Business Challenges in Economic Recession and Outsourcing

There are a variety of economic indicators hat suggest the US is entering a recession.  This poses challenges for businesses to maintain their existing and future revenue streams.  A business will generally review opportunities to reduce costs, including the elimination of personnel or reductions in their labor costs.  Often discretionary investments, such as advertisement and marketing promotion are also reduced as a short term savings until things “get better”.

Touching existing and potential customers is key during a period when a business is in competition with many others, all in survival mode trying to last out the recession.  (This recession period is normally a period of two quarters, assuming that the normal business cycle holds true to form.  It is more likely that this business cycle will be different in my opinion given the critical events that are taking place in the world today.  E.g., BREXIT, US presidential elections, China instability, potential military conflicts and central banks impotency and others.)

A business client base requires protection and leveraging during this recessionary period.  A business should be in constant contact to determine whether new business opportunities are available as well as to solicit potential new customer referrals.  Whether the client base is Business or Consumer, generally the same process should be used to “touch” and “mine” the client base.  The process may include a combination of  telemarketing, Email, social networking.  Likely this process will be performed by an outsourcing provider as part of the business reduction in labor costs rather than in-house.  The fastest and most direct is telemarketing since it provides an immediacy of impact and response with little filtering of the response.  As part of this telemarketing response is the opportunity to do a quick survey, drop a note of appreciation, request a referral and clean up the client list for other related followup marketing activities.

A business should have some idea as to the value of a new “sales lead”.  If not, the business should be able to respond to the general question of “How much would you pay for a new client, based on $XXXX revenue in the first year of the relationship?”   What is the conversion rate of sales leads during a reasonable period of time (e.g. 6 months)?  The math is not complicated to draw a conclusion to determine the level of investment required in telemarketing along with other marketing activities.

Nexus Teleservices would like to offer your business the means to generate new clients in an affordable, easy to understand, measurable process with limited risk.

The Reality of Outsourcing Sales Lead Generation

Ok. You know the importance of generating qualified sales leads for your internal sales staff. Good, quality sales leads are the life blood of any sales operation.  Generate more sales leads should keep your internal staff busy closing more sales and generating more revenue.  Do you keep the sales lead generation process completely in-house or do you outsource some or all of the process?  By whatever evaluation criteria you use, it is likely that you will decide at some point to outsource a portion of the lead generation process.  Depending upon how you manage your outsourcing vendor and the lead generation process will significantly affect the results, good or bad.

Listed below are recommendations on how your company´s investment of time and resources with your outsourcing partner can result in a successful sales lead generation program.

