of how your marketers perceive the tools they are using. If you are outsourcing for example, do your provider's employees actually have their own belief in their chosen method? If not, then it is no wonder they do not deliver as many B2B sales leads. Obviously, you do not want a telemarketing call in the hands of someone who finds parodies of the approach more factual than the real thing. 
  • Means of appointment – Like with your marketers, the bad behavior of your salespeople might be tied to the kind of meetings they have with potential clients. As ridiculous as this might sound, those who lack a sense of professionalism might have a tendency towards dramatic delusions. Still, it makes for an easy start. Do your salespeople see themselves as actual professionals or just characters from Gossip Girl
Related Content: Don't Waste Lead Generation On Bad Sales Processes!

There is no doubt you will encounter defensive responses (and you yourself might feel a pang of guilt) from conducting this kind of evaluation. Despite that, this is a basic truth that is accepted among marketers and salespeople from all over. Ask yourself, who would want this kind of unprofessional representation? Nobody.

Hence, make sure you treat your business leads are treated professionally whether it is in B2B telemarketing or in client meetings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Telemarketing Tips – Differentiate Between Following-Up And Pure Stalking

On negative perception that telemarketing companies work so hard to rid themselves off is actually the same negative perception that today's online marketers are trying to shake: stalking. And by stalking, it is actually the popular belief that businesses will do anything, even invade privacy, in order to learn about their customers. It is not just limited to B2C marketing either. In B2B relationships, similar charges can be made when you are following-up on prospects and trying to generate feedback.

How To Get Qualified Leads Without Stalking

In their defense, many businesses demonstrate a clear need for such information. The ideal is that it is supposed to help them provide a better service. Realistically speaking though, it can reach a point when it is starting to feel like unintended harassment.

And since that is the case, how then can you qualify your sales leads without irritating those prospects? You do a basic review of what a good follow-up strategy is supposed to have such as:
  • Good Timing: You know the best time to call a prospect. Although, this in of itself should be part of the information you should initially gather. When contacting a prospect for the first time, always give priority to determining the best hour of day to make any further calls or emails. 
Related Content: B2B Telemarketing Tips & Tricks – Following-Up With Prospects
  • Moderation: Do not always pester a prospect with calls even if each call comes with a different purpose. Just because you qualified their interest during one call does not mean you can call them again for a telemarketing survey soon after. If you have already called or emailed one contact, then be patient or at least pursue another one until you find another proper time call back. 
  • Transparency: If your purpose is B2B telemarketing, be honest about it. Do not waste a prospect's time beating around the bush and get straight to the point. Tell them why your business is calling. Are you there to re-evaluate their interest? Are you there to remind them of an appointed meeting with your sales representative? Is this the first time they have been contacted? Are there other times when you can call back or other means with which they are more comfortable communicating with? Regardless of the answer, always be clear in your objective. 
  • Finishes Fast – Speaking of wasting time, you should never forget how valuable it is to prospects. No matter how much you promise or how much you apologize, it will not return every, single second you consume. Your follow-ups should not only be thorough and objective but also quick enough that your prospect can easily resume whatever current task that was preoccupying them. 
Related Content: Calling For Sales Leads – The Different Ways That Time Can Affect Success

And do not forget, you can also apply this to more than just follow-ups. Your telemarketing surveys and B2B appointment setting calls can be perceived negatively as well so exercise the above traits to differentiate yourself from marketing stalkers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Training Telemarketers – How Much Investment Should You Put?

If you believe that experience is the best teacher, then you should know why you should invest in training whether it comes to telemarketers or any other professional engaged in a business process. No professional is made completely within the vacuum of academic institutions.

Telemarketing Groups Need More Than The Telephone

There is a reason why today's call center is now being called a contact center. More businesses are expanding beyond singular forms of communication with their markets. It then naturally follows that they will use the same multi-channel approach when it comes to communicating with each other.

Contrary to some people's fears, having different channels will not drive you crazy so long as you know how to manage and moderate. That however takes training. Thus, if you do not invest in training, no person, no matter how skilled, will stay long in their job.

