Why Lead Generation is Essential to Increasing B2B Sales

Without effective lead generation, B2B sales will literally grind to a halt. While most companies are aware of this fact, many of these same companies neglect lead generation because they can’t pinpoint exactly how it helps to increase their bottom line.

It is crucial that B2B marketers realize that leads are more than just a list of potential customers. And they are much more than individuals or companies that have inquired about your business. Leads are prospects that have a real chance of becoming customers at some point in time.

It is these – and only these – types of leads that should be given to your sales team. This helps to ensure that your sales team has the best chance to convert qualified leads into sales.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that if you advertise or have a strong marketing communications program that you have lead generation covered. Lead generation is unique in that it relies specifically on direct-response marketing communications designed to spur a response or an action. This response can include anything from an email inquiry to a purchase.

What follows are the top four reasons lead generation helps to increase sales:

  1. Lead Classification: In order for leads to be called on at exactly the right time, it is important to know where a lead is in the sales funnel. If you call on a prospect too early or too late in a sales cycle, chances are you will have lost the sale.
  2. Email Lists: Automated email lists are most effective when those lists are broken down by particular criteria. This way each recipient on an email list gets a specifically targeted message.
  3. Engagement: The best way to engage leads is understand their particular wants and needs. More importantly, if they have a problem, you need to know how to solve it. If you don’t know anything about your leads, however, you have little hope of effectively engaging or connecting with them.
  4. Feedback: Once a lead makes a purchase, you need to understand when and why they made that purchase. This knowledge will go a long way toward understanding when the best time to approach a lead again is.

Not sure whether you should invest in lead generation for your B2B company? Remember this, statistics consistently show that companies with the most effective lead generation programs close more sales.

Customer Profiling Surveys Best Handled by Telephone

There are many ways to determine if a past customer is just that, or shows promise of becoming a repeat customer. One effective method to determine the status of customers in your database is to conduct client profiling telephone surveys.

Each year, businesses spend a great deal of time and money marketing to customers in their databases who show very little-if any-promise of becoming repeat customers. By cleansing your database of these customers, you can focus your resources on quality prospects.

Surveys can also help you to find out why certain customers have decided against working with your business again. Perhaps it was a customer service issue. Or maybe they need a product that you do not carry or that they have found at a lower price somewhere else. Discovering the reason a customer has not worked with you again can help you resolve these issues and maybe even lure them back.

While many companies choose online surveys for client profiling, it is in most cases best to perform these surveys over the telephone. That’s because online surveys are missing a human component and don’t allow for any back and forth exchanges.

What follows are some other advantages of conducting customer profiling surveys over the phone:

  1. Telephone surveys yield faster results than other types of surveys because you don’t have to wait for people to respond.
  2. Skilled interviewers are able to elicit longer and more complete answers. Further, interviewers can also ask for clarification if an answer is unclear.
  3. There is increased quality control because interviewers can make sure respondents are properly answering questions. Further, if a number of respondents are confused by a particular question it can be brought to the attention of the survey creator.
  4. Telephone surveys allow for a degree of anonymity while still providing a more personal experience than an online survey.
  5. It is easier to delete an email or online survey than to turn down a person calling to ask for a few moments of a respondent’s time.
  6. Respondents are much less able to skip questions – whether by accident or on purpose.

If you are contemplating conducting a telephone customer profiling survey, it may be in your best interest to find a telemarketing firm that is experienced in such surveys. After all, the key to conducting the most accurate surveys is to make sure they are administered as professionally as possible.

Telemarketing Calls and Lead Qualification Go Hand-in-Hand

When you think of telemarketing, chances are your mind goes immediately to selling. Whether inbound or outbound, many business owners have the mistaken impression that telemarketing only belongs at the end of the sales funnel.

Telemarketing, however, can play a much bigger role in increasing B2B sales. In fact, it can – and should – play a strategic role in all stages of the sales funnel.

One of the many important ways telemarketing can help your B2B efforts is by focusing on lead qualification. While it would be nice if leads all entered the sales funnel at a particular place and continued on a specific track, unfortunately that is not how it works.

Prospects enter the sales funnel anywhere from the prospecting stage to the purchasing stage. Telemarketing is a great tool to support your sales team by using it to provide them with only the most qualified leads.

For example, perhaps you have just sent out marketing materials to a number of prospects. When calling these prospects to ask if they received your materials, you can slip in a number of lead qualification questions. These questions can help you find out things like a decision maker’s name or what company is your biggest competitor.

Similar lead qualification questions can be embedded into other calls, as well. Are you taking product orders? Ask the customer if there are any other products they would be interested in or when they might place another order. Would he or she be interested in a sales rep calling to discuss other product offerings?

The idea of lead qualification embedded into telemarketing calls is not a new one but not every business capitalizes on it. This is unfortunate since it is literally a two-for-one opportunity. Virtually every call a telemarketer makes allows for some sort of lead qualification.

Of course partnering with the right telemarketing firm is the key to successfully embedding lead qualification questions into telemarketing calls. It takes highly trained professional to seamlessly weave these questions into a conversation without seeming unnatural or forced. Instead, this telemarketing professional will be building relationships while gleaning the information you need to increase your bottom line. Talk about a win-win!

How Outsourcing Fundraising Calls Can Bring in More Donations

Fundraising can be a difficult task for even the most organized and efficient organizations. Further, with every dollar spent on overhead being a dollar diverted from its core mission, it is vital that fundraising campaigns are as cost-effective as possible.

While using volunteers to make outbound fundraising calls may seem like the most economical solution, the fact is that such volunteers simply do not have the training to bring in the amount of donations that trained call center agents are able to deliver. This means that the money spent on hiring seasoned fundraising professionals can actually mean more money for an organization in the long run.

Calling current and prospective donors and asking for support takes a certain touch that does not come naturally to most people. Even individuals who are strongly invested in a charity’s mission may have a hard time articulating the need for donations and successfully ask for support.

When you hire a quality, experienced telemarketing firm to handle fundraising calls, you can be confident knowing donors are being asked for support in the most effective way possible. The key is to partner with a telemarketing firm that has consummate professionals on staff who will represent your organization in the manner it deserves.

In order to hire the best telemarketing firm to solicit donations for your organization, you need to be able to answer yes to the following questions:

  1. Are they able to communicate effectively with the type of donors that give to your organization? Every organization has a unique donor base and call center professionals must be able to relate to each particular type.
  2. Do they have experience asking donors for support? This may seem like a given but the people who are making calls must show no hesitation in asking for a donation. If they do show any hesitancy, the person on the other end is sure to hesitate when it comes time to donate!
  3. Are they able to connect on a personal level regarding your organization’s mission? The right call center agents will know your organization well and will be comfortable speaking about its mission.
  4. Do they know how to really listen? Call center agents who do not know how to listen to donors can be as ineffective as agents who don’t talk at all. It might be hard to believe but some donors have been cut off when they are trying to make a donation!
  5. Are they comfortable asking for all types of gifts? Whether you are asking a donor for a few dollars or much, much more you need to be confident that the amount being asked for is appropriate. Many inexperienced fundraisers may apologize for asking for certain amounts, leading to smaller gifts.

Asking for money – no matter how worthy the cause – can be an intimidating prospect. Thankfully, there are professionals who can do this tough job for you, helping your organization raise the important funds it needs.