Tag Archive: lead generation

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, 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.

Nexus Teleservices

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 and taking business away from the competition. It is not likely that the “economic pie” will grow substantionally (1-2% per annum), forcing businesses to adopt an eat thy neighber mentality or be eaten first.

Let´s start with existing customers, the hanging fruit. Whether they purchase a little or a lot from your business, you probably need to “touch” them with more frequency and tell them how much you love them. They are keeping you and your employees with paychecks and keeping the lights on. It is pretty rare that a customer will say “Man, abc company is always contacting me about something, I wish they would take a break.” If your business has gotten that type of feedback, congratulations, you´re probably one of the first and you can mark that customer´s file as “contacted enough”, for a while. Remember your customers are what your competition is hunting for, to woo, to begin dancing with, to consumate, to get a first purchase. to get a second purchase, to get your business thrown out of the account. Face it, your competition wants to eat your lunch by getting your customers. So, you better protect your customers by reminding them all the time why they are so important to your company and why your company is best for them, now and in the future.

But we haven´t discussed how you contact your existing customers, or why you haven´t been loving them to death as you should. Yes, we know that most businesses are too busy focusing on getting new customers, but that is really an excuse for not prioritizing resources to leverage the current customer base. Since your current customers have names, addresses and telephone numbers, its prudent to start with the basics. Send them a note (regular mail or fax has more impact but an Email will also suffice) or make a telephone call letting them know that their business is appreciated. Let them know about something new about your company´s products or services and ASK THEM them if is there anything that your company could do to improve the relationship with them and then listen. Amazing what the human voice will discern that a chat, tweet, an Email will not provide.

So your time and resources are limited to make this outgoing touching excercise? Then hire a call-center outsourcing company to do this under your direction. The cost versus benefit is easily justified. As an example, assume that your company has 1000 custromers, an average sale is $500, with a 30% margin and via an outbound telemarketing campaign you increase sales 5% within a 30 day period. This corresponds to $25,000 in additional revenue (1000 x 0.05 x $500) and $7,500 in gross profit ($25,000 x .3). However, if you have a longer view of your marketing investment, some percentage of those existing customers that you “touched” will make purchasing decisions with a 3 to 6 month timeframe. Also, you will likely lose less customers to your competition (remember they are out there all the time trying to find the crumbs of where you last ate your lunch), since your customers have you positioned in a positive, warm and fuzzy light.

Remember all those existing customers that did not purchase in that initial 30 days? That is, the 95% that were not sufficiently motivated or needed to make a purchasing decision at that time? If you planned well, you also took the time to ask them for a referral, that is a potential new customer. This is probably the least expensive means of prospecting for new customers and one of the most effective since there is tremendous credibility when you subsequently do the not so cold, cold call. Don´t want to do the cold call at this stage? Ok, then hire the call-center outsourcing company to do the follow up cold call and simply pass back to you the “hot leads” for your internal staff to close. By the way, these potential new customers are some of the crumbs left behind by your competition where they last ate lunch.

What are you having for lunch tomorrow?

Nexus Teleservices

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 “inhouse” or a mixed strategy where portions of the sales process are outsourced to third-party providers. The former strategy offers high control of the sales process, with inherent high costs of personnel given the trend of US Federal government imposed higher regulations and taxes. The latter strategy, in contrast, reduces control of the sales process, leveraging a balance of costs versus benefits related to the cost of acquiring new buying customers. Let us discuss this further.

The majority of US companies have less than twenty-five (25) employees. These small companies are the primary source of new job growth in the US, not Fortune 500 companies. More than 50% of such companies fail within five years for a variety of reasons. Such companies are generally challenged by limited experience, capital, resources and most importantly customers. A small company in such a competitive environment needs to “leverage” its strengths and focus resources to increase its chances of economic survival.

This leveraging often takes the form of outsourcing. Various examples include:

  • Use of external legal and bookkeeping services (third-party providers rather than employees).
  • Use of external documentation processing rather than capital purchases.
  • Use of external advertisement and marketing services (third-party providers rather than employees).
  • Use of external sales prospect lead services (third-party providers rather than employees).

In the case of outsourcing sales prospect lead services the sales organization can either: purchase the sales leads or work with an onshore (local) or offshore call-center to generate the sales leads. If the decision is to purchase the sales leads, these are in turn generated by a third-party company via a combination of Internet responses (forms or Email) and inbound or outbound call-center telemarketing. Such sales leads may either be exclusive to the purchasing sales organization or shared with multiple customers.

Which is the best strategy for an organization? This should largely depend on the quality and the conversion rate of the sales leads over a normal sales cycle period. That is, sales prospect leads are converted by the company into new customers during an established period of time (1 week, 1 month, 3 months, etc.) Ultimately what is the relative cost of converting a sales prospect into a new customer? In addition to the direct “cost per sales lead” the organization needs to factor the associated savings of personnel time and resources and the additional revenue generated (or prevented from being lost) due to increased maintenance (leverage) of the existing customer base.

For many companies, the cost for generating new customers is difficult to quantify, with sales prospect leads being only one component in the process.

For additional information, contact Nexus Teleservices.