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.
It’s 2014 and we believe it’s time for something old and something new – for a marriage made in…well, business.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, today’s blogs and social sites reach 8 out of 10 US Internet users and almost as many globally. Socialnomics founder Erik Qualman says this represents a “fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” With all the gathering and chat online, it’s understandable that business managers perceive the Internet as a goldmine for connecting with prospective customers.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that marketing leaders are shifting more of their dollars to digital outreach tactics. It’s fast. It’s easy. And it’s ubiquitous.
But are you getting the best return on investment? More importantly, by embracing digital are you depriving your customers and prospects of the human connection they want and need? If you’re turning your back on traditional marketing tactics, you may be missing the glue that holds it all together: The relationship.
As you make plans for 2014, combine old and new tactics to create a marketing strategy that’s proven to be ideal for business-to-business (B2B) sales. Marrying your digital outreach – websites, blogs, email campaigns, landing pages and social media – and the human touch of inside and in-person sales may be just what you need.
Select the Right Tool for the Job
There’s a tool for every job and in the last few years, marketing managers may have shifted a little too much of their budget to online marketing. It’s all about getting the balance right.
- Online Marketing: Bait for Leads
“Audiences everywhere are tough,” insists Craig Davis, J. Walter Thompson’s Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide. “They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.”
In addition to the lure of more cost-effective marketing, it’s the fear of interrupting and potentially turning off the prospect that’s given rise to permission-based inbound marketing. Blogs, social and other digital media put your message in the hands of decision makers…when they ask for the information.
Digital communication is a medium, a very useful tool. But it’s not an all-embracing marketing strategy. Nor should it be the only tactic in your sales toolkit.
- Inside Sales: For Lead Qualification and Relationship Building
Properly used, professional telesales agents complement your online efforts by providing the human touch. They can help convert a lead into a prospect who when passed along to your sales force has a higher probability of becoming a sale. Think of digital media as a way to collect data (leads, in this case). Then when an experienced telesales agent calls a lead, your company begins to engage a person in conversation. And because it’s a two-way conversation, it’s filled with questions and answers:
- You gain a better picture of the decision makers in your market.
- You learn which of your messages are working.
- You have a greater chance of moving a person further down the sales funnel.
- You know more about a decision maker’s plans and when he or she will be ready buy.
- They learn how your products and services can help them.
In the process raw data is transformed into a live human being — one who shares marketplace insights and their specific needs and interests. With more information you’ll be able to identify the qualified leads to hand off to your sales force, helping them increase their close rates.
To learn more, check out the white paper: Human Touch in a Digital World