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July 2019

5 Tips for Winning the B2B Sales Marathon

By | B2B Sales, Backend Support Services, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Marketing Virtual Assistant, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Sales is tricky and difficult; and when you throw in a whole board of stakeholders and a hefty analysis for ROI, it becomes a lot more complicated, expensive, and strategic on both ends. B2B sales are a marathon of researching, connecting, marketing and selling, and certainly not a sprint.

B2B sales involve selling the idea of your product/service up the line towards the CEO or across the line towards the manager, depending on the size of your prospective client’s business. Despite the direction, your pitch has to go across many individuals and has to be convincing for all of them to be closed successfully.

It is more difficult in the B2B sales environment to plan your pitch and offer value to your clients. Generally, a B2B sales pitch is presented to a group of 6-10 stakeholders. Here your sales agent does not face an individual but a board or committee of different individuals who have diverse personalities, perspectives, and stakes regarding your offer. As an individual consumer has changed over time, business as a buyer has also evolved. B2B interactions have become more refined and are not linear anymore.

There are some general techniques that are followed by almost all sales teams to pace the first miles of their B2B marathon. The following checklist can help you warm up and build your momentum:

  Shorten response time for the buyer query

  Undertake detailed research about the buyer

  Understand your buyer’s preferences and resources

  Research your competitors

  Prepare your sales team

  Take the marketing team onboard

As the marathon crosses to the last few laps, the competition gets tougher. That is when your prospective client has gathered the information they were looking for and has shortlisted the options for their purchase decision. It is this time when losers and winners will be distinguished on the basis of their agility and technique!

These are 5 very important basics that you must know for winning your B2B sales Marathon:

  1. Easy, High Quality Information

Key Lesson: Make sure you provide the right information in the right way and at the right time, to earn trust, leverage consensus, and win sales.

As a basic step, look thoroughly at all of your company’s media and mediums to ensure that they dispense high quality information about your products and services. This can also include information about your company, completed projects, and old or existing clients.

Moreover, this information should be easily accessible by your clients. Your potential client should not have to flip page upon page to find the information they require.

Research proves that the easy availability of high-quality information for the business buyers can help make their purchasing experience less complex and difficult. 77% of businesses report their purchasing process as tiresome and complicated. Also, each member of the buying group searches a few sources and then cumulates the information together to understand the pros and cons. 95% buying groups reported that they often need to reconsider their decisions because they chance upon some new information due to inconsistencies.

Therefore, it is not only important to have valuable information for your clients but also to detangle it and provide it to them in a consolidated, easy, and presentable form to save their time and efforts. This builds the supplier firm’s credibility as well.

  1. Buyer Enablement

Key Lesson: For winning more B2B sales deals, look into ways of providing prescriptive tools and immediate practical support for each critical buying step of their entire buying process.

The concept of Buyer Enablement refers to facilitating potential clients in undertaking buying tasks. It shifts the responsibility to the seller’s side to provide relevant and useful information to the clients and create processes that favor their client and not their salesmen.

This has become a competitive edge, a differentiating factor for B2B sales. With so many alternatives and options available, it is crucial for a vendor to quickly respond to the buyers and not let them suffer through a tedious and poor experience to get information about hows or whats.

Business buying is a complete process that is divided into several tasks and jobs. In order to win big in today’s B2B sales environment, supplier organizations should facilitate the clients in their buying processes. It goes beyond provision of consistent quality information.

This may include augmenting their research and information by providing on-site tools for:

  • Simple data analysis
  • Basic diagnostics for assessing performance
  • Basic diagnostics for analyzing alternatives
  • Connecting to other stakeholders
  • Data for comparisons
  • Simulation: how the solution will help the client’s specific needs

Look at it this way, as a supplier you study and anticipate the needs of your modern buyer groups. Resultantly, you are curating a set of interactive and analytical tools for your clients to use on the spot. This is in addition to easy-to-navigate and relevant information that is provided for them to be able to make appropriate decisions faster and without difficulty of moving back and forth.

