Myths surrounding cloud-based solutions

There’s a whole bunch of myths surrounding cloud-based communication solutions that are mostly used to dissuade enterprises from implementing them. Lack of control over company sensitive data and problems that may occur when integrating cloud-based solutions with other more traditional applications are the two most common concerns.

Companies Lose Control Over Key Data.

This is one of the most common arguments in the effort against cloud-based services. You have zero control over your data, you are at the mercy of your cloud provider when it comes to even the most minute matters like day-to-day changes in configuration or access control.

This argument could not be further from the truth since one of the key advantages is the modular user interfaces developed by providers – those turn into multifunctional tools in the hands of a manager. When it comes to contact centres, the managers can implement vast changes without any involvement from the IT department while even closely monitoring their agents since the tools they are using are fitted to them specifically.

As for the loss of control over key data, every cloud-based system allows storing sensitive information on the client’s premises.

Difficult Integration.

The difficulty with integration is yet another myth that shrouds Cloud solutions. Most customer care centres today operate on-premise based systems that require cost-heavy CTI integration. Cloud, on the other hand, uses latest web services technology. It is designed with the phrase “user-friendly” in mind – making it easier to actually implement into a premise-based system, not to mention other cloud applications.

The Aftermath.

Cloud-based solutions are easily integrated and you don’t loose control over any data. So is this solution right for your enterprise? That is for you to decide.

Keep in mind that consumer demands are on the rise, mobile customer support access, social media integration and much more. Cloud could unify the whole field.

It does not solve all the problems but can solve most of them or in the very least point us to the logical solution.

 

B2B Lead Generation: Quality, Quantity or Both?

Ah yes, the good ole marketing vs sales clash; quantity vs quality – where should we start to in order to solve this conundrum?

To be frank, sales reps need fewer leads, to be precise, fewer unfiltered, unrefined leads.

If a lead is properly and consistently nurtured and developed its chances of “flourishing” into a completed sale increase.

The main problem within companies is that the marketing teams are rewarded for quantity, and not lead quality. Technology also helps with generating those leads at an astounding pace at a relatively low cost. Also, the fact that more than a third of sales reps are missing the quota, doesn’t help either.

To simplify, the usual report from marketing looks like this “Great quarter in lead generation. We generated more than 1564 leads from all sources – that’s a 20% gain over last year. Despite higher PPC cost, we managed to keep our leads under the standard price.”

So when sales executives take a closer look at these not-so-awesome leads, their response is quite harsh:

  • No defined budget info? Begone!
  • Not a senior enough lead? Bye, bye!
  • Planned for next year? Toodles!

The whole mess goes back and forth, without a proper resolution. It’s quite insane, marketing teams think they are keeping their end of the bargain, and they are if you consider things from the volume only standpoint, while sales are dismissing leads, rightfully so, since they are not nurtured.

Companies are also to blame, gambling with leads is a common practice. Why pay twice the average price for a well nurtured, quality lead when you can, pay half of that and gamble a bit, while receiving double the amount of leads with a conversion rate ranging from 20% to 60%.

Lead vendors that dabble in such practices are equivalents of “sweat shops”, pumping out leads “en masse” without consideration for quality. In return, companies waste millions on low quality, poorly qualified leads. There’s also a metric to justify this sort of behaviour, ROMI (return on marketing investment) – sometimes, as little as 20% close rate is considered good. Although, the actual return is, in fact, close to zero.

Since quantity over quality, simply doesn’t cut it, what steps should companies undertake?

  • Measure the quality and cost per ACTUAL lead.
  • An “overseer” (c-level executive) that keeps sales and marketing in check, evaluating their work and making sure both departments have the companies best interest in mind, and not their own.
  • A special group whose focus is nurturing leads till they are sales ready if a particular lead can’t gain momentum this special team will “look under the hood” and diagnose.

Using LinkedIn For Business Development

LinkedIn is a useful career tool and mingling with the right crowd has never been easier, but over the last few years it evolved past its networking purpose and has become a vital business development tool.

