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Teleprospecting - A Key Tactic

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Teleprospecting - A Key Tactic

  1. 1. Lead Management Services Teleprospecting A Key Tactic in your Marketing Strategy Dan Hereford Hereford Marketing Services November 2008
  2. 2. Teleprospecting involves using the phone to locate and qualify sales leads. It is the most versatile and reliable tool we have in our B-to-B marketing arsenal. It can be used in every stage of the selling process and it applies to prospects and customers. Teleprospecting is a method that closely approximates face-to-face contact without the expense of a physical sales call. According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2007 Business Technology Survey, 80% of decision makers who make a purchase believe that THEY FOUND their vendor — as opposed to the vendor targeting them. It seems to indicate that lead generation is generally not having a significant impact on sales results. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. This paper describes how effective management of lead generation campaigns can turn this situation around. It also illustrates how teleprospecting is a central component in these initiatives. Where is the source of our problem? Proudfoot Consulting conducted 580 reviews of sales operations on behalf of 67 companies in 2006. This study documented some statistics regarding important challenges that sales organizations are facing today: • On average, salespeople spend just 11% of their time actively selling to customers. • Salespeople think they spend twice as much time actively selling to customers than they actually spend. • Administration and problem solving together take up 49% of a salesperson’s typical day. Source: 2006 Proudfoot Consulting These statistics are not new and they have been confirmed by many other studies over long periods of time. It is common knowledge that sales people should spend more time selling and less time doing non-sales activities. This can contribute to a reduction in administrative and operational support for lead generation programs. At a minimum, it does not give such programs a high priority or a high likelihood for success. What is the solution? The objective with any lead generation program is to create a pipeline of information that can provide marketing with profiles and solid data about successful customers and prospects. This includes data about the products or services they buy, and what else they should be 2
  3. 3. purchasing. Moreover, a viable lead generation program provides advice on how to broaden the base of customers that fit this model. This type of information can also be used to develop very powerful case studies citing customers that purchase and use your products and services with great success. Case studies and testimonials are one of the ways that effective lead generation can bring sales and marketing energies into harmony as the priorities and focus of each function become unified. The model illustrates how marketing and sales can work to perpetuate a pipeline of sales continuity. An effective lead generation process can be divided into four stages: “Hunting down decision makers is a time consuming task that most sales Exploration • people hate doing. 90% of sales people hate to cold call and the Definition • other 10% are lying.” Testing • Brian Carroll B2B Lead Generation Blog • Refining Continuing • This lead generation process follows sales leads through their lifecycle as shown in the diagram below. It is an iterative process that requires consistent closed-loop feedback. It may incorporate prospect inquiries from direct mail, trade shows, web sites and many other sources. It encompasses screening, opportunity assessment and telephone qualification and it incorporates field follow-up and lead nurturing. Closing the loop regularly in this process allows you to continuously learn from each interaction. Source: 2008, Market Sense, “Benefits of Lead Quality”. So, what are the major stages of lead generation and, more specifically, tele-prospecting? What factors spell the difference between success and failure when it comes to achieving measurable results from your investment in this process? Let’s take a look at each of the stages in the process. Exploration - It takes knowledge of each organization to understand how sales leads should be qualified. This stage is focused on knowing to whom they are selling today, what industries 3
  4. 4. are involved and what is proving to be successful. In addition, we need to know where and how they plan to grow along with understanding the factors that are helping and hindering their progress. When applied to this stage the phone allows more reactive intelligence to be applied to the Q&A process. In addition, teleprospecting allows you to probe and gain unusual insights into customer needs and priorities. Definition - This stage involves identifying successes, developing hypotheses and concepts that may represent new opportunities, markets, and new promotional ideas. This creative endeavor lets you assess new ideas and incorporate them into your campaigns. It uses feedback from customers and prospects as a sounding board for ideas before they are tested. The likelihood of success is increased as a result. In this stage, a plan of attack is created that takes full advantage of the power of teleprospecting. The ideas tested may include everything from various scripts or talking points to methods for using voicemail messages to your best advantage. Testing - The challenge here is to make sure each conversation we have is relevant and meaningful. A test often starts with a pilot program to test our hypotheses. You take a small sample of customers