At some point in a business’s lifetime someone has got to pick up the phone or knock on the door of potential businesses.
However, whilst many people don’t enjoy that aspect of business, The Lively Crew sales team loves to talk and more importantly convert those conversations into potential new leads, even if you don’t.
Whilst much maligned by those who don’t enjoy picking up the phone, telemarketing remains one of the key ways to promote and drive business, providing cost-effective and measurable results. Successful use of the telephone to prospect and generate leads for your business requires a little bit of planning before you pick up the phone, and adherence to some basic rules once you do.
There are a number of individual elements that together contribute towards maximising the results of a telemarketing campaign, below is a guide to some of the most important:1# Target the Right Prospects
Before you speak to anyone, work out who it is you want to be speaking to. It sounds obvious but focus on companies that are most likely to be interested in your solution. Before you pick up the phone think about the kind and type of businesses you want to target then structure your prospects by industry, size and location, putting those you think you will have most success with first. It is here that The Lively Crew’s access to over 11,000 businesses across Norfolk
through the BOLD Online Business Directories,
comes into its own. We have access to the data, in an easy to sort format and can provide you with the contacts you want, listed in the order you need them. Our data gets you straight in front of the decision maker, saving you hours of calls to a friendly but ultimately unhelpful receptionist.2# Structure your call
Put the phone down! Now you have your contacts sorted, think about what messages you want to get across. During this process it is helpful to imagine that you’re the prospect receiving the call - you probably get lots of calls each day. In order to stand out it is therefore vital that the seller grabs your attention and engages with you within the first 30 seconds of the call. If they don’t, you’ll cut them short and end the call.
Furthermore if you know the structure of the call before you dial, you will be better prepared for steering the call towards your intended destination – making the sale or securing the lead.
As a guide the below is a professional and positive way to structure your call:
- Introduce yourself and where you are calling from
- Highlight the relevance of your call, for example how your call will benefit the person you’re speaking to or your experience in their sector
- Explain in simple and concise terms the benefit, but not the features at this stage, of how your solution or product will help them – this is known as `The Hook`. Keep it short, clear and precise.
- Qualify their interest and gain their consent to discuss the reason for your call in more in detail.
This process should take an absolute maximum of 30 seconds. Once you have qualified they are interested in learning more you will be able to have a more detailed conversation without needing to rush through your pitch, or agree a time that is convenient to have the conversation.
If you rush into complicated details too quickly, you are likely to confuse, or worse, irritate the person on the other end of the phone. Keep it short, sweet and leave them wanting more.3# Be Clear on Your Call Objectives
Many B2B prospecting telemarketing cycles follow a similar pattern:
- Identify the Decision Maker within the business you are calling
- Engage & qualify
- Send literature (email or hard copy)
- Re-engage, re-qualify and progress to a meeting
Once you have delivered your pitch you need close the conversation by gaining the prospects consent to move to the next stage of the process. This can mean obtaining the correct address to send literature to, or just a more convenient time to call back to discuss the reason for your call with the appropriate person within the business. Successful telesales relies on not just one intense call but on building a relationship with the prospect. So before you call be clear on whether your primary call objective is to arrange a meeting, to qualify their requirements or to simply gain the prospect's consent for you to send some literature and follow up and structure the conversation accordingly. 4# Set Achievable Targets and Measure Your Performance
Productive telephone prospecting is a discipline. You should be making a minimum of 30 calls per hour and within this you should be reaching 5 decision makers and advancing the process to the next stage of the telemarketing process.
To help you achieve this set goals covering your key metrics that you need to achieve each week, such as:
- Total number of calls made
- Decision Maker contacts reached
- Literature requests sent
- Conversations to meetings/quotes
So for example, within your business, or to reach your goals within your telemarketing budget, you may need to speak to 25 Decision Makers to find one, fully-qualified prospect, who is interested in your solution. Therefore, if you can reach 5 Decisions Makers per hour by phone, you need to commit 5 hours productive calling time (coffee, toilet & cigarette breaks don’t count) in order to generate a one good lead (5 x 5 = 25 = 1). So if you want to achieve 10 good leads per week of telemarketing activity, you'd need to commit 50 hours per week to prospecting otherwise your sales targets will be missed.What are the alternatives?1. Give up, get out of the business…
As we said at the start, at some point in the life of every business, somebody is going to have to pick up the phone and let people know you are there. So option 1 isn’t really an option at all. If you are in business, you will need to be on the telephone.2. Find another way to generate leads.
As a full-service marketing agency, we know there are lots of alternatives to telemarketing. However, as we tell everybody we speak to, a successful and cost-effective marketing plan needs to involve an integrated approach, across a variety of techniques and platforms. Remember, not everybody reads the news, not everyone uses the internet, not everybody watches TV or listens to the radio. It is therefore vital you speak to people where they can and will listen. Also remember if successful marketing was easy everyone would be doing it… However all is not lost!3. Get some expert help
. At The Lively Crew we have over 30 years marketing experience working throughout the UK. We are a competent and proven team of qualified marketing and sales professionals with a no nonsense approach to delivering measurable results for businesses of all sizes with tailor made planning and execution and always to budget.
