Monthly Archives: June 2012

How To Integrate Telemarketing With Other B2B Lead Generation Methods – #4: Banner Advertising

B2B Lead GenerationOut of all the lead generation tools people discuss, banner ads are either overrated or underrated when it’s time to compare. When they’re compared to telemarketing, for instance, some tend to make the mistake of saying that banner ads give more exposure to a business compared to older marketing tools.

 

What they don’t realize is that banner advertising is heavily reliant on website marketing. These ads don’t work by themselves. There are so many limitations in terms of physical dimensions. Furthermore, advertising itself is no longer as effective now as it was back then. The internet has allowed more information to disseminate so that those on the receiving end of advertising are more knowledgeable about what is being marketed to them. The limitations of advertising certainly undermines its value for marketing ERP software.

 

The people who will represent your ERP leads are the type who will not just need information. They will demand it. An enterprise software solution isn’t just some application you can install on your desktop PC. It’s a large, complex system that could take months to implement for an entire company.

 

Ironically, despite their need for more product information, these are the same busy business professionals who don’t have a lot of time to obtain that information. And speaking of time, banner ads are indeed not the best to use when you’re trying to get their attention. Mashable once published a top ten list of “Most Clickable Banner Ads”. Despite how impressive (and even touching) they are, these same ads are filled with mini-games and other quirks that you can’t exactly imagine a busy CEO spending his or her time on.

 

Setting that aside, the purpose of a banner ad is to take you somewhere else on the internet and in most cases it’s a website. If you can’t rely on time-wasting bells and whistles, your ads must at least get themselves clicked while your website keeps the prospects hooked.

 

However, why then only a website? Why can’t a banner ad simply display your number or your email address? Well, that is where people tend to underrate it. But first, the primary reason why people prefer a website is because scammers often operate in a similar fashion when it comes to banners displaying contact numbers or email addresses. Again, the problem with banners is their incapacity to display more information. So instead, you should have them redirect your prospects to a space where you have more room to explain who you are and what you do.

 

Guess what though? Websites have limitations when it comes to information as well. You can’t expect a decision maker to spend so much time reading your content. This is where you can integrate additional lead generation tools like telemarketing. This even works with outsourced telemarketing! You provide the website and the ads while your outsourced call center will simply take the calls and qualify the prospects for you.

 

Banner advertising is, in fact, well-suited for addressing the flaws of outbound marketing efforts by replacing more aggressive tactics (e.g. cold calling). Instead of using random calls, you simply use ads in the right places to attract interested prospects and then throw in more traditional tools. Don’t overestimate these online banners but don’t underestimate them either!

How To Integrate Telemarketing With Other B2B Lead Generation Methods – #3: Social Media

Appointment Setting

Of all the latest forms of online communication, social media is the youngest but also fastest growing medium of choice for business. Even in B2B, the value of using social media to engage with a target market has challenged the value of website and email marketing. And with B2B sites like LinkedIn dominated by high-tech corporations such as IBM and Oracle, this medium is definitely worth exploring if you’re also in the business of enterprise software.

 

This sounds like bad news for the much older methods such as direct mail and telemarketing. However, is the value of social media really so exclusive to the social networking sites that embody it? To determine this, you should first try and identify the things that appear to put social media above the rest:

 

  • It’s not disruptive – Unlike telemarketing, notifications share the same advantage as website and email marketing. It doesn’t disrupt anybody’s day, whether it’s a busy IT manager or the regular techie playing Call of Duty at home.
  • It drives engagement – When you post something interesting on Facebook or Twitter, you will attract a lot of responses. Websites and emails don’t necessarily do this right compared to social media. Websites are publicly exposed on the net but might not have as many people browsing them. Emails can start conversations but they’re often ignored due to spam filters. Oddly enough, this capacity to engage and grab attention is actually shared by telemarketing (if it’s done right).
  • It’s not as messy – In social media, you don’t need to worry about having to clean a flooded inbox or a trash bin full of old marketing letters.
  • It gives new insight – Plenty of people see potential in analyzing the data that comes from social media. Things like the number of ‘Likes’ and having certain affiliations have allowed even the social sites themselves to reach their targets more accurately. It also allows businesses another way to hear what customers are saying and see if there’s anything that can be done to improve products and services.

 

 

From the looks of it, perhaps the reason why social media seems to top all three of the other methods is because it has managed to integrate what worked best for all of them. It allows engagement and the acquisition of information straight from the market just like telemarketing and email. Meanwhile, it attracts the same amount of attention as a website (if not more) without being too disruptive.

 

In the process though, it has managed to integrate some of the biggest weaknesses. Like email, discussions on social networks can take forever. Like websites, you shouldn’t try and talk too much about yourself on your social media profile. Like telemarketing, there are still obstacles to watch out for when making attempts to connect.

 

This might surprise you though but even a telemarketing company can make up for those weaknesses. The reason is because there are companies like them who see the strengths and weaknesses of information gained from social networking sites. It tells them, for instance, the name of the company. It also tells them who the decision makers are and what industry they’re in. However, they also know that they need to go beyond that and try to shift the online discussions into more real forms of conversation (like those over the phone), and perhaps even ending it with appointment setting to finally meet the prospect in person!

