Marketing and Sales

June 14, 2006

Marketing Mistakes & Working With a Company

Filed under: Marketing,Tips and Hints — Philippe Mesritz @ 7:41 am

Go-to-Market Strategies just sent out their newsletter with the "Top Five Marketing Mistakes Companies Make..And How to Recover!" The information gained is certainly of interest, but one of the points is very accurate in terms of working with a lead generation company. The information stands on its own when you consider a purely internal company with a marketing and a sales department, each needing to accomplish their own goals. It isn't necessarily quite as obvious when dealing with an external company that is providing you with sales leads or even generating strong referrals.

The mistake mentioned by them is: #3: NOT INTEGRATING MARKETING WITH SALES EFFORTS.

According to their newsletter:

Common Mistake: Developing marketing programs or materials that fizzle out in the sales process and never get used by the sales team.

Often marketing teams spend a considerable amount of time, effort, and perhaps most importantly money to create a collateral kit and sales presentation for a new program or product offering. The sales team rejects the materials because they don’t address the most compelling selling points and produces their own one-off presentations and brochures that send mixed messages to prospects and customers. To further illustrate the point, many times a marketing team will launch a new direct mail program to “generate sales leads” for the sales team, only to find that sales doesn’t follow up on them because they don’t feel the leads are “qualified.”

Not having a clear integration between sales and marketing can only result in failed marketing programs, costing you lost revenue opportunities and wasted expenses.

The information is very accurate fo a lead generation company as well. When working with an outside partner, it is crucial to ensure that communication is at a very high level. What are the expectations for the referral generations from your partner Are you expecting:

  1. Someone that "could possibly maybe but probably not" be interested in your product, but that a good sales person could swing into a customer?
  2. Someone who is most definately interested in learning more, but may, or may not, be ready quite yet?
  3. Someone who is ready to be shown how the product can best benefit them through a demo or product trial?
  4. Someone that your sales person can speak to, give a quote to, and then turn into a customer all on the first phone call?

If the requirements are not defined when dealing with your referral generation company, YOU are falling into the common mistake of "not integrating marketing with sales efforts". As the side of the partnership with the details and the sales force, it is imperative that you convey the needs of your team. In general, your team would want someone in category #3 and #4, but #2 could still be interesting to you. #1 may, or may not, be what you're looking for — it really depends on your current level of customers and response.

Just remember — don't make the mistake of assuming that the generation company working with you knows what you want. You need to be sure to let them know.


June 13, 2006

Door-to-Door or Telemarketing … Hrm.

Filed under: Blogs,Marketing — Philippe Mesritz @ 3:34 pm

Although, I'm sure that some people prefer the door-to-door method, I know that I, personally, will never buy something from a person walking up to my door — yet I have done it over the phone. Whether this is a psychological block or human nature, I can't say — I do think that it has to do with the product of society. In the 50's and 60's, it may have been reasonable to expect someone to open the door for you and let you in to demonstrate the product. I can't imagine that this is a reasonable expectation in today's society.

Citibank, however, seems to have decided that going door to door is a valid choice. As posted in "Seth's Blog: Not what it used to be" back in November of 2005, "an assistant Vice President at Citibank. He's wandering the halls, door by door, trying to sell business checking accounts." I think that they would have had more success telemarketing, but I suppose you can be the judgement of that — have you seen many Citibank sales people at your business door lately? How about telephone calls?

I thought so!

B2B Cold Calling Study Finds It’s Not So Cold

Filed under: Blogs,Marketing — Philippe Mesritz @ 1:30 pm

The subject is from "Funky Uncle Marketing", a blog I recently stumbled on. He wrote an entry on May 16th about a study from Go-To-Market Strategies that I'd forgotten about.

In it, the following information is noted:

  • They dialed, on average about 15-18 prospects in an hour
  • They connected with a person about 20-30 percent of the time
  • They converted 20 percent of the calls – Where conversion is defined as objective of the call being reached (qualification established, product demo scheduled, information requested, etc.)