Courtesy of Vicky Anscomb and the Eastern Daily Press:
"Social media’s a bit of a tricky one when engaging with a client for the first time. They’ll probably be familiar with (and keen to hear about) PPC, SEO and site design, but when it comes to social media, they may well lean forward with narrowed eyes and ask the dreaded question, ‘But why do I need social media?’
This is the time to stop wittering about ‘brand awareness’, ‘community cohesion’ and ‘moving forward with technology’, and time to bring out some solid reasons that companies should be on board when it comes to social media. It’s not enough to claim that everyone else is doing it, and it ‘makes a difference’. If you’re looking to impress in any upcoming meetings, the following points are sure to win over clients:
Firstly, there are mind-boggling numbers of people using social media. At the time of writing this, Twitter has over 100 million ‘active’ users (users who log in once a month) and Facebook has approximately 794 million users. These are people that you ignore at your peril - they’re out there, and it’s up to you to try to find them, and then harness their buying power. Refusing to engage with social media users is like knowing there’s a packed shopping centre in town full of browsing buyers, but point-blank refusing to set up a shop there just because it’s new and a bit daunting.
Secondly, you’ll be able to get a better idea of who’s interested in your brand - and you’ll know who to target in the future. Facebook Insights, Sprout Social, Brandwatch and other applications that measure social networking analytics can not only show you the gender of the people engaging with you, but their age, where they’re located, the main languages they speak, and the medium they’re using to surf the web. This is especially handy if you’re wondering why the app you’ve launched hasn’t taken off (users using desktop computers) or nobody’s writing lengthy chunks of text on your Facebook wall (smartphone users).
You can also get inside peoples’ heads. Not many customers will take the time to fill in a review or a long survey, but they may well respond to a tweet or update that asks them what they think of a new design. You’ll also find that you receive both good and bad feedback, and how you respond to this will shape how your customers see you. If you’re able to placate a furious customer with some excellent, speedy customer service, you’ll not only win them round, but anyone else who sees that you’re bending over backwards to assist them. Social media allows a level of transparency not often seen in communications between customer and vendor, so use this to your advantage.
Tools such as Twilert and Tweetbeep can let you know when people are talking about you - and you can set up alerts for people talking about the products you sell. So, if you see a tweet from a local person wondering where they can find [insert your product], you can neatly introduce yourself and politely ask if you can help. These tools enable you to be the butler at the party - you can overhear everyone’s conversations and step in when you feel it’s appropriate. Just be careful not to overdo this side of things, or your Twitter timeline will become a sad pool of desperation.
If you want to be seen as a leader within your field, you have to remember that your opinions are worthwhile - and you should respond to industry developments at the earliest opportunity. It’s far easier to send out a quick update on Google+ or Facebook than it is to draft a blog for your website, and your customers will see your passion for your business. If you’re making a particularly strong point, or one that generates discussion, all the better - your views will get shared, driving more people towards your social media - and your website.
If you’re looking for fresh talent, especially in the social media and online networking sphere, you should be using social media to try to find your next big star. More and more businesses are using their social media accounts to search for employees, as it’s free, the word is easily spread, and it’s a great way to drive people wanting new information to your website. Plus, it’s a very promising sign if you manage to find someone through social media as it shows they have a good understanding of the medium - and its potential.
Finally, don’t forget that the speed of social media can make it behave a bit like Lassie - it can let you know that something’s wrong long before you even have an inkling of disaster. If you receive many messages informing you that the same thing has gone awry with your product, it’s time to stop the production line and start your examination. It’s true that badly-run social media accounts have the capacity to damage your brand irreversibly, but they also have the potential to save it from a sticky end, so value your followers - they may end up saving your bacon."http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/advice/vicky_anscomb_how_to_convince_your_clients_that_they_need_social_media_1_1351171
When most people think of social media, they think of Facebook and Twitter. The impression is that these are places where teenagers and celebrities share photo's from nights on the town and whittle away hours on end, chatting with friends and strangers, sharing intimate details about their lives, which previosuly would have stayed behind closed doors.
Whilst undoubtedly there is a grain of truth in the myth, social media is much more than the common perception and offers businesses an unrivalled opportunity to increase their profile, build trust in their brand, position themselves as experts in their field, generate leads and interact with existing and potential customers alike in a cost-effective and efficient way.
Let us begin with the obvious; increased profile. Facebook alone has over 700 million individual profiles at the last count and the number is growing. A similar number are on Twitter and when you factor in the numbers on sites such as Google+, LinkedIn and the traffic frequenting YouTube everyday, you begin to realise the potential audience your business profile can reach. It is this audience size, which necessitates the need, not only to have a profile, but to manage it professionally. As someone once told us, you wouldn't let an intern put together a TV commercial for you, so don't let one publish messages on your behalf which have a potential audience of billions.
