BlogBloghttp://leedresearch.com/blogs/Wed, 18 Nov 2015 03:19:50 -0800http://zoho.com/sites/<![CDATA[Start-Ups: Test Driving Your Lead Generation Strategy Yields Better Results]]>http://leedresearch.com/blogs/post/Start-Ups-Test-Driving-Your-Lead-Generation-Strategy-Yields-Better-Results/

Whether you have a new start-up, or you are a seasoned business professional, there is one important concept to keep in mind when choosing your lead generation approach...

establishing & strengthening prospect & customer relationships

is the foundation of success!

I’m sure you’ve heard this and read about it countless times. It’s nothing new, but it should be the philosophy within every organization.


To get you going in the right direction, here are some tips to consider:

Choose Your Path Carefully: Take It Slow

As we all know, there are various tools available for conducting lead generation—including, but not limited to social media, videos, web site testing, email marketing, workshops, print advertising, PR, conferences, seminars, webinars, prospect calling, and the list goes on.


When developing an effective strategy for your business, there is no such thing as one size fits all. What works well for some companies is not necessarily a good fit for others. The reason for this is that your prospects and customers are individuals with their own set of needs and preferences. Each one may have a different response to whatever lead generation method you use. For example, some business professionals do not have time to participate in social media, and if you only use that tool to reach out to your potential customers, you may be missing some opportunities. There are also those who may be more receptive to emails, while others may prefer getting phone calls so they can speak to a live person. 


The bottom line is that while all of these choices may seem overwhelming, you can start out slowly by testing some options, and then determine which combination works best for you. Each vehicle has its own merits and strengths, but the chances of success are even greater with the right blend of programs. Trying a few approaches instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket reduces your risk and increases your success of finding the right match for your company. A little of this and a little of that goes a long way.

Prospect Calling is NOT a Dead End

Before we go any further, I would like to clarify something. You may have noticed that I included prospect calling within the list of lead generation methods. The terms prospect calling, outbound calling, or cold calling are often used interchangeably. 


Despite what you have heard or read about cold calling, it is not “dead,” and, it is not just about numbers. If you do the research, you will find that many successful companies and entrepreneurs use prospect calling techniques to generate and qualify leads, while gathering important information about their target markets. In fact, organizations are still hiring lead generation and appointment scheduling experts. Why? Because these companies know that in order to be successful in any aspect of business, you have to look at the big picture and think outside the box. They also know that when performed correctly, prospect calling works very well, and is essential for managing and strengthening your business relationships! Keep in mind, that this concept is achieved more effectively through prospect calling than any other marketing medium, and maximizes your opportunities for building trust with people—which ultimately increases your visibility, growth, and revenue over the long term.

Accelerate Change and Move Forward

This is not to say that outbound calling programs should be conducted using the same approaches that were done in the past. We can all agree that the way we do business has changed, and we all have to embrace the challenges associated with those changes by working smarter toward finding the right solutions that lead to better results—without compromising our core objective in maintaining our relation-

ships with prospects and customers.  One other key factor to remember is...

Start with the right attitude. Be positive, tenacious, assertive, creative, 

knowledgeable, and respectful.

Shift Into Gear With Experienced Help

If you don’t have the time to implement any of these lead generation programs on your own, and you are on a tight budget, consider outsourcing these services to an entrepreneur like yourself. Top freelancers or independent contractors who are experienced in your industry are often good sources because they most likely have gained knowledge and expertise by working as employees for other companies before they struck out on their own. They know how to deal with decision makers in your target market, and can provide references and testimonials from companies they have worked with. They may also be more flexible about working within your budget constraints.

Time to Get Going!

Now that you have some information to help you get started, it’s time to test drive some of these options to see what works best for your business. If you have any suggestions on approaches that you found helpful, please share them. We can all learn from each other.

About the Writer

Lee Dill is an Entrepreneur and Independent Contractor with over 15 years of marketing and sales experience helping businesses, including start-up companies, increase growth, visibility, and revenue within the healthcare and technology sector. Focus is placed on establishing and strengthening prospect and customer relationships, generating and qualifying leads, and scheduling appointments with key decision makers. If you would like a free strategy consultation, with no strings attached, Lee can be reached at lee@leedresearch.com, or call (505) 369-2235. 

