Can Outsourcing To Telemarketers Help You Generate B2B Leads?

So far, the biggest problem that a lot of firms could ever face deals with the need to make a plenty of profits. This is an issue that has constantly bothered them. How can they make a profit, if their market is packed of competitors? It sure is nice if you could get your hands on something that can give you the edge. This is the reason why B2B leads are so much in demand by a lot of companies. Qualified leads are the best marketing aids that you can get. It can introduce you new markets, improve your sales campaign, and give you the edge over competitors. Whether you succeed or not will depend on just how good is the lead generation company that you hired to do the job. As a business investment, you should seriously consider hiring good telemarketing services if you want your firm to achieve long term profitability.

The fun part, as the old saying goes, will now lie in choosing the lead generation firm. After all, this is a challenge that many entrepreneurs have to face. Selecting the right lead generation firm can be a very daunting task, especially if this is their first time to do so. B2B lead generation services a very handy tool in producing the qualified leads that you need. The reason why a lot of small and medium sized firms these days are outsourcing this job is because of the inherent limitations of their operations. Many of these companies do not have enough budgets to build up their own lead generation team. With the value and usefulness of B2B leads decreasing as they age, there is a greater demand for experts who can professionally handle qualified sales leads. This could perhaps explain the rising number of lead generation firms. After all, they are the best when it comes to delivering qualified leads for their clients.

Aside from the usual lead generation services, version of this that has attracted considerable attention from other firms is appointment setting services. The use of B2B appointment setting services has proven to be very useful in providing the needed B2B leads. What makes this unique from the usual is due to its ability to address the needs of companies that do not have their own marketing teams. With the help of modern lead generation services, it is now possible for firms to improve their chances of making good sales. Professional telemarketers can effectively find new business opportunities and then qualify them to see if they meet their client’s requirements. If these do, then they will proceed to set up a meeting between the prospect and the client. It is that easy. And since telemarketing has improved itself over the years, you are less likely to suffer from a negative backlash from people with bad experiences from it.

The key, of course, still remains with you. It is you who will decide who to work with. And it is you who will have to make the choice. If it is the right one, then things will go very well for you.

Small Business Marketing News Update - North Florida Manufacturers Use Breakfast Discussion Panel With The Business Journal To Publicize Industry's Issues

The First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA) partnered with the Jacksonville Business Journal to conduct a panel discussion breakfast in order to engage the city’s business community in talks about issues facing the manufacturing industry.

Approximately 150 business people attended the breakfast to hear a panel of industry leaders that included FCMA President and State Representative Lake Ray; Tim Giles, Director of the Division of Continuing Education at the University of North Florida (UNF); attorney Rich Maguire of Rogers Towers; Mike Del Rocco, Regional Vice President with TD Bank; and Brian Tuttle, Vice President with manufacturer Rulon International.

The forum provided the manufacturers with a vehicle in which major issues could be vetted in detail. The issues ranged from the impact of manufacturing on the local and state economy to the prime obstacles regarding growth and expansion of manufacturing companies.

UNF’s Giles expressed concern about being able to supply the skill levels needed for manufacturing as employees are facing retirement. He believes that not enough students in high school and college today are taking the math, science, engineering and technological curriculums needed to prepare them to replace the aging workforce.

Attorney Maguire outlined the problems currently facing the industry regarding the extensive permitting process, both on the local level and with state government. He advocated a “one list” permitting sheet to assist manufacturers through the process and to also hopefully shorten it.

Del Rocco with TD Bank expressed his bank’s effort to provide easier lending terms to manufacturing firms for capital improvement. He said financial institutions are more open to making loans involving collateral equipment that, in turn, helps generate revenue to pay for itself. 

Manufacturer Tuttle outlined how North Florida companies have a greater opportunity to do business around the world, especially with our port facilities. He said that not only does this help increase manufacturing jobs, but it also generates indirect support jobs, such as logistics, raw materials suppliers and utility services.

Lake Ray, who also served as the moderator of the panel, listed some of the pending state legislation designed to help area businesses like manufacturing. He also pointed out information that demonstrates the value of the industry in Jacksonville and throughout the state.

Partnering with the Business Journal on the breakfast event gave the manufacturers a unique opportunity to bring their major concerns to the Jacksonville business community in a way that allowed for an extensive discussion by experts and feedback from the business audience. It was a format that provided manufacturers a time and a place to tell their whole story to their targeted audience. It was a format that accomplished much more than what 60-second television commercial or even full-page newspaper ad could do.  

The photo shows Lake Ray and Tim Giles with the other panelists at the breakfast.


What Is Demand Generation?

