Editor's Note: Jeff Kalter is CEO of 3D2B, a global business-to-business telemarketing company that bridges the divide between marketing and sales. He leads customer acquisition programs for Fortune 500 companies, and is passionate about building strong business relationships through professional phone conversations. This post is part two in a two-part series on marrying digital and human touch marketing. Read part one here.
With a wealth of cost-effective media outlets, it’s easier than ever to deliver your message in several formats - blogs, webinars, white papers, e-books and more - that appeal to your target market. In exchange for informative content you can capture a name, an email address and a phone number, and have permission to engage.
But as the late, great sales expert Chet Holmes explained: “At any given time 3% of your prospects are currently in the market to buy your product or service and looking right now to get it. Another 6-7% are open to it, but not currently looking.”
For leads to become prospects and, ultimately, customers, they need to move through that buying cycle and, therefore, it requires multiple contacts, or touches to keep your business top of mind. The National Sales Executive Association reinforces these numbers. They report that only 10% of prospects will respond at some point during the first three contacts; another 10% will be receptive on the fourth touch.
This leaves anywhere from 80-90% of the market only starting to connect somewhere between the 5th and 12th touch…and maybe more.
Digital touches in the form of well-crafted content will help. But your online message, of necessity, is generic, impersonal and often automated. You can turn all your leads over to your sales force and let them sort out the hot prospects. This, however, is not a task for which outside sales people are well suited.
Or you can use professional telemarketers, well-versed in your products and/or services, to introduce the human touch early in the sales cycle, qualify the hot prospects and nurture the not-ready-yet crowd.
Here’s a three-step blueprint to connect with decision makers through multiple touches - both digital and human. The further down the funnel, the greater the need for human interaction.
Step 1: Digital Media Generates Leads. To reach the broadest base and ensure as many touches as possible, use a range of online resources that appeal to your audience -blogs, social media, email, video, podcasts, webinars and ads. The more you use these tactics, the greater your opportunity to be seen and heard, and all the time decision makers are free to consume your message on their terms.
Your content marketing should connect at an emotional level. People may justify a sales decision with their heads, but they buy with their hearts - even in B2B transactions.
And open with your “wow” factor to break through the mental gatekeeper that sifts through information, rejecting the ordinary and the self-serving. Before you engage your prospects, captivate their imagination. Let them envision the benefits they gain from working with you.
Step 2: Telemarketing Qualifies and Nurtures Leads. The reports of the death of telemarketing have been greatly exaggerated. Until someone speaks one-on-one with your leads, you can only try to anticipate what information they’re seeking and the problems they’re trying to solve.
Develop an internal telesales team or hire a telesales company that puts experienced professionals - trained on your products and solutions - to work on your behalf. You can expect them to be strong representatives of your company, able to answer questions, offer additional information, schedule follow-up meetings with sales reps, and gauge where prospects are in the buying cycle.
You don’t have to wait for decision makers to call you. Outbound telemarketing works. The sales process begins when a decision maker gives you contact information in exchange for access to a report, white paper, video or webinar. Following up by phone is not a cold call. With experienced telemarketers as your public face, you’re reaching out - one professional to another. And your telemarketers can also get a little help from the digital world - nurturing their leads with email marketing when necessary.
Just remember, your prospects have a need and you have solutions. Your calls are of value.
Step 3: Your Field Sales Force Closes More Sales. Your sales representatives are your closers. They work with decision makers, business owners, top executives and department heads. They meet face-to-face, demo products, build trust, discuss terms and introduce key account and support managers. They are the front line of your sales efforts. You don’t want them to waste time cold calling or qualifying leads.
Support them and keep them focused on what they do best: close business. That means giving them prospects that are primed and receptive to meeting and talking business. Don’t just court ROI in 2014. Marry inside sales to your digital marketing efforts; boost your number of qualified leads; and amp up your sales.
To learn more, check out the white paper: Human Touch in a Digital World
How does your organization find the right mix of digital and human touch strategy?