  1. Set the proper expectations. Be pragmatic.  Your decision to outsource the sales lead generation process reflects a variety of factors.  If this process has not been meeting expectations internally for your company, what suggests your outsourcing partner will be more successful?  Perhaps more experience, better infrastructure, greater focus of resources, whatever the reason, your outsource provider needs to be able to deliver.  How will your company deem the outsourcing relationship a success?  Lower sales lead cost?  Lower cost per sale?  Shorten time from sales lead contact to sale conversion.  Average sales leads generated per agent hour?  Improved quality of sales leads versus internally staff generated?  This list can be extensive.  It is better at the outset to provide your outsourcing partner some type of guidance as to how your company will judge the project success or failure to avoid surprises.
  2. Start with baby steps. Your company knows its market.  Your outsourcing partner knows how to generate sales leads.  (If it doesn´t you already made your first mistake and it is better to gracefully exit as quickly as possible.  No harm, no foul – just some damaged credibility with your internal staff.)  This may be in the form of a pilot-project, with a limited commitment of resources to minimize risk.  Alternatively you can limit the amount of resources (hours, personnel, daily sales lead caps) until both parties are satisfied with the results and it moves to the next phase of growth.
  3. Frequent communication. Since this is a new relationship between your company and your outsourcing partner, be prepared to invest the time to respond to the volume of questions as the sales lead generation program starts off.  Notwithstanding how well you know your market, your outsourcing partner is guaranteed to have first-time questions that were not anticipated.  The sooner doubts are eliminated, the sooner the outsourcing representatives will improve their ability to promote your product or service.  You want to get the outsourcing reps to “speak your language” as soon as possible.  This “teething period” will provide your company valuable real-time, market feedback that will help your company fine-tune the sales lead generation program.
  4. Do Your Job (Well). Clearly understand what will be your company´s role.  You define what will be the criteria for a qualified sales lead.  You define the characteristics of the calling list data that the outsourcing reps will use.  You define the telephone script.  You define the sale lead contact information to be captured.  You define key benefits that need to be communicated by the outsourcing reps to get the sales lead.  You define how your internal sales staff will follow up and work the sales leads.  You define how best to communicate with your outsourcing partner.  If you do not do your job (well), you are setting up your outsourcing partner to fail and not meet your company´s goals.
  5. Quantity versus Quality. Is your company´s internal sales staff starving for leads of any type or is it more of too little quality?  If your outsourcing partner´s sales representatives are the “fronters” pre-qualifying sales leads, is your internal staff ready to act as “closers” and turn that sales lead into a sale?  If your internal closers are not converting enough sales over a reasonable period of time for the sales cycle, is it the quality of the sales leads being received or the quality of your closers?
  6. Prepare the Back-End. If your outsourcing partner hits a home run, is your company prepared to convert the sales leads into sales?  There is a process from initial contact to sales close that may span several days to many months.  Depending upon the product or service and whether it is Business-to-Business (B2B) versus Business-to-Consumer (B2C), the sales lead can take many different forms and timeframes.   Is it a “call-back” from your internal staff (the experts), an appointment, an on-line sales presentation, sending an Email or fax then follow up call, etc.?  You really don´t want to tell your outsourcing partner that you need to “pause” the sales lead generation program because your company is having problems with the follow up back-end process.  (You did NOT do your job well.)
  7. Listen. Your outsourcing partner is talking to your potential market on a daily basis.  In a very short span of time, the outsourcing representatives will have heard many, many things:  the perception of your company´s offer versus the competition, whether this is the right market for your offer, whether the presentation of your company offer is hitting the “sweet spot” of the customer, etc.  Invest the time to listen to the sales representatives and their conversations with potential customers.  You will learn from the experience, allow for adjustments and improve the results of the sales lead generation program.

To paraphrase a movie from the ´90s:  “Help me…help you.  Help me, help you.”  Help your outsourcing partner to help your company to be successful.

 

For more information, please visit:  http://www.NexusTeleservices.com/

 

 

Increase Sales – Clean Your Customer Database!

In the course of business activity companies collect a variety of data regarding their existing clients and potential sales prospects. This data has relative value as a means of executing marketing and sales strategies based on the quality of the data, that is, its accuracy and consistency. The cleansing of your company´s client database should be done on a regular basis, analogous to “spring cleaning” to leverage its potential value as a source of future revenue.

The process of cleaning up data in a database is called “data scrubbing” or “data cleansing”. This consists of amending or removing data in the database that is incorrect, incomplete, improperly formatted or duplicated. Companies with data-intensive needs such as banking, insurance or retail may use a variety of automated tools to examine the data for errors or inconsistencies, for example duplicates, missing zip codes or email addresses. These tools however do not serve to determine whether the consumer client data has qualitatively changed (address, telephone number, death, interest level in the relationship, etc.) through the normal passage of time.

For a company to ensure that the consumer data is accurate requires that it periodically “touch” its clients using some type of manual process(s). This requires the company to invest time and resources, which is often low in the “to-do-list” of priorities. However this investment will reduce costs and increase profits for your company by improving the productivity of your marketing and sales efforts by focusing on high potential sales prospects.

