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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Maybe it was the blog title "If You're an Over 40 Marketing Professional You Must Wake up and Understand the Importance of Twitter" that caught my attention because I've pretty much managed to avoid the phenomenon of twitter so far.

I must admit, I still think of twitter as an inane stream of pointless "tweets" of a "just got my morning paper" style. Who wants to know that?

Well, 4M people apparently.

So, when Salesforce.com announce that they're integrating twitter, it makes me think again.

I can see it in a service or support function, kind of a micro-blogging user group. And for major brands it must be great.

If you're a consultant, coach, trainer or some "guru" then I guess you could use it to get potential clients to follow you. I see a lot of tele-seminar tweets flying about and, to my mind, it fits well with a personality led business.

Getting your thought leadership positioning into 140 characters may be a challenge for many though.

Like other social media platforms, no doubt an MLM element is in there as I can see it's a great medium for recruiting network marketing agents and affiliates. "Just made another Zillion dollars, you must get in on this".

Twitter has certainly got the media's attention and that, more than anything, could be behind Salesforce.com's integration plans.

But, maybe that's just an over 40's perspective :-)

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Posted by: David Regler @ 7:53 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Anyone who's followed my blog over the years will know that I'm a bit of a F1 fan (see Hooray for the smaller F1 teams back in 2007).

Today we saw a historic moment when Brawn GP, risen from the ashes of Honda, made it a one-two in Australia.

For me, it illustrates perfectly the opportunity for new business in the current economic climate as smaller, more nimble businesses can take advantage of change and outmanoeuvre more established brands.

Whilst Maclaren and Ferrari had their eyes on the championship race last year, Ross Brawn at Honda effectively scrapped their car and started working on building a race winner aimed at the impending rule changes for 2009.

He saw a change in the market and took full advantage of it while his competitors were focused on getting every ounce out of their current model.

Think about these elements in relationship to businesses in the current economic climate:

1) Change - just like the rule changes in F1, there are huge changes happening right now. For many it means a fundamental re-think of their business model. Larger, more established market players find change difficult are always slow to react.

2) Ownership - When Honda pulled out it presented Ross Brawn with an opportunity for a management buy out. No doubt, it wasn't easy, but it enabled a small private company to leverage the R&D might of a world-leading manufacturer.

An interesting article in the Sunday Times today "Picking Over The Scrap" forecasts that "huge numbers of firms and assets will change hands" in the coming months and years. That level of new ownerships will introduce changes that offer a excellent new business opportunities.

3) New Entrants - not only was Brawn GP a new entrant, it pulled in Richard Branson and Virgin into F1. Whilst ING and RBS wind down their sponsorship over the coming seasons, other sponsors will take their place (particularly as F1 looks to reduce its costs). New market entrants bring new opportunities.

So, whether you're a F1 fan or not, buckle yourself in as 2009 looks set to be both a disruptive and entertaining ride.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 11:55 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

One of the things we always recommend when considering an appointment setting campaign is to run a pilot or proof-of-concept.

This is effectively a time-limited version of the intended campaign which enables us to test the waters.

To fully evaluate the success of a pilot appointment setting campaign it's important that you look at both the number of meetings that are booked as well as the quality of the meetings. To me, until you close that loop you can't effectively evaluate the success of any appointment setting campaign.

We've found that a 3 month period is the best period to make that judgement.

Here's why:

1) The first month of any campaign is about getting traction. For many high-level B2B propositions it's likely that it will take at least two touches to book the appointment. For example, as a minimum most people want something sent over by email and then followed up. All this takes time.

2) By the end of the first month you should start to see appointments being made. I say should because, after all, this is a pilot. Some pitches are just not that easy to nail and it can take us a number of iterations until we get it right. But, for the sake of this point, let's assume that we hit the ground running and book some meetings in Month 1. If they're with a senior decision maker (and, let's face it, who else do you want to see?) then they will certainly be around 3 to 4 weeks away. Which is Month 2, right?

3) So, in Month 2, if all is going to plan, you should have the opportunity to go on a number of sales appointments we've booked. This is your chance to judge the quality of the appointments. Are they with the right person? Are they correctly qualified? Will they progress to a proposal?

4) While you're attending the appointments, guess what, we're still working away to book more meetings for you. So, during Month 2 you should be not only be attending appointments, but you should be see a flow of new meetings. We also use the feedback from your initial appointments to help refine our qualification process.

5) Finally, Month 3 is all about replication of the process. If all is going well, we should be hitting somewhere near the run-rate for the campaign (this helps us determine the scope of any future or ongoing campaigns). If things were a little sticky in Month 1, we should now have a clear view of a working pitch and process. The pipeline of leads should be shaping up and we are usually in a position to predict results of a longer term campaign. Plus, some of the meetings you attended in Month 2 will be showing signs of life (or not) in the form of proposals, demos, 2nd meetings, etc.

For anyone used to B2B sales this process shouldn't come as any surprise.

Opening doors at senior levels isn't easy. It takes persistence and tenacity and, above all, time.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 7:42 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

I was recently interviewed for a podcast on Telemarketing & New Business Development by Michael Beale.

Michael runs a UK training company and, in the past, I've attended a number of his excellent NLP training courses.

Anyway, as a trainer and consultant, Michael found the interview useful to think through the process of starting a telemarketing campaign, so I thought I'd post a link to the podcast and transcript.

You can either download the podcast here or read the transcript of the interview.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 2:15 pm |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

I was chatting the other day to one of my team and she was describing a typical call-centre operation as a "battery farm".

Think about it...

There's this large metal shed in the middle of some field (there's always a regional development grant behind these things). Anyway, it's filled with row upon row of people in little cubicles. There they are, clucking away with their scripts, predictive diallers force-feeding them with their next call.

Everything's automated and the "farmer" runs the sorry show from a big office overlooking it all. Casualties are high and anyone who doesn't make the grade is culled and replaced with a brand new chick.

What a sad and depressing thought.

No wonder call-centres have the highest staff churn levels of any industry.

Surely it should outlawed!

Now, on the other hand, think about your "free-range" telemarketer.

Working from the comfort of their own home, free to create their own workspace and decide how they approach each day.

The free-range telemarketer lives a far longer and happier existence. Force-feeding is not for them, they use their natural talents to explore every available opportunity and only dig out the juiciest worms.

Ah, what a life!

I'm thinking of asking Jamie Oliver if he'll support the cause.

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Posted by: David Regler @ 7:50 am |  0 comments  | Links to this post  

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