A Professional’s View As To Why Facebook May Not Be Good For B2B Leads

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There’s no doubt that Facebook can be credited for starting the social media storm in the business world. Despite the recent events of GM ceasing to place ads on the site, one Businessweek article has this to say about what Facebook is trying to accomplish:

 

“The bigger picture is that Facebook is still struggling to prove that social forms of advertising work and that they are worth paying extra for.”

 

Hence, regardless of skepticism, Facebook continues to fight on in its advocacy of bringing a social element to marketing and encouraging stronger relations between business and consumer. However, even a casual business observer might notice one or two things about Facebook: it may not work for everybody.

 

Remember, there are two sides to the business world that companies cater to. One face represents the B2C relationships. In other words, these would be the businesses connecting their part of the world to the rest of it. On the other hand, we have the B2B side where companies connect and cooperate each other to improve on their services. A good example of a B2C company would be Hasbro or McDonald’s (and in this case, Facebook itself). B2B companies however would include the likes of IBM and SAP who supply businesses with management systems (e.g. BI software).

 

Here, when one sees the social media marketing attempts done on Facebook, it can be argued that B2C companies can experience a higher amount of success. On the other hand, Rich Karlgaard has written some interesting things on his blog that would hint as to why Facebook is not a good place for business leads.

 

“The company says it is zeroing in on a billion members. Good for Facebook, but what I would like to know is how many Facebook users have grown bored. I have not visited my Facebook page in two months. Almost every professional person I talk to who is over 25 years old has grown bored with Facebook.”

 

He even goes further and say that Facebook is not as much a necessity as some people would like to believe:

 

“I like Google, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Oracle, EMC and SAP because the world’s economy depends on them. Sure, we could live without them, but not without major disruption. The switching costs would be extremely high… Facebook is not integral to the global economy and its cool brand is rapidly fading.”

 

Naturally, some people might say that the social aspect is a necessity (as evidenced by some of the comments to the blog). While they may have some points, how much of those will hold for companies seeking to get leads out of it? ERP software groups are more likely to target professionals and decision makers. And as far as Karlgaard’s opinion goes, you won’t find plenty of them on Facebook. Many of those marketing within B2B companies still boast success with telemarketing services or setting software appointments than spending an unusual amount of time on Facebook. There’s a reason why some companies have blocked access to the site within their offices.

Software Appointment Setting – Map Out The Virtual Landscape When Using Social Media

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With all the hype regarding Facebook’s IPO, business and marketing professionals are once again buzzing on the subject of social media marketing. Since the days of Friendster and Myspace, more and more businesses are using these social media platforms in order promote their brands and engage customers. This applies to everyone from regular consumer brands to high-end B2B products such as BI software.

 

However, not everyone is eager to jump on the bandwagon (or at the very least, the Facebook bandwagon). What people are forgetting is that Facebook does not comprise the whole of social media. There’s also Twitter. There’s also LinkedIn. And just recently, business2community.com has released an article that further confirms the shape of the online landscape for social media.

 

Now the internet has long been hailed as the new frontier for businesses to conquer and yes, the rise online marketing and online businesses are showing signs that this frontier already has territories established. These territories are of course the websites and domains where companies choose to establish their presence.

 

In the case of social media, think of it as one area of the map where everyone gathers. Each area has a certain population of a certain market. For a long time now, people have been considering the use of Facebook as a marketing tool to have a heavy B2C bent. The article only goes on to confirm this:

 

“When Facebook began allowing companies to set up their own profiles, the real boon for brands was the ability to occupy the same online space as consumers’ friends and acquaintances. After all, online space very quickly translated to occupying the same mental space. Consumers could think of their interaction with brands in the same way they thought of their interaction with people: they could have conversations, share content, and exchange information. They could have a relationship with their Fans

 

Translating that into some sort of landscape, the region of Facebook is rife with consumer brands and with the consumers themselves. On the other hand, this does not sound like the ideal environment for B2B leads. As stated before though, Facebook does not necessarily stand for the whole of social media. For B2B businesses, there can be other places to go such as LinkedIn:

 

“LinkedIn’s special place in the social media pantheon has always been professional networking. Additionally it has been a central source of truth for corporate information, and many companies are encouraging their employees to connect their profiles to the company profile in order to bolster their presence. It is not surprising then that large corporations would dominate the LinkedIn leaderboards.”

 

Needless to say, this is the ideal B2B region of the social media realm. With a population comprised of professionals, corporate executives, and discussions on big business, LinkedIn is a good place to get information needed for a lot of lead generation methods such as telemarketing and email marketing. Unlike regular B2C marketing, there is greater emphasis on establishing relationships and connections with prospects before attempting the sale. Conversations and exchanges of information are highly encouraged, leading to the heavy use of everything from outsourced telemarketing to webinars.

