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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Appointment Setting – Differentiating Business From Pleasure

Appointment Setting, B2B Appointment Setting, Sales LeadsDon’t think that only customs officers need to distinguish business from pleasure. In appointment setting, this difference is important when you’re marketing specifically to individual business professionals. One unique trait about people in their position is they’re actually a fusion of both a B2B and a B2C customer.

As a B2B business, you obviously need to see them as the former and not the latter.

You might wonder though: just what kind of consumer businesses choose to dedicate a certain type of package or service specifically to people in executive positions and other high-end professions? What makes them likely to use a marketing strategy that’s unusually similar to B2B appointment setting?

To answer the first question, here are some examples:

  • Therapy – Life is tense at the top and is not always martinis and yacht rides. There’s also the ever-present (yet somewhat cliched) issue of company politics using an executives psychological issues against him or her. That’s why some therapists specialize their services to fit a corporate context.
  • Fitness – The busy life of an executive has also entailed a healthy-driven lifestyle that needs to be specifically tailored to their busy schedule. This is why some fitness advisers also target them and tailor their services accordingly.
  • Travel – Travel may play an important role in business so it’s not surprising that travel agencies offer discounts and other relevant promos to make them easier for frequently flying decision makers.

By now you may have already gotten a hint of what makes your B2B business significantly different in terms of what you’re offering. So just to make it easier, here are some glaring signs for why you’re targeting them specifically as B2B sales leads:

  • Needs go beyond personal – All three examples deal only with the more personal needs of an executive. While it’s good to help them on that level, your business is on the level of helping their whole business (hence, B2B). When you are engaging them to qualify their needs, you are also calling them to evaluate their entire company, not really their personal lives. In turn, it calls you to specify your purpose for getting in touch with them.
  • It involves their whole company – Unlike consumer businesses, they are but only one of the people you will be contacting. Other parties are involved as well and you can never be too careful when it comes to evaluating a business’ needs in its entirety.
  • Budget size is obviously bigger – Just because they have an image of luxury doesn’t mean their business as a whole spends a whole let less. In fact, given the generally higher priority of business over personal needs, their budgets for acquisitions and implementations are only going to be bigger!

This is what it means to differentiate business from pleasure. Simply put, it’s because a business objective just demands more. You need to talk to more people and discover more complicated needs. Even if both you and another B2C consumer were to approach executives with, say, a telemarketing service, your business will still need a strictly B2B telemarketer. So again, you don’t have to be a customers officer when it comes distinguishing between business and pleasure.

 

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Outsourcing Lead Generation – Familiarize Your Provider With Your Customers

Lead Generation, Lead Generation Services, Appointment SettingThere are two reasons why some businesses conduct lead generation on their own customers:

  • The customers are already familiar with their business.
  • It’s a nice way to get both customer feedback and determine any interest in new products and services.

This type of lead generation is also helpful when it’s been difficult to generate B2B leads from new markets. On the other hand, when outsourcing to a provider, it’s very important to familiarize them with your customers before they start any campaign.

A few things this is supposed to prevent would be:

  • Redundancy – Obviously, you don’t want to irritate your customers with a message they’ve already heard before. Make sure your provider is actually aware that the contact information you want them to use is in fact information from current customers and not new ones. This should direct them to come up with a new message as well encourage you both to collaborate on avoiding what has already been marketed so far.
  • Long qualification – No matter what the source, a lead still needs to be qualified. On the other hand, customers (especially happy ones) already have a certain level of interest established as a result of their familiarity with your business. Make sure your lead generator makes the most out of the information you hand over to them to distinguish between necessary and unnecessary processes. For example, if interest has already been established, they should try and build up on that but more in favor whatever new thing you have in store for your B2B customers. If you know how each of your customers usually want their appointments with you, your provider should know this as well. In short, keep them from asking the obvious.
  • Specify purposes – Okay, you want to target your current customers for leads. Is there anything else? If there is, mention it immediately to your provider prior to starting the campaign. Many lead generation firms take pride in following their client’s specifications to the letter. Don’t waste that dedication and cite the purposes of the campaign before it starts. If it’s appointment setting, say it. If you also would like it done with the additional purpose of receiving a bit of feedback, mention it as well. Resourceful as they are, you can’t always expect providers to be a mind-reader.

No matter how experienced you expect your lead generation services to be, it pays to do the common courtesy of telling them you’re marketing to current clients. It’s even more important in cases when your provider uses a method that your customers aren’t familiar with (e.g. telemarketing). They need to know your reasons and your provider in turn needs to be equipped with enough information that they won’t think that they’re falsely representing you.

You might wonder at this point if it might be better to do it yourself. You know your customers better than anyone, right? Yet even so, don’t forget the costs that lead generation comes with. That’s why businesses outsource it in the first place. Besides, what if you’ve already outsourced before? You can already see there’s a fine difference between generating leads from unfamiliar prospects and current customers. A single experience with the former may not still be enough to familiarize your provider with them once they become the latter. Get your provider to know your customers!