Data Cleansing Tips

  1. Start At The Beginning – How does the initial client data get into your company database? This normally is by a low wage staff member tasked with the responsibility, a customer service representative in contact with a client or a self-administered online auto registration process. In all instances there is little incentive to ensure the 100% accuracy of the data. Adjust the process to incentivize the quality at the very beginning. For example, establish an explicit understanding that there is a verification process (telemarketing follow-up) in place to verify the client data, which may be selective or 100%.
  2. Bad Data Means Wasted Resources – If the client data is incorrectly entered (inadvertently or explicitly), it will cause problems down the line for your company´s marketing and sales teams. If the client data is entered more than once (remember the age span of a company´s database), this will waste resources, irritate you clients and confuse your sales team. If your company relies on online auto-registrations, it is inherently a process with poor quality since the consumer often intentionally falsifies the data (especially telephone and Email) due to privacy issues and fear of abuse. Bottom line, if your company is going to request consumer information, you need to anticipate investing resources in its clean up.
  3. Let Your Clients Help Themselves – Your company can outsource a portion of the database administration directly to its clients. Provide various means to allow the clients to auto-update their information. You can send an Email “blast” to all accounts with the goal of “re-registering” with updated information. Normally you will need to provide some type of incentive or benefit. As part of this process you can provide a toll-free telephone number to process their update requests directly. What do you do with those clients that don´t respond or those that you receive Email bounce-backs? You many choose to purge them from your client database or alternatively you may choose to do an outbound “reach” telephone call by a customer service representative that may serve for multiple purposes.
  4. Outsource Database Maintenance – Your company can outsource the client database maintenance as an integrated component in its marketing and sales process. Using outbound telemarketing representatives, the client “touch-call” serves a variety of purposes: determine the value of the current relationship, verify the contact data, identify sales opportunities, resolve unvoiced complaints, solicit new potential customers, etc. This outsourcing process essentially becomes a secondary component of the sales lead generation process that all companies need to ensure future sales revenue and growth.
  5. Sales Generation Process – As part of the data cleansing process, this can be translated into distinct steps for sales generation:
  • The initial “client touch” identifies potential sales leads.
  • Follow up contact increases the conversion of sales leads to sales opportunities.
  • Update sales prospects with relevant information to help move them through the purchasing cycle.
  • Eliminate unqualified sales prospects quickly to focus sales resources on the most promising opportunities.
  • Nurture most qualified sales prospects through the purchasing process until the timing is right for closure by the sales team.
  1. Your Company Client Database Is Like Ice – There are very few companies that do not have competition. Hence your competition is constantly looking for your clients which reside in your database   Your company database, like ice, loses value each day if it is not properly maintained and well used. As your client database is continuously “touched,” your company becomes “top of mind” (rather than your competition) when your clients need your products and services.   Client data maintenance evolves to be ongoing sales lead nurturing and future business development. Rather than a cost, it becomes a profit center.

 

For more information, please visit: http://www.NexusTeleservices.com/

Outsourcing and Network Marketing

Nexus Teleservices was recently involved with a client related to network marketing. The client had an interest in using our outsourcing services of telemarketing to promote their business opportunity to “network prospects”. That is, promoting the business opportunity to potential distributors, not to consumers. The results of this effort were somewhat “mixed” from our perspective. From the client´s viewpoint the results were generally positive. Why the discrepancy between the two? Let me explain.

Network marketers generally promote the business opportunity, not the product or services. The network marketer´s income is primarily derived from the size and depth of his/her reseller network, not the amount of product sales of the network. Where does the income come from if it is not primarily related to the purchase of a product or service? It comes from the initial recruitment fees of and monthly follow up purchases of the reseller network. So in order to make money, a network marketer needs to grow the network (recruitment) and help the network grow (downline recruitment).

Our company´s outsourcing services were exclusively focused on network reseller recruitment (sales prospects). The client would do the follow up and closure. This was a very limiting and shortsighted view by the client of the potential in the oursourcing relationship. Maybe this was a client budget issue, maybe not. This was probably not the first outsourcing relationship by the client. For example the client´s lead tracking system (CRM) that we used had been outsourced via a third party vendor. Since Nexus was not privy to the client follow up process, the level of resources dedicated to convert the sales prospects into resellers in the network downline, or other activities after conversion to a reseller, we do not know the return on investment.

