How Do You View Cold Calling?


I wish there was an easy way like so many marketing plans are preaching.
I have found that even with the social media avenue for selling, it does not
have the direct results and time proven effectiveness of getting on the phone
and talking to people and meeting with them face to face.

The phone is still my most powerful sales tool. I wish it were not, because like
most people I don’t like fighting through the gatekeepers and dealing with the
rejection… but it does work. And when you have a problem to resolve or you
want to expand into other departments of a company. You have a real
relationship to build off of.

Second to calling, is sending hand crafted emails to individuals with specific subjects
and letters, that are mailed either before or after emails, and then the phone call.

I like the idea of putting a day and time period that I will be following up with a call.
Next is tracking all my activity and having it as part of a multi step process that
includes all the follow up activity, after a call a meeting and a proposal.

I know some say that the cold call puts you in a disadvantaged position because
you are perceived as “needing their business”. I have found that I close more
cold call opportunities than people who call us. Often because I am the first one who
has called, and that allows me to set the level of expectation in the evaluation process.

The perceived credibility gained by being the first one in the door is the main driver,
as I see it, behind more cold calling opportunities closing in relation to inbound leads.
When are the first in, you are in the driver’s seat and able to lead the decision makers
along in the buying process. With an inbound opportunity you’re hoping you are in the
passenger seat and not the back of the bus. The prospect has usually done his homework
knows what he wants, and your just coming along for the ride.

There are many who are ascribing to the “Never Cold Call Again” new social media
sales philosophy and I say … Good for you! Please do that, and make it easier for me
to reach your prospects who will be getting no phone calls from you.

If you would like to discover how TeleRep can help you in your sales process visit us at:
http://www.telerep.com/services.php

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For ‘B-to-B’ Companies, Finding Facebook ‘Friends’ Can Be a Struggle

 

Bill.com Inc., a provider of bill-payment services, is trying to market itself on Facebook. But even though the venture-backed company has more than 10,000 clients, it has so far managed to secure only 67 “friends” on the social-networking site.

These days, even small “business-to-business” concerns like Bill.com are experimenting with social media, perceiving the popular online hangouts as low-cost, easy-to-use venues for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. But unlike their consumer-focused counterparts—retailers that sell smartphones, jeans, games and other personal products—so-called B-to-B businesses seem to be having a harder time connecting with their target audience.

Facebook “is so consumer dominated that it takes time to find a voice that cuts through what’s already out there,” says René Lacerte, founder and chief executive of Bill.com, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif.

B2B

Brian Frank for The Wall Street JournalBill.com’s René Lacerte is trying to market B-to-B via social media

A survey released last month of 230 B-to-B companies shows that 24% are using Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and others for marketing, and another 36% plan to try them in the coming year. “It’s certainly something that has taken off in the last six months,” says Michael Greene, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., which conducted the study.

In general, he says B-to-Bs tend to be slower to adopt new marketing technologies than business-to-consumer companies. But now that they’re catching up, it appears that many are having a tough time gaining followers. “B-2-B isn’t sexy,” says Mr. Greene. “It doesn’t have that same immediate attraction that consumer brands do.”

Bill.com so far has only about half the number of Facebook “friends” as the average user, and far fewer than many of its consumer-focused counterparts. For example, LegalZoom.com Inc., a small business that helps consumers file legal documents such as wills and divorce papers, has more than 10,000 Facebook friends.

Making fans of other businesses, as opposed to consumers (or actual friends), may seem counterintuitive to social networking. So B-to-Bs typically look to interact with workers who make buying decisions on behalf of the companies they target. Many attempt to acquire contacts by providing links to their social-media profiles from their websites and marketing materials.

“B-to-B buyers are people, which means they are on Facebook,” says Tim McLaughlin, president of Siteworx Inc., a small Web-strategy and design company based in Reston, Va., that is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. “You need to be where they are.”

Some B-to-B owners say social networking is actually ideal for their demographic since it can take months for their kind of buyers to commit to a purchase. The products and services they sell tend to cost significant amounts and often several people are involved in the decision-making process.

For example, Eloqua Ltd., a marketing-software company in Vienna, Va., charges between $15,000 and $800,000 a year for its technology. Regularly posting status updates about industry trends and related topics to its Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Corp. profiles helps it stay “top of mind” among clients, says Joe Payne, chief executive. “There’s no question what we do in the social world generates leads because it drives people to our website,” he says. “We can see where they’re coming from.”

