Why talking on the phone is better than sending an email

The conveniences offered by the internet are boundless. Email has become the main channel for B2B marketing, allowing lead generation campaigns to engage prospects across different locations.

We can always vouch on the internet for having the ability to get people closer together in spite of geography. But the question remains: Is direct mail really that effective?

For modern marketers, emails may seem like the way to go to expose your product to existing and potential customers. But we can never really deny that it has its limits.

When in doubt, trust that the traditional practice of telemarketing can be effective in getting higher conversion rates. And this is due to advantages of telephone correspondence that direct mail couldn’t possibly replicate.

Here are three reasons why picking up the phone is better than sending direct mail:

Humanistic. Talking to someone, whether in person or through telephone wires, brings you closer to your targets. One-on-one conversations with business prospects are intimate, with each end of the line eliciting a direct response. You can never (or else rarely) achieve such an active exchange as that with direct mail.

Higher Response Rate. Emails always face the prospect of being placed in the spam folder or junked entirely, entailing a waste of time and money. Rejections are very common in the realm of B2Bmarketing, but it matters to have more responses to truly succeed. Information at the soonest. That is where the real strength of telephone conversations lies.

More Direct. The directness of voice interaction enables you to be more attentive towards your prospects in a way that trumps direct mail, no matter how politely written. Your emails can be overlooked and junked with other messages asking for subscriptions. Many consumers have this common knack to forego anything that lacks authority. On the other hand, a ringing phone can be anything, so it merits an immediate pick-up. The task then is to make the pick-up worthwhile by knowing what they need and offering them your solutions.

It would seem wise to engage your prospects by phone rather than e-mail. But don’t get a little too confident. Make the most out of the chances that a consumer can read your mail. If you are lucky and skilled enough, you might be expecting an inbound call sometime later. We wouldn’t be expecting direct phone calls to diminish amid incessant advancements in information technology.

Source: Phone vs. Email Advantages

The 4 Things That Make up a First-Rate B2B Telemarketer

The 4 Things That Make up a First-Rate B2B Telemarketer

We’ve heard people say that a telemarketing call’s success is 50% chance (i.e. the prospect’s level of need, his availability, his temperament during the call, etc) and 50% skill (telemarketer’s aptitude in appointment setting).

That is actually not true. While there are indeed some aspects that are beyond control, a telemarketer’s skill definitely constitutes more than just 50% of the process. Why? Because even in unfavorable circumstances, a good telemarketer can turn things around.

A first-rate telemarketer has the ability to turn a “no” into a “yes”, or to educate prospects so that whatever they think may not be “necessary” can turn into something worth looking at after all. He won’t just exert all his efforts halfway towards the goal; he would push the envelop and see how further his skills can take him.

What are the 4 qualities that first-rate telemarketers possess?

Communication skills – Obviously, one has to have the smarts in talking to people before anything else. But we’re not just talking about a superficial exchange of words; a telemarketer must also be able to skillfully time his questions. He must know whether or not a comment is appropriate or necessary, and when to give it. He must be able to control the conversation while still maintaining the prospect as the subject.

Management skills – Not pertaining to employee ranks here. Rather, it’s one’s ability to manage his or her time, resources and concentration while carrying out a telemarketing campaign. It takes a well-organized person to adjust to schedule-related problems (especially when dealing with diverse time zones), as well as to use CRM tools, phone software and computer-based applications in a systematic manner. It makes the calling part much more fluid if everything else is organized.

Proper Motivation – The ideal setup would be having someone who has strong team spirits and always strives for excellence. Unfortunately, that rarely happens because of so many external factors such as training, compensation, and peer support. The important thing is to know how each telemarketer is motivated (if at all) in performing their tasks. How? That’s what coaching sessions are for.

Experience – Yes, experience matters. Telemarketing is not something you could learn by reading a book or by listening to countless recordings of calls. Even role playing and simulated calls aren’t enough to prepare neophytes for actual calls. The only way that one can really learn is to do the real thing. Some people may have the gift, but really being out there making calls is the true test.

Shorten your Sales Cycle through Efficient B2B Telemarketing

When telemarketers start calling prospects on their lists, the core operation of marketing begins. This is the part where everything is put on the line; the fate of the entire B2B lead generation campaign will ultimately be decided on whether a call is successful or not.