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Tue, 17 Nov 2015 21:22:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes]]>http://leedresearch.com/blogs/post/Put-Yourself-in-Your-Customers’-Shoes/

When you get a call or email from a company you’re doing business with where you are asked to take a brief survey or give feedback about your customer experience, have you ever wondered where the information goes? Has the thought occurred to you that your responses are not really getting read by someone who cares, but are instead winding up in the Bermuda Triangle? Are the calls often from a robotic voice mail, or is there a live person on the other end?

If you pondered any of these questions about your own experiences, then it’s time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, focus on how you’re communicating with them, and what you need to do in order to assure them that their in-put is a vital part of making their experience the best it can be. 

Here are some recommendations for increasing customer loyalty:

Keep Your Clients Happy:

Many of us are guilty. Let’s admit it. We’re so focused on finding ways to attract new prospects and gain more business that we often don’t spend enough time ensuring that our current clients are truly happy.

When was the last time you called each one of your clients and asked them…How is it going? Are there any problems that you are experiencing? Is there anything I can do to help? Just by checking in every once in a while, and on a regular basis, can mean a great deal to your customers. It shows that you really do stand by your promises and that you care about their needs and concerns even after they purchased your product or enlisted your services.

Strengthen Your Relationships:

Don’t just send emails and make contact when you have a new product, upgrade, or service that you want your customers to know about. Keep in touch with them frequently and let them know that they can rely on you if they have any questions, or just need to have something clarified. Stress to them that their concerns are your concerns, and that your company is committed to resolving any issues that come up. This is all part of building relationships.

Keep in mind that when your customers’ contractual agreements are up for renewal, you want to increase your chances of being the company they rely on for the products and services you provide. 

Educate, Communicate, and Update Your Customers:

Are there any specifics of using your products and services that need additional clarification? Are some of your customers confused about certain aspects of what you provide to them? Have they been given all of the tools and information they need to better utilize your products? These are just a few examples of questions that may arise when customers need additional instruction or communication to maximize their experience with your company. Make sure they have the latest version of training materials, or any documents that incorporate changes or updates to the solutions they are using. Either you or someone in your organization needs to maintain communication with your customers to alert them about any information they need to know about. You can use blogs on your web site or email updates to help educate them as necessary. If you have any special offers or upgrades, make sure they know about them. Always follow up with a phone call to make sure your customers have received this information, and if they have any questions.

Evaluate and Respond to Customer Feedback:

Don’t just send out customer satisfaction surveys and then put them in a pile to be reviewed at a later time. Remember the Bermuda Triangle? Conduct these surveys regularly, but make a conscious effort to read each one as soon as possible, and then respond to the customer with a phone call to discuss their comments or problems. This shows that you are staying on top of the issues that are important to them, and that you are not too busy to resolve the problem. Make sure to ask for Testimonials so you can use them in your marketing efforts.

Reach Out and Talk to Your Customers:

Depending on where your customers are located, it is not always cost productive to visit them in person, unless you have representatives in those areas. If, however, you have any local customers within a certain radius, call and invite them to lunch periodically, and tell them to bring their other key team members along. Getting feedback and various perspectives from those involved with using your products or services will not only help you better understand your customers’ concerns, but it will let them know that you are committed to making the necessary improvements in order to keep them as happy customers.


For those clients that are at a distance, sending emails to conduct customer surveys is fine, but if you really want to make an impression, pick up the phone and talk with them on a regular basis. Schedule conference calls with anyone in their organization that is directly involved with using your products and services.

Listen Closely to Your Customers:

By extending yourself and really listening to what your clients have to say, helps to identify what areas of your products or services need improving, reduces negative word of mouth, ensures customer loyalty and retention, and ultimately increases your visibility, growth and revenue.

Show Your Appreciation:

Thank your customers for doing business with you. You can do this when you are making one of your regular phone calls, or better yet, send them a personalized note on a fine piece of stationary. We all get wrapped up with electronic communications that we forget how nice it is to receive a hand-written card or letter. Let them know you value their loyalty and their in-put. Extend yourself to help them in any way you can. All of these things help to strengthen your relationships with your customers.