  1. Trustworthy Digital Presence

Key Lesson: Tap into all the opportunities of B2B Ecommerce by partnering with an experienced ecommerce support services providing company.

Since you are aiming for many closed deals and increasing positive leads in the pipeline, give priority to your digital presence as well. Ensure the credibility, trust, and authenticity that is generated through your online channels.

This is a part of buyer enablement: you help them find the insights that will enable them to better understand the features and relevancy of your offer. Millennial buyers will not trust your sales representative as much as they will trust the reviews on

your social accounts. 15% of a buying process time is spent on gathering information and discerning the truth. Therefore, it is imperative that you work on generating authentic reviews and materials such as relatable case studies and case reviews for your clients to read.

Let a specialist take care of social media accounts and website creation and maintenance. It is never a one-time cost to keep your online presence relevant and updated. Therefore, to stay focused on clients’ preferences and to avoid the added burden of keeping up with the social media trends, it is better to consider contracting options. This will ensure continuous sales, digital and omnichannel support for your business.

  1. No one shoe fits all

Key Lesson: Let clients be the choosers. Offer them communication options and solutions and let them select.

Another important factor is how you communicate and build different channels of communication for your clients. Your organization as well as sales team should be able to offer several ways for communicating with the prospective buyer.

Rapport building is a must for sales, right? However, in order to facilitate the buyer and to keep the information crisp and precise, let your client have his own time for gathering and processing information. Let them choose their preferred way of communication, be it on call, email, or chat. Some people might prefer a one-on-one meeting each time to gain confidence in you.

Similarly, it should be only a click away to get a response, solution, or an explanation from your sales team. This means instead of leaving a form to be filled, which will receive a response in 3-5 days or may be even later, give them a direct link or call option that will be catered to right away by the right people at your organization. For example, giving choices, something like this, to the buyer to connect with your organization according to their needs and convenience puts them at ease and lets them choose what suits their buying job (and schedule) best.

The idea is to not try and fix every buyer group with same options. Customize your way of dealing and solutions as per the client’s requirements.

  1. Train the Sales Team to Listen and Help

Key Lesson: Never undermine the importance of a competent sales team in a B2B sales environment. Invest in continuous training or contracting a reliable service provider to build a talented and professional workforce.

Here comes the most important part. It is all-encompassing and all-inclusive. All the relevant and easily available information will be, in fact, counterproductive if your sales personnel are not able to demonstrate authentic customer success.

Your sales representatives should be able to anticipate the needs and navigate through the buyer’s purchase cycle. They must be able to communicate effectively and understand the demands of your clients and how they view themselves and their challenges. Listening to them will enable the sales team to work on the clients’ success and show them how your products or services can elevate their operations. 69% buyers say that the only way to convince them is by listening to them.

Working through a purchase cycle and listening to the clients may not actually lead to sales. But it is crucial when you consider long term growth of your company, positive word of mouth, and professionalism.

To meet the expectations of your contemporary clients, build or hire a team that is competent, able to multitask, can converse in multiple languages, shows curtesy and understanding, and professionally handles queries and clients.

Moreover, depending upon the size and type of your operations, your sales team needs to be equipped with a set of analytical and virtual tools to help them become more productive, collaborative and results oriented. For quality leads in the pipeline and to score more sales, investing in your teams’ skills is crucial. It requires training them to satisfy multiple concerns effectively and in a timely manner. It also involves focus on training and mentoring your sales operators and sales teams to create a pleasant experience for your potential clients, which may or may not convert into closed sales.

As B2B sales is becoming digital and more complex, work on the strengths of your organization and portray them in the best light to your prospective clients. Collaborating with a support services provider takes away the worries of specialized tasks that can be expensive and an added burden if handled in-house. Investing in your website and social media management, sales team support, multilingual support and data entry, and analytical backup can take you a long way in achieving growth and an enviable market standing.

