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!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Avoid Bad PR In Telemarketing And Other Marketing Channels

Don't be fooled when a few naïve individuals assume bad PR is only a B2C disaster. It's very much a real threat in B2B marketing too and can occur as the result of bad practices including telemarketing, social media, as well as email.

Whether a product or service is B2B or B2C, you do not want your marketing tactics to result in a bad public image. In fact, even the act of switching from, for example, telemarketing to social media, will not necessarily cleanse the stigma your business has put upon itself.

If you want to start with a basic example of what bad PR looks like, you can check out this article from Jezebel:

... it seems that consumers have now taken the mocking of the product into their own hands via Amazon UK, a site where you can now find page after page of brilliant and hilarious fake product reviews from clever users...”

Do you want your own product to be the object of similar humor? If not, then take note of how each marketing tool can result in bad PR, what you should do to prevent these disasters from happening.

Telemarketing Services

There's never a shortage of telemarketing parodies out there. The examples range from call center agents with strange accents to raging arguments between a representative and a customer/prospect. This is, in fact, a real shame because even cold calls can turn out well if they're done professionally. To avoid this, make sure your agents record their calls and allow you to review them on occasion. Be the first to discover something that's worth turning your business into a laughing stock so you can quickly act before it escalates into a disaster.

Social Media

Social media marketing may be new but that's exactly what makes it ripe for easy PR disasters. Pam Moore of socialmediatoday funnily describes one example:

You are not alone if you feel that your social media program has gotten a bit out of control. Do you wish you had a social media policy? Have no idea what is being published when by your social media team? Have nightmares about a PR crisis or waking up to see a picture of you passed out at your desk on the cover of your Facebook timeline as a joke by your social media team?”

The article gives a lot of its own advice on prevention but the bottom line is, make sure your business doesn't embarrass itself on any social network. Stick to a relevant image and establish focused objectives centered around why you're using social media in the first place.


Here bad PR can occur in a more subtle yet sinister way. One day you think your email blasts are being received and read. All of a sudden you learn that you're being marked as a spammer. It's as if nobody makes fun of you but everyone quickly ignores your message. That's just painful (especially when your lead generation group is now pressed for time). You can't afford this kind of delay so take a good, hard look at your templates and subject lines. Be unique. Be personal. Avoid looking like spam. It's that simple.

If you're outsourcing any of these tools (or even all at once), it's even more important that your provider doesn't embarrass you! It's not a matter of what method they use but how it ultimately results in a good image that can't be mocked. Cheap lead generation means nothing if it results in bad PR!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Don't Waste Lead Generation On Bad Sales Processes!

People are really mistaken when they think outsourcing somehow equals forsaking responsibility. Lead generation is one good example. Some professionals think that it's a lazy way to get outside marketers to do all the work for them.

But on the contrary, it only calls them to be more productive.

Remember, the purpose of lead generation isn't automatically a guaranteed sale. It's only supposed to help salespeople succeed. That's where the responsibility of your lead generator ends and the work of your salespeople begins. Generating leads is only one part of the entire sales process. The professionals are right when they say that your sales team shouldn't use the leads from your outsourced provider as an excuse to get complacent. Even worse, blaming your provider is completely anti-ethical when the problem in the funnel is outside of their control.

These problems include:

  • Not acting on a lead – They've already contacted your prospects and qualified them. You're off to a quick start so what are your salespeople waiting for? Their leads are right there and all the information they want on their potential customer is easily accessible. However, that information is perishable. Just because you've learned of a prospect first doesn't mean your competitors are far behind. You also have to remember that even verified prospects can have changing interests. Leaving them too long with their unsatisfied needs will only result in them going off somewhere else to fulfill them.
  • Not using the information – Many customers (both B2B and B2C) hate presumptuous salespeople. False assumptions are the result of ignoring the data gathered about your prospect. Winging it when contacting targeted potential clientèle is certainly not the way to go. One purpose of lead generation is to act as the eyes and ears of your market's community. A major concern of marketing is seeing things from the customer's perspective. Don't waste the time they spent saving you the trouble of knowing your target market. Make sure your salespeople pay close attention to what they've learned.
  • Not showing up for the prospect – What's the purpose of setting an appointment if your salespeople have a bad record of not showing up? Your sales leads have fulfilled their purpose of making sure your prospect will likely to show. They've also taken note of the time you promised that your salespeople would be available. Why on earth should they disappoint the both of them by not showing up on the agreed date?

As you can see, outsourcing a business process is not a license to forsake responsibility. This goes especially when that process is only a part of a bigger one. As a matter of fact, if that stage is the only good thing compared to the rest, then you're only wasting the efforts of those responsible for that particular stage.

The role of a B2B lead generation campaign does not equate the whole of the entire sales process. Before you spend money on outsourced services, make sure that your own salespeople remember that they still have an area of responsibility when it comes to making the most of them. That way, the only responsibility you'll have left is making sure your lead generator lives up to their own.