How To Integrate Telemarketing With Other B2B Lead Generation Methods – #2 Website

Software Lead Generation

In the world of telemarketing, there will always be the occasional clash with online marketing advocates. No doubt the developments in IT and communications have really broadened the capacity of businesses to engage their market. However, trying to pit the old against the new is to set yourself up for false dilemmas and narrow your perspective. Aside from the usual debates of email marketing versus telemarketing, you also have those who say website marketing is a better, newer, and less disruptive approach.

 

Below is list of common reasons (with one particularly exclusive to B2B software):

 

  • It’s inbound-oriented – The reason why it’s not disruptive is that you’re using the internet to broadcast your company’s image, gain massive exposure, and attract potential clients to your business instead of your people going into their inboxes or telephones.
  • Being searched already marks interest – A site that is well-optimized with the right use of keywords will show up when people search. And when people search, it means that they’re really in the market for your product. That alone already indicates a good chance that they’ll take interest in your ERP software.
  • Websites work well with online-based services – This applies really well to those who have decided to offer B2B software systems in the cloud. The very nature of your service automatically demands that your site has a strong online presence.
  • It’s offers a clearer way to educate your audience – Online content is supposed to be informative. And thus, a business site obviously must inform your client on the basics of what you’re offering.

 

There’s no doubt that those are some impressive advantages over telemarketing. The latter has long been decried as disruptive, persistent, and conversations can be too short to be as informative. On the other hand, website marketing is not without weaknesses either (with these same weaknesses stemming directly from their strengths). Like all inbound-type approaches, there’s always a danger of inactivity when there’s not a lot of people giving your site attention. The task of SEO is also not without its own challenges because your site is just one of the hundreds of others out there competing for search engine rankings. Some people would also prefer just talking to you directly than interacting with a website (even if you are an online service). Furthermore, interacting with a website itself can waste your prospect’s precious time. A decision maker has more important things that they’d rather do than read pages upon pages of content.

 

Just like email though, telemarketing can be used together with websites to overcome those obstacles. Phone calls may be too short but it can help in calling the attention of your prospects to your website when SEO is not working too well. Opening yourself to phone inquires allows you to be flexible towards the many possible preferences your incoming prospects might have. Finally, websites need not bombard the prospect with too much information but giving them the option to call allows that call to give them that information at their own pace. In the end, it might even set you up for successful appointment setting. Again, software lead generation need not be limited to just one approach. Improve both methods by integrating them together!

How To Integrate Telemarketing With Other B2B Lead Generation Methods – #1: E-mail

B2B Lead Generation

With so many new means of communication, you can’t possible think that only one is needed to successfully connect (and stay connected) with clients. Today, more B2B marketing professionals are starting to see that relying on a single medium for contacting prospects is inconvenient and counterproductive to the whole process. The best solution is no longer based on rejection but integration. What methods can you use besides the one you just tried?

 

But before that, you’re probably wondering: why is it so counterproductive? Many people are often in favor of one method over another. In fact, lead generation companies have a natural tendency to defend the method with which they use to serve their own clients. Who is to be believed?

 

The problem is just that. They’re not comfortable discussing the shortcomings of their methods. You can be a direct mail, email, or even telemarketing company and still this would be something you all would have in common. There are flaws to each, singular approach but instead of thinking outside the box, they resort to defensiveness and business apologetics.

 

Speaking of which, consider telemarketing as the main example because it’s one of the oldest yet still common means of contacting business owners and decision makers. However, it’s not without its limitations. Gatekeepers pose as one of the major obstacles to telemarketers. It takes a lot of skill and preparation to know the right words that will convince them to let you through. If not gatekeepers, voice mail also poses as a problem because that too is being monitored (be it by the decision makers or one of their secretaries).

 

Now there’s another method which has been gaining increasing support ever since the internet has begun impacting the way businesses engage with their market: email.

 

Granted, there have been signs indicating the email isn’t all that new anymore either. Regardless, it’s the type of message that’s more likely to bypass the gatekeeper. It’s fast too and you don’t have to wait too long with the handset to your ear before hanging up (or rehearsing a message to leave in voice mail). You’re just leaving the message directly at their online doorstep. If the prospect replies, there can be plenty of room for a very detailed discussion.

 

And yet, just like telemarketing, it has its own flaws. Where telemarketers have gatekeepers, email marketers have spam filters. And even in the event that you managed to bypass it, you have to be careful with how you word everything from the subject line to the content. When you think about it, that’s hardly any different from rehearsing a script to make it not sound like a sales pitch.

 

At this point, this is where you should consider integration. Combine the two methods so that you can bypass both their obstacles. In the following, you will find several ways this can be done:

 

  • You can send an email to announce the call. Even if the message wasn’t read, you can tell the gatekeeper about it. If it was sent successfully, you have a really high chance of being let through.
  • If you’re not really eager to disturb, simply make the call first and tell them you’ll send an email later. Just to be safe, you might want to give this message directly to the decision maker.
  • When a prospect responds, there’s also the wise option of asking them how they’d like to continue. Decision makers are still people too and they have preferences on how they’d like to communicate.
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