Related Content: Telemarketing Tips – Employee Retention Rate Matters
  • Manage – Some might argue that management skills are already learned in school. That is under the misguided notion that a telemarketer can manage what needs to be done before the week begins. On the contrary, they must learn how to manage on the go. B2B telemarketers are called to exercise quick-responses regardless of what medium is being used by prospects and customers to communicate. Without properly managing the different tools being used in real-time, you will only end up with a flustered and harassed agent. In fact, some companies who train their agents still recommend that their clients not demand too many conflicting tasks. With proper management comes a good sense of realism. 
Related Content: How Telemarketing Is More Realistic Than Popular Opinion
  • Moderate – Using each method in moderation ties with good management. You cannot manage different marketing methods if you do not know which one to use and how often. The strength of using multiple channels comes from the capacity to be flexible. That flexibility is lost though unless you or a more experienced marketer will personally make sure that agents adjust to switching quickly when a prospect calls for it. For example, if they cannot get in touch via telephone, they must have a well-written email at the ready. And as an organization, they should be quick to adapt to what actually works versus having the extra but inefficient methods result in a large overhead. 
Both skills require actual training on the job because there is no established theory or textbook guide that will drive them in for you. Furthermore, you can read it in many marketing and business resources that actual field experience is necessary due to the fact that said field is always changing. Take for instance the sudden shift where traditional marketing is now challenged by customers who are more well-informed and more influenced by their peers. Some go as far as to say that the field is changing even more rapidly than before! If this is true, there might not be enough time for schooling and you will be limited exclusively to training your marketers on the job. Why wait until that time? Start putting more investment in training or at least outsource to lead generation companies and invest in theirs!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Use Legit Telemarketing To Combat Its Scamming Counterpart

Every now and then you would hear about the latest scams involving telemarketing frauds. Naturally, this is bad press for the industry but worst of all, it has been rapidly misleading people (at least consumers) into the belief that no telemarketer is legit.

Legit Telemarketers VS Anonymous Scammers

First off, perhaps it would be better if the public at large should also tone down on their desire to crack down on these swindlers. Yes, they should be caught. It is only expected that consumers cry out their rights and demand action.

That is not the same as the witch hunts which follow where businesses and telemarketers alike are lambasted for so much as pressing the number on a dial.

To protect your own right as a business, review your reasons for why you dial numbers in the first place: lead generation and customer support.
  • Business leads – It is generally not enough to simply exchange emails. You still have to formally sign the deal and even before that, B2B solutions generally entail lengthy discussions on price, project duration, as well as the bottom-line purpose and results of it all. It also helps to keep close in touch with your provider and have them keep an eye on those who make false calls on their behalf. You can even give them the mental incentive by saying somebody shady is sabotaging their work. 
  • Customer service – Customer service is not always about just receiving inbound calls day after day. Sometimes a company would like to conduct a small survey and have them contact their customers directly. As with business leads, make sure your business has a way of giving your callers an identity. It might also be best to use additional channels of communication to announce said survey. 
Related Content: How Customer Service Can Be Its Own Lead Generator

Speaking of which, you will notice that the biggest advantage you can give against false association is to make sure your contact center agents have a verifiable means of identifying themselves. Furthermore, that identity also verifies their affiliation with your company, thus showing it to be legit. Make sure your telemarketers take the following measures regardless if they are outsourced or in-house:
  • Database is under lock and key – Access to prospect and client information is regulated and breaches are swiftly dealt with. Any outsourced telemarketing company must have the same level of security as a well-guarded, corporate infrastructure. 
  • Have trustworthy personnel – Applicants as well as present agents should always be held with a certain level of responsibility over data security. Do necessary background checks and make sure recruiters ask them to file basic clearance requirements. 
  • High awareness of possible breaches and responses to scams – There is a difference between being highly aware and completely paranoid. Do not always respond to every telemarketing scam unless it directly involves your business. But in the case that it does, send word to your telemarketers and act immediately! 
Related Content: Why People Are Cautious About Telemarketing Services And What You Can Do About It

