Getting your prospects to say YES! – Part 2

Getting your prospects to say YES! – Part 2 - PlugLeads

But Daddy, pleaded the son, all my classmates’ parents have agreed to the trip. The father who had been hesitating till then, couldn’t hold out any more. He signed the permission slip.

And here now, you see the second principle in action – Social Proof.

Cialdini’s principle of social proof states that when people are unsure about a course of action, they rely on collective opinions. They look around at others, especially peers, and base their own decisions on what the general group has decided.

Among the most obvious ways for marketers to leverage this, is through testimonials. Testimonials serve as proof to prospects that other “people like them” had found the service or product worthwhile. This endorsement provides social proof of the utility of the offering. It provides a justifiable base for the undecided buyer/prospect to make a decision.

Potential buyers often depend on feedback from others to guide their decisions and actions. Online review sites are a stark example. These reviews wield immense power over the prospect’s buying behavior because of the “social proof” reviews it offers to the undecided populace.

<< Part-1

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Getting your prospect to say YES! – Part 1

Getting your prospect to say YES, Prospect, response,email,PlugLeads

 

This is for you, Mommy, the toddler said, thrusting a flower into her hands before running away to play with his friends. The mother was delighted with the unexpected gesture. The next day at the mall, with the the sweet spontaneous action of the child still fresh in her memory, she gave in easily to the child’s demands for a toy.

 
The child had just demonstrated how the principle of persuasion worked.

 
Reciprocation.

 
Of the six principles of Persuasion defined by Marketing guru Dr.Robert Cialdini, the first is reciprocation.

 
According to Cialdini, receiving free, unexpected gifts makes the receivers feel indebted to the giver. The giver’s behavior towards the giver changes to become more receptive, positive and agreeable towards the giver.

 
For the savvy marketer, awareness of this is a powerful tool. He/she can apply it by initiating the engagement with prospects with an unexpected gift. It could be useful content, free samples, or even a positive experience. It need not be expensive. The key however, is to be the first to give.

 
The outcome of such an action would be similar to the mother’s response; reduced resistance, a greater willingness to listen, and a heightened possibility of a positive response.

 
Provided it is not misused, Cialdini encourages marketers to use this knowledge to influence prospect behavior. He suggests that marketers use the natural response of a recipient to want to give you something in return, to get an audience with them or to effect a favorable response to their offer.

 
Reciprocation thus becomes an instrument of persuasion and influence – who better to learn this from, than a child?

 

Kavita

Marketing Manager

PlugLeads

 

 

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How to get the best results from your email campaigns

How to get the best results from your email campaigns

 

Imagine you are assigned the task of buying gifts for a large and mixed crowd of people…you do a mental exercise and decide to buy four types of gifts – one for the singletons, one for the couples, one for the kids and the fourth for the teens.

 

What you are essentially doing is segmenting your target group into various categories to ensure their gifts are relevant, appropriate and most importantly,welcome.

 

List segmentation in email campaigns is no different.  Your objective is the exact same thing; ensuring maximum engagement by sending useful, relatable messages in your email campaigns.

 

Segmentation works by drawing contacts from your list and creating buckets based on a shared characteristic. The contact buckets could be grouped on the basis of common interests, job titles, demographics, industry background, geographies or even similar buying behavior. Using strategically precise target buckets ensures maximum effectiveness of campaigns.

 

Besides heightening the ability to launch clinically targeted campaigns, segmentation also helps the business reach out to and engage with a particular prospect with a specific need.

Deliverability spikes in a campaign launched at a segmented list of addresses. Content customization becomes possible because of the insight gained into the target segment’s background. With campaign relevance optimized, open and click through rates get a boost.

 

Unsubscribe rates drop since the homework in terms of content relevance is already done and recipients are not irritated by the messages. Resource optimization peaks as your sales and marketing efforts are focused on a narrower target list. Efforts are not drained or diluted following up on contacts with low potential.

 

There is thus no doubt that segmentation leads to a positive impact. It is a powerful tool that helps messages get directly delivered into recipient drop boxes and kicks off marketing strategy on the right note. Are you using segmented lists in your campaigns?