Bellow, you’ll find 10 LinkedIn business development best practices:

 

Optimise Your Profile

Make sure that your profile is fully complete, that’s the first step. The second step is a bit harder as you need to revise your profile and use as many keyword-rich descriptions as possible.

These steps will improve your visibility when someone is searching LinkedIn for people with your expertise.

Just don’t ‘go full keyword’ OK?

 

Get Your Custom URL

I don’t know about you, but personally, I love customization, and custom URLs are no exception. Go ahead and claim your custom URL, just make sure it includes your name (e.g. https://linkedin.com/in/yourname).

This rather simple step is especially valuable for people who have a lot of contact with potential clients (even more valuable for those of us in the B2B sector) mainly because we have become so accustomed to ‘googling’ – we just search for people we haven’t met yet in order to learn more about them and at times, to gain the upper hand.

 

Network.

Constantly keep on building and maintain your LinkedIn network. Whenever you meet someone, follow up with a LinkedIn request. Being connected to a wide plethora of professionals improves your chances of finding that one person who’s connected to someone with whom you’d like to be introduced.

Simply keep on networking, and when in doubt network some more.

 

Advanced Search

Thanks to LinkedIn the endless search for prospective clients and decision makers has never been easier. The ability to find the appropriate person to contact for your business is at your fingertips, and it’s called ‘Advanced Search’. Use a combination of industry keywords, job titles and company or brand names and you’re all set.

When you do find your ‘point of contact’ look at their profile, perhaps they’re connected to anyone in your networking circle who you might ask for an introduction.

If not, don’t worry there are other, more natural relationship building methods. See what LinkedIn groups they participate in, or maybe they have a Twitter account or a blog you could follow and build a relationship based on common interests.

 

Get Your Company ‘Out There’

Highlight your company by building a company page. Use keyword-rich descriptions for your offers and/or services and bring your company to life by using high-quality images and videos.

 

Form Opinions and Share Knowledge

Status updates are a great way to share valuable information to prospective clients, your employees and anyone who’s following your company page.

Your ‘personal brand’ helps in building trust in you and by extension in your company, use it to your advantage and showcase your strong points. Use status updates on your personal profile to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.

 

Publish Content

It’s ‘Publish or Perish’ on LinkedIn. Write articles that demonstrate your industry knowledge and expertise and use the publishing feature to get your content ‘out there’.

Including a crafty ‘Call to Action’ is a surefire way to encourage further engagement, in the form of commenting on your article or contacting you for help.

 

Study LinkedIn’s Pulse

The most popular articles get featured on LinkedIn’s Pulse. In order to find out what content is popular (and gets promoted as a result), you need study ‘Pulse’.

Look for common denominators, latest trends and types of content – don’t forget to ‘keep an eye out’ for emerging trends.

 

Community Building

Don’t be a ‘square’ and participate in industry groups. Finding groups appropriate to your industry is not an easy task as there’s a lot of ‘noise’ to filter, however, you’ll be able to find active, quality groups with a thriving community – it just takes time.

What’s next? Be a part of the community, start participating by answering questions, joining conversations and sharing interesting third-party articles.

Keep on doing these activities and you’ll become a trusted community member. Having established your credibility and visibility within the group, you’ll be able to share your own content with ease.

 

Tell, Don’t Sell

Remember, you’re among professionals, there are no ‘sheep’ on LinkedIn, only ‘wolves’, this is why it’s crucial to focus on building trust and not on selling. A sales pitch will just turn everyone away, and you won’t get a second chance.

Build trust by engaging your audience on multiple levels. Think about what’s important to them, what problems they have, what challenges they face and pinpoint their aspirations and goals.

You need to become their ‘go-to’ source for problem-solving, someone they want to become, one that always has helpful information and insight, and when they use the information you provided to fix their issues or solve a problem they will think of you.

Become your audiences guru, that’s all there is to it.

 

I would love to hear back from you and learn how do you use LinkedIn for business development?