As for what actual actions to take, make sure both of you collaborate closely together in your response. Set up a page on your website that can differentiate your telemarketers from that of posers. If you are outsourcing, constantly check in with your provider and make sure they are in the loop on what is happening in case bad news starts floating around. Only use professional telemarketers to combat their shady counterparts!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Telemarketing Tips – Breaking The Costs To Your Prospect

In marketing, it is popularly perceived that a high cost is a turn-off while a low cost is meant to attract. When it comes to telemarketing though, you will need to learn how to break both types of costs to a prospect because they will eventually demand to know.

How Can Telemarketers Break It To Them?

No matter how high or how low you perceive a price to be, your prospect can always have a different opinion. The context formed by reasons and situations also play a significant role. What is the cost about? Is it the cost of implementation? Are you talking delivery costs? Is this a cost that comes from consultation or repair? In short, being honest with the costs is not exclusive to just lead generation. Both current customers and prospects have their own respective reasons as to why they wish to know how much money they are going to pay.

You might not need to get your accountant or financial adviser on the line but your agents would do well to emulate them when it comes to simply pointing where their money goes. It also should call them to be aware of the average budget among companies in your target market.

The following list outlines a few situations where you must cite the costs right away and avoid suspicion:
  • During qualification – A prospect that has shown interest in a product does not always mean they have the money for it. This is why it is important, again, to be aware of what budget sizes to target. Still, not all prospects will immediately tell you. That is why targeting can help rule out a significant number of businesses too big or too small. You will at least have fewer candidates to disqualify. 
Related Content: How to Get Better Accuracy and Results in B2B Telemarketing
  • When prospects desire additional products/services – If you are offering something in packages, perhaps it would be better to suggest them instead of leaving it up to a prospect to make choices one by one. Just be careful when it comes to how much you know about them. Can your marketers honestly tell them and yourself that they will maximize every component of this package? 
  • When customers come in with a new problem – Seeing as even outsourced telemarketing service can double as customer support, they should be ready to cite costs if additional support comes with a few fees. And while you can justify these fees, you need to avoid sounding like you are profiteering from a defect. 
Related Content: Is Your Telemarketing Broken On Purpose?
  • During promo periods – There is also the occasional promo period when you slash prices in the hopes of attracting more leads as well generate more loyalty from current customers. However, both these customers and your prospects might include people who wish to know more about why you are cutting prices. As always, telemarketers should be prepared. 
With the global economy on a volatile roller-coaster ride, it is not surprising that many people tend to be price-sensitive. In a way, your marketers should be too by being sensitive about how your costs and fees will be perceived. Always make sure your B2B telemarketers know when and how to break the price-tag to your prospects.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are You Telemarketing For Short-term Or Long-term?

Given the variety of processes that telemarketing is capable of, it can be easy to grow indecisive when determining which on you need the most. For example, they can play a role in either delivering you a long-term advantage or a short-term one but not always at the same time.

Balancing Both Is Delicate For Lead Generation

Choosing between short-term and long-term benefits has been an ancient dilemma that extends beyond the world of business. Ultimately though, the decision maker has to make a compromise, trying to balance both by actually forging a connection instead of always picking one over the other.

Here is an illustration for telemarketers:
  • Short-term – Suppose your business is in a pinch and needs to generate as many sales leads in order to stand a chance of surviving the next year (or worse, just the following months). You can have telemarketers start a massive, wide-reaching campaign to see just how far the actual numbers go. You might have to forego using them for customer support for the time being but it just cannot be helped. Once you are done though, what do you do with the results? In fact, think about this with the assumption that you got enough sales to save your business. What then? Is this all you will get out of future campaigns?
  • Long-term – Suppose your business did well but there are signs that the future looks pretty dry and you need customer retention to survive it. The only way to do that however is to be as openly as possible to customer feedback. Telemarketers can receive incoming calls, record and resolve issues, but at the same time, send this feedback back higher up for the rest of your company to reflect upon. But just like short-term, what do you do with the actual results of this B2B telemarketing process? Are you really content with just maintaining your current business relationships without making new ones?
Hopefully, you can already tell what kind of compromise you can make between the two. Again, you need to forge a connection between short-term benefits that can have an effect on long-term. With regards to the results produced by telemarketers, that connection is formed by flowing the information between inbound and outbound. Using the above example, you use the information you got during your short-term, outbound campaign to inform the agents receiving your inbound calls.