 

 

 

 

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Revisiting the BANT approach to Lead Scoring

 

Revising the BANT approach to lead scoring,Plugleads, Lead generation services, Business development automation.

 

The BANT approach is an oft repeated mantra among sales people. Pioneered by IBM several decades ago, BANT continues to be a popular criteria used to qualify prospects/leads.

BANT is an acronym or Budget, Authority, Need and Timing. Lead scoring software use these four elements as the benchmarks to qualify a prospect. The BANT score evaluates the prospect’s readiness for sale.

 

Budget

Does the prospect have the ability to purchase your product or services? Does he have the required funds and budget to buy your offering? Establishing this at the earliest stages will save the sales person considerable effort.

 

Authority

Is your point-of-contact the decision maker? Does he/she have the permission to make the purchase decision? If no, can your prospect connect you to the decision maker? Make sure to find out who the final approving entity is going to be and work towards reaching out to him/her.

 

Need

How well suited is your offering to the prospect? Does your offering solve the prospect’s problems? What issues is your prospect facing? How far can your offering resolve these issues? Identify the pain areas and illustrate how your solution can resolve them. The better this is explained, the greater will be the need and consequently easier, the sale!

 

Timing

Do you have information on the prospect’s urgency in finding a solution? What is the time frame within which they are looking to close the sale?  Do they have adequate time to evaluate your solution? If the need is not immediate, explore possibilities to stay engaged until a future date when the sale can be realized.

 

Leverage the BANT criteria to create a qualified list of prospects. Such a list helps sales staff prioritize their efforts and ensures maximum closures.

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Get the Mojo Back into Your B2B Lead Gen efforts

Let’s face it. Lead Generation is tough. Especially in a B2B landscape. Unlike B2C prospecting where literally every person online is a potential customer, identifying the B2B prospect is much more complex. It demands much more in terms of time, effort, perseverance and skills.

How do you take the pain out of this? What should you do to make your lead generation efforts more effective? Here are 5 tips to make your lead gen more result oriented –

  1. Identify your buyer persona. First of all, spend some time to identify your target segment. What kind of enterprises will constitute your typical contacts pool? Which businesses will gain from using your product or service? Is your offering relevant to only a certain specific industry? What is the typical size of your target prospect? What stage of the business life cycle is the enterprise in? Create a well-defined buyer persona to represent perfectly the segment your business is targeting. Focused conversion efforts will increase the probability of success.
  1. Understand your product. What is your product/service’s core value proposition? What is your offering? What are its key features? What unique characteristics does it possess? What pain area does it address? Understand your product. Know its features, USP, and applicability thoroughly.
  1. Understand the competition. Invest in adequate market research to identify actual and potential competitors. Study them. Find their strengths and more importantly, their weaknesses. Competitor experiences can provide valuable insights into functioning in a crowded market and avoiding inherent pitfalls.
  1. Draw up a clear strategy. Set targets. Set goals. Set timelines. Outline your purpose. Set up a clear roadmap for action, to provide direction and focus to efforts. Periodically review progress. Take corrective action promptly. Time is critical. Reaching out and establishing contact at the right moment can make or break a sale.
  1. Focus on relationship building. So your prospect is not ready for a sale. The interest in your offering, though is genuine. Don’t let go. Stay engaged. Stay connected. We are building a relationship here. You need to work on it.

Keep in mind these rules and get ready to build up a steady queue of leads. Good luck and happy B2B prospecting!

 

 

 

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The Smart Way to Develop Business

The Smart Way to Develop Business, Plugleads Business development automation,

 

In our last blog we had discussed the shortcomings of conventional business development. From being inconsistent and unreliable, to inefficient and costly, manual systems provide a lot of scope for improvement.

We followed up on our findings to explore if there could be an alternative that would deliver best results with minimum adverse impact on costs. The study led us to conclude that the solution lay in Automation. Yes. We are convinced therein lies the solution.

 

repeat-button

The first look at business development activities itself reveals that the function is, by nature repetitive. Scouring multiple sources to identify prospects, collecting related details, making a list and then doing it all over again…It also demands an ability to handle large amounts of data. All of these make it the ideal subject for automation.

