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, personnel, inventory, etc. You have competition, locally and probably nationally. The economy is in the dumpster. You’re in a tough spot. Your competition is in the same situation. Your competition may have more physical resources, but certainly not time and business savvy. So what to do? Increase your business revenue, reduce your costs, get stronger, and grow. Your business has to grow or it will die.
How? Start by reducing costs that do not contribute to revenue growth. Ask yourself “if I were to do it over again, would I make that investment, that purchase, which personnel hire all over again, knowing what I know now”? It´s time for you to make some cold decisions. On the revenue side you need to review the volume and profitability by product or customer type. You may need to streamline (i.e., cut) your product/customer set to focus of your resources to make the major impact on the bottom line. You may also need to reevaluate your business relationship with your customers. Your customers may be taking you in a direction that you do not want to or shouldn’t go. Remember Eastman Kodak? It was the dominant company in photographic film technology for generations. They were wed to their film development business customers. Then in like an instant the business vanished. Where are they now?
Your business has made some type of investment in marketing and sales resources. For example, Internet site, Email, advertisement, telemarketing, promotions, etc. Time to evaluate what is working and in what time frame it should be evaluated (short, medium and long term). Your Internet site is a long term investment and may be a simple online brochure or a direct selling tool. Regardless it should be kept “fresh” to keep the visitors interested. Email and advertisement usually require a series of “impressions” to spur an action from your target audience. That’s assuming you have the right message, the right timing, the right audience. Maybe it is time for you to refresh the content. For telemarketing (B2B or B2C), the more contacts and frequency will increase a buy decision from your target audience. It’s time to reevaluate how you are doing this as well.
Yes it is a good time to determine your “bang for your buck” in dialing for dollars. If your sales staff is doing the initial telemarketing prospecting, it is engaged in a “cold-calling” process. Regardless of the source of the prospect telephone number (yellow pages, membership directories, telemarketing list, etc.), this is the first time they are receiving a call from your business. Since there is no prior relationship, the reception from the prospect is probably cold and indifferent, not unlike the experience of a blind date. Add to this the uncomfortable reality that most sales reps HATE to make cold calls. It literally turns their stomachs. While sales reps know they need to make cold calls to feed their sales channel there are a multitude of reasons why they can find excuses for delaying this process. It takes a special type of sales rep to withstand 50-100 telephone hang-ups a day, every day and still have a positive attitude for the 10 really interested prospects, which with time get converted into customers. What is the general advice to the sales rep to get through a day of rejection? “They aren’t rejecting you, they are rejecting your proposition.” That is easier said then done.
If your company is in B2B there is less telemarketing hang-ups since businesses hire and pay people to answer the phone. They also pay these people to screen, block and filter sales reps from talking with the decision makers. So while it is easier to get in it takes generally multiple calls to get to the contact that you desire to begin a meaningful dialogue. It then generally requires a waiting period while your offer is evaluated before a decision is made. If your company is in B2C there is a lot of telemarketing hang-ups, but if you get past the first 15 seconds, you generally get to the decision maker, can discuss your offer and usually have some type of decision: yes, no, I’ll think about it, call me tomorrow. In either scenario your internal sales personnel, spend a lot of time (remember you can’t buy this) and physical and emotional energy getting rejected and abused by the universe of potential customers. This is not a good way to use your company’s resources. Stop doing this.
Instead outsource your cold-calling, sales prospecting to a telemarketing company or buy qualified sales prospect leads that have been verified via telemarketing (third party outsourced). Want more control of process? Have the telemarketing call-center provide your sales personnel live transfers to interested prospects, who want to discuss the product now. While a good sales prospect lead list is filtering a lot of sales noise, your sales team still has to get in contact with them. This is time-consuming and takes resources away from closing business. You will find that the cost of a live transfer sales lead is probably double that of telemarketing verified sales lead. You will find however that the conversion rate to a sale is much higher with the live transfers, generally resulting in a lower cost per sale conversion. In either case, you will improve the productivity of your sales personnel, increase revenue and reduce your cost per sale.
For any business today this translates into higher revenue and lower costs. That’s the name of the game.