In turn, your inbound calls should result in more information about what the market as a whole is currently demanding. These days, with online resources providing more and more information, your own customers have a greater capacity to influence each other's buying decisions ahead of your business. What is worse is that not even this collective understanding can always reach the specialist level of an industry expert. You should use the information gathered from feedback to shape up whatever message or questions to ask during your next campaign. Do not limit your B2B lead generation to either short-term or long-term but balance it for both!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Simple Lead Generation Facts: Knowing Where And Where Not To Get Information

Monitoring customers isn't just limited to consumer businesses. Even B2B companies need to observe their targets for lead generation. It is easy to understand just how much you need information that guides you on what prospects find most interesting and relevant to their business needs.

On the other hand, this behavior can have the same backlash as their B2C counterparts. More specifically, you don't want to violate the privacy of potential customers. Not only is it bad PR, bad PR has clearly negative effects on both future sales and lead generation success.

Avoiding This Image Is The Key To The Information You Seek

How do you avoid this image? More importantly, how do avoid it but at the same time, get the information you need so that your marketing efforts really touch on what a prospect is looking for. To find the answer, look first to how you get your information, who gets, and where that information is stored. One good place to start is your contact center.

Related Content: Avoid Bad PR In Telemarketing And Other Marketing Channels

Now whether you've outsourced it or managed to build one up in-house, it is very likely that you use this center as your main tool for interacting with your market and getting information. You don't always just use it for B2B lead generation or taking care of customer support but possibly both! In today's business world, you will need all the information you can get and that requires different sources. Without that information, you might kill any chance of success for future campaigns:

Related Content: The Top 3 Ways To Kill Your Telemarketing Campaign

Meanwhile, the conduct and practices deployed by your agents are what can define your business as either a faithful service provider or a creepy stalker. To find out which, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where do you establish your presence? - First off, it's good to use multiple channels so that you have the means to converse with your market in anyway that is desired. Secondly however, are they aware of the regulations governing each medium? It would be very awkward for them to encourage proper online marketing practices but don't think twice about neglecting the ones for telemarketing.

  • How is the information given away? - Believe it or not, you are not always in the wrong for gathering information from public sources. That is because the source is, well, public. It is available to many. No prospect should fault you for acting on information that they have made available to everyone else. This should be your immediate defense. One clear difference between stalking and observing is that the former uses information that has been obtained without consent. Despite that, prospects in turn need to realize that even something as simple as publishing a social media profile should be done with the expectations of people acting on it.

  • Where do they draw the line? - Following the previous point, your agents should know where to draw the line. If they are certain that a prospect is not willing to impart certain information, they should respect it. At the same time though, they must be able to obtain more trust so that they can use it for the sole purpose of providing a better service.

The good news is that these are industry standards that apply to both in-house groups and outsourced companies. It just so happens that both marketers and prospects tend to have a flawed understanding of customer privacy. So on your part at least, make sure you hire professional telemarketers and other experienced professionals so that you will know when and when not to gather information.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Telemarketing – How To Integrate It When It's Outsourced?

A common misconception about outsourced telemarketing is that it's simply giving the task away without having to hear about it ever again. There is obviously still a need for close cooperation and collaboration between you and your provider.