But aside from that, telemarketing calls also serve another purpose: it also shortens the sales cycle so that more leads can be accommodated. However, there’s a catch: it only works when telemarketing is at its best.

Efficient telemarketing can weed out bad data. Through a systematic ‘sweep’ of a typical database, initial touches can help get rid of inaccurate and outdated information so that the more proficient telemarketers won’t be wasting time on fruitless calls. The only way that you can truly verify the accuracy of data is to talk to someone from the company, and telemarketing can address that.

Efficient telemarketing can add relevant data into the mix. Of course, once a communication line is established, telemarketers can also incorporate additional information for future callers’ disposal. For example, if Telemarketer A calls and gets rejected, he can at least ask for future entry points (such as expiration of current contracts, seasonal needs) and update the pipeline. This would be helpful for Telemarketer B in preparing for the next touchpoint, thus making the process more efficient.

Efficient telemarketing can institute brand awareness. Not every call will be entertained. But as long as each call is branded properly, there would have to be some sort of brand retention in the prospects’ minds, and it should facilitate in establishing familiarity. It also leaves an impression among prospects that a certain provider is committed to offer products and services that may come in handy later on.

Efficient telemarketing can improve the marketing-to-sales handoff. When leads are captured at the right moment and for the right reasons, passing them over to the sales department won’t be as chaotic as it usually is. This in turn reduces instances of rejected leads and disagreements in terms of qualifications, eventually resulting to a shorter, more productive sales cycle.

To achieve all these, one needs additional resources and manpower. Lead generation and appointment setting services companies have a pool of competent B2B telemarketers ready to take on the job. It’s quite an investment to engage into, but the returns are long-term and measurably satisfying.

Basic B2B Telemarketing Tip of the Day_ Make Your Offer Irresistible

Basic B2B Telemarketing Tip of the Day: Make Your Offer Irresistible

Basic B2B Telemarketing Tip of the Day_ Make Your Offer Irresistible

In this time of unlimited digital resources, a budding telemarketer would not have any problems with gathering information and advice on how to become proficient in his or her field. Experts here and there provide what things there are to know to be successful.

But there are also things that even books cannot teach. They’re more like significant tidbits of wisdom that only experience and credibility can bring about.

Some say that B2B telemarketing is all about the sales pitch. That’s only half true. The other half depends on your offer, and in order for your goal – which is to persuade a prospect to commit to a sale – to be achieved, you need to make your offer irresistible.

1. Learn how to “package” your offer
When talking to prospects, you don’t just create mental bullet points of key features of your product or service. You need to present them in a way that stands out from the competition. If you sell IT software, for example, you may talk about how this product was able to help a certain company, or how superior it is compared to direct rivals. Don’t just tell them that it’s good; tell them why it’s good.

2. Highlight the non-obvious perks
Of course you’ll be talking about how you could save them money and how more efficient their operations would be, et cetera. But those are palpable details and prospects are already kind of expecting them. What you also need to focus on are the good features that may not know about. Dwell on value. Dwell on investment. Talk about how this purchasing decision could impact their business in the larger scheme of things.

3. Add an incentive
Freebies always appeal to buyers. It gives that extra shove for them to commit to a subscription or agree to a sales appointment. But it shouldn’t be just any kind of incentive – as much as possible, give them something they could use in connection to their purpose of visiting your blog. On the flip side, don’t offer too many incentives; you don’t want to look like you’re too desperate for leads.

4. “Sense of urgency”
“Why would I need that?”  – If you don’t have an answer when a prospect asks you that question, you will most likely have a hard time selling your stuff. Without a sense of urgency in your sales pitches, prospects would have no reason to even give your call its due consideration. Build your pitch around the reason why they need to make business with you – and fast.

Extending the Life Span of Generated Leads in B2B Outbound Telemarketing

Extending the Life Span of Generated Leads in B2B Outbound Telemarketing

Lead Generation, as a process, is as basic as it gets: A prospect is engaged in a conversation, then asked for vital information, then ultimately qualified as a sales lead. But in Business-to-Business (B2B) Outbound Telemarketing, the responsibilities are not limited to “searching” for leads. Considering that the prospective clients are also businesses, the dynamics of the demand for business partnerships may rapidly change before anyone’s eyes. Hence, leads must also be followed-up until the very closure of the transaction.