There are various definitions for demand generation, and it is often used interchangeably with either inbound marketing or the more popular lead generation. But demand generation is more than either of these two. Though it does include large amounts of marketing, its scope comprises a much larger process.

Demand generation is not broken up into campaigns, but does include strategies and systematic planning. It essentially comprises the whole sales process, even the part where the sales are actually converted into profits. As the name suggests, it focuses on creating demand---the propensity of the sales or business lead to purchase your products or services. While lead generation can be achieved through sheer dumb luck (a low budget video unexpectedly gaining virality status), demand generation requires a systematic, progressive and continuous process to create a steady demand for your product or service. There is no end to demand generation, as long as your business exists, you will need to create and foster a demand for your products and services to remain profitable. If you fail to create a demand for your merchandise in the first few years of your business, then there is little chance that you will ever achieve ROI.

Demand generation includes everything from lead generation to lead management. The entire sales process is not simply about finding leads, setting appointments with them and then converting them into profit. It should have a more long term goal of creating a steady flow of leads. Demand generation improves the (1)find--->(2)attract--->(3)meet--->(4)convert process and integrates the lead management segment into the mix. In fact, demand generation places a significant emphasis on lead management. Lead generation without lead management is merely a single transaction and leaves out a lot of potential business opportunities unexplored. With lead management, businesses are not only able to capture more leads but also identify which leads are already sales ready so that sales people can convert them right away. Content marketing is also a large part of demand generation. Without quality, knowledgeable and valuable content, sales leads and business leads will not see your products and services as useful for their own business.

The processes under lead management are found in the later part of the demand generation process. After the sales and business leads have been found, they need to be qualified. The lead scoring system plays an important part in this stage. Once the sales or business leads have been scored, they are finally sent to a salesperson to be closed. Demand generation is a complete and holistic integration of all these processes. In the previous illustration, if some leads are not able to immediately reach the last segment (convert), they undergo lead management where they are eventually returned to the attract--->meet--->convert segment. Similarly, leads who are successfully converted undergo the same process. This is what makes established businesses even more profitable. There are various software available to facilitate demand generation, but the in general, demand generation undergoes the same process.

Small Business Marketing News Update - 121 Financial Credit Union Reaches Out To Sports Fans By Launching Sharks VISA card

As a major sponsor of the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League, 121 Financial Credit Union has launched the official “Sharks” VISA credit card.

Since the credit union is a team sponsor, it was a logical marketing move for 121 Financial to offer a visible credit card tie-in, a popular financial tool, with support for a popular and successful sports franchise in Jacksonville.

The Sharks card, which is a standard VISA credit card, should be very attractive to the public since it has an introductory rate of 0%for six months for those who qualify.

Applications for the card, which features the Sharks logo and team colors, is being offered at each of the Shark’s home games, at all of the 121 branches and online. People receive a free Sharks/121 T-shirt just for applying for the card.

Cindy Breslin, vice president of marketing for 121 Financial said she wanted to show support for the home team. So as a credit union she thought a natural way to promote the franchise would be through an exclusive Sharks’ credit card. “Hopefully fans will get their card and use it throughout the community,” Breslin said. “That way when they pull out the card with the Sharks’ logo, other people will see it and think about supporting arena football in Jacksonville.”

How To Find Investors According To Mark Cuban

Dan Schawbel’s Sharktank Roundtable interview series provides great tips for entrepreneurs and businessmen from the eight hosts of the hit show. From that latest and last interview, here are 3 helpful tips to find investors according to Mark Cuban, a serial entrepreneur and a “Shark” in ABC’s popular show. Starting entrepreneurship early in his life, Cuban’s first venture was Broadcast.com which he eventually sold to Yahoo. His other businesses include: HDNet, 2929 Entertainment, IceRocket, ownership of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, and a slew of other investments.

"Do everything you can to not have to seek outside money. Most companies don’t need more money, they need more brains." 

Asking other people for seed capital doesn't just mean that they will provide initial funding for your business that you will have to pay for in the future, they will also require other collaterals such a certain percentage of stocks, a position in the board of directors, or some other executive position. Before scouring the Silicon Valley for angel investors and venture capitalists to fund your business, try to fund your business by yourself first. This way, if the venture doesn't turn out to be as profitable as you initially perceived or your target business leads didn't see it as valuable enough to purchase, then you can stop the operations anytime without needing to worry about paying back any money you owe from someone else. Afterwards, you can easily start again with another idea that may bring in more business leads.

"If you do need money, know exactly how much you need, what you are going to do with it and how it will get you to profitability." 

