When you’re at home you may just happen upon a mouse. And if you’ve got a cat, well, you’re either going to see something of nature’s own design (the chase may also be quite comedic). We can say that cats are programmed to chase mice… much like how telemarketers are tasked with chasing prospects. In a way, telemarketing is quite similar to the game of cat and mouse.
Category Archives: Call Center Outsourcing
Do not think the title is just stating the obvious. As gatekeepers continue to be a major accounting telemarketing obstacle, there are many ways your callers could look like trouble. Fortunately, if you know how that can be so, getting past them will be easy. What makes this problematic is that some telemarketing professionals can be prone to demonizing them.
There 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!
You’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.
So you admit that telemarketing is far from dead and realize that the phone is still an effective tool for communicating with your prospects. However, you say your business already has (or at least can invest) in its own call center. Do you really still need to outsource a firm in the telemarketing industry? Actually, there’s still a lot more than what you might need for lead generation.
More specifically, you’ll need more of the same thing.
Now what does this mean? Well the good news is, you won’t have to worry about adding anything new. The bad news is your call center might be too small in terms of size to manage a lead generation campaign and at the same time, perform its other functions.
In case you’ve forgotten, companies who have call centers don’t automatically use them for generating sales leads. Half the time their actual purpose is customer support. Even today, businesses still leave their phone numbers alongside email addresses and websites because there are customers (both B2B and B2C) who also prefer the phone as a communication tool. Below is a short list of signs your call center might not be enough:
- Clashing calls – While your agents are busy making outbound marketing calls to prospects, they suddenly get interrupted by incoming customer support calls. This is the worst kind of multi-tasking. Agents should try and remain focused on just one function as much as possible.
- Keeping callers waiting – You do not want to keep callers waiting, especially in customer support. Often times this slow service has been the subject of ridicule both inside and outside the business world. Unfortunately, this can happen to your call center if its making too many calls and receiving more or less the same volume at the same time. Just like your agents, your network needs to reduce the strain that volume is placing. Likewise, you don’t want these inbound calls slowing down your telemarketers either. Speed is critical for any lead generation campaign.
- Time zones – These days, it’s no longer just large corporations who are going global. Medium-sized companies can already start targeting prospects abroad through online channels and advanced communication technology. The same goes for their customer base. Unfortunately, having customers in one region and prospects in another could very well have your agents up all day and night!
A call center with that much work to do does not sound like a healthy work environment (nor is it even ethical). That’s why companies who have their own call centers should still review what they constructed them for. If your business has only been using one for customer support, then you might need to check its capacity if it can bear the additional weight of a B2B lead generation campaign. If not, then perhaps it might be better for you to outsource your outbound telemarketers. It doesn’t even have to mean that you’re doing away with the resources you invested in your own. You can still retain your own call center for customer support, as you had originally intended. You just need to remember that investing in one doesn’t always mean it’s good enough for lead generation.
Targeting small businesses for B2B marketing can be tough because there are just some things about them that make them tricky for other businesses. (Some might even argue that the bigger your business is, the harder it gets.) Of course, that’s never an excuse to disqualify them immediately as B2B sales leads.
Now perhaps another reason for why small businesses don’t seem marketer-friendly is their image of independence. They’re their own company, run by their own people, and that sometimes gives the impression that they’re not interested in buying. They do things their own and get by on their own.
It sounds ideal at first but the reality is, even small businesses need resources to keep themselves going. What you need to do is not necessarily scoff at their idea of independence but simply focus on the resources that they need. For example, if you’re a tax consulting agency, it will eventually occur to them that they’ll need more expertise but not at higher costs. If you’re an energy company, then it’s obvious that they’ll need electricity and it would be a quite stretch for a small business to produce its own just for the sake of ‘independence’. All in all, these resources will still indicate a demand and that demand can eventually qualify them as sales leads.
Now of course, there’s still the reality that they could just simply hang up or ignore anybody who tries to market them directly. That might be because you really haven’t been targeting well enough. If that sounds like how most of your campaigns have been going lately, then try the following measures:
- Clean up data – It could be that it’s been a while since you updated your business database. Business leads that are the result of such poor data will naturally end up bad (and that’s assuming you can get leads at all). Run quick campaign that verify the information on your database first before marketing. You might end up rooting out businesses who really have no reason to be interested anymore.
- Be more adaptable – For some reason, you might have been out of the loop for a while and are a little unaware of how your market is now behaving. There could be new findings regarding marketing misconceptions. A different type of strategy for both marketing as well as sales might be growing in prominence. Take note, these changes might not even have to do with the tools you use but the way you’ve been using them. In any case, your marketing approach must start quickly adapting.
- Keep in touch with your industry – As with general market behavior, behaviors could also change in relation to changes in your target industry. A rise in costs in one sector could therefore lead to more price resistance. A new trend could also signify a new demand as a B2B market.
The idea of business independence isn’t necessarily some psychological shield that turns away any attempts for lead generation and appointment setting. The trick is to use changes in industry and in general market behavior to identify demand. These changes can happen any time and at any pace so your marketing shouldn’t be too static. Even independent businesses will admit to needs in the face of quick insight and awareness.
Outsourced telemarketing services can bring in tons of benefits for one’s business organization. The information technology industry is no exception to this concept. As a matter of fact, businesses residing in the IT industry has been known to gain the most success out of outsourcing their telemarketing services to professional telemarketers. Read the rest of this entry »