Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Learned Helplessness And Telemarketing Services

Last month, Ron Ashkneas of the HBR Blog Network published an entry that spoke about 'learned helplessness'. This was the result of his encounter with a colleague who was dealing with a company that felt too restrained by government regulations. For telemarketing services, that's a feeling that many in the industry are far too familiar with.

Ask yourself honestly. How many times have you heard or read about the DNC (or some other form of regulation from telecommunication watchdogs) whenever the subject of telemarketing gets brought up? If you've had plenty encounter with critics, it's likely that these are raised up to prove that the industry is dead. So, what about organizations who have long depended on telemarketing services to generate their B2B leads?

In several cases, they would feel just like the companies being described by Ashkenas. They get afraid to act about it because the government might send the FBI after them or something. Interestingly enough, while he admits that the fears have some basis, he points out that such basis may not be 100% factual:

Of course all of these explanations are at least partially true. However, around these kernels of truth, managers build concentric circles of excuses that absolve them of accountability for change or improvement. So instead of finding creative ways to deal with regulations or budget cuts, they accept the status quo and blame external conditions for the problems that exist.”

If you think this applies to telemarketing, you'd be right. For example, while DNC registers generally do forbid telemarketers from calling the numbers that have been registered, businesses are generally ineligible for such protection. The cases of exception tend to be very specific and limited only to small businesses where phones are used both for domestic and business purposes. You think a telemarketing firmthat's all about delivering quality sales leads would neglect to notice such a glaring detail? If telemarketing was completely dead, then these lists would've been configured to register businesses bigger than your local night club.

The truth though is they don't, plain and simple.

Despite that, the fears continue to circulate and businesses and telemarketing companies remain intimidated by the very scary threats to sue. The blog cited describes this sort of behavior as 'learned helplessness' where initially factual fears blow out of proportion and become excuses that cripple an entire business organization.

Frankly, if you're going to be paranoid, you're better off beingparanoid about your competitors and the quality of your targetedsales leads instead of the regulations surrounding telemarketing. The key to answering this behavior, as pointed out in the blog, is having the courage to challenge these fears.

For starters, clean up your contact data so that it doesn't contain any DNC-registered numbers. In the case that someone still threatens to sue even if you do, politely challenge that threat by investigating the claim. For all you know, you might just be facing a gatekeeper's bluff. What's amusing is that even your average telemarketing firm has already covered these basics. If you're planning on outsourcing the best (or already have), then why continue to worry? Don't be intimidated by exaggerated fears and keep learned helplessness to a minimum!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

You Can't Be Too Paranoid About Pre-Qualified Sales Leads

Sometimes when a sales team lays out their specifications for pre-qualified sales leads, some lead generators might think them a bit too paranoid. There might think that there are too many specifications. The channels they demand to be utilized could be beyond available resources (imagine requesting the use of direct mail while you've only barely mastered email marketing). Well, speaking of paranoid, Sarah Lucy of PandoDaily said something similar about Facebook's CEO:

This is in part the genius of Facebook: It has never become too complacent. Mark Zuckerberg is a classic wartime CEO, even though it may appear he’s long since won this war. He is clearly intensely paranoid, perhaps the most paranoid CEO we’ve seen since the legendary Andy Grove. He might as well have a $60 gillion valuation. He operates the company as if it could crumble at any moment. And that’s why, to date, no social network has come close to toppling it.”

The rest of the opinion article just goes on to say how Zuckerberg's alleged paranoia is what keeps the company standing. However, perhaps there's a point to the man's constant 'overreaction.' This same point can also be applied to marketing (and hence, lead generation). Below you will find two areas where this so-called paranoia is necessary for pre-qualified sales leads.