Improve your customer service center for customer retention

What Are Customer Retention Strategies?

By | Backend Support Services, Call Center Support, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Multilingual Customer Service | 2 Comments

Successful customer retention is a major sign of business health and it is closely related to the growing concept of customer success through a well-established customer care center.

It works simultaneously as a marketing strategy while also aligning the company’s vision as part of its strategic goals. Customer retention means you are focused on developing a long-term relationship with the client rather than extracting short-term, temporary transactions.

Previously, marketing strategy revolved around convincing a consumer to buy your product/service and realize that it is at least marginally different from the other alternatives available in the market. Now, a customer care center must work on the entire customer purchase pattern and create consumer success—tangible rewards and benefits that the consumers will receive by making your company a long-term member of their consumption bundle.

This shift brings more challenges, but results in higher retention rates, lower costs of sales, and an improved bottom line.

It is crucial to understand that a customer retention strategy requires detailed study of successful consumers, their buying behavior, preferences, and disposable income. Top of FormThese customer retention strategies can vary from business to business. As a rule, it should be kept in mind that customer retention entails keeping the old customers with you, lowering exit rates, and increasing sales.

Let’s elaborate each of these concepts to help you formulate your own strategies for each step and retain customers successfully through your customer care center.

Keep Existing Customers Close to You:

A simple look around you can show you how expectations have changed and how an influx of choices has made consumption more complicated.

It is common for businesses to divide their customers into demographic profiles for setting marketing and sales goals. It is about time that these profiles are scrutinized to understand customers’ thought processes and buying patterns.

As customers are changing, your company should be able to keep up with their changed preferences to give them the choices and products they are looking for now. There can be a number of ways to retain your customers once you have outlined their preferences and are ready to meet their expectations.

Selling More and Often:

Brand Loyalty Programs can be introduced that are most likely to attract new and keep your existing customers coming back to you. They key factors here are features, designs, and quality you offer your customers. 66% consumers tend to stay loyal to a brand if they find features, quality, and design as per their changing demands.

Similarly, Coupons are a very effective and popular way of retaining customers. Offering coupons to your existing customers for their preferred item can motivate them to make an immediate purchase, especially after 30 months of association. This also gives them a feeling of personalized service, which further instills brand loyalty. In a study, 60% consumers agreed to Surprise Rewards being a major factor for their staying loyal to a brand.

Value Added Services or Cross Selling with a partner brand also keeps customers coming back to you.  Data-sharing partnership is also a potential avenue for increasing customer retention by letting partner companies share data and collaborate for time, season, and location-specific offers.

Rebrand your business to meet customer expectations. As Richard Branson has very aptly said, do not just meet expectations of your clients but exceed them.

It is equally important for acquiring new customers as well as retaining existing customers that a business is rebranded. Rebranding helps you move with customer preferences, as mentioned earlier. It is evident that modern customers are always on the look-out for something fresh and new. Therefore, it is feasible to rebrand and accommodate existing customers to show them all new customer success to convince them to stay. Rebranding helps to overcome an outdated image of a company and helps in exceeding the expectations of your existing clients.

Where Is Customer Churn Taking Place and Why?

In connection to the above discussion, reviewing customer behavior and company-client relationships can give valuable insights for retaining customers. One important information is to know where the customer exits and why?

Monitoring customers’ online journey can tell you the exact point which disturbed the customer enough to withdraw from your company and move onto someone else for a purchase. It may be long delivery times or dodgy/outdated payment options. It can also be the outdated overall layout of your website and poor social media presence. Most importantly, customer churn can take place due to improper handling at the customer care center.

Revamping the Customer Care Center

For modern consumers, online presence, customer service and delivery service have to be top notch. A well maintained customer service center can be an answer to all three of these goals.

To build a successful, longer term client relationship, your company has to build an effective customer service team. You require a friendly, personable team that is agile, technically smart and is trained to show gratitude and courtesy to the customers. Agents should have product and policy knowledge and the ability to resolve issues satisfactorily. This also leads to the capacity of a customer care center to quickly respond to a query in the required language, take required actions immediately, document, and follow up.