Oh, and one last suggestion. Get rid of the robots. If you don’t like getting calls from pre-programmed voice mails, chances are your customers don’t either.

About the Writer

Lee Dill is an Entrepreneur and Independent Contractor with over 15 years of marketing and sales experience helping businesses, including start-up companies, increase growth, visibility, and revenue within the healthcare and technology sector. Focus is placed on establishing and strengthening prospect and customer relationships, generating and qualifying leads, and scheduling appointments with key decision makers. If you would like a free strategy consultation, with no strings attached, Lee can be reached at lee@leedresearch.com or call (505) 369-2235.

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Tue, 17 Nov 2015 20:58:01 +0000
<![CDATA[How To Develop a Successful Lead Generation Telemarketing Strategy]]>http://leedresearch.com/blogs/post/How-To-Develop-a-Successful-Lead-Generation-Telemarketing-Strategy/

There is no doubt about it. Contacting your prospective and current customers by telephone is essential for managing and strengthening your business relationships. This is achieved more effectively than any other marketing medium, and maximizes your opportunities for visibility, growth, and increased revenue. What may start out as a “cold call” can turn into a very warm and rewarding partnership—resulting in successful and profitable outcomes.


Experience Matters: Most sales representatives do not have enough time on their daily agendas to keep up with the volume of calls necessary to reach their goals. If this is the case in your organization, then you may want to consider contracting with someone. When looking for the right individual to assist you in making calls and scheduling appointments, keep in mind that it is important to work with someone who is experienced in your particular industry, and who knows how to communicate effectively with your key decision makers. There is nothing worse than having a person speaking on your behalf who is not articulate, and who does not understand how to handle a conversation with business executives. You want someone who can hit the ground running, and who has the ability to think on their feet.


Use a Quality List of Targeted Prospects: As we all know, it is important to have a good list to work from, whether you are making calls to prospects, sending emails, or getting ready to send out that big direct mail campaign. Take the time to do your research on who your key decision makers are before you begin reaching out to them. Even if it takes some extra effort to get a clean, updated list, it will be well worth it in the long run. There are plenty of list companies or list brokers to choose from. While no list is 100% perfect, you want to make sure to select all the pertinent information you need, such as Targeted Contact Names (Key Decision Makers), Titles, Company/Organization, Parent Company (if available), Web Site Addresses, Physical and/or Mailing Addresses, City, State, Zip, Phone Numbers, Email Addresses. You can even fine tune your search within certain categories, such as Demographics, Geographic Areas, Size of Organization, Revenue, Type of Products Purchased Within the Last Year, etc. The size of a list should not matter. A big list does not necessarily mean it is a good one. You want to strive, however, to get as much of an updated list as possible. If selecting a list company that you have never worked with before, make sure to contact some references from other businesses like yours that have used the lists you are considering—and don’t be afraid to call them to find out if the lists worked well for them.


Trade Shows/Conferences. There are also lists available that include the attendees of a particular trade show or conference in your industry. If you get these lists, you can reach out to your prospects in order to schedule appointments with those who may be interested in evaluating your product or service. Invite them to stop by your booth, and offer to send them information. If time permits, try to qualify them by asking a few questions: Are they currently using a product (gear toward the type of product you are offering)? If so, which one? Are they happy with it? For those people who do stop by your booth, be sure to get their business cards or have them fill out a form so you have their contact information for future marketing efforts. By all means, make sure to follow up by phone and email after the conference.


Create an Effective Message That Engages Your Prospects. Before you begin making calls, be sure to develop a call guide that is focused on learning more about your prospects, their needs, interests, and objectives. You want to get to know your prospects better before you introduce your products or services. Include some specific questions that will be valuable in qualifying your leads. For example, What services are you using now? (Tailor this to the type of services or products that you are trying to sell), How are these services helping you to achieve your goals and increase revenue?  The prospects you are calling receive numerous calls per week, so you have to find the best method to stand out in their minds and make an impression. For example, you can point out certain relevant concerns that are going on in the industry that are most likely affecting your prospects’ business. Even if they do not have a need for your product or service at that moment, or do not want to admit that they are not happy with their current solution, you will indeed get them thinking about your conversation when they are ready. 