It becomes even more critical when you need to integrate their tools and services in the larger machine that is your marketing. Today, it would seem that singular forms of marketing aren't even enough anymore, whether it's telemarketing or newer forms like social marketing. In fact, social marketing expert Ric Dragon has been quoted for the following words on Social Media Today:

'Social can be the lighter fluid on the marketing bonfire,' says Dragon, explaining that 'marketers are in the business of creating more value.'

'By integrating traditional marketing tactics with social, more value will be realized from each component of the marketing,' he says.

You need to realize this same value in the process of your outsourced provider. This is what establishes the need to close the gap between your businesses and collaborate more closely:
  • Information sharing: Don't just leave them hanging! Make sure your social media efforts are generating as much information on the market and can help them gain insight as to how to mold their outbound messages. If you're handing out the number of their contact center, they should be well prepared to handle nbound calls and inquiries. 
  • Emphasize on quick learning: Information means nothing if it is not understood properly. This is why you should only select providers who have enough experience to learn about your company as quickly as possible in order to give campaigns a faster start. 
  • Delivers as promised: And of course, no outsourced telemarketing firm should deliver less than what they were paid for. It might be too ideal to ask for more but you're at least still in your right to demand a reasonable return. Don't also forget that you're now also giving information so expect them to only use this information to improve the campaigns and services they run for you. 
Finally, as the word itself implies, integration requires a union. Be it outsourced or not, you can use social media with telemarketing to generate more B2B leads. As a matter of fact, they even have something in common. Just look at this other quote from Dragon:

'Brands that embrace these new approaches to building communities, leading with passion and purpose, and one-to-one conversations are going to assume a leadership role,' he says, and 'will be difficult for competitors to usurp.'

One-to-one conversations? The fact that a traditional form of marketing (telemarketing) has this in common with a new form (social media) only goes to highlight that they operate on the same principles and make integration all the more easy! Just because it's outsourced to an outside party is no excuse from making sure you're both working together. You might even be surprised at how these telemarketers would appreciate the integration because they too have experienced the value that social media can add to their methods.

Monday, September 24, 2012

B2C VS B2B Lead Generation – Where Do You See Your Content?

Content marketing actually has a broad range of application that goes across many different styles of lead generation and marketing. On the other hand, the type of content being generated needs to correspond to a specific marketing style if it's used for targeting a B2B or B2C market.

Lately, many marketing experts, bloggers, and other professionals tend to blur (or at least ignore) the line between B2C and B2B lead generation. At this rate though, some companies might become dangerously lax when it comes to evaluating their content. Never forget that successful marketing, from advertising to B2B telemarketing, depends on accurate targeting. That's where the distinction between B2C and B2B products and services will play a critical role.

One example is in using online content. And yes, it's hard to deny the effectiveness of new online marketing strategies as more and more people place themselves on the internet. A simple technique you can try is to put yourself in the seat of a potential customer and imagine how they will encounter this content.
  • Time – If you're a B2B firm, your targets are automatically people who don't have a lot of time on their hands. For instance, you wish to market powerful business tools and services to executives that can make use of them. So where do you see your content fitting in to their busy day? Do you require their mind to be relaxed and open to long reads or would you prefer quick reads that give them more time to take action? The truth is B2C marketing has a higher advantage of targeting a relaxed audience more than B2B. 
  • Purpose – Regardless of length, there are still many purposes for content. What are those purposes? Is it used to explain your business? Is it a list of facts about what you're trying to accomplish? Sure, you can say both B2B and B2C have many purposes in common. But again, their target audience plays a role on the specifics. Do you see your content entertaining or informing prospects? Would you prefer to try and opt for both? Even then, there are varying standards between B2B and B2C on what counts as informative and entertaining. 
  • Action – Finally, you have action. In online content, not all B2C materials really call their audience to some kind of buying action. Those that do generally accomplish this through some kind of ad box that doesn't necessarily have to do with the content itself. On the other hand, a B2B lead generation company has a stronger dependence on unique CTAs because it's that action that will draw a prospect's attention more than mere text or images. Put yourself in your prospect's shoes once more. If they're in a hurry to find a solution or a needed product, skimmed through your content, what then? Obviously, you'd give them the luxury of contacting you straight away! 
Taking all those into consideration, you need to also see your content in the context of your entire marketing strategy and sales process. You didn't seriously think that content alone is enough to attract your market's attention and engage with prospects? Okay so in B2C, a few gimmicks and fun-to-read articles can keep your audience hooked. B2B marketing on the other hand targets potential customers who are less likely in the mood for such gimmicks. Their needs tend to be urgent and possess a stronger gravity that require a quick solution.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Telemarketing Firms Still Require Some Details From You