To have a versatile customer care center, it is most feasible to contract a company with prior experience of multilingual call center services, omnichannel support, and capable of managing and monitoring the teams to provide hassle-free best results for your company.

A good CRM tool is also a vital investment to keep your relationship organized and documented. It can cover all channels of support. To keep customer engaged through your online presence and product lifecycle, reemphasizing their customer success is important.  Influencers and arranging Q and A sessions can ensure a lot of engagement and build stronger relationships. A good customer advocacy program or creating online customer groups, webinars, and user group meetings are also some ways of bringing customers together.

Customer retention is a goal and strategy in itself. As the technology is advancing and nothing is inaccessible for a modern consumer, it is important that your business is able to deliver products and customer services that match the requirements and ideas of your customers. Targeting new customers improves revenue but keeping old customers intact helps in building company value and sustainable growth.

Originally posted as an answer on Quora for What are customer retention strategies?

Answer by Saira Zafar, Content Contributor, IdeasUnlimited

Tips for Ensuring Your Virtual Assistants Do Not Slack Off

By | Administrative Support, Backend Support Services, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Medical Virtual Assistant, Multilingual Support, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Receptionist Service, Technical Support, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Originally posted as an answer on Quora for If you have multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses, how can you be sure that they are not slacking off?

Answer by Shakira, Operations Manager – Project and Growth, IdeasUnlimited

shakira@osbprovider.com

Hiring a virtual assistant to provide administrative support, marketing support, technical support, or any other kind of support services required by your business requires a strong trust-based relationship, more so than hiring an in-house worker. Hiring multiple virtual assistants across multiple businesses compounds the need for a mechanism for building and maintaining this trust in the remote workforce.

The strategies and tools for ensuring they are not slacking off depend on the type of virtual assistant you have hired:

  1. Dedicated

Is the virtual assistant supposed to set aside designated hours for your project or business? Go for this type of virtual assistant if you need assistance with a high volume of meticulous work in certain hours of the day or if a project is time sensitive.

  1. Flexible

Do you want the virtual assistant to complete the set tasks by a certain deadline but work any hours that suit him/her? Most design and web development projects lend towards this type of virtual assistant as do multilingual transcription services and translation of audio files. For such a virtual assistant, your criterion for judging performance and, hence, whether he/she is slacking off will be the quality of work delivered.

  1. Shared

Does the virtual assistant work for you in set hours shared with other projects? Shared hours would be perfect for you if you need virtual PA services or other support services to cover certain hours.

Tips for ensuring your virtual assistants do not slack off

  • Communicate Objectives, Expectations, and Deadlines Clearly: A good virtual assistant needs clear communication of goals, responsibilities, and timelines to deliver results. Once you communicate all three at the beginning of the project, both of you will know how the work is supposed to be carried out. This ensures the virtual assistants do not slack off since they are aware of what results they need to deliver by a particular date.
  • Use a Time Tracker and Productivity Management Software:This creates a transparent process wherein you can see activity levels, app and URL usage, attendance, etc. It will also motivate the virtual assistant to give their 100% to the task since screenshots and the reports generated ensure productivity levels stay high.
  • Set Up a Project Management Mechanism:Take some time out of your schedule or hire a project manager to keep an eye on the project’s progress. This will keep you in the loop, ensure that objectives are being met, and proactively identify any problem areas that can be corrected before they derail the project. This will be the most important tool for managing flexible virtual assistants.
  • Hire Proficient Virtual Assistants from a Professional Support Services ProviderSince you would be hiring from a firm that professionally recruits and places virtual assistants, you’ll be assured of a wider range of highly qualified and reliable candidates who can assist you in a wide range of tasks and businesses. In addition, to build client loyalty, the firm will handle project management as well as the administrative aspect such as payroll processing, and will also monitor the remote team for you. You can simply focus on growing your business by assigning tasks to them. The firm will even take care of initial and ongoing training of the virtual assistants for you. This also reduces the risk of hiring a stranger to assist you in your business since the support services provider will be responsible for finding and retaining virtual assistants, freeing you from that hassle.
  • Give Incentives to Improve Productivity:Like any other workers, virtual assistants will also perform better when offered the correct incentives. Setting up a reward or bonus scheme for performance par excellence will encourage the virtual assistants to complete their tasks on time and to the best of their abilities. This will be most apt for a dedicated virtual assistant since you need to keep their motivation levels high for regular stretches of time and they provide the greatest range of support services.