What does this actually mean?

This indicates an overall success rate of between 4 and 6 percent when reaching a specific target. The study that GTM used included B2C as well as B2B environments. The Direct Marketing Associate holds a different number of 8 percent for B2B only. One note is that these are professional telemarketers and people who know how to 'talk'. A random person from the street would get significantly lower numbers.

For the purposes of this example, we'll take the middle road of 6% for B2B contacts. Assuming you are gathering leads and ten percent of your leads turn into sale on average, this means that you would be able to generate 4.8 leads (.48 sales) per day and 24 (2.4 sales) per week. Considering the average rate of success for a direct mail marketing campaign (less than 0.1% on average) and the costs involved, telemarketing is certainly a valid way to go. With improved processes, strong product, targeted calls and strong sales people, these numbers can certainly increase.

June 12, 2006

Bullies and Sales

Filed under: Marketing,Tips and Hints — Philippe Mesritz @ 12:48 pm

Its an interesting phenomenon that some sales people believe that bullying is a valid tactic. Used car dealers, for example, have brought this to a whole new level and are still stuck in the concept that if they breathe down your throat, you will buy from them. Personally, I've never bought a car from a used car sales person that hovered and consistently pushed me.

My family-in-law is looking for a house in Austin, TX. They're not sure what they are looking for or, for that matter, where in the city. They've looked from 30 miles South to 30 miles North along the main highway out here, just to see what the areas are like, the new home models and communities, the pricing, the resale houses.. We spent almost eight hours on Saturday and a same amount of time on Sunday driving around just to identify the right places (we still haven't, but that's not the point behind this story!). In doing so, I've been into a number of the new home models and spent a bit of time talking to some of the sales representatives as well as listed to my wife and her mother talking after they've met with some of the sales people.

The largest complaint?

Bullies. High Pressure. Harping.

A person that comes TO you to look at your product is an immediate positive. They are interested in something to fill a particular need, even if they're not sure what. It is your job, as a sales person, to show them how the product meets their needs. If you're talking to them because they called you, then its obvious that there was a reason they called you — identify the reason, identify what it is what need they're looking to fill, and do your best to fill that need. It is not your job, however, to force a round need into a square product. I realize that, often, your compensation is based on a commission structure, but forcing a round need into a square product will usually result in someone unhappy with you who isn't going to buy anyway. It is much better to have a person who doesn't buy from you walk away with a good taste than a negative — perhaps they know someone that could be referred to you that does need your product.

For example, one of the last new housing complexes we saw yesterday had a salesman (we'll call him Scott) as they all do. Just prior to coming to Scott's complex, we had finished spending two and a half hours with a gentleman named Jeff who was extremely pleasant and helpful. Jeff did not once — in the entire two hours — ask the question "So, can we get you started today?". He simply discussed the options, let my mother in law talk and listen, and gave suggestions. He had also sent us to Scott's complex (a sister area owned by the same company) to look at a model that he didn't have available, but felt that may work for my family-in-law's needs.

We arrived at Scott's complex and went in. As soon as we met him, we said "Jeff over at X sent us to take a look at your models. Would that be possible?" Scott's response was "Oh, of course! Let me get price sheets and everything for you." He then proceeded to speak with us about the benefits of his area and asked whether we liked the community. My wife's response was "Its not really something we like. We like area X and Y much better."(she always tries to be nice, but in truth she hates the area). He nodded and said, "Ah.. I see. Well, we've got a special going today that'll give you a $5000 discount on your house. So .. can we get you started today?" We looked at him as though he had just grown two heads and said, "No, thank you. We're just looking. We're looking at all the different areas before we make any decisions and still have a few other places to visit after this. Can we take a look at your model?" He led us through the first of two models and talked the entire time — not once did he really give us any time to explore on our own, to look at what we liked or did not like, and to privately discuss options that may have worked. As we approached the exit to the first model, he said "So .. did you like it?" Our response was that it was too small for the needs that we had. He nodded and said, "Ah.. I see. Well, if we start you today, you'll be done in less than four months. So .. can we get you started today?" Again, we looked at him oddly. Did he simply not listen?

