June 21st, 2012
If there’s one thing you can learn from insurance fraud, it’s to never underestimate the possibility of deceit. And as always, the best way to counteract deceit is by being sharp in finding out the truth. So what does this have to do with lead generation (or a call center)?
As you’re well aware, a lead generator is supposed to tell you everything you need to know about a prospect in order to make a sale. You don’t just learn about an opportunity. You learn things that will help you achieve success with this opportunity. Things like the needs, the size, and the budget of a prospect company are just some of the interesting facts you can use so you’ll know (and show) how to be of best service to them.
The problem comes when businesses have become too lazy and would rather speed up the process in certain areas. One of these areas is the form of communication being used to connect with prospects. You see it when they automate their marketing messages and become purely dependent on attracting inquiries with as little outbound effort as possible.
Another example would be when they rely too much on online conversations to learn about prospects. They start conversations by going to social media sites or sending emails with interesting subject lines. Granted, these forms of communication aren’t without their perks. Emails don’t disrupt decision makers when they’re in the middle of important management tasks. Social media has the power to grant both exposure as well as insight into how the whole of the target market is behaving.
However, remember the issue of trust? This is where you need to question the reliability of these methods. You’ve probably read and watched many an advisory telling people to be careful about what they read online. It’s even more critical when it comes to having online conversations with someone. These warnings aren’t just limited to children or to keeping people safe from sex predators. It applies to businesses and professionals too. You shouldn’t be too trusting of the messages you receive from a prospect or the things you read up on their social media profile. In fact, even the networking sites themselves encourage their users to use real pictures and other means to show that they’re real people. That says a lot about how easy it is to put up false and misleading information on the Web.
This is why it’s very important to really verify the information you’ve gathered from online sources by using more real, more direct forms of communication. A phone conversation is one such form. It’s not that complicated. You’re hearing a real person’s voice. They’re confirming the things they’ve said in their messages, the addresses on their profiles, and what their company does. If that’s not enough (and sometimes it really isn’t), you can even set insurance appointments so that you’ll be meeting these people in the flesh.
Costs aren’t an excuse to not go to these necessary lengths. (Professional telemarketers can just be outsourced anyways so you don’t have to worry about hiring them all by yourself.) If you want to protect yourself from fraudulent information, then you must do everything to verify the truth.
June 7th, 2012
Two weeks ago, CNNMoney published this brief article on the global economic shift, indicating that money is moving in Asia’s favor. With a primary focus on Singapore, Peter Pham writes:
“If traders would stop and look beyond the U.S. and Europe, they would see what legendary investor (and current Singapore resident) Jim Rogers sees: money is fleeing the West and heading East.”
For insurance companies (and all other B2B organizations), this obviously means that there is a growing market over there and the potential for success is high. On the other hand, with these insurance prospects located nearly half the world away, attempts to contact them would require only the latest in communications technology.
First, you have websites. In the old days, exploration and expeditions shrunk the world by filling up the blank places on the map. Today, the world has shrunk even further as the online realm bridges gaps between nations.
Following websites, you also have email. Not only is it less intrusive compared to previous methods, communication through it can allow enough space and time to fully write out the complex concerns that usually arise from insurance.
Thirdly (and speaking of previous methods), telemarketing is still also viable because while you might have to adjust to a difference in time zone, telemarketing in Singapore can reach a busy prospect during moments when internet-based attempts aren’t faring so well.
You also have a bit of advertising on your side. Web banners that are attractive but at the same time can provoke further inquiry could be all you need to start qualifying B2B sales leads. On that note though, it’s important to always emphasize on that: further inquiry.
If there’s one thing a time zone can indicate, it’s that time itself is scarce in business. It still doesn’t matter how fast your message gets sent or how accessible your website is during any part of the day. The actual time that a foreign prospect will encounter you either way is when you’re fast asleep at home. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the one contacting them or you’ve outsourced lead generation companies to represent you. Time must not be wasted during the entire exchange. When you’re trying to attract foreign attention, it must be the type that sparks further inquiry and not keep them hanging about when they still have other things to do.
You can’t afford to waste time yourself so it’s only right that you don’t try and take up too much of other people’s time. Regardless of how you reach out, engaging a prospect musn’t demand too much of their busy day. This goes from the moment you first try to connect with them, all the way to setting an appointment.
Expanding your market beyond national borders has always been a big step. But with a wider market, that only means you have more targets that will divide your attention many more times than when you were still catering to local businesses. Still, with the way the market is now shifting, it might be your only chance of keeping business afloat. Don’t wait until the economic environment around you dries up. Expand your horizons and use what you can to reach out across the world as quickly as possible.