Sharing information or advice on social-networking sites is also a way for B-to-Bs to show off their expertise, says John Lopez-Ona, president of Six Sigma Qualtec Inc., a business-consulting firm in Princeton, N.J., that uses Twitter and has its own blog. “It’s about building relationships,” he says.

B-to-Bs are also running special marketing campaigns on social-networking sites, such as contests that give away prizes to winners. OnTimeSupplies.com, an online office-supply retailer, launched an initiative earlier this month in which it promises to donate 25 cents to a breast-cancer charity every time someone posts an update on Facebook or Twitter mentioning it. “We’ve always depended a lot on word of mouth… whether it’s people trading stories in the cafeteria or on Facebook,” says Miles Young, chief executive and co-founder of the Atlanta firm.

Some small B-to-Bs say they prefer to market themselves on networking sites specifically designed for businesses and professionals such as LinkedIn.com.

“You have to pick the right tools, and sometimes the tools are dictated by the kind of company you are and the kind of prospects and clients you have,” says Kathy Scheessele, a partner at Mastering Business Development Inc., a Charlotte, N.C., business-consulting firm that recently started using LinkedIn.

“The type of people we’re trying to engage with are at a certain level. They’re not the typical kind of person who’s going to be twittering or have a Facebook page,” Ms. Scheessele says.

Like many other types of companies, small B-2-Bs are also using social media to find out what’s being said about them online, as well as gather competitive intelligence and keep up with industry trends. “The big advantage of social media is listening,” says Eric Bradlow, a professor at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

But he adds that once a business creates a profile on a social-networking site, it needs to use it on a regular basis to avoid stoking the rumor mill. “People build up expectations around communication,” says Mr. Bradlow. “When expectations are violated, people will infer stuff that may not be true.”

If you would like to discover how TeleRep can make your B2B more effective. Visit us at: http://www.telerep.com/services.php

The Art of War and Modern Marketing

The lessons that Sun Tzu taught in 600 B.C. and which are still studied at West Point and in military schools to this day are simple, timeless and convert almost exactly for use as marketing

War and marketing have many similarities. Warfare is all about the successful control of ground. Marketing is all about the successful control of in-store (or media) ground: shelf space, location, display.

In warfare Sun Tzu stressed the importance of controlling the high ground. From a position of height, an army can look down on their enemy, target fire, hold ground with fewer soldiers and maintain cover while the enemy must expose themselves to come forward.

Robert E. Lee was arguably the greatest field commander ever produced in the United States (well, George Patton fans might argue this point). Lee performed remarkably in the Civil War with less manpower, less armaments and horrible logistic support. And yet, General Lee, a student of Sun Tzu, forgot the crucial importance of not fighting unless an army controlled the high ground as his Confederate force was routed at Gettysburg and the trajectory of the bloody conflict was irredeemably altered.

In marketing the high ground is taken when you offer a service or product that is honest in performance, presents value, offers new, exciting features and benefits and motivates consumers to choose your item and not the competitions. Do not be fooled, the craft of marketing and selling consumer products is a form of warfare. There is only so much shelf space in even the largest big box retail store. Advertising vehicles are limited by time (television, radio spots), space (newspaper, magazine ads), cost and frequency. The competition is always seeking to take the high ground and advance on your market share.

Sun Tzu said, “The winning general knows what is required for victory and then attacks. The losing general attacks; then seeks victory”. The same is true in marketing a business service or consumer product. A business plan, customized marketing strategy, Unique Selling Proposition and sales plan for successfully achieving distribution is essential to success. All too often, the over-confident or novice marketer attempts to penetrate a sales channel without conducting the proper due diligence and laying a groundwork that will support a campaign.

“Use the resources of others to your advantage”, is another theorem that Sun Tzu espoused. This is the basis of guerrilla warfare. It is equally applicable to guerrilla marketing.

“The winning general must think like a cobra”, wrote Sun Tzu. Cobras are fast, nimble, agile, ferocious and cunning. General Dwight Eisenhower is a perfect example of a military leader thinking and acting as a cobra. For the invasion of Normandy, D-Day, June 6, 1944 the Allied Commander continually feinted, used General Patton’s movements as a ruse, oversold false landing spots, and used deceit to confuse the Nazi’s about the date, place and strength of the landing force they would confront.