This is also to say, to “extend” the life of a sales lead.

The rationale behind this need lies on every Telemarketing company’s desire to generate quality leads as opposed to quantity. After a professional telemarketer has just finished a successful correspondence with a prospect, it should be imperative for the telemarketing team to check on what has transpired during the conversation, assess the degree to which the lead is qualified, and confirm whether future contacts and meetings are necessary. Why? Accuracy, for one. Sure, the agents gathered all these information from the prospects, but are they correct? And if they are correct, are they relevant? Are they useful?

Another reason is, again, business operations and needs rapidly change. It’s not the same as with regular household consumers, basically because these people usually know whether they want a product or service. If a housewife agrees to buy a vacuum cleaner next week, the salesman doesn’t necessarily need to follow-up on her to verify the agreement. Otherwise, if she says they don’t need a vacuum cleaner, the chances of her changing minds are already remote.

Most of the time in B2B, the process of “extending” the life of sales leads goes even further – especially when the prospect manifests a “soft NO”. In industries such as Information Technology and Software Development, the word “no” is never absolute. New innovations and upgrades happen almost every day, and no one knows what companies would require in the future. In this case, the telemarketing team reserves the lead for future use, which only means that they would have an additional (although non-urgent) task of getting updates on the target company’s recent and upcoming changes in their operations, particularly their potential needs and wants, which may bring about another opportunity for a business partnership.

Various outsourced Lead Generation and Appointment Setting firms develop their own strategies in looking after their leads to make sure that they follow through. Some implement a hands-on management style, such as delegating a team whose sole purpose is to track the progress of a sales lead. Others rely on establishing a steady communication with the prospect wherein the goal is to secure a spot on that company’s priority list should their needs arise in the future.

Fostering a sales lead may require additional time and resources, but the potential gain makes the effort worth doing. As leads could either be an unexpected lucky strike or a total waste of time, don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, and all that aphorism.

 

Telemarketing and Internet Marketing: A One-Two Punch Combo?

Telemarketing and Internet Marketing - A One-Two Punch Combo

Marketing over the phone has for a number of years earned a bad reputation amongst those who consider the tactic as a source of annoyance. On the other hand, internet marketing is just in its blooming phase, and no one knows how much bigger it would blow up in the next decades.

What if telemarketing and internet marketing were molded into one?

Using web presence to generate lists for telemarketing can breathe fresh air into outdated call lists and help businesses regain a relevant target. Together, they make a powerful team.

But before we get excited, let’s weigh the pros and cons of merging the two tactics:

Pros:

  • Relevance. People who have explicitly expressed interest in a subject are a more promising candidate for telemarketing than a cold list of contacts. Depending on the type of response elicited and where it was placed, marketers can define the list around relevant audience characteristics.
  • Consent to call. Marketers can pre-structure a web platform to include permissions to make follow-up calls to help trounce legal restrictions and customer elusiveness.
  • Fresh data.  Information gathered from online responses can contribute to new data, most of which are often not available from public directories.
  • Faster interaction. If it’s necessary to make a lead “lukewarm” before a telephone call, a conversation can easily be established online using social media platforms or conference applications.

Cons:

  • Limited shelf life. A response to a specific offer or subject matter may be very time-sensitive. The more time that passes before a follow call is made, the colder the lead will become.
  • Inaccurate info. Because online responses are mostly made up of self-reported data, they become highly prone to inaccuracies and may greatly affect the quality of leads.
  • Time and manpower. Obviously it would take a certain number of people to scour the web for potential clients not to mention interacting with them on a personal level. Doing that can eat up a lot of hours, too.
  • Quantity can be overwhelming. The power of the internet is immense. Depending on the platform to be used, the number of responses may become too great that it makes qualifying a more difficult task, more so when there is, again, lack of manpower and time.

So what do you think? As promising as it sounds, do you think your team will be able to pull it off? Remember, when generating more leads is your priority, you shouldn’t be afraid to try out new things, let alone give it consideration.

Lesson in B2B Telemarketing: Be in Command

Whether you’re part of an internal marketing team tasked to perform cold-calling prospects or you’re the team leader of an outsourced telemarketing services company, the agenda is constant: lead generation.