Other social media platforms such as the one created by EEDA, are used by businesses in the tendering process. Recently David Coulson from EEDA updated members of the Broadland
and Breckland business forums
, on how to register your business online for the chance to win some of the remaining London 2012 Olympic contracts. In his presentation David also informed our members that once the Olympics are run, Local Authorities, will be using the site in their own tendering processes
A social media presence can also boost your profile in other, less obvious ways, particularly in terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). When an individual searches for terms on Google or Yahoo, the search engines not only crawl websites, but social media sites. This is in part because the main search engines are owned by, or work in close partnership with, social media sites (for example Google own both Google+ and YouTube, while they are great friends with LinkedIn) and will thus naturally look to those sites first. Search engines also work by ascertaining the relevance of a term in relation to a search, to provide it's users with the most appropriate results. it does this by not only locating the terms by searched for but the context they are being used in. As such, social media sites, which by their definition are social, allow you to engage with the terms, in a way that the search engines love. If you are having a conversation about a great place to buy music, search engines will pick up on the context and point searches for "music stores" to the content. If you link these conversations back to your brand and your website, you can be onto a winner. Social media sites, also allow you another platform on which to post your news, events, offers and vacancies, all of which can link back to your main site, driving traffic back to your site.
It is this involvement in conversations, that also allow you the chance to increase the trust in your brand and position your brand as an expert in your industry. By providing authoritative answers to questions, not only are you interacting directly with potential customers as they look to validate purchasing decisions, you are boosting your SEO, meaning people with similar queries in the future, are likely to be pointed to your answers. If you aren't there to answer the questions, a competitor will be and their brand, not yours will be front and centre as people look to make a purchase. Done correctly, a social media campaign can thus position your brand as a market expert, increase your SEO and influence purchasing, generating leads, all in one fell swoop.
Despite it's growing importance, one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is time allocation and experience in navigating the internet, whilst still doing the day job. With more and more businesses are using social media and other websites to promote their business, you cannot afford to be left behind and it is not as expensive, time consuming or as painful as it might appear. Spending a short amount of time getting up to speed with it, will ensure your business reaps the benefits long term. If you are still unsure, do not have the time or would like a second opinion on the viability of your website which will include the loading of an EEDA web page for your business, if required, then give our Marketing Manager and Social Media guru, Andy at The Lively Crew a call on 01603 702374, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be able to advise you on, how your business can quickly become more visible on the internet, how to set-up quick business profiles, and a hassle-free way to use the internet and social media as an ongoing marketing tool for your business.
For those of you who have attended one of our recent business forums and heard David Coulson explain how a presence on the CompeteFor website, can help your business attract tendering opportunities for the Olympics and other public sector organisation’s work, and have yet to upload your businesses profile - then you are not the only one.
On the front page of a recent EDP, businesses across Norfolk were being urged to sign up as there are still contracts worth millions of pounds up for grabs. If that was not incentive enough to set-up a profile, then remember that, at the very least, a business profile page on CompeteFor will improve the visibility of your business online, including in search engine results.
One of the biggest challenges facing businesses is time allocation and experience in navigating the internet, whilst still doing the day job. More and more businesses are using social media and other websites to promote their business and it is not as expensive, time consuming or as painful as it might appear. Spending a short amount of time getting up to speed with it, will ensure your business reaps the benefits long term.
If you are still unsure, do not have the time or would like a second opinion on the viability of your website which will include the loading of an EEDA web page for your business, if required, then give our Marketing Manager and Social Media guru, Andy at The Lively Crew a call on 01603 702374
, or email email@example.com
and he will be able to advise you on, how your business can quickly become more visible on the internet, how to set-up quick business profiles, and a hassle-free way to use the internet and social media as an ongoing marketing tool for your business.
South Norfolk business leaders have been urged to consider taking on apprentices, following a meeting of the South Norfolk Business Forum, to boost the economy and give valuable experience to the next generation of business people.
Dan Baron from City College Norwich encouraged businesses to look past the traditional industries associated with apprenticeships, and take a fresh look at the huge range of industries apprentice schemes now cover, which can provide a business with fresh skills, without the commitment of a full-time permanent salary.
“An apprenticeship is a work based training program. This means the employer benefits from an additional pair of hands and an ever-expanding skill-set whilst the apprentice gains from on-the-job experience.”
“The minimum wage for an apprentice is £2.60 an hour and while this may seem low, the apprentice gets invaluable experience and skills to put on their CV as well as an unrivalled opportunity to impress.”
As Robert Ediker, who is currently doing an apprenticeship with local marketing agency The Lively Crew confirmed “I was looking for a job for five months without success before I started my apprenticeship. The Catch-22 is that you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get that experience if no-one will give you that initial chance.”
Jackie Tinkler from JobCentre Plus also updated members on what steps the JobCentre are taking to help individuals and businesses get back into the workplace. Whilst Colin Wright of Britannia Training Services urged businesses to ensure that the training they give their staff is appropriate and tailored to their own needs, to ensure the maximum economic return on their investment.