  • Competitors – Like Zuckerberg, it pays to be a little paranoid about what your competitors would do. They're everywhere! And when it comes to B2B marketing, you never know if a potential lead will be approached by them. This is why you need to keep nurturing your leads until they're ready to take the next step (like if they're ready to set an appointment or take a sales call). You also never know when competitors might overtake you so keep an eye on what they may be doing. As it says in the title of Lucy's article: copy-cat tendencies are a sign of strength.
  • Prospects – You can't be too paranoid about prospects either! However, you should know by now that 'paranoid' here simply means you can never know enough about them. Learn about their preferred channel for communication. Identify their needs and use that knowledge to bring them further along the sales process. Knowledge is power after all. The more information you have on your B2B leads, the higher the chances you'll have at a successful sale. You can never bee too sure about a prospect.

Still, perhaps 'paranoid' may not really be the best word to use when describing the above behavior. Perhaps a better one would be: vigilance. It's all about keeping an eye on all things and being prepared to time your reactions.

When it comes to competitors, you need to acknowledge their constant presence. Be open to the possibility that they might overtake you. Be open to using what they're using in the event that they do.

For prospects, be vigilant about their qualification. Don't just send the leads to sales right away. Learn as much about them, their business, and their needs as possible so you'll have the best chances to succeed in the sales attempt. If this qualifies your business as paranoid, then so be it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Modern Marketing Misconceptions Your Appointment Setter Must Avoid

About a month ago, the Harvard Business Review published a three part series that dealt with modern misconceptions among marketing professionals today.

But first, just what is being meant by 'modern'? It's modern because these misconceptions are not only relatively new, they're new because they're spawned from a new idea that originally was very ideal. At the same time, this ideal actually brought very positive results. The misconceptions however are the result of acting upon that ideal in the wrong way.

So what is this ideal? It's simply a strong focus on the consumer and less upon the business. It's the sort of marketing approach that is actually emphasized by channels like social media. Nobody wants a pushy salesman who doesn't care about what customers think. Everyone loves the salesman who kowtows to their demands for information and freedom of choice.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Benefits of a Telemarketing Call Center

In business, it's all about the money at certain times. You'll probably spend your days watching your profit in comparison to your expenses. When your profit margin isn't enough to cover your expenses, you've got trouble. And what usually gets businesses down is because they spend too much on their marketing strategies. However, using an outbound call center could possibly lower your expenses; especially when it comes to generating quality credit card processing sales leads.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Importance of Lead Nurturing

Have you ever answered a call and got a message like this?

“Hi, this is ----, we are currently in the neighborhood and we do free estimates on getting your living room repainted from top to bottom. How does 10am on next Tuesday sound?”

If you ever got a message like that on the phone, I'm sure you won't continue the conversation any further and just hang up the phone; or if you ever continue, I'm sure you would get so frustrated at the telesales agent and complain a lot before hanging up the phone.

What b2b lead generation and appointment setting firms focus more and more each day is that they should nurture their leads. This is because lead nurturing can help improve leads to be converted into loyal company customers over time. When a business would nurture their leads with the right kind of lead management tools and training, sales revenue can increase significantly by around 10% or even more. Not only can lead nurturing increase the sales for your company or business organization but it can also help build a trusted relationship with those leads.

With the wrong kind of nurturing, leads and customers alike would feel being trapped into a corner by hardcore salesmen. These salesmen would ask questions that can be so intrusive to their potential customers that it can get so frustrating just listening to them. Prospects need to be taken care of and should be treated with the right kind of respect. Always remember that if you want respect, you should be the person to give it first.

Now, let's tweak that same message a bit and let's see the difference.

“Good day, this is ---- Are you in need of repainting your living room so that it would be the envy of all your friends? If so, we might be able to help you in your time of need. We are a group of experts who paint living rooms and have extensive knowledge on how to turn your living room into the best living room that can be seen in your neighborhood. We can also do free estimates for you to help you decide on which design would be perfect for your living room. When would be the best time to contact you again to set the appointment date?”