We do know that as a trial test we listed ourselves as a “reseller prospect” and received lots of follow up emails from the client´s CRM system using an auto-responder. The emails were nice and informative, but lacked any personal telephone follow up to “motivate” us to make a decision to join the business opportunity. Additionally no thought had been made after sale conversion as to how to make the new network reseller “productive” by aiding his efforts in recruitment and sales.

Maybe because this was a new business relationship the client simply wanted to “maintain control” of the follow up sales lead process.

What should the client have done? The client should have outsourced to Nexus the basic follow up after identifying the sales prospect. After the reseller prospect had received 3-4 emails from the CRM autoresponder system, the Nexus representative would have done a follow up call to confirm receipt of the email, determine what questions or concerns were lingering and if ready for a “close”, Nexus would have scheduled a conference call with the client as the “expert” to answer anything else to bring the sales prospect into the network family. Afterwards our client could also have considered “remarketing” our outsourcing services to the new network reseller to help in sales lead prospecting and conversion, helping the network downline.

If we continue with this client in the future we will provide an update as to the outsourcing results.

For additional information contact us.

How to Build a Better Business with Outsourcing

When Laura Lee Sparks left her job as a law firm manager to launch her own business, she knew from the beginning that there were certain tasks she didn’t want to handle. The owner of Legal Marketing Maven–a firm that helps law firms streamline their practices through outsourcing–Sparks practiced what she preached from the start, hiring an outside bookkeeper and slowly adding to her virtual team of contractors. Within months, her business revenues reached six figures.

“Most entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all,” Sparks says. “That can really stall the growth of the business. By outsourcing the day to day back-office tasks, the business owner has more time to focus on generating income.”

To read more

Jun 27

Business Challenges in Economic Recession and Outsourcing

There are a variety of economic indicators hat suggest the US is entering a recession.  This poses challenges for businesses to maintain their existing and future revenue streams.  A business will generally review opportunities to reduce costs, including the elimination of personnel or reductions in their labor costs.  Often discretionary investments, such as advertisement and …

Continue reading »

Sep 09

The Reality of Outsourcing Sales Lead Generation

Ok. You know the importance of generating qualified sales leads for your internal sales staff. Good, quality sales leads are the life blood of any sales operation.  Generate more sales leads should keep your internal staff busy closing more sales and generating more revenue.  Do you keep the sales lead generation process completely in-house or …

Continue reading »

Aug 25

Increase Sales – Clean Your Customer Database!

In the course of business activity companies collect a variety of data regarding their existing clients and potential sales prospects. This data has relative value as a means of executing marketing and sales strategies based on the quality of the data, that is, its accuracy and consistency. The cleansing of your company´s client database should …

Continue reading »

Jan 07

Outsourcing and Network Marketing

Nexus Teleservices was recently involved with a client related to network marketing. The client had an interest in using our outsourcing services of telemarketing to promote their business opportunity to “network prospects”. That is, promoting the business opportunity to potential distributors, not to consumers. The results of this effort were somewhat “mixed” from our perspective. …

Continue reading »

Jul 12

How to Build a Better Business with Outsourcing

When Laura Lee Sparks left her job as a law firm manager to launch her own business, she knew from the beginning that there were certain tasks she didn’t want to handle. The owner of Legal Marketing Maven–a firm that helps law firms streamline their practices through outsourcing–Sparks practiced what she preached from the start, …

Continue reading »

Jul 12

Innovation: The subtle skill of outsourcing

The need for the Government to slash public spending continues to generate commentary, as does the speculation as to which areas will be subject to the cuts. But less attention to date has been focused on the precise mechanisms that can be used to achieve these cutbacks. The report from An Bord Snip, led by …

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Jul 05

Offshoring your lawyer

HOW many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is 53: eight to argue, four to object, three to research precedents, one to ask a secretary to change the bulb and 37 to bill their time at an exorbitant hourly rate. When every joke about your business mentions featherbedding, you should …