May 30th, 2012
Taking risks is becoming quite the virtue these days. However, do the facts really line up? Can you really rely too much on the data and less on gut-feeling? Well Jill Dyche of the Harvard Business Review might have something else to say:
“Savvy managers understand that weaving data-driven decisions into the fabric of corporate governance can obviate organizational infighting and drive progress. By establishing clear accountability measures, managers can determine whether and how corporate goals are being achieved, and hold people accountable for how they are achieving those goals. ”
The above quote is simply a small piece of the larger reality Dyche has written about. These days, despite our advancements in high-speed, high-storage information technology, there still exist companies who act too much on what’s arbitrarily subjective instead of the simple facts and hard data.
As a financial service provider, you should be right up there in maintaining the balance of heart over head in company management. The problem of course is that these days risk-takers continue to have a large following of hero worshipers both in the business world and beyond. Another recent example would be the debacle of Facebook’s IPO. Prior to the event, many a business blogger and columnist have expressed concerns over the huge risks investors are taking in buying Facebook shares.
In the following Businessweek video, you’ll see just how many are starting to regret jumping in on the social media hype based on Facebook’s performance:
Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s success, if there’s one thing you can take from the statistics in the video it’s the fact that risk taking isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. But if there’s one thing that does minimize such risks, it’s data.
It’s quite logical really. The more information you have, the more you’ll know about what you can and cannot do. Relying on one’s own gut might work if you were some hero in an action movie but when it comes to business, it’s time to tone down on gut and let the hard facts and hard data take the wheel.
B2B lead generation can be a good example here. You don’t just purchase a contact list of businesses and start calling away. That list needs refining and your marketing strategy needs quality data to act upon. In fact, this isn’t just limited to the finance industry or even the whole B2B market. It applies to all businesses. Companies like yours though are one of those who know just much can be accomplished if you used data to your advantage. In the case of your leads, it tells you if they have the budget to business with you. They help you manage your time when setting financial appointments. They tell you who talk to about your service. In fact, even the numbers still play a role because not having them leaves you with nothing to start with.
Of course, there will be moments when there is still so much uncertainty but the guy who followed his gut comes through with a success story. However, there is just as much virtue in keeping yourself informed and using that information to steer clear of any trouble. Taking risks should be a last resort, not a popular option!
May 24th, 2012
There’s a reason why there’s ‘social’ in social media. Unfortunately, there are still those in the marketing world who assume that investing in social media only means putting advertisements on it. If your insurance company targets consumers, you have already done this yourself.
However, does it really work? Is that all there is to using social media? What about if you’re targeting whole businesses instead of consumers? What if you want insurance appointments with a business owner instead of just a car owner? These people are even harder to reach with anything done by regular advertising. How does doing it on social media improve its chances?
Chances are, it might not which is why it’s time you started focusing on the social aspect. You need to actively engage your prospects where they’re at and establish trust. In other words, you need to really connect and socialize with them on the network. Hence, the ‘social’ of social media.
This is not just something for social networking. The concept extends to other approaches and some might even say that the B2B side of the business world emphasizes on this more.
For example, suppose you want telemarketing firms to deliver your qualified leads. You want to know what they usually say about their methods? Their selling point is the fact that they take time to really get to know the prospect company, identify needs, and show that you’re a real, living business entity. That’s one of the highest perks to being social. You show people that you’re for real and that you want to reach out. Start having that mindset, whether your leads are from telemarketing or social media.
May 17th, 2012
Obviously, when it comes to high-end calculation, accounting firms do it on a regular basis. However, you’ll need to focus on more than just that if you’re thinking of outsourcing.
But first off, plenty of companies have already decided on it (e.g. Australia). You may have even heard of some who don’t just do it for the low costs. The low costs enable them to pursue other opportunities. On the other hand, this growing trend in outsourcing also means that there are plenty of candidates out there already (not to mention, competitors may already picking up on it too).
With so many candidates and so many competitors, deciding on the right company to outsource is already a part of the whole race. A common mistake though is when you just look at the costs and weigh them against the benefits. You need to calculate for more than just that because not looking at what’s happening between the moment you pay the money to the resulting quality of information you have on an accounting prospect.
Sometimes the resulting information isn’t as well done as you expected when you carefully look into how the money circulates. That’s why you need to require a level of transparency. Another thing you should watch out for in your calculations is how it relates the business practices of your outsourced company.
Ethics are still an important role and there are laws to be followed. Don’t just hand over your money and then look away. Do even just a small bit of investigating beforehand. Pitting the costs of offshore against onshore outsourcing may be a hot topic when it comes to lead generation in Australia. Regardless, you do not want to be associated with a company that has shady means of distributing the money it earns.