Yes, many telemarketing firms take pride in being able to gather information with as little spoon-feeding as possible. It's why, despite their decline in consumer marketing, they're still a primary source of B2B leads for many industries.

That doesn't mean they're not without limitations. Furthermore, you shouldn't blame them when they've already hit those limits. Now as to what those telemarketing limits may be, below is just one short list:
  • Industry – Wait a minute, shouldn't experienced telemarketing services have vast amounts of industry expertise? Yes it they should but no matter how efficient they are in targeting various industries, they won't always know which ones your salespeople and your business would want specifically. It doesn't matter if you yourself cater to a wide range of industries either. There are still other factors to consider. For example, what if you've decided to refrain from marketing one particular industry but not inform your telemarketers? The result is your salespeople coming to you with complaints as well as another set of complaints from people in that industry. This doesn't even mention the possibility of counter-complaints you'll get from the company you outsourced. 
  • Bad sales processes – Obviously if your salespeople aren't doing their part, you can't expect a right to complain. Your telemarketers evaluated the interest of your prospects, generated more of it, and even set a time and date for your salespeople to meet. What more can you ask for? Sure, some larger telemarketing services will offer to do sales as well but have you specified that? Was that in the deal you both agreed upon? More importantly, do your salespeople also want to outsource their own jobs? Do they have other things they'd rather do for your business? 
  • Not doing it your way – Granted, a telemarketer should be flexible enough to change strategies and adapt new marketing tools in order to improve. However, wouldn't it be better to set down some guidelines first before filing complaints through every step of the process? If you already had a particular strategy in mind, why didn't you share it in the first place? That's the difference between adapting to change and forcing them to adapt in ways that you had the responsibility to specify before the campaign started. In the end, you may have had a good deal of success but think about the time you could've also saved had you at least collaborated more closely with your provider before beginning. 
Like anything you do in business, you should always have a plan. You need a plan when you want to attract and qualify sales leads. You still need a plan when you want to outsource that process to a provider (be it a telemarketer or even any type of B2B marketing).

On the other hand, rest assured that this always goes both ways. That's how close collaboration ideally works. From the perspective of any good telemarketer, you have a right to expect a high level of compliance. You can assert your demands to a considerable degree. Simply put, they shouldn't wince at the standards you've set up for them and their entire industry as a whole.

Just don't leave them hanging when they need only a few details before starting.

Monday, September 17, 2012

How Telemarketing Is More Realistic Than Popular Opinion

Telemarketing is no stranger to knocking heads with popular opinion. More specifically, when it comes to clashing with popular opinion on themselves. But as conventional as this might sound, appeal to popular opinion has always been a logical fallacy.

Popular opinion likes to depict the telemarketing industry as one that's going the way of snail-mail. The labor is often depicted as drab and weary. Agents are infamously portrayed as being overworked and exhausted despite the supposed simplicity of their work. Thus, the prospect of using it in marketing processes like lead generation and appointment setting seems archaic and therefore highly unrealistic. Who wants to hear a marketer on the phone these days right?

The reality is hearing a live conversation is as realistic as you can get (well, perhaps with the exception of actually meeting face-to-face with a prospect). On the other hand, it's plain to see that many companies and their customers don't necessarily want to reach that level. Who would want a face-to-face meeting just to purchase something?

If you're in any B2B market, your surprising answer would be: a lot.