If you really need outside financing, then you have to prepare a complete report of where you will be spending the seed capital that your investor will lend you. No one would lend you anything if you don't have any clear plans on where to spend them and how you will get the money back. Your report should include: how much you plan to spend on product R&D, your projected expenses for lead generation campaigns and marketing, the distribution expenses, employee salaries and office rent. There might be other things you need to consider as well, such as if you need to outsource certain operations to a BPO company or a call center. The point is that you have to make it as complete and accurate as possible so that you won't run out of money prematurely or borrow much more than you can afford to repay.

"Be ready to work your ass off. Raising money is not a destination, it’s a starting point. The minute you take money, you no longer are your own boss. You work for the people giving you money. Be prepared to work harder than you did before. Raising money doesn’t make things easier; it creates more pressure for success." 

Having an investor on board can be both a blessing and a burden. On one hand you can take more risks because you have someone backing your efforts, on the other, you have to choose the risks you take wisely because the same person backing you up is expecting a lot from you. You will have to work extra hard to make sure that you always have a steady flow of sales leads coming in.

There is little margin for error and failure when investors are involved so you have to think very carefully before you find one for your business.

Small Business News Update - Jacksonville Businesses Use Promotional Products To Advance Their Marketing Strategies

Many companies will make an off-the-cuff decision to use promotional products or advertising specialty items to give to customers without really thinking about why they are buying and giving out these items. Someone in the company will come up with an idea for a note pad, a pen, or maybe now, a mouse pad. And with no real reasoning behind the use of the items, they end up in the back of a desk drawer or in the kids’ toy box.

When used correctly, promotional products can be a powerful marketing tool. Unfortunately, many businesses view ad specialty items only as a way to promotion name identification. But there are several Jacksonville companies that have taken a more strategic approach, using promotional items to help sell specific products or services.

Without violating the confidentiality of various companies’ marketing programs, here are some of the ideas used by unidentified Jacksonville companies:

Promotional Item: Key Chain (Featuring a Radio Frequency Chip)      
Company: Industrial Product Manufacturer
Situation: This company just introduced RFID Chips (Radio Frequency Identification) embedded in their industrial products so customers can easily monitor the history, features, maintenance schedule and repairs of the product.
Strategy: A key chain with an embedded RFID chip was produced and given to manufacturers’ reps and distributors so they would be aware of the new feature and they could even show their customers what the chip looks like.

Promotional Item: Protractor Wheel (Matching Surgery Microscopes With Sterile Covers)
Company: Surgical Supply Company
Situation: This company manufactures surgical drapes (coverings for microscopes used for microsurgery in hospital surgery rooms). They want operating room nurses to use their surgical drapes line.
Strategy: The protractors were mailed to operating room nurses all over the country. The feedback was tremendous because the tool made it easy for nurses to identify which drape matches with which microscope.

Promotional Item: Birdhouse (Painted With The Development’s Name In The Red/Black/White Design Like The Rock City Birdhouses)
Company: Residential Developer
Situation: This developer had some high-end lots in North Florida, located in an unusual Florida terrain of hills and valleys, similar to the Tennessee/North Carolina area.
Strategy: The birdhouses, containing sales materials explaining the unusual features of the lots, were distributed to local Realtorsoffices. In addition, some of the birdhouses were posted in the wooded lots like you would find with the Rock City houses. The lots were sold in a short time.

Promotional Item: Humorous Safety Posters (For Manufacturing Plant Facilities)
Company: Industrial Product Manufacturer
Situation: This manufacturer is constantly developing ways to promote product safety with the use of its product. So a series of humorous safety posters was created, printed and provided to distributors to give to their customers. The posters provided the distributors with a free give-away for their customers; they provided additional safety advice for use of the manufacturer’s product; and, with the manufacturer on the posters, factory workers were exposed to the manufacturer’s name. As a result, the manufacturer has difficulty keeping posters on hand for request.

Promotional Item: Acrylic Paperweights (Featuring Small Surgical Implants) 
Company: Medical Device Manufacturer
Situation: This company manufactures several small medical implants products for the ear, nose and throat field. In order to introduce their line to ENT Specialists, the company sent them a paperweight with their products inside. The physicians could use the paperweight to show their patients the actual implants and they could see how small the implants are. The company had a big demand by physicians for additional paperweights.  

These businesses experienced impressive results with their promotional product strategies. They knew exactly what they needed to promote and they found a unique way to do it. Specialty advertising can be effective once extensive thought and planning are put into the process.      

Build Relationships For Business

The problem with some businesses these days is that many of them are stuck on how to improve their visibility in the market. It may be true that they have the best products or services in the market, but if prospects do not see them, it is still useless. Telemarketers appear to be at a quandary at this. You can join plenty of events and other venues where you can advertise, but if you fail to consider one important factor in business, then you will fail.