 

time

The second aspect is the need for timely actions. BD activities include running email campaigns to generate leads. This function needs time bound launch of emails, collecting responses, categorizing responses, taking action on some and sending next batch of follow up mails.

 

target (1)

 

The third aspect is the need for accuracy. Sending a follow up mail to an addressee who has expressly asked to be unsubscribed can be email marketing hara-kiri!  At the same time, failing to respond to a potential lead promptly can be a very costly mistake.

 

 

Unfortunately such mistakes abound in manually run business development functions. In the circumstances, what businesses desperately need is a software that can be programmed to send bulk emails based on a time trigger. It should also have built-in intelligence to automatically delete contacts that have expressed disinterest, and respond to messages of those that have responded positively. For the remaining, it should continue to send follow up messages per the plan.

Such a solution that reduces human intervention to a minimum, can help make business development an effortless,precise and easy-on-the-pocket task.

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Challenges in Conventional B2B Business Development Works

Challenges in conventional business development model

 

Business Development activities are crucial in any organization. This function generates leads that convert into sales-the lifeline of any business. Lead generation is no easy task, and especially so in a B2B enterprise. It requires tremendous efforts and perseverance to sustain a robust pipeline of leads.

In conventional business development large teams of people are employed to work towards this end. There is one or more manager with several executives reporting into him/her. The executives are employees dedicated to scouring the web to create prospect lists. The manager oversees their work to ensure quality, timeliness and continuity.

Phase One involves creating contact lists that will serve as the basic database. Unlike B2C businesses where almost every contact is a possible lead, in B2B businesses creating even a basic contact list is time consuming. Data is more difficult to access and obtain.

Executives are required to spend all their working hours researching and scouring the net to identifying potential customers. They need to filter companies and target only those that could have a possible use for the product/service that they offer. This requires detailed information of both company and individual; details such as the industry, the business segment, the relevant executives, their designations and their contact details. The process has to be repeated innumerable times to create even the smallest of databases.

Phase Two kicks in once a sizable database is built. Email campaigns have to be launched. Without an automated software, this can turn out to be an extremely laborious and complicated task. Personalized emails have to be sent to each and every contact on this list. Because of Spam rules the mails need to be sent in batches. Executives have to create sets of email lists and send it over several days.

They also need to keep track on responses received and forward the same to the sales team. The wishes of those recipients who do not wish to receive mails have to be honored in a prompt manner to avoid legal action.

The process being executed and monitored manually, often results in errors, oversights, lead losses and leakages. Timelines may be breached, employee turnover can impact performance, and expanding scale of campaigning may be constrained by lack of resources. Monitoring and tracking responses becomes progressively complicated.

The combined impact is less than satisfactory ROI on business development.

So it there a better way to handle this?

To find out, watch out for our next blog…

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Checklist to ensure your mail doesn’t end up in the Spam folder-

Business Development automation tool, SPAM escape, SPAM checklist,

  1. Does your message comply with the CAN-SPAM Act rules? Have you
  • Provided your website address?
  • Provided your physical location address?
  • Provided an Unsubscribe button?
  • Enabled honoring of Unsubscribe immediately on request?
  • Used a good subject line that is not misleading?

Note: You can be fined up to USD16000 for failing to comply with the Can Spam Act rules.

 

  1. Have you ensured your message does not include spammy language in your emails?

Using all caps, or words like “free”, “won” or too many exclamation marks can send your message into the Spam folder.

 

  1. Are you offering a text version of mail also if you are sending an HTML message?

HTML messages often end up in spam folder because of size/excessive images. Include a text only option to ensure deliverability.

 

  1. Are you asking contacts who signed up for promotional messages to put you on their ‘Not Spam’ list?

Ask recipients to put you on their whitelist once they agree to receive emails from you. This enables permission based marketing.

 

  1. Have you run your message past Spam checkers?

Use tools like isnotspam.com to get feedback on your content and its deliverability quotient.

 

  1. Are you sure you have not been put on a blacklist?

Use free sites such as freeemailblacklistlookup.com or emailblacklistcheck.com to double check if your address and IP have not been flagged as spammers.

 

  1. Have you checked your text to image ratio?

Avoid image only mails. Include at least two lines of text after every image to avoid being blocked/marked as spam.

 

  1. Are you watching out for Spam traps?

Spam traps are email addresses that ISP know are not used by humans. To avoid sending to these emails and getting trapped by ISP, avoid bought lists.

 

  1. Are you sending attachments in your campaign?

Avoid sending attachments in email campaigns. If you necessarily have to, send .jpg, ‘gif ,.png or .pdf.

Attachments that are .exe, .zip and .swf will definitely be blocked by spam filters.

 

Follow these best practices and improve deliverability of your messages.

 

 

 

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How to optimize your open and click rates

4 Must-Haves to Optimize Your Open and Click Rates

The effectiveness of an email campaign lies in one all important metric – the Open and Click Rate. This essentially addresses the challenge in ensuring your message is opened and read by the recipient. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

 
According to research house, Radicati the average number of emails exchanges in a corporate mailbox is 124 messages per day! Now imagine making your email noticed, selected and opened by the recipient. The chances now appear miniscule. Yet, with email marketing proven to offer an ROI of upwards of USD38 per dollar spent, email campaigns for lead generation can definitively not be overlooked. So what are the tactics available to you to ensure maximum open rates?

We give you four of them-
Compelling subject line: The first opportunity for engagement is in the inbox. To optimize the opportunity, you have access to one subject line. Give it your best shot. It’s a make or break situation. The tipping point, as far as you are concerned. Use this to tell the recipient exactly what they want to hear –an innovative solution to solve a long standing problem or information that will add value to their business. Examples – Attend our webinar or Save 50% on Your Fuel Costs etc…

 
Crisp copy: The recipient opened the mail? Congratulations! You have overcome the first hurdle. However the next challenge is to actually make them read your message. For this follow the cardinal rule of brevity. Package your offering in a few crisp, compelling words. Write exactly what value you offer and what problem it addresses. Write copy that is targeted to engage and capture mind space.

 
Images: The average adult has an attention span of a goldfish. No wonder then you have no more than 8 seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Leverage images to convey your message. Convert your messages to eyeball grabbing images. Once you have got the attention, unleash the content!

 
CTA button: The click-to-action button is core to email marketing. It is the one element that no mail must be without. Use strong, powerful action oriented words such as Attend, Download, read, Register, Try Now to grab their attention and set the stage for a long nurturing engagement.

How to optimize your open and click rates
Follow these rules and you will be on track to ensuring highest possible open and click rates…

Sources: (http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Email-Statistics-Report-2011-2015-Executive-Summary.pdf)
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Robots to the rescue – using automation to generate higher ROI in marketing

ROI

The lure of automation has always lain in its promise to drastically slash costs and provide a high return on investment without compromising on quality of output.

Most businesses now are aware of the existence and benefits of marketing automation systems. However many are at a loss when it comes to zeroing in on the right product for their businesses. While high end offerings available in the market may not fit into their budget, others may be unsuitable or appear too complicated to be run by a non technically qualified person.

Luckily, not every business needs a high end expensive marketing automation product. Nor does every solution need a technically qualified person to run it. For small and medium businessness in particular, all that is required to boost their performance is a simple, easy to use platform that provides accurate results.

An effective lead generation platform can provide SMBs the advantage they seek. An automated lead generation solution can be programmed to take over routine, repetitive tasks. With clearly defined work flows and scheduled tasks executed by robots, it successful eliminates incidents of omissions or errors, resulting in high quality leads.

Automation also yeilds cost savings through better utilization of human resources.Robots can take over mundane, repetitive tasks, and free up the human resources engaged in these tasks. Redeployment of these resources in other more creative or strategic areas leads to better utilization of the talent pool. Using robots is advantageous also because a single robot deployed can take over the workload of several persons, work continuously and uninterupted for long hours, and not fall victim to boredom because of a monotonous job!

Automated marketing solutions such as robot driven lead generation platforms thus offer businesses an effective tool to improve their sales pipeline. Such solutions offer higher ROI through gains arising on two fronts – one, better human resource utilization and two, better quality leads from improved work process. SMBs in particular, definitely stand to gain significantly by investing in a lead generation platform.

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