By now, you can see how the rest of the discussions went. We toured the third model and talked a bit in the main office before leaving. By the time we had walked out the front door, he had asked "So .. can we get you started today?" a total of six times. In the span of less than an hour. Our first reaction when we got back to the car was "Well, even if we were going to buy today, it wouldn't be from him." His entire attitude exuded the fact that he was after nothing but his commission, nothing but 'closing the sale' regardless of the circular fit of his houses to our square needs. It seemed irrelevant to him that Jeff had sent us down, it seemed irrelevant that the area wasn't the right one for us, and it seemed irrelevant that houses weren't right for our needs. I expect that, had we decided to buy a house from him that day, he wouldn't have given Jeff any credit either!

When you're talking to someone on an inbound sales call, LISTEN to their needs. IDENTIFY how your product fits and HELP the client see how your benefits meet their needs. If they don't, then so be it — don't keep slamming your 'closing' hammer down in an effort to make things fit.
Jeff? We'll be glad to send referrals your way if we ever run into someone that needs to buy a house in northwest Austin!

Spreading Seeds

Filed under: General,Tips and Hints — Philippe Mesritz @ 8:06 am

One of the blogs that I have a subscription to comes up with some interesting points sometimes — His blog is called "A Forum for Rainmakers (And Soon-to-Be Rainmakers)." Its written with the people who want to make a difference in their careers in mind.

His latest post (Saturday evening) documents a story told by the class president of 2006 from MIT, as he was attending their graduation for his son. The story is about corn and how sharing impacts us all.

"There was a farmer who grew corn. Every year his county held a contest to determine which farmer grew the best corn. Every year he won. Year after year this farmer grew the best corn in the county and he won the award. One day, a visitor noticed that this farmer gave some of his best seed to one of his neighbors. The visitor asked why he was sharing his best seed with his neighbor. Wasn't he concerned that their corn would be better than his? Wasn't he concerned that they would eventually win the contest for having the best corn in the county? The farmer explained that the winds in the county pick up the corn pollen from all of the neighboring farms and deposit it to all of the other neighbors, so some of his corn pollen ends up on his neighbors' farm and some of his neighbors' corn pollen ends up on his farm. If his neighbors' corn was very inferior and it was deposited on his award winning corn, wouldn't his own corn become less superior. By sharing his best seed with his neighbors, the pollen that was deposited on his farm was better than it would have been had he not shared and his corn wasn't degraded by the blown in pollen." (Kimberly Wu, class president of MIT, 2006 as posted by Rick Roberge).
The story felt very poignant as it made full sense to me. Working together, one has the ability to succeed in ways that one never has the ability to fathom. This is pertinent in business, in life and definitely in a sales environment. Sales needs to use a careful balance and a careful touch. This farmer was both a good neighbor (sharing his corn) and a selfish one (looking to ensure his corn wasn't degraded). Yet the net of the matter is that everyone benefited — a positive impact. Be aware that your decisions and your choices can have a lasting impact on yourself as well as those around you.

June 8, 2006

Record Day!

Filed under: General — Philippe Mesritz @ 12:32 pm

I know this is not a huge number of people, but this blog received 40 visitors and 20 feed readers yesterday. A definite milestone. Next target is 75 and 50!

If you're a visitor, please feel free to sign up for Feedblitz or use your favorite RSS reader (

If you have any specific requests on what you'd like to see, please post. I will continue writing tips and thoughts as well as directing to those blogs or articles that are pertinent.

Thank you very much for reading and being part of the community.