or prospects, pick up the phone and CALL THEM to see what they have to say. This is the most effective way to hear what you need to hear. Your test may be combined with targeted direct mail or e-mail to give your efforts a powerful 1-2 punch. It has long been accepted that combining outbound calling with these direct marketing methods can dramatically increase results. Refine - Once you have completed this round of testing we can use the results to develop or adjust our strategy. These improvements may apply to: • Freeing up management and administrative staff time. • Enhancing the prospect database for follow-up market research. • Developing a model that identifies high potential prospects. • Tracking every high quality lead through the entire sales cycle. • Ensuring that qualified leads are captured in your main database. • Measuring the effectiveness of each promotional campaign. • Simplifying lead information, distribution, and reporting to eliminate support costs. Continue - The lead generation process does not end once it is refined and proven successful. Just as we need to continue to educate ourselves as individuals, organizations must do the same to stay ahead of the curve. The real value of any campaign comes after the process is institutionalized and relied upon for competitive advantage. It is at this point that lead nurturing and expansion of your lead database start to pay dividends. A well-defined teleprospecting needs to be part of every marketing strategy to keep pace with changing customers, changing marketing and changing industries. By the tie we read it in the Wall Street Journal, it is old new. We need to protect our organizations from being left behind. Hearing the Voice of the Customer will keep you ahead of the curve and ready to react. Outsourcing One factor uncovered in several studies is that organizations are increasingly choosing to outsource their lead generation and teleprospecting activities to third parties. There are four circumstances where outsourcing can be preferable to conducting these activities in-house: Expertise – Organizations that provide lead generation services often have in-depth knowledge and proficiency with lead management that they can pass on to their customers. 4
  5. 5. Expertise in this context includes proficiency with database development, creation of scripts and key talking points that enable the correct ranking of each lead. Furthermore, these organizations also understand each of the elements in your campaign and how they behave as a system. Speed – Outsourcing can eliminate the need for hiring and training teleprospecting personnel. The outbound teleprospecting skill set is radically different from those required for typical administrative or inbound customer service activities. Organizations typically underestimate the time required to overcome the learning curve. They may never reach a point where they are staffed at a level where the process can gain critical mass. “When you consider that hiring Executive Bandwidth – The time required to manage trained administrative staff is both the day-to-day lead generation activities can be an easy and much cheaper option, it . significant. Outsourcing can remove these demands appears ridiculous that any right by permitting organizations to focus on what’s most thinking company would continue to important: closing sales. Today's business expect their sales staff to carry this environment requires the effective management of work load.” resources, personnel, and perhaps most important, 2008 Niall time. The time you spend trying to generate, qualify Devitt The Customer Collective and track leads leaves you less time to turn those leads into sales. Reporting – Outsourcing can deliver ready made reporting that has been tested in a number of different situations and environments. This eliminates the need to recreate the wheel to measure the performance of your lead generation program. Many key learnings are gained by producing this type of reporting for multiple customers in multiple industries. In Conclusion Teleprospecting is a highly effective method to reach customers and sales prospects. Its results have been proven over time and across industries. Its methodologies can process and track sales leads effectively while providing critical management information and building a valuable prospect database. It can be combined with complementary direct mail, web and email marketing campaigns to deliver even more value. Finally, teleprospecting provides a link between an organization’s Marketing and Sales groups that is missing in so many organizations today. You’ll do your organization a favor by making it a central part of your marketing plan. About Us Hereford Marketing Services has been providing organizations with B2B marketing services since 2004. Our success lies in our technical approach and a network of professionals who plan and execute these services as part of our client’s internal marketing team. Our capabilities revolve around: that “When you consider hiring trained administration A team that is focused on the details of your project.  Clear communication with our clients before, during easy and project. This includes analysis, advice and staff is both and and after the  much cheaper options, it consulting for the entirety of the project. Producing team chemistry – a partnership with our clients. any appears ridicules that  Providing a Closed Loop Process to improve results and optimize benefits. right thinking company would  Solid references from current clients.  continue to expect their sales Providing our clients with value for the investment.  staff to carry this work load.” - 2008 Niall Devitt, the Customer Collective 5

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