However, this process doesn’t just involve a handful of telemarketers poring over a list of decision-makers. The overall campaign is typically orchestrated by a number of pertinent people, such as marketing manager, a quality assurance analyst, a sales coach, an account manager, and of course, the client itself.

The presence (and sometimes, direct involvement) of these people can affect the flow of control a telemarketer has over his or her own cold-calling strategy.

Depending on the nature of the campaign, the “big bosses” can often dictate a certain preferred approach to cold-calling which they think is best for the task at hand. The problem is that there are times when these directions are not suited to the telemarketer’s style or the type of target market. This causes a disconnection between the perceived solution and the actual situation.

For instance, your client, the CEO of a vendor of IT products and services, thinks that a perky, feature-oriented approach to prospects is the best way to go. However, you, as the telemarketer, learn that being perky is actually inappropriate when talking to tech-savvy people such as IT Managers and Chief Technology Officers, and that being feature-oriented is counter-productive, since they are natural experts of their respective fields.

That puts you in sticky situation wherein you have to follow a client directive and sacrifice the quality of your calls. Or, you could, if you choose to, disregard the coaching and go for what you think is suitable.

Being in command doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to choose between the two. All you need is to be assertive in letting superiors (and other concerned people) know that your perspective is more valid that theirs, since you’re the one who’s actually on the phones talking to prospects.

Without exercising this power, it would be a lose-lose situation, as you would fail in your telemarketing efforts and your client, too, will not get the desired numbers. For some campaigns to be successful, certain traditions need to be broken and necessary adjustments must be made.

Again, it all boils down to communication. As long as there is an open line between you and those who are overseeing the campaign, everyone would be on the same page and the operation will run smoothly and productively.

Four Guidelines In Improving Your B2B Telemarketing

Four Guidelines In Improving Your B2B Telemarketing

B2B telemarketing is here to stay, there is no doubt about it. You have to accept this fact if you want to be totally prepared for the challenges of generating qualified B2B leads. The problem with this kind marketing medium would be the negative outlook that people give it, which is something that could not be avoided. Considering the past performance (and over-aggressiveness) of B2B lead generation teams that used this medium, you can safely say that a lot of people are not happy with this. But you can make this better. You can improve this medium. What you need to do is to understand its nature and make it work to your advantage. Now that is the challenging part. How will you make that happen? Well, here is how you do it:

  1. Review old plans – sometimes, the most brilliant marketing solutions can be the ones that failed you in the past. Reminds me of Zenith Corporation, who were among the pioneers in Hi-Def television. The problem here is that the time was the 1980’s. People are not exactly interested in owning an HD television then. That resulted to the company to fold up. But look at today’s market, where HD TV’s are the king.
  2. Focus on the results, not on the author – you see, some of us take pride in the sales leads plans that we have thought of, and that is not a bad idea at all. The problem here is when we take it too seriously and use as some sort of cudgel during our marketing meeting. Now that is not a good idea at all. If you want your team to be successful, get everyone in as team players. Focus more on getting results, not on who created the best plans or whatever. That would be a more productive practice.
  3. Consider timing – while some would think that a marketing plan is a failure because it did not live up to expectations, others would ask if the timing for it was right. For example, you wanted to do a telemarketing campaign for winter time tourist destinations, but you offered it during the winter season itself. While there is nothing really wrong about selling in advance, would it not be more practical to offer it to your prospects at summer time? You do not have to think much about it.
  4. Always improve – that is the one rule that every marketer must remember. Markets change over time and the tools needed for it must adapt to these changes quickly as well. You know just how important that would be if you start losing B2B leads while still using the same marketing strategy. You have to change it, and you have to change it for the better. That is how you survive this highly competitive business environment. 

There are other things that you have to remember to keep your B2B telemarketing campaigns as profitable as ever, but if you can follow these pointers, then you would be in a good spot.

The Most Essential Rule in Telemarketing: Acknowledge your Prospect

The Most Essential Rule in Telemarketing - Acknowledge your Prospect

We often overlook the importance of capturing the real meaning behind what other people say. For instance, when a wife tells her husband that she’s “tired of her job”, the husband immediately tries to solve the problem by saying “You should quit” or “Get another job”. The thing is, that isn’t what the wife was trying to say.

Or when a kid tells his Mom that he doesn’t want to go to school, the Mom right away concludes that the kid was being lazy or irresponsible, but failed to capture the real possibilities – perhaps he’s sick or being bullied at school?

