Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tell Your Telemarketing Agents About Your Social Media Activities

Just because your telemarketing provider does not come with additional social marketing resources does not mean they are unfamiliar with the subject. Furthermore, they are not ignorant of the possibility that some prospects can be found as the result of social media activity.

On the flip side though, you need to make sure your social marketing campaigns are supplemented with telemarketing and other channels to really drive your prospect deeper into the sales process. That's why if you outsourced it, you need to know how both forms connect.
  • Step 1 – Get information: This is where social media marketing comes first. The advantage of using social media is that you get to actively interact with both your prospects as well as others in the same business as yours. If it has become a powerful information tool for regular consumers, both B2B companies and their customers just amplify it further for information-dependent processes like appointment setting. You get to know about what your market wants and familiarize yourself with each individual prospect as well. There's also the simple benefit of people posting requests for B2B services and products. 
  • Step 2 – Use and share information: After getting the data, now would be the time to inform your telemarketers about who they are contacting. You do not just give them a number, an address, and several names. This is where you should let them know about previous social media interactions with your prospect. It helps them familiarize with your potential clients and can also prove useful when they start approaching them using their own tools and methods. 
  • Step 3 – Telling them what to say: Despite how your business has personally interacted with those on social networks, you are still leaving the actual calls to another party. Granted, there are good reasons to. You have to budget your own time for managing slots and actually working on projects with current customers. That's one benefit of outsourced telemarketing: more time to focus on what you actually do. Still, it is best to not leave them in the dark. Informing them about your social media discoveries comes with the responsibility of actually sharing proof that your prospects actually expressed a need. This will help your telemarketers get their foot in the door. 
This all goes back to the simple fact that outsourcing is a two-way street. You need to share some necessary information in order for them to deliver exactly the kind of leads you want. Another simple fact this also recalls is the need for adequate qualification. Responding to posts on social media can only get you so far. And for you all you know, you could even be responding to a prospect who's posting the request under a different alias.

Whether or not that is a good practice, it is still a reality. That is why close collaboration means more transparency and sharing enough information before marketing. You don't want them giving calls to your prospects completely without a clue. They may be cold calling experts but it's only common courtesy to make things less stressful and inform them of past interactions like social media activities.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Telemarketing To Similar Businesses – Similar Doesn't Always Mean The Same

Some businesses are hesitant to start telemarketing other businesses than seem to sound just like them (or even use the same form of marketing as them). It's bad enough that they have to contend with fears about cold calling and the ridicule often levied against call centers. The last thing they want is to market a product that a business itself is trying to provide.

Though like all fears, it's not always justified by reality. Just because a business sounds very similar doesn't automatically mean they're the same thing. For example:

  • VoIP and Telemarketing – Both types of companies can fall under telecommunication but while it might sound ironic to use B2B telemarketing to market to another telemarketing company, a VoIP provider is actually not the same. The difference can be easily missed but the fine line is there. VoIP provide a different service and product compared to telemarketers.

  • Medical Tools and Healthcare Services – While they're both concerned with the overall quality of health for patients, only one of them actually has direct focus on the patients themselves. These would be the healthcare services. Companies like those who provide medical tools actually focus on how to better those services. Simply put, their effect on patient health is more indirect.

There are probably more than a dozen other examples out there but the point is, similarities don't necessarily imply that two businesses are the exact same thing. So no matter how similar your prospect is to your business, you need to take the following steps to be sure:

  • What you provide: Just what is it do you actually provide and is it something that they themselves are already providing? If it's not, emphasize on that. No matter how basic it seems, highlight the one thing that they need and draw attention from what makes you similar. Again, it might seem awkward to use telemarketing to present your business to another telemarketing firm but draw focus on the actual thing being marketed. You could even be offering something completely unrelated to telecommunications (e.g. office cleaning services).

  • What makes you different: Speaking of which, you should have as much emphasis on the other things that make you different. The tricky thing about these differences is that they don't always reveal themselves at first glance. The key is still focus.Pour more focus on the other things that make you different asides from just what you provide. Demonstrate more advanced knowledge on subjects that are well-known to businesses like yours but aren't in businesses like theirs despite being under the same category.

In lead generation, you should always be prepared to look in every corner for a lead. Don't always assume that just because you or even any of the marketing tools you use make you similar to your target businesses, it means you're offering something they already have. While it's good to have some common ground with prospects, it's also important to draw attention on differences too. Those differences will highlight the things your prospects need. Don't be afraid to draw a fine line between what is similar and what is the same!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Telemarketing Could Be The Only Channel For Some Prospects

Despite how highly advanced our world seems to appear, there are times when you end up resorting to old ways like telemarketing. In fact, it won't even be you who'll consider the phone first when it comes to contacting another business.