Don’t Drop the Ball: Once you reach the prospect and have a conversation, make sure to follow up with an email, or another phone call, depending on the situation. Even if the contact is not interested at this time does not mean that there won’t be a need in the future. The more you stay on top of your prospect list, the greater your impact will be in increasing your company’s visibility in the marketplace. Following up and not dropping the ball is also important—otherwise, someone else will come along at the right time and you will have a missed opportunity.

 

Please leave a comment and share any suggestions on techniques that have worked for you. It is always helpful to incorporate new ideas into your marketing programs.


About the Writer:


Lee Dill is an Independent Contractor with over 15 years of marketing and sales experience helping businesses, including start-up companies, increase growth, visibility, and revenue within the healthcare and technology sector. Focus is placed on establishing and strengthening relationships, generating and qualifying leads, and scheduling appointments with key decision makers. She can be reached at www.leedresearch.com

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Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:07:06 +0000
<![CDATA[Tips to Increase Your Prospect Relationships]]>http://leedresearch.com/blogs/post/Tips-to-Increase-Your-Prospect-Relationships/

Do you take the time to research a prospective company before you pick up the phone?  Have you called a prospect and asked the individual what he or she is really looking for in a particular product or service before making the pitch? Do you know what your prospects’ biggest concerns are? What would it take to make them satisfied customers?


As we all know, most people involved with sales are too busy to conduct research, or make continuous calls to establish relationships because they are working on so many other projects. The problem is what are you risking by not doing these things?

 

These tips are based on my 15 years of directly helping businesses and entrepreneurs improve prospect relationships. I believe they will help you too.


 1. Get to know your prospects. Take extra time to do some research before reaching out to the targeted individual. This may mean doing your homework on the internet and prospect web site to read some of the company’s press releases, the backgrounds of the key management people you want to speak with, and learn as much as you can about what the company’s goals and objectives are.


2. Research your prospect’s competition. Check out what other companies are doing that are in competition with your prospect. When you do reach the targeted contact, you can mention this information along with anything else you have researched that is pertinent to the conversation. Offer some suggestions on what the prospect can do that will help them compete more effectively. Your prospect will know that you took the time to learn about what they are up against, and they will be making a mental note of this. Knowing about other companies in the industry can also help you in the future when you are looking for new opportunities.


3. Create Allies. Most decision makers have an assistant or “gatekeeper.” Don’t just try to bypass them every time you call, or be dismissive to their screening methods. Let them know that you understand how important their job is, and give them a chance at getting to know you and how your product or service will benefit their company’s needs. Be friendly, enthusiastic, respectful, and by all means, smile as you speak. You would be surprised at how many assistants are out there that will work with you instead of against you. They are often a great resource at finding out more about what the company is doing regarding making certain purchases. They may even refer you to someone else within the organization who is more involved with decisions about what you are offering. Be sure when all is said and done that you keep track of the assistant’s name and any notes in your database in case you need it in the future.


4. Focus on your prospects’ needs and concerns. Instead of rambling on about your own products/services right at the start, probe a bit and let your contact know that you want to develop a better understanding of their concerns and to learn more about what they are looking for. For example, What products/services are they now using? How has this been working for them? What specific areas do they want to improve? Then tailor your discussion on those product benefits that will satisfy and meet the prospect’s needs.


5. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up. Whether you are sending an email thanking the contact for his/her time, sending them some additional information that will help them better understand how your product will benefit them, or writing to answer their questions that were posed in your discussion, make sure you keep on top of following up in a timely manner. Don't forget to proofread or have someone review and edit your correspondence if you are not a proficient writer. There is nothing worse than sending written correspondence to someone where there are typos, or where the message is just not clear and comprehensive. Take some extra time before you click on “Send” and avoid any embarrassment for yourself or your company.

 

Let’s face it. People want to do business with people they know something about, and who they feel can be trusted. Establish a relationship first before asking someone to sign on the dotted line.


Let me know how these suggestions are working for you, or if you have any questions.


About the Writer

Lee Dill is an Independent Contractor with over 15 years of marketing and sales experience helping businesses, including start-up companies, increase growth, visibility, and revenue within the healthcare and technology sector. Focus is placed on establishing and strengthening relationships, generating and qualifying leads, and scheduling appointments with key decision makers.



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Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:12:40 +0000