Successful marketers utilize as much secrecy, speed, agility and cunning as possible to outwit and out-hustle their competition. The cobra advantage is why new products continually penetrate large, established, often lethargic categories that are lead by sluggish, multi-national bureaucratic companies. In the beauty and cosmetic industry Bare Essentials and Philosophy has powered past many old line brands. Apple continually re-invents itself and energizes the technology sector. Jimmy Choo has become a generic label for the high-end footwear industry in the last decade. In 40 years WalMart has come to dominate and run off dozens of far older retail competitors. The Korean auto maker Hyundai has quickly become a top selling brand as price, quality and performance has provided the Company a keen Unique Selling Proposition.

If you would like to discover how TelRep can enhance your marketing campaign visit us at http://www.telerep.com/services.php

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Geoff_Ficke

Should Social Media Replace Cold-Calling?

People continue to say how cold-calling is dead and how in today’s environment, it no longer can be cost justified. Right? The answer in my book is both “yes” and “no.” Let me deal with the “no” first.

NO

In the past few months, I’ve watched numerous salespeople shift all of their prospecting efforts to developing social media with such vehicles as Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. The problem with this is it becomes a giant time sucker. The payout of social media in terms of developing sales short-term is very poor.

To develop a social media strategy requires time, and I’m a firm believer it must be incremental time. You can’t allow it to take away from your current sales development strategy. Now, I’m astute enough to know that this may change, but we’re not there yet. Salespeople who spend their time dealing in the social media world at the expense of time spent on normal sales development do so at great expense.

YES

Now let me give you a “yes” response to the use of social media and cold-calling.

First, keep in mind that cold-calling is rarely as cold as the term implies. Unless you’re still living in the world of selling via a phone bank sweatshop, then you understand that cold-calling is really more about warm-calling. More often than not, you are contacting people who already have some sort of knowledge of you or relationship with you. In this context, social media is a great supplemental vehicle – one that must be handled in the context of a marketing strategy. To spend time tweeting away hour after hour or visiting everyone’s Facebook page is not going to get you anywhere but broke.

The solution exists in having a sound sales development strategy that is focused on your core prospects. As an incremental process (on your own time), develop a social media awareness with Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter.

A key part of your sales development strategy needs to include keeping your web presence tight and focused.   Don’t be easily swayed into believing that your best approach is to be part of every social media website available.   If you can’t be a strong presence, don’t go there.   What I mean by a “strong presence” is that you are an active player who can contribute or monitor the site at least four times per week.  For me, this means the only social media sites I use are Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook.

One very strict rule to keep in mind is that social media should occupy no more than 15 minutes per day. Only in rare exceptions should you ever access Facebook or Linkedin during your normal workday. Twitter is an exception, but only to the degree that you can have a timely review and distribution of messages. Fortunately, there are plenty of apps you can use to automatically send out pre-loaded tweets during the workday.

Social media has a role in your sales strategy, but not to the abandonment of time-tested elements such as cold-calling and meeting face-to-face with customers.  Begin today to grasp this so that you do not jeopardize your sales success.

About the Author

Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability 

To learn more about how TeleRep can increase your company’s profitability. Visit us at: http://www.telerep.com/services.php

Customer Service as a Strategic Weapon

It’s no secret. The effects of a bad customer experience can be far reaching. With dissatisfied customers telling up to 10 people about their bad experiences, such negative word of mouth can be devastating.

According to the new “Customer Experience Report North America 2010” from RightNow and Harris Interactive, the majority of customers-82 percent–will now stop doing business with companies that deliver negative experiences.

Additionally, 79 percent of the 2,217 consumers interviewed who had a negative experience told others about it, 85 percent wanted to warn others about the pitfalls of doing business with that company, 66 percent wanted to discourage others from buying from that company, and 76 percent said word of mouth influenced their purchasing decisions.

The most surprising results from the report are that many consumers said they would pay for better service. Seventy-six percent said they would pay 5 percent or more for a better experience, 55 percent would pay 10 percent or more, and 10 percent would pay 25 percent or more.

With 55 percent of respondents (up from 53 percent in 2009) saying that they recommend a company because of good service, it’s critical to focus training your workforce to deliver better experiences that are not only friendly, but tailored to customers’ needs and behaviors, as well as reengineering processes and strategies to enhance the customer experience. It could be the single most important element for a company’s survival going forward.