It’s also a basic problem in telemarketing. When a prospect says “I’m just going around the market looking for good Managed IT services, but we’re not going to get one just yet”, a typical telemarketer would say “Great! Let me discuss to you some features I’m sure you’d love”, and then he’d go straight into details and technicalities.

Three Traits of All Remarkable Marketers

What he missed is to acknowledge what the prospect really had just said. Although he was “going around the market”, he clearly stated that they are “not going to get one just yet”. A good telemarketer should have at least acknowledged the fact that the prospect is just shopping for information.

A good response would have been: “I understand that you’re still in the early stages of your decision making. Allow me to provide what you need to know to make it easier for you.”The advantage of using that statement is that it makes the prospect feel understood. He is assured that he will not be pushed for a decision because the telemarketer is aware that he’s not buying today.

A telemarketer should also know how to explore and read between the lines. In the scenario given, the prospect said that he was “looking for good Managed IT services”. However, one’s definition of “good” is very subjective, especially for a business. If his company is running short on budget, “good” may refer to a service that’s very affordable. On the other hand, if money is not an issue, then “good” is equated to quality, which means he may be willing to acquire a service despite of a high price.

It would be a grave mistake for a telemarketer to immediately jump into conclusion and assume what his prospect’s priorities are without even probing or analyzing his words. Rather than quickly transitioning to the sales pitch, the telemarketer should have responded with acknowledgment, such as “I hear what you’re saying – we all need to seek what’s best for our business. Tell me, what exactly is your basis for a good IT service?”

If you were the prospect, wouldn’t that sound heavenly to your ears?

The art of acknowledgment requires discipline – you have to resist the urge of jumping into an opportunity as soon as you see it. Breathe. Take time to acknowledge. It’s worth the effort, you’ll see, for it can help you determine what your prospect really needs, instead of having your sales pitch scatter all over the place without really hitting your mark.

Handling Telemarketing Calls With Business Executives

Handling Telemarketing Calls With Business Executives

All right, after a successful B2B telemarketing call to business executives, you end up with a meeting with them. Now, a business meeting with potential sales leads may not have to be in person. It could take many forms, like another telephone call, a video conversation, email, or perhaps a myriad of other things that marketers do these days. What never changes, despite all this variety in B2B appointment setting, is the process of actually discussing business with your prospects. You have to know where to start, as well as figure out what you need to do before, during, and after meeting with your prospects. That can spell all the difference in your marketing campaign. So, how will you do that?

  1. Do your research – before you meet with your business prospects, you need to do your homework with regards to their interests. Study their industry, the kind of markets they serve, what products and services they offer, as well as the problems they face. You just cannot step inside the office and speak things at the top of your head. That would be a real disaster waiting to happen.
  2. Never assume they know you – many a failed business meeting with prospective B2B leads can be traced to the simple assumption that the prospects already know you and your business. Be graceful enough to introduce yourself and your company. Help them connect your name to your business, and then go straight to the point.
  3. Present proof of credibility – once the meeting has started, you should show your prospects proof that you know your business. Focus on the problems that these executives face in their business. Try not to sell them anything yet, nor focus on the features and benefits that your solution provides. This will give them more reason to trust you.
  4. Ask intelligent questions – you see, asking a question, and asking the right question, are two very different things. The former will indicate that you do not know anything about your prospect’s problems. The latter shows your intelligence and that you are determined to find the right solution to their problems. It will not take you much to figure out which one will work.
  5. Talk less and listen more – when you are in a business meeting with B2B lead generation prospects, you should take this as an opportunity to learn more about them. You should talk, when you have to talk, but leave most of the talking to them. Surely, they have a lot to say about their business and what they need.
  6. Put value in your talk – you should be able to add something to the business discussion, something new and intangible that your prospects would want to hear about. It may not seem that much to you, but business executives value that.
  7. Conclude the talk – whether you have closed the deal with them at this point, or if you need to have more discussion, you should have this ironed-out during your current meeting. Be clear and concise with the details.

Once you mastered these steps, it would be easier for you and your lead generation team to handle business executives in a meeting.