It is all about building relationships. And it can have a lot of effect in telemarketing as well.

The reason why there are a lot of companies that succeed in their business is because they were able to make a connection with their prospects. This is not about making a sale or anything. It is all about understanding what the customers want. This is not about selling. This is all about letting prospects know that someone is really listening, and that there is someone who can address this need.

It can be a trick affair. And it will require trust and time to build up. But once it is there, it is there to stay. The aim is not to sell here anymore. The aim is to let people decide to buy. Clients don’t just come and go. If you can give them a superb service, and a good relationship, then they are sure to come back to you. It is worth the effort invested.

7 Ways to Be A Better Networker Than Your Competitors

So you think that meeting people can already be considered networking? Think again. Well, if you want to squash your competitors, then it’s time to do more than just handing out calling cards and giving firm business-like handshakes.

When it comes to networking, are you better than your competition? Smart and savvy businessmen and job seekers know how to make the most of their networking skills to beat their competition.

1. Look for job leads that fast by using Google Alerts. Google Alerts is an effective channel in finding job leads. Given the proper keywords, you could stumble on news relevant to the industry numerous times daily which can assist you in terms of getting opportunities. All you have to do is play with various words and phrases and complement your job search with first hand announcements.
2. Look professional on your social networks. A photo of you holding your puppy may be cute, but that’s not professional. Take note that people that have eggs, avatars, baby photos, or pets as their profile pictures are only offering entertainment, not brand. Think of your resume picture—a latest and decent quality photo with a smile can evoke a positive statement.
3. Never give away leads by your passivity. Don’t just wait there. Instead, proactively upstage your competitors by doing small things which are easier to do for now. Follow up an interview, call the company to know the status of your job application or meet that business lead which you may eventually close to a sale.
4. See Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Facebook as just a single portfolio for your business. Define clearly who you are. Are you the same individual on your various social network profiles? Set a reliable message all throughout the different social media platforms. Leverage status updates, profile massages and taglines in order to communicate effectively what sales leads and potential employers would want to know.
5. Make the most of business coaches, mentors and advisors. Nobody does it all alone. Rather than figuring it all by your lonesome, you could get expert advice from individuals that can bring you alternatives or opportunities that you never thought about. Don’t passively sit there and wait for other people to deliver you the leads you need; learn how you can drive your job hunt efficiently by taking it into your own hands.
6. Network regularly to meet your prospect, much better in person. If you’re not, then chances are, your competitors already are, instead of you----that’s making real connections. They may have similar or less experience than you, but the difference lies in them talking to individuals that are passionate and willing to be of help to them.
7. Be a giver, not a taker. If you want to build connections, strive to give more than what you could even receive. And don’t even say that it’s not worth it. It is not even about lending, but remember that in networking, when you give, you also receive. One way to do this is to volunteer; maximize your skills to be useful to others. If you strategize well, not only you can get recognized for your efforts, but you’ll also feel more fulfilled.

Small Business Marketing Blog Update - Digital Billboard Company Is Now User Friendly For Jacksonville's Small Businesses

In an earlier blog, I reported that Clear Channel Outdoorwas missing an opportunity by not working with local small businesses so they could afford to advertise on Clear Channel’s new digital billboards.

The original advertising package I was given by a Clear Channel executive limited the advertising offer to running on four boards a month at a cost of $10,500, and $13,250 a month for five boards. I felt this charge put the billboards out of the reach of most small businesses.

However, I was recently contacted by a very sharp Clear Channel account executive, Amey Garrison, who informed me that the company did change their advertising offer that would accommodate various budgets and help address the marketing objectives of neighborhood businesses. 

Since my first contact with Clear Channel, the company has erected 28 digital boards, strategically placed around Jacksonville, all featuring high traffic counts. While most are doubled sided, just a few only offer one showing at its location.

Ms. Garrison pointed out that the company doesn’t restrict advertisers to a specific budget or to specific boards. She said they are open to working with small business budgets to help them achieve their marketing goals at dollar levels that can work for the advertiser. Their policies will let a company advertise for short periods of time, as little as one day, and to run messages on one or multiple boards a month.

The digital boards allow for much more creativity than the traditional boards. And other than the creation of the artwork, there are no production charges like there are for vinyl or paper. Clear Channel has an in-house art department that can create board layouts for small businesses that don’t have that resource.

After talking to Ms. Garrison, I am convinced that Clear Channel is now the advertising source I was hoping it would be for area small businesses. I recommend contacting Ms. Garrison if you would like to take advantage of this impressive new medium. In addition, Ms. Garrison has a multi-media background and can help with targeting your audience and create messages that are as big as all outdoors. You can reach her at AmeyGarrison@ClearChannel.com. 
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