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Jul 05

What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is a term used to describe almost any corporate activity that is managed by an outside vendor, from the running of the company’s cafeteria to the provision of courier services. It is most commonly used, however, to apply to the transfer of the management of an organisation’s computer facilities to an outside agent. This …

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Jun 26

Obama, Romney, the 2012 Presidential Election and Outsourcing

We are fast approaching the 2012 presidential election, which promises to be a tense, tightly contested battle between incumbent President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The outcome of the election will likely hinge on the health of the US economy and the overall economic trajectory from now until election day. If the …

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Jun 26

Why smaller outsource suppliers have an edge?

The economy is picking up again and companies are looking for opportunities to grow. Flexibility, innovation and speed to market are shifting to the top of the wish list. This adjustment has not only an impact on the internal organization, but also on the sourcing strategy. A sourcing strategy which focused the last couple of …

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Jun 21

Tired of Your Work? Try Putting Up a Small Business!

Are you currently one of those individuals who really feel continuously burned out with work? It’s like there isn’t any a lot more progress or fulfillment in what you’re performing. Frequently, you just appear like a robot programmed to do the function routine over and over again If this is what it’s been like for …

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Jun 21

Bankruptcy Is No Longer A Taboo Subject

Bankruptcy is not necessarily a negative thing. There are countless reasons why people need to acquire financial protection from creditors. Businesses and individuals are both able to file when needed. In the recent past, filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 was considered a very bad thing. While it is still not a great thing …

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Jun 12

Outsourcing Is Beneficial For Enterprises When They Doing Online Business

We know that currently some enterprises might be just starting out. However, it is really worth seeking the use of outsourcing. In addition, outsourcing should be something worth to be considered in enterprises’daily Internet marketing business. Enterprises might ask themselves some questions such as: Is it suitable for our company? Can we afford it? Should …

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Jun 12

The New Way of Managing Corporate Reputation

With an emerging breed of consumers demanding dialogue from businesses and insisting on greater organizational transparency and accountability, image and reputation management for organizations has become harder than ever. It is like having millions of eyes watching over your business and a thousand mouths asserting involvement in the communication process. The challenge now is how …

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Oct 20

US Student Loans – Next Financial Bubble?

Remember the sub-prime mortgage financial bubble collapse a few years ago? If the potential home buyer had a pulse and could sign the mortgage loan application it was a deal. No one (broker, lender, Federal Reserve, Congress) looked too closely at the details or asked too many questions. There was too much money to be …

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Sep 20

Call-Center Outsourcing and Transparency

If you are in the process of considering outsourcing some aspects of your company´s business activities you are probably using the Internet to do some level of investigation. This might include basic topics, what to do and don´t do, success and horror stories, vendors, checklists, etc. In your process of investigation you may run into …

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Aug 23

Outsourcing Telemarketing Cold Calling Services

You’re in business to make money. Maybe the business is simply you and your business card. Maybe it’s all in the family. Maybe it’s of average size (less than 10 employees), maybe it’s larger. Regardless of its size, you need new customers and need to maintain your existing customers. You have limited resources: time, capital, …

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Jul 21

Business Lead Generation Alternatives

With the US economy on life support mode, your business should be thinking “outside the box” with a variety of strategies to survive, grow and prosper. This is important since the US economy is in a long-term, structural recession, implying that business growth will likely come from a combination of increased revenue per existing customer …

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Jul 06

Outsourcing and Cultural Affinity

Nexus

When a US company chooses to outsource some portion of it´s business activitiies, there is an implicit interchange of trade activities between the two parties. The level of trade activity will reflect a variety of factors, including a hard to quantify cultural affinity. That is, the cultural distance or trust between the US and another …

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Jun 27

Leverage Sales Lead Generation

A company´s sales organization is constantly challenged with the search for new potential customers, their conversion to actual buying customers and the maintenance of the existing customer base. Each of these aspects of the sales process are distinct and requires the investment of time and company resources. An organization can implement a strategy of totally …

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