Secrets Of A Successful IT Telemarketing Team

Secrets Of A Successful IT Telemarketing Team

You know just how hard it is to do business in these days, especially where the IT and software industry is involved. You have to work hard to gain more sales leads, not to mention getting more of these converted into actual business deals. To make that happen, you will need the help of a professional IT telemarketing team. But that may not even be enough. You know, when it comes to IT lead generation, anyone can generate business leads. The only difference in each one is that only the most successful ones ever reach their marketing goals consistently. What is the secret of these successes? What do they have that makes them more effective in their marketing campaigns? Well, the answers might surprise you:

  1. They have a leader in charge – a good IT appointment setting team has a leader who is in control of the situation. You see, no matter what the composition his marketing team consists of, it takes a great leader to get them to produce results.
  2. They have clear and measurable goals – shooting blindly in the dark is not only risky, but a complete waste of time and resources. An effective marketing team would be able to set clear B2B leads goals and have the means to measure their effectiveness. That is how they become successful in the end.
  3. They have well-defined roles – you see, in a marketing team, everyone has their specific roles. Letting their work overlap each other would only cause confusion and ambiguity within the team. Just think about it, what if a business prospect has to meet a lot of different people for a single deal. That would be a confusing experience for them, right?
  4. They share resources – money, time, effort, sales leads, etc. are assets that can be used by the entire team. And since we are talking about a team, it makes sense that your people are willing to share what they have in excess. This keeps the internal gears working smoothly, enabling everyone to continue with their work.
  5. They know how to communicate properly – marketing is all about communication, and a B2B appointment setting team that can handle the communication role well is a team set to succeed. You should try investing well in one.
  6. They are committed to the job – let us face it, telemarketing is not exactly a glamorous job. It takes a really committed team to stay and perform well in this profession if they want to get a lot of profitable sales leads. And that is a fact learned by experience.
  7. They do not have huge egos – ‘pride comes before the fall’ so to speak. Like the old saying, a marketing team that brags about their success and rests on their laurels in not only a team that is a pain to manage, but also one that is headed to failure. That is a fact.

If you can get a team like that assembled, then maybe your IT lead generation campaign would be more successful.

The Six Telemarketing Prospects You Meet

The Six Telemarketing Prospects You Meet

The thing about telemarketing is the challenge of actually getting in touch with the right business prospects. Consider the amount of effort that you have to invest in converting sales leads prospects into actual business deals, then you have to make sure that you know how to handle the conversation. The nice thing about your business prospects is that, despite their varied personalities, they all fall under one of the six main appointment setting personalities. Once you know what these six are, it would be easier to market your products to them. You just have to be prepared. If not, well, you job will just get harder.

  1. The skeptics – these are the customers who have made a purchase but were not happy with what was delivered to them. While the disappointment can serve as a good appointment setting opportunity, the skeptics can also be the most difficult people to convince.
  2. The undecided – there are B2B leads prospects that have a good idea about their problems and what they need to solve them. Perhaps the only reason they might bring you in is to help them how to proceed. Whatever that is you could have offered them can wait. Just go for what you were asked to do for now.
  3. The lonely – they might be the people who are afraid of solving problems on their own, or they believe that their problem is one in the world. Really, you can deal with this by assuring that you are there to solve their problems. Tell them what kind of problems that you have dealt with, as well as show them that you can solve it.
  4. The sales-averse – all right, these people are the last people you would want to meet in your telemarketing campaigns for the simple reason that they are not happy dealing with pushy telemarketers. When that happens, you have to show them that you are not just there to sell but to also offer solutions. Give them working tips or advice on how to improve their business, and that interest will soar. Just nurture the relationship first.
  5. The preoccupied – simply put, your marketing message does not stand out in the minds of your prospects. Maybe the methods you used and the competition are all the same, or you could have copied just the style from another firm. But you can solve that. You just have to be more creative and innovative. Customize your business messages. Make sure it fits with the thinking of your prospects.
  6. The fearful – the unknown is always a scary place, and even entrepreneurs can be overtaken by that fear. This is the feeling that you might get when talking to prospects who are about to embark on a new process or anything. Most of these business prospects are unsure of your ability. In that case, you should assure them of your expertise. Show them proof of your ability. It also helps you can get a testimonial from a current customer. That can be a big help in convincing these prospects that you are the real deal. 

Just a tip here: be yourself. That is one part about you that will help you generate more sales leads in your appointment setting campaign.