Use these simple tips to ensure your virtual assistants do not slack off and you get quality work on time. Please comment down below if you have any questions or suggestions.

Disruption and Reinvention in the Telecommunications Industry

By | Call Center for Small Business, Call Center Support, Technical Support, Uncategorized | No Comments

Here is an important question for you: Why do firms run businesses?
The most common answer is: To generate profits and achieve a sustainable position in the market.

The telecommunication industry has been trying to replicate this capital-intensive industry synergy, but without moving beyond the orthodox consumer models. Therefore, with partial redundancy of voice and texting plans, telecom companies have been trying hard to balance their ROI and declining cashflows. Currently, Western European and North American Telecom is also selling broadband, TV, media services, and data services to manage profitability and capital returns. It is, however, more important to note that the landscape has been greatly transformed because Facebook, Google, Netflix, and other data-driven companies have taken it very far from the typical telecom market by creating new forms of communication, technical support, and viewer choices.

Now let me ask you my question again: Why do firms run businesses?

               This time a Million Dollar Answer should be: To maintain their competitive edge, evolve with time, and create positive customer experiences for profitability and sustainability.

Digital innovation can help telecommunication companies streamline operational processes, satisfy customers, reduce costs, and increase sales.

As the telecommunication companies have waited too long to understand and respond to this digital disruption, digital companies like Facebook and Netflix have jumped in and established themselves as the fiercest competitors to the telecommunication industry. These data-driven giants have grabbed a major share of the customer satisfaction pie—the main ingredient of success in today’s world. And to catch up, the telecommunication industry has to free up resources and employ trained, tech-savvy teams to support their customer care center and technical customer support units.

Customer focus is the main target. Telecommunications companies differentiate themselves and achieve success through customer-centric models. This requires drastic changes in operational, technological, and organizational processes.

E-Care

It is time for the telecommunication industry to step up their technical customer support to win big on customer experience and satisfaction. Providing technical customer support through digital channels is reported to increase customer satisfaction significantly.

Deloitte reviews how technical customer support teams can create differentiation and give businesses a competitive edge to retain and acquire customers. Giffgaff, a UK virtual network operator, has set a precedent in E-care or digital technical customer support. With just 33 employees, Giffgaff has a record of clearing customer queries/issues within three minutes. It has succeeded in building a community of users who help each other digitally and even developed Nokia and iOS applications through discussions and mutual help.

This demonstrates an excellent example of E-care, which also results in high levels of customer engagement and satisfaction. Digitization makes support services leaner, quicker, and effective. This reduces costs and capital commitment for the company.

The telecommunication industry hardly fares well when customer service metrics are compared. It has failed to fully appreciate the potential of developing digital technical customer support for tier one and two. As the market moves faster towards more sophisticated technologies and cloud-based systems and products and services, it is necessary to avoid communication delays and ineffective solutions.

Generation Y and Generation Z are tech savvy, have lesser time, and prefer online communication. Therefore, systems like E-care can accommodate and elevate their overall customer experience with a telecom operator.

Reports by McKinsey have shown that E-care also reduces customer care center costs by 25-30% while online technical customer support improves customer experience by 76%.  Another mobile operator reduced the number of support service calls by 90% by introducing sophisticated systems for E-care. This shows the significance of building and facilitating digital-only journeys for modern telecom users. A three-tiered system of technical support with advanced systems can easily navigate and anticipate problems and issue resources to the customers as required.