 

Ultimately however, this should teach you the importance of mapping out the virtual landscape of social media so that you can set allocate your resources to the proper area.

BI Software Leads: Aiming Higher Up The Corporate Ladder

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When you’re looking for prospects for B2B software like CRM applications and payroll systems, you don’t need to worry too much about contacting someone too far out of your league. However, when it comes to something as expansive as software for Business Intelligence, you and your people better start investing in some suits.

 

Remember, this kind of software grants the user the whole picture of how a business is going. Everything from project management to relaying company goals throughout all departments falls under the control of the using this powerful computer application. It’s only logical then to assume that this kind of power can only be handled by those among the highest ranks of the corporate ladder.

 

You can already tell then that if you’re going locate B2B leads for software like this, you’re going to be aiming really high and expect the prospect of trouble in trying to impress these particularly high-class executives. On the upside, you wouldn’t be trying to sell BI software if you didn’t make sure that every part of it was up to snuff.

 

Still, that may not eliminate the obstacle of getting their interests, which is what lead generation is after all. Regular methods like media and internet advertising may not have the same effect on them because these people are likely to be very, very busy. Such things might just easily be ignored or perhaps never seen.

 

There’s also no telling what kind of habits they have with regards to their e-mail. Do their secretaries do all the viewing or do they look through it personally? Is the email personal or is it something specifically directed to people in his or her position? More importantly, how can you make your email invitation not look like spam?

 

Surprisingly, something like this might need a more direct and personal approach. How about a telemarketing call?

 

Contrary to what some people assume, telemarketing can be finely tuned into something that is actually perfect for contacting the hard-to-reach higher ups of reputable corporations. A skilled calling agent can be direct, objective, and creative enough to bypass both gatekeepers and the skepticism of the executives themselves.

 

However, training them in such specialty takes time, money, and plenty of experience. You may not be able to afford a single one and to try an inexperienced hand in contacting such important people can lead to disaster for both your company finances and reputation.

 

Often times, outsourcing is recommended in this case. Luckily for you, there are a number of reputable lead generation services who have just the skills to help you search, refine, and get in touch with the executives of your target companies. Their databases are large and constantly maintained so that you’ll know that appointments they make for you are based on quality information. And since the experienced ones have the backing of years in the industry, you can bet their agents are the same.

 

You might want to hurry though because every second wasted on hesitation means your competitors might very well be on their way to their own leads. Outsource to a software telemarketer today and aim high!

Professional Telemarketers Are Everywhere! Price Is Just One Factor!

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In light of recent events, people are once again bringing up the issue of pitting offshore outsourcing and onshore for things like lead generation services (e.g. telemarketing). Two common advantages/disadvantages that are often cited in these debates is quality and costs. You usually hear how offshore has low costs but also low quality. Onshore is costlier but better. On the other hand, you’ll also hear the complete reverse with just as much frequency. Some say there are offshore countries with better services at lower costs whilst onshore companies just have a veneer of being high-end to make up for the lack of competent personnel.

Now what decision are you supposed to come to from this scenario?

Well the truth is there may not be a really strong connection between the two at all. And no, this isn’t a cop out. You see despite citing only two common factors being discussed, there is in fact a focus on only one of them: costs.

Believe it or not but there are still plenty of businesses out there who judge rashly based on costs in the same way a person may judge rashly based on a book’s cover instead of the contents.

For instance, what if you were a developer or a supplier of computer applications meant to assist in business intelligence? Even the smallest BI software company will tell you that the population size of your leads is going to very small.

Very small indeed but also very important.

This population is made up of none other than the high-ranking business executives and CEOs representing your target companies. Who else would use a type of software powerful enough to take all the information of an entire enterprise and then just pack it in one, easily manageable desktop dashboard?

If you have every intention to contact these people, you might even need more than just simply telemarketing. These people are hard to get, given their position. You need people skilled in various forms of B2B communication from the phone and mail to internet and social media. That’s the only way you’re going to cover your bases.

Do you really think it’s wise to let price along indicate such skills? Given the varying arguments mentioned above, don’t you think their constant employment is more likely a sign of diversity than simply one side being better than the other? What if some cheap offshore company is cheap purely because their country’s currency is stronger/weaker than yours? It sure doesn’t seem to affect their service. Likewise, the same could be for an onshore company.

What about lead generation companies that are multinational, with contact centers based in different parts of the world? What good is this debate then?

The fact is professionals are everywhere and in a world where discrimination based on nation is highly discouraged, how much more when you either pair it with price or just simply price alone? Price isn’t necessarily an indication of skill. Any person with even the mildest experience in B2B (or even just business in general) will tell you that there are more factors governing a price tag than the quality of their service. If you’re serious about your B2B lead generation, then outsource to company for reasons beyond just mere price.

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