There are just some businesses, through no real fault of their own, who end up getting cut off in ways that are a little beyond the comfort of this internet-driven society. Furthermore, these aren't people you should ever make fun of. No matter what their situation, a business is still a business and you should view them equally and objectively. You should even consider yourself lucky that they're still reachable via telemarketing and not some more ancient forms of communication. (Carrier pigeons anybody?)

Below are just some very valid reasons why the phone could be a business' only means of contact:
  • Less computer use – It's not like the entire world literally revolves around computers and the internet. Some industries still dabble in completely offline work activities that can keep them hours or even days from sitting in front of a computer. In some cases, the only time they will get in front of a PC is when the work day is done. It's also for this very trait that make certain types of small businesses difficult to market to. 
  • Not always in the best mood – Speaking of which, once the work day is done, they're not always in the best mood. Worse still, it's doubtful that even telemarketers can call them by then. You need a marketing tool that can get their interest when their minds are oriented on work but not necessarily disturb their job. 
  • Not enough time – Some decision makers are just too busy to read an email or browse a website, much less make a response to either. Time is ever of the essence in lead generation but that also includes the time of your prospects. A phone conversation can happen more quickly and, as demonstrated above, is more easily initiated when digital marketing cannot. 
  • Can't afford it – Some businesses don't even include any form of computer system simply because they can't afford it nor deem it a necessary tool for their kind of work. There are also businesses who use computers for strictly defined purposes that don't include internet surfing. Their phone however might be a lot less restricted if your telemarketers know how to talk to a gatekeeper. 
The best part is, just like online marketing, you can outsource the process to a telemarketing company. The lowered expenses should only give you more obligation to reach out to these prospects because:
  • They can be less informed – Despite their limited internet time, there is indeed more information being shared on the internet. A prospect that is often out of reach has lesser and lesser opportunities to stay well-informed. For example, if you're in the business of offering some form of management solution, your out-of-reach prospects could be those making age-old mistakes. Don't be sure that whatever they deem as a necessary source of information is reliable enough to inform them. 
  • They might even want your call – Some decision makers can be so cut off and feel so lost in their business that calls like yours could be an answer to their prayers. It's not like all of them want to stay uninformed. 
No matter how outdated it sounds, always focus on what works. It's still possible for telemarketing to remain the only channel for some prospects.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maintaining Sales Leads Means Staying Focused On What Works

Don't be so easily tempted by every new marketing tool that comes around the corner. But more often than not, your sales leads are generated best when you stay focused on what works best for you and not always because of a new tool. If you're being intimidated by a promotional display of statistics and the fear being left out, then at least do some more careful research before you risk falling for hype.

And speaking of which, there's no doubt that hype tends to describe a lot of things that declare themselves new and revolutionary. This doesn't mean you should close off to change but you must always have an objective evaluation for any marketing approach (new or old). Being prone to going after what's new all the time comes with the following risks:

  • It requires you to start from scratch – For example, suppose you've been using telemarketing to communicate with prospects. Lately, you've been increasingly bombarded to use social media. Unfortunately, once you cave in, you find that social media requires a different strategy, different metrics for measuring success, and a different set of tools. Furthermore, your original strategy suffers because of neglect and decreased investment. Meanwhile, the total amount of sales leads that you're generating is an all-out low because of the combined failures of both.
  • It wastes resources – From the resulting failure, all the money and time you've poured into both becomes a major waste. Wouldn't it be better to have at least come up with a plan that properly manages the amount consumed by either? Yes, in business, there will always be a need for risks but that doesn't give you the license to take risks that you can't recover from!
  • It may not be what your market wants – Just blindly adopting a new kind of marketing approach is pointless if your target market still would have preferred you did things the old way. This is critical when targeting sales leads by industry because not all of them are buying into the marketing hype either. You won't always be alone when it comes to sticking to old forms of communication. On the other hand, it would be very rude (and ironic) to approach these businesses with the very same marketing tools that they reject!

Again, this doesn't mean you should close yourself off to change. It simply means that you need to maintain focus on what works. So far, if an old method is your golden goose, don't just kill it for the sake of trying something new! Instead, approach the latter with caution and focus on it only after you've gotten it to work for you. If a new marketing trend is purportedly killing all the old ones, then it should reflect on the results.

Having the best sales leads should always come first in B2B marketing. It shouldn't instantly suffer for what comes second, being the methods you use. Now, in case a method does start doing well, integrate it slowly. Gradually adjust the amount you invest in correspondence to that success. Better yet, if it can be used to improve the old techniques instead of eliminating them, then push on with that! No matter what, keep focusing only on what works.