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Combining Telemarketing with Technology

15 Jul, 2003 By: Neil Saviano imageSource

Combining Telemarketing with Technology

Lead generation is a
critical factor in establishing a steady stream of office equipment business for
dealers who have specialized equipment divisions. Typical strategies may include
field cold calling, direct mail and telephone cold calling (telemarketing).
There is, however, a strategy that is often overlooked by dealers, specifically
those dealers who use telemarketing (inside sales) to sell office supplies.
Subsequently hundreds of office equipment leads are overlooked as well.

Telemarketers build
strong customer relationships, and relationships are what matter most when
selling products that are similar in form, brand or price among competitors.
Office supplies certainly fall into this category. These relationships can be
leveraged to gain information that can lead to an abundance of office equipment

Lost Opportunities
As an example, selling copier toner typically uncovers the brand of copier used
and monthly usage amounts, which are easy to calculate if you are selling the
customer paper. Brand and model information can identify copiers in the typical
three-to-four year replacement cycle, often identifying instant leads. Typically
this information, unless used strategically, goes unnoticed. The same could be
said for matching Dataquest segment and monthly usage amounts, which could
potentially identify service problems resulting from over usage and indicate a
need to upgrade equipment.

The example above
represents only a smattering of missed information and lost opportunities.
Information pertaining to printers, fax machines, computers and other equipment
represent many lost opportunities as well. What should not be overlooked is the
subjective side of the lead generation process, the ongoing relationship between
the salesperson and the customer. In many telemarketing programs this
relationship is tantamount to having a friend - and friends share information
with other friends.

"Our copier is
down so much," one client "friend" may say. "Our printer is
so slow; we're waiting in line all the time," says another. This is another
example of lost opportunity.

Information For Profit There is a downside to this process, however. Simply
stated, without a place to store and access customer information and implement
sales and marketing strategies, the effectiveness of the information is
diminished. The addition of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Sales
Force Automation (SFA) software to the process can enhance the sales experience

CRM and SFA software
provide places to put all of the information and make it accessible for easy
retrieval and usage, which includes target-marketing projects.

Take, for example,
the three-to-four year old copier replacement target sighted above. This group
could be quickly retrieved and become part of a campaign that could include
timed faxes, calls, e-mails or company visits. With CRM / SFA software, the good
news is that the steps of this campaign can be automated. It's a CRM /SFA
software feature called Automated Processes. Even with the most disorganized
salesperson, once telemarketing uncovers the lead, the campaign could be handled
very efficiently by software.

Examples of
automated campaigns to create equipment leads and drive business include the
following: o Customers with older copiers (generally three years or more) are
identified with information gathered by telemarketers. Customers are attached to
a campaign that includes a series of strategically timed touches and promotional
materials - keeping the dealer most visible with a customer (and now prospect)
at a time when a buying decision is near. o Information relating a customer's
copier segment (a rating that determines recommended monthly usage) matched
against actual monthly usage. Customers with copiers not adequate to handle
monthly usage are identified and put on a campaign that promotes upgrading as a
way to cut down on considerable down time. There are many other customer
equipment scenarios in customer's offices that are amenable to automated
campaigns. Dealers need to identify the scenarios and help telemarketers to
develop questions to uncover new opportunities.

telemarketers for high-ticket equipment leads helps to enhance a lead generation
program. Programs that pay telemarketers one to two percent for each lead that
turns into a sale have been highly effective. Most dealers will deduct the lead
compensation from the equipment salesperson's commission. Though there may be
resistance from the salesperson initially to give up a small portion of their
commission, the salespeople come to understand that it's a small price to pay in
order to have someone out there working for them.

Telemarketers reach
hundreds of customers monthly and gather information that, with the right
technology, dealers can use to sort through and develop highly effective
automated campaigns and gain a marked competitive advantage. Telemarketing
combined with technology can turn what used to be lost opportunities into
hundreds of new sales.

An industry veteran
with more than 30 year's experience, Neil Saviano is President of Longbow
Consulting Group, a sales and marketing organization that focuses on helping
dealers combine proven sales and marketing techniques and strategies with
state-of-the-art technology-based solutions. He can be reached by phone at
978-750-6882 or by e-mail at neil@longbowcg.com.

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