10 Ways To Keep Your Pipeline Full Of Profitable Business

1-Know your target clients or create your own niche.
2-Know what they are looking for
3-Know where your target audience is likely to get information about you.
4-Know when they will be looking for you? Timing is critical!
5-Know what makes you unique versus the other options available to your target audience
6-Know how you want them to engage with you?
7- Develop steady sources of new prospects. Get to know people, everywhere you go – in-person or on-line at your social media sites.
8- Form partnerships with other firms that complement what you do. Consider which non-competitors are likely to cross paths with your prospects. Talk with them about partnering. Trade leads with them.
9- Do “Nurture Marketing”. Prospects buy when the timing is right for them, not when it is convenient for the sales person. Therefore, to be on their mind when the time is right, you must be marketing to them year round. As you get to know your prospects, change your message to fit their needs.
10- Stop ‘qualifying’ and start ‘disqualifying’? ‘Disqualifying’ prospects is a process in which the dirt is removed until all that remains is the gold.

Bonus Tips 

  • Marketing should include a quick and simple “call to action”.
  • Effective marketing is just like being a great host: put together customers and benefits just like you’d put together people, food and music at a party.
  • Include in your offer if possible a “performance guarantee” that removes the perceived risk of someone doing business with you.
  • Gather testimonials and cultivate referrals from EVERYONE – clients and colleagues. Provide easy, hassle-free ways for people to help you with this and ASK!
  • Profile Your Best Customers. Who are your most valuable and profitable customers? How much do they spend with you annually? Do they fit a niche?
  • Create Win-Win Relationships. “Give to get” is a motto that works well in business. A strong strategic alliance offers many benefits, including reducing risk, sharing costs and improving time to market.
  • Speak about benefits that relate to prospects specifically. Generic benefits are not compelling.
  • Do they really believe you can deliver what you promise?
  • Do they trust you professionally & confidentially?
  • Do they feel safe with you, like you & enjoy doing business with you & your ideas?
  • Do they believe working with you will give them the greatest ROI?

Call Center Outsourcing Trends:

How Outsourcing Call Center Functions Drive Business 2.0

As businesses begin to understand how outsourcing call center functions can save precious operating resources, the latest trends in the industry should shift from customer service to lead generation. Heres a glimpse into next-generation call center outsourcing operations and their potential to drive Business 2.0 into a new mindset.

Great Web Design from the Best Web Designers

Call center outsourcing has ushered in a radical paradigm shift in the way businesses consider traditional customer service. With the introduction of new technologies, organizations are finding that they can better serve their customers without sacrificing the fiscal and human resources necessary to host these tasks in-house.

However, as outsourcing call center activities is a concept in constant flux, the businesses that utilize best-practices should hold an edge in the market. From wireless technologies to survey-based functionality, call center outsourcing is proving to be a critical spoke in the branding wheel. The concept is simple–give customers a reason to interact by providing convenience and value with every contact. While that may sound easier said than done, call center technologies that incorporate social media networking into their operations have made surprising headway.

The Mounting Challenges Call Centers Will Face

Understanding the roles that call center outsourcing may potentially play in Business 2.0 requires examination of the challenges it faces. The Marktforschung blog cites Datamonitor findings that discuss the state of the industry and how these factors may shape the future. CEOs considering outsourcing call center functions would do well to take these into account for strategic planning:

  • Price Sensitivity. Clients are continually looking for cheaper rates and high service quality levels
  • Onshore Contact Center Deployment. Due to political considerations and lower prices in western markets, onshore could gain traction
  • New Business Models. Enables contact center outsourcers to broaden revenue bases and encourages commercial diversification

The Future of Call Center Outsourcing

For companies hesitant about giving up full control of their call center operations to a third-party vendor, the hybrid approach is always an option. According to IT News India, some businesses are using Web-based technologies to join forces with outsourced call centers. First-level calls can be handled in-house, while calls of a marketing nature are fielded by outside operators. CEOs can triage call types to get the right professionals on the line in the shortest time possible. The outcome is increased resolution of problems and optimized lead-generation for marketing campaigns.

The bottom line is that businesses who attempt to handle call center service in-house are placing themselves at a decided disadvantage. Why not remove the burden, leave these principal operations to the experts, and concentrate on exploring new markets and advertising channels?

Discover how a Call Center can enhance your business. http://www.telerep.com/services.php