Omnichannel Experience

When digital services become extensive, they necessitate the introduction of a cohesive online/offline operations model for your business to deliver a consistent experience across all channels of communication and customer contact points. Your customer care center should be able to keep up with the evolving demands and preferences of your customers. Each touchpoint, whether operated digitally or through a customer representative, needs to deliver an expected level of service.

More than 60% of customers digitally interact with brands and request their services  through different mediums. They expect consistent and quality customer service across all time zones, mediums, and devices. Unified cross-channel services will bring loyalty and repeated sales for the company.

A well-managed omnichannel customer experience means a well-integrated and seamless experience for the consumers through which they can resolve service issues and communicate with the company. Different customers can have different communication preferences and the omnichannel support model enables them to choose different channels alternatively, simultaneously, and in combination, to build their own digital journeys.

Developing the omnichannel experience for your customers will also result in a wealth of customer data, which can further help to elevate customer service at multiple touch points by better personalization and service access. Big data and predictive analyses give a unified view of customers that is required for the omnichannel experience.

IdeasUnlimited has been assisting a number of companies in the telecommunication industry meet these contemporary challenges. If you are interested in knowing more about our services for telephone companies, internet service providers, wireless telecommunication carriers, network service providers, and media service providers, click here -> Read More

Swedish customer support from home at IdeasUnlimited

Swedish Customer Service Can Be “Sweet” (Swede!)

By | Call Center Support, Customer Service, Multilingual Customer Service, Multilingual Support, Remote Support Services, Swedish Customer Service | No Comments

Ikea. Delicious meatballs. ABBA. Sweden has provided the world with some legendary gifts. So maybe it is time for the world to give back. We could do this by helping expand business presence in Sweden. IdeasUnlimited wants to take that sunny Swedish disposition and put it on display with our Swedish customer service par excellence. With friendliness and multilingual support skills, our Swedish customer support from home can take your customer services to the next level. And IdeasUnlimited is the vehicle to connect the Swedish talent to the world, with our superior support services and remote workforce management.

How easy is it to expand into Sweden to do business?

Simple enough “that it now ranks number one on the Forbes’ annual list of the Best Countries for Business. Compare that to economic powerhouse the US, which is in 23rd place”.  Sweden also boasts a high employment rate as well as having relative gender equality in its workforce. The labor market is not suffering from decline or chaos, so it is stable footing for any new business to increase its global presence. New satellite sites or franchises can be established, or an expat could potentially move to Sweden and open an entirely unique business model. There is a lot of room for flexibility here. And best of all, you don’t need to do everything on your own. You can work with experienced support services providers to get assistance with everything from operational support to Swedish customer service and other multilingual support.

So what makes the Swedes an exceptional group of people?

They are highly skilled and educated. Sweden publicly invests in its education, so there is no reason to not go and become as highly trained (academically or practically) as possible. The Nordic European lifestyle is highly supportive of literary advancement, which has built some of the greatest graduate programs in the world.

The close proximity of the Nordic/Baltic countries creates an atmosphere where individuals are introduced to a variety of languages at a young age. Many members of the workforce travel between multiple countries during the course of their projects or engage with representatives from other countries. The service industry in Sweden only highlights this diversity. ContactCenterWorld, a call center focused website, states: “Sweden is the largest labor pool in Scandinavia with multilingual Nordic capacity – Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Danish. In the service agencies, 45 percent use the Scandinavian languages daily”. So not only are the Swedish a large portion of the service industry as a whole, but they also have the language skills to cover a variety of markets. They can switch between languages to reach multiple countries as opposed to being capable of only fulfilling one country’s needs. At IdeasUnlimited, our Swedish customer support from home is provided by agents well-versed in several Nordic languages who can provide multilingual support for sales, customer