Many B2B companies offer complex products, services, and even just solutions in order assist other companies in their endeavors. Such complexity requires a lot of discussion, a discussion that can only be had in a live business meeting.

Ironically, this is based on the simple logic that a real phone call is, in fact, more realistic compared to other forms of business communication that many telemarketing critics like to champion. Just a few examples range from lesser anonymity compared to email while still sharing the flexibility and flow of an email conversation. (You can even argue that B2B telemarketing is a lot faster.)

Here are a few more ways that telemarketing can seem more 'real' than mere popular opinion:
  • Live feedback – Whether it's in a customer survey, a raw survey, or even customer support, you get to literally hear it straight from the mouths of B2B prospects and customers. The fact that telemarketers make a note to record their conversations only serves to prove that point. 
  • Empirical results – With live feedback comes results that are more empirical than text-based messages and conversations. Tracing the source of an email can be a lot harder than tracing the source of a phone call. Even if you can't find the source, you have the live recording a of a real person's voice against a message that anybody could've typed. 
  • Makes you realistic too – Opening your business to phone calls is a good way to insure transparency and avoid bad PR. Whether you're contacting potential B2B clients or receiving calls for current customer concerns, they'll both know your business is real. They have as much evidence of your validity as you have of theirs. That not only emphasizes on how real your business is but you're also being fair too. 
As always with popular opinion, it doesn't constantly win out. Most people may not see much of telemarketing from the privacy of their own homes. But when it comes to attracting B2B leads, it remains an ever present tool even in multi-channel marketing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Calling For Sales Leads – The Different Ways That Time Can Affect Success

No matter what channel you use for generating sales leads, don't underestimate the influence of one particular element: Time. You'd be surprised at the many ways that Time can present itself as an obstacle. Then again, time always affects you in many forms when it comes to business. For marketing, the most common forms include:
  • The Amount of Time – Obviously you have the amount of time. Whenever you're trying to establish contact and communicating with a prospect, you are using that time. That includes your time and theirs. Mismanaging the amount of time you spend (whether you're using email, telemarketing, social media or all of them at once), will cause you to fall behind and even irritate the prospects themselves. 
  • The Right Time – Another thing that annoys prospects is contacting them at the improper time. This could be calling them when they're no longer at work or emailing them with similar bad timing. Make sure that your contact center faithfully keeps track of the clock. If you're contacting different countries, you might even require them to synchronize several more according to their respective time zones. 
  • The Next Time – You shouldn't pressure prospects either. Setting that B2B appointment is critical but so is giving a prospect time to think about their decision. In B2B, such decisions could affect their entire organizations so it's only natural that there will be those who will ask you to at least give them several days. Also keep those days close in mind so that you won't forget to follow up! 
  • Being on Time – And speaking of forgetting, make sure that your leads also come with detailed information on the time, date, and venue for meeting with a prospect. This should call your salespeople and your marketers to really collaborate closely together. You don't want the efforts of the latter wasted on bad sales processes and vice versa. 
Those are four forms already and these manifest whether you use a singular or multi-channel approach. Another thing you should take note is that these different forms also interact with each other. For example:
  • Not Calling Next Time Wastes Great Amounts of Time – A prospect might show some interest at first so you should be ready because they're already giving you another opportunity to qualify them. However, if you forget to follow-up, you'll waste all the time you had spent getting their interest. It's bad enough that the B2B sales process takes up quite a length. Make sure you don't add more to that length by making clumsy mistakes. 
  • The Next TimeShould Tell You The Right Time – Suppose you have difficulty determining the right time to call or email so you decide to take a risk. Whether it goes bad or well, always have the courtesy to ask if you're calling them at the right time or if your email finds them in the best mood for reading it. Their response will tell you what that time will be once and for all, be it affirmative or negative. It will also serve to guide future attempts to contact. 
Those are just two examples but in the end, they tell you one basic thing when generating B2B sales leads: keep your eye on the clock. That clock will tell you how much time you've consumed and whether you're doing the right thing at the specified time. Don't underestimate the element of Time in your success!