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.
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!