Do not underestimate the speed which telemarketing can respond, especially during a crisis that has forced responses to delay in your entire lead generation campaign. It is not only form of business communication that talks fast. It’s also fast enough to know it has been cut off. It is like comparing errors in software compared to errors in something simpler like an abacus. You do not need an expert to know if the latter’s broken.
Category Archives: Telemarketing
You may be in a position to outsource IT sales lead generation but that does not mean you do it 100% without the approval of others. You can even be the guy who needs no paper work done and still your decision to outsource should be (and will be) exposed to those who would like to have something to say. You do not want a lead generation process to bring in potential customers who your people are not used to working for!
People say that telemarketing, in conjunction with other technologies, can be used to unmask the online fronts of many businesses. This is actually neither good nor bad. There are times when the online frontier really gives an unreliable impression that requires a telemarketing call to confirm. It could also be used to spill secrets that would violate a prospect’s confidence in any business.
Some of the cheesiest telemarketing pitches are based on the false assumption that everyone wants an alternative. The truth is not all alternatives are hot and it does not even matter whether you promote them via telemarketing or web marketing campaigns. In energy procurement for instance, sometimes it will take more than a ‘higher’ cause in your telemarketing pitch to get people to adapt your brand of energy production.
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!
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.
Some companies have trouble targeting small businesses for B2B lead generation (their size obviously being the cause). Although the finer details of how this trouble arises need to be considered because they’re still a market for many industries like accounting and tax consulting. The sooner you actually know what these obstacles are, the sooner you can find a way around them.
Now being a small business usually has some of the implications:
- Address – Some small businesses are actually home-based. Therefore, contact information on them coincides with their personal contact data. This comes with a lot of risks both for the business owner and any other company that would want to do business with them. For the owner, it makes it easier to publicize the location of their home without knowing. Anyone looking for the owner would have an easier time because their home address is also on business directories. For other businesses, contacting through traditional means like direct mail and telemarketing services could lead to unpleasant situations if those end up received by anyone else living with the owner.
- Budget – This shouldn’t surprise you. A small business naturally implies a smaller budget. That’s why large companies have to think twice about marketing high-end service packages or products to all their prospects. If even just one of them turned out to be a small business incapable of affording it, you will leave a very bad impression. (For one thing, it might make them feel like you accidentally placed them in the same audience as large business patrons with equally large expectations of their finances.) You will always have to consider budget anyways so don’t waste on a marketing effort when it misses such a basic detail.
- Decision Maker – Small businesses also tend to be a little understaffed. This is a good opportunity for anyone who wants some of their business processes outsourced to them. On the other hand, making that first contact with the decision maker can be tough when that decision maker ends up wearing a lot of hats. A decision maker who conducts several processes and has several positions under his or her belt isn’t unheard of (even in medium-sized businesses). Make sure you do a little background check on their company (you can even try looking them up on Facebook or LinkedIn). First determine who’s really in charge of what before contacting them with something more direct.
- Schedule – Another thing that makes a small business owner similar to a regular consumer is their schedule. No doubt even running a small business can keep someone very busy but that doesn’t mean they still don’t have plans outside of running it. The solution here is to simply be considerate and realize that they’re still people. They want time for themselves and it’s not really a good idea to compel them to change their schedule. Better yet, try to predict which particular days of the week that such people are more comfortable having a business meeting on. You can even suggest simpler forms of conferences like a set period of talking over the phone.
Small businesses shouldn’t be underestimated but they’re still small. They don’t have a large budget, work force, working environment, and neither does their schedule automatically resemble that of a business professional. And like all things of a small size, that makes them hard to target. Don’t feel helpless though and just give up. Analyze their unique traits and re-evaluate your approaches. Maybe all you needed was to adjust the size of your marketing to fit them.