 

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Wide Lead Generation Can Run Into Very Unique Prospects

Lead Generation, Business Lead Generation, TelemarketingContrary to what the title implies, a unique prospect can be more of a challenge in lead generation. But first, just what exactly defines a prospect as highly unique and how can a wide search for leads put them in your sales funnel?

Before you read on for the answer, remember that these are still prospects. If they’re already in your sales process, there must be a good reason to believe they can be very promising clients. Furthermore, you should also look to your own services. Perhaps what you provide is so basic and so needed, that it’s a staple for many organizations across all industries and spheres of society. (Your firm could be in commercial cleaning or tax consulting for example.)

Now as to the question of what makes certain prospects unique, you will find a few places that also require general business processes and services but qualifying them for sales leads could use a specialized touch.

  • Churches – Already, the word alone screams a touchy and controversial subject that many marketers feel more inclined to avoid. That’s actually a good thing. However, when contacting a church about offering your own service, please understand that different faiths have various hierarchies when assigning the person in charge of managing their places of worship. It might require too much research so instead, just respectfully ask. For example, when telemarketing a number, don’t immediately ask for a priest or a pastor. Ask who is usually in charge of a certain task that you’d like to provide or assist (ask questions like “Who’s in charge of maintenance?”). Another example is if you’re following up on an email response. Strictly keep the prospect’s name in mind when calling because they might not always be the one who will answer the phone first.
  • Schools – As with churches, there is also hierarchy. Fortunately, it’s more or less the same structure across various institutions. The thing you really need to concern yourself though is you have more reason to familiarize yourself with their systems. And even in the event you have a good guess as to who’s in charge of, say, financial management, you still need a proper qualification process to be sure. Other things you need to take note are, of course, typical school hours. More than that, such information could actually prove useful beyond qualifying leads and when you’re already in the midst of providing your service or implementing your product.
  • Healthcare Facilities – More than schools, the thing you really need to watch out for when telemarketing any healthcare facility is size. It’s the size that will tell you if you’re about to navigate a hierarchy or simply need a name. Some healthcare practices are in fact small clinics owned by private doctors. Large hospitals, on the other hand, don’t have doctors with as much authority. You might want to contact their owners or certain managers instead. Another touch of specialization you could add would be the kind of practice they’re in or what healthcare-related concern that you should also be concerned with.

Finally, the most important thing you should do is to avoid making these unique prospects feel like they’re being singled out and targeted. This should call you back to focus on basic, general services you’re providing and emphasizing that everybody needs them.

The advantage of having a wide coverage for business lead generation is that it reaches out to a very large market. It’s just that somewhere along the way, you need to tread carefully when encountering unique prospects.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Lead Generation

 

Specify Telemarketing Purposes When Outsourcing

Telemarketing, Telemarketing Companies, B2B LeadsYou’ve heard it said many times that there are many reasons to outsource telemarketing. But sometimes, that can be more of a bad thing if you don’t specify your own purposes. Many outsourced telemarketers cater to a wide variety of industries and perform an equally wide assortment of tasks. Despite that, a good telemarketer also promises close collaboration and is always willing to lend an ear to the demands of your sales team.

That’s good but if your sales team doesn’t understand that advantage, then there’s no point. In fact, there wouldn’t be a point even if you did invest in your own call center because they don’t understand how it would help them either. Before any telemarketing campaign, make sure you have already defined its purpose. Some of these purposes include:

  • Lead qualification/Appointment setting – These two are in the same slot because their end-purpose is the same: to verify a prospect would want to meet with your salespeople. Setting an appointment is one way way to do it. You can also simply just connect them directly over the phone or transmit a proposal via email. But no matter what you prefer, the purpose for telemarketing must be to converse with the prospect first in order to reach that level of qualified interest.
  • Spreading brand awareness – Although many people find telemarketing for this kind of purpose cliche and even annoying, it still has a place in B2B marketing. For example, you can target current customers to inform them about a new product or service and use telemarketers to survey their interest. Some telemarketing companies even employ less disruptive forms of communication before actually using a phone. So as a positive side effect, these alternative still also achieve the purpose of spreading awareness while at the same time leaving them open for further qualification.
  • Marketing past or current customers – Even if they’re open to outsourcing, your sales team might still prefer to use your company’s own customer data for generating new sales leads. As such, you have to collaborate closely with your telemarketing provider so that they’ll be careful with the contact information that you’ll be handing over to them.
  • Expanding marketing efforts – Sometimes you’re already in the middle of your own marketing campaign but want to know if telemarketing can attract more leads. Outsourcing can be your way of trying it out with out necessarily incurring high investment costs. Furthermore, the best leads can be the result of close collaboration and synchronizing both your marketing and theirs. As a simple example, your own call center could be in charge of inbound marketing while your outsourced telemarketer handles outbound calls.

A telemarketing company can be capable of all of this but your company should still be the guiding hand. They can’t read your mind and you need to keep them from delivering too much or too little for the comfort of your sales team. A successful sales process is only possible if both marketing groups and salespeople collaborate closely with each other. This requires the former to specify the purpose of the latter.

 

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