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Month: August 2010

Hosted Call Centers Bringing Customer Service Back to U.S. Soil

NPR recently ran a fascinating news article on the the return of call center outsourcing back to the U.S. through distributed, home-based service reps.

And for once, it was nice to see that something we’ve been evangelizing for a while now is coming to fruition: that hosted telephony and call center services increasingly provide value for companies who want to save costs on customer service and support, but want to keep reps based in the U.S.

The article states that the primary reason for the shift back from international call center outsourcing to U.S. domestic is very simple: it increases customer satisfaction, leading to longer-term customer loyalty and higher sales . . . .

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In Small Business Selling, the Rule Isn’t 80/20 – It’s 98/2

Though published back in 2002, author John Warrilow’s book Drilling For Gold presents a fascinating take on the tried and true (some might say cliché) “80/20” rule of sales and marketing—namely, that when it comes to small business selling, the rule should closer to 98/2.

Using a chart that breaks down accounts and prospects into a series of “buckets,” he demonstrates a process for evaluating the current profit levels of customers and prospects, and each account’s potential growth.

smb-eval-chart

While Warrilow states that good qualitative research should back up the basic “Profit/Potential” profile, generally speaking the trick is to expend the highest levels of time, energy, and money not with the top 20 percent, but the top 2 percent of clients and prospects—the ones who are currently highly profitable, and have a high potential to remain so.

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Quick Sales Tip – Don’t Forget the Gap in “Big Account” vs. “Small Account” Technology Needs

The guys and gals up at SEO.com recently announced that they were partnering with Boostability.com to address a “hole” in their service offerings. Recognizing that up to this point the bulk of their clients had been high-level enterprise, SEO.com felt that they needed to add a service offering for locally focused, small-to-medium-sized businesses to continue growing their market share. My initial thought was, “Good for them.” My second thought was, “I hope they know how to successfully target local businesses’ technology needs to get the results they want from the initiative.” I say this because one of the biggest challenges InsideSales.com has faced has been differentiating our offerings between enterprise and small-to-mid-sized businesses. In a perfect world, we’d never have to have our sales reps working both enterprise and small business deals. We’d separate the sales team by deal size, and “big account” closers and “small account” closers wouldn’t ever have to cross channels. The reality, however, is that sales reps often have to work both types of accounts—and in technology sales, one of the biggest mistakes reps make in this situation is that they fail to adapt to the differences in technology readiness of smaller accounts. The problem typically reveals itself in two related ways: Reps consistently overestimate small business’s ability to provide high-level technical expertise.   Especially in today’s market, where many typical business services can be...

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“The Medium is the Message” Redux – The Targeted Sales Email

mailbox-greenYesterday we looked at how the communication medium of the telephone constrains the process and effectiveness of how we make contact on a sales call.

Today I thought we’d briefly follow-up and take a look at one of the other ubiquitous sales communication media—The Targeted Email. Understanding the “message” of the email medium can help reps write better email content, and reach more contacts.

Point one: for marketing emails, data, statistics, and facts carry better than pure emotion—but don’t ignore the emotional impact either.

In spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of them get sent every single day, we occasionally forget that an email is still, in its purest sense, a written document.

This is important, because a written medium carries a much different “sense” than other forms of media. It can be seen, referenced, re-scanned, reinterpreted at will, as long as it is front of the reader. Written text is generally perceived as more formal than other modes of communication. We naturally assume that it carries more weight—as long as it’s worth our time to begin with . . . .

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Sales Call Tactics – The Medium Controls the Message

tv-old20th century Canadian scholar and media theorist Marshall McLuhan once stated that when it comes to communication, “The medium is the message.”

In his mind, it was not always the content of the message that mattered, as much as the the method in which it was delivered.

For example, a television set can deliver a broad variety of messages through the media of video and sound—sitcoms, “reality” shows, newscasts, the NFL, talk shows, cartoons, full-length feature movies, and Shark Week. However, we often forget what TV can’t control—the fact that the recipient has to receive those messages under a very specific set of conditions.

The viewer has to be in front of a television screen, tuned to the right channel, able to hear the audio portion of the broadcast, and have a minimum level of outside distractions.

Have you ever considered just how much time, money and energy we dedicate to having a “maximized TV watching experience”? If the “medium is the message,” based on its use conditions, the message of the TV medium is that it’s a big deal. An investment. An experience compelling enough for us to plan our living arrangements around its very existence.

And here’s the kicker:

A sales phone call is no different. . . . .

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