This time, the person selling you the service is more polite and knows how to respect their potential client. The main difference here is the level of respect and the questions that they ask. On the second message, the question to make the appointed date was neither intrusive nor rude. Instead, it gave you as their potential client the freedom and flexibility to choose which would be the most appropriate date for your living room to be repainted. The key here is that they are not trying to sell you the service, instead they are there to provide you with insights and solutions within the realm of their expertise.

Customers have the right to choose whether or not to purchase a particular product or service. You don't have to be coerced into buying what you don't really need.

When a business nurtures its leads, they can already be seen as experts and professionals in what they do. The build-up of trust would then be converted from a possibility to a reality when the right kind of nurturing is involved. With this kind of sales technique, both the salesperson and the client alike can both feel good about themselves. For the salesperson they feel good about what they offer and for the client, they feel good about what they have purchased.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Unlocking the Secrets in B2B Lead Generation

lead generation
Among the many scopes of lead generation, business-to-business (B2B) lead generation proved to be more market-wise. When it is done well, it facilitates the inflow of qualified leads. If processed inadvertently, the company suffers. It is then necessary to fully understand how B2B lead generation can be best integrated.

The list that follows pertain to the essential insights one should know about B2B lead generation.

1. It involves business people, who think not as consumers.

One of the common mistakes firms commit is the belief that business people are consumers. Of course they are, however, that is when work is out of the picture.

As with all employees, businessmen decide for the company. Their choices will determine what will be the company's status. They need to pick the right decision, or, at least, avoiding the wrong one.

Center stage in this is the differences of job descriptions. Different jobs mean different priorities. Therefore, it would increase impact and relevance to handle each transaction relative to a particular department or employee/r.

2. Nothing happens overnight.

Naturally, businesses spend lots of time before it decides to buy or not. Nurturing such prospects mostly lead to a high conversion rate. Giving out of constant awareness are usually appreciated and rewarded. Hardwork and patience are the major driving forces in doing business.

3. Refine and reinvent propositions.

All too often, too many business organizations underperform because its B2B marketing has a uniformed proposition. Check closely, because there may be something remarkable that is exclusive to your firm's product. Furthermore, there is a need to craft an original and creative method to market the product. Don't stick with what's traditional.

4. Target exact audience.

One of the toughest challenges in B2B marketing is how to target the right individuals or the qualified leads identified by the organization. More often than not, getting the wrong people results in a wasted budget.

Let it be a top priority to always direct efforts towards the specified prospects. Not only are they interested, but the likelihood that they will buy is high, whether later or sooner.

5. Present the product or service in business terms.

Add to the marketing list the presentation of a product's facts, figures, statistics and research to validate the proposition. For instance, providing the prospects with how the product can help a firm in terms of reducing cost and increase efficiency will motivate them to patronize such product. Aside from that, telling them of services that your company can offer like for example, repairs and maintenance, updates, can be a good method to make them more willing to buy.

6. Captivate their interest.

How do companies inform their prospects? A dull mail is easy to defenestrate. Dry emails are not that hard to junk. You can not relay the message unless you get their attention. Make an impact. Firms should make sure that prospects are going to remember the product. It isn't not so crucial if they don't recall all the data, all it takes is for them to recall the basic points.

7. Make response easy.

Companies should provide most, all if possible, of the mediums open for the prospects to respond conveniently. Keeping an email account, telephone system, web page, facsimile machine, paper forms or mobile phones will be critical. Prospects do reply by using what's makes them comfortable. Moreover, there should be an assigned person who will answer all messages from the qualified leads. Don't make them wait.

8. Branding.

Prospects should be able to be aware of the company and the products. There are other effective ways than television or outdoor advertising. Building a brand means convincing the qualified leads to believe that your product will provide solutions to their problem or improve something in their life.

There are still many concepts to know and to learn. The bottom line here is to provide the best method to attain success in a B2B lead generation. It would be totally unintelligible to fire a premature weapon or an overcook strategy.