— Philippe

June 6, 2006

Using the Right Software

Filed under: Marketing,Tips and Hints — Philippe Mesritz @ 10:40 pm

There are hundreds upon hundreds of pieces of software out there, but not many are focused on telemarketing or sales. Those programs that are "CRM" (Customer Relations Management) software such as, Act!, Goldmine, or other similar products don't ever seem to meet the needs of a telemarketing company. Perhaps they don't have the ability to report on various campaigns (most I've found seem to only allow for a single product or do not separate reporting capabilities). Perhaps they don't allow for the separation of lead generators and sales staff. I've found the product that meets my needs as a telemarketing manager as well as the needs of my employees as telemarketers. A program called "TMS". I've partnered with them and am able to work with you to determine interest and answer questions. Read on for more information about the product or contact me by phone at 512 – 351 – 4921 or email with questions.

I took the top 10 reasons to use from their website because I felt it was very pertinent.

Top 10 Reasons to use TMS

  1. Ease of Use, very simple and friendly to configure and use – we're not just saying it, our Customers are. Non technical people can configure screens and user defined fields every aspect of TMS.
  2. Advanced Power Dialing which will dramatically increase efficiency and productivity of each agent.
  3. Additional Full featured Calling functionality Call Guides, Advanced Scripting, Advanced Appointment setting and full Sales Order Entry.
  4. Remote Agents Support, Agents can be anywhere and with a internet connection be monitored and supported
    • Editor's Note: This is very true. New Direction Marketing uses primarily virtual employees and TMS allows us to work with them remotely and audit them as necessary. Using existing technology such as UltraVNC, our support team can work to solve any problems remotely and TMS supports this capability for anything that we can not solve in house.
  5. Easily manage up to 999 databases from within the standard user interface
    • Editor's Note: How often have you tried to separate your campaigns, either for different products or specials, and been unable to do so? With this, we're able to support multiple clients seamlessly. We use one database per client and are able to limit our telemarketers access to ONLY those products that they are trained in and expected to call on. As they gain more experience, extra campaigns can be added on. You can even schedule times for your calls! From 9:00 – 12:00, call on one product and from 12:01 to 5:00, call on the other — automatically. Using the system, you can run reports to see what days, or even times!, are the most successful for your outbound contacts.
  6. Data cleaning functionality including de-duplicating, do-not-call number screening and telephone number cleaning.
  7. Management Reporting functionality and Real Time Agent Statistics is built-in to the TMS software and requires no technical knowledge
  8. Easy-to-use routines for importing (and exporting) customer and product data. With no limit to the size of data files
    • Editor's Note: Through our remote MySQL (see below) connection, we imported 1000 records in about 15 seconds.
  9. Large Database Support – either Microsoft SQL Server, or MySQL (which is free). You can handle large amounts of data and scale to large numbers of users.
    • Editor's Note: We remotely host our MySQL database at for a nominal monthly fee. The connection speed is amazing, a token to both TMS's capabilities and ISU's bandwidth.
  10. You will Never out grow TMS as you discover new features and we add them.

I've found the software to meet almost every need that I've had. It even works with Skype (as I mentioned here) as a power-dialer and allows you free long distance within the US from within the US while Skype's special offer exists (ending December 31, 2006).They are currently running a special for US based customers on their license pricing. Its a huge discount over their future price, so get a hold of them or me now!Please feel free to contact them directly or call / email me with questions. Please, just remember to let them know that New Direction Marketing referred you over! I'd love to answer any questions you might have! Drop me a line today.

Managing a Lead Generation Company

Filed under: Marketing,Tips and Hints — Philippe Mesritz @ 11:56 am

Managing a company to do what you want, how you want it, and when you want it is difficult to say the least. In most cases, a company is a vendor and the expectation is that you pay them to do a certain job and they do said job. In the case of a lead generation company, the relationship is often a little more complex — but that is not to say that it is more difficult to manage. The reason that it is more convoluted is that it is a long term relationship that truly benefits both companies to be successful with each other. Most client/vendor relationships are one time, one job events or result in a minor service being rendered on a regular basis (for example, outsourcing payroll). Referral generation, or customer service for that matter, outsourcing is a major partnership. If the referral generation company doesn't successfully generate referrals for your organization and the expectation exists, your sales will lag beneath the projections. If your company does not successfully turn the referrals into sales, the generation company will either have a hard time collecting on standard lead fees or will not receive commissions.

All together, ensuring that your company and theirs are working together smoothly is critical. The question is — how do you do that?

Truthfully, there is no 'best way' in my opinion. There are, however, a few key points that need to be addressed in any partnership. This one is no different, just specialized.


Managing an external organization requires communication. The level of communication depends on the work they're doing, how often they're doing it and pre-described requirements. It is important to ensure that there is communication in both directions — from you to them and, certainly, from them to you.

For a lead generation company, I would require at LEAST a weekly email with the number of calls made, contacts completed, and referrals generated. I would also require a daily report of all referrals generated for either that day or the day prior. Other options would be detailed reports on success ratings, estimated future possibilities, success by agent on your campaign, time of day or day of week successes, average times on calls, and other such granular information. There are dozens of criteria that a good telemarketing software can report on. For one of the best out there, please contact me and I will put you in touch with the sales team.

As I indicated, communication needs to be a two way street. This will allow the lead generation team to optimally ensure quality as well as quantity. It is important to communicate in terms of successes on the referrals, whether any of the referrals stated that they had not been contacted, and how strong the lead was. These three basic sets of information are critical for your referral generation company to improve.

"The lack of synergy between sales and marketing on lead generation is so common as to risk cliche. It goes like this… marketing feels that sales doesn’t follow-up on marketing generated leads. Sales counters that the “leads” aren’t any good. And so on. " – Brian Carrol's Blog

The same result occurs between a referral generation company and yours if communication is not kept regularly.


Although this may seem to be more of a co-operation tool than a management tool, I believe that it falls under managing the external organization. Ensuring that they are trained, in full, to be able to give the clients the information that you want is very important. Many times, a company simply says 'generate leads' and then wonders how come the referrals are unaware of certain capabilities, requirements, or costs involved. The expectation was that the referral generation company would deliver this information to the client — but this was never trained.

Single Point of Contact

Working with a single point of contact is always best. Ask for a backup (preferably a senior management level) just in case you are unable to reach your immediate contact on a critical issue, but try to work with the single point as much as possible. Request communication tools that you are comfortable with — email, phone and instant messaging. When working with the single point of contact, setup the schedule that works for your needs. You are the client, in this case, even though this is a working partnership. For example, request your reports every day by 9:00 AM their time and a conference call once a week on Thursday afternoons. It is important to create a working relationship with your point of contact so that they can concentrate on resolving any problems, hang ups or concerns that you may have. In exchange, however, make sure that you are available to answer questions in a timely fashion when they have a problem.

Be Willing to Cut Loose

This is a hard decision to make after you've put in all the time to verify a single point of contact, figure out the training, settle on reporting needs — but you need to be willing to cut loose from the company you're working with when they are simply not doing what you need. Whether this is because the leads they are sending you are a waste of time, whether they are not sending you anything, or whether they are simply putting you off all the time — at some point, the decision must be made to go to a different company. There are always exceptions to this, but it is something that each individual organization needs to decide on. It is, however, something that needs to be decided on consciously.

As you can tell, all of these points impact each other. The largest thread is "communicate". Without communication, the lead generation company will fail and you will not see any positive impact from their referrals. An outsourced company that generates leads and referrals for you is incredibly potent — don't let the opportunity slide through your fingertips without making an effort!

June 5, 2006


Filed under: General — Philippe Mesritz @ 10:46 am

I'm back now and will resume my posting of Tips and Hints as well as general thoughts shortly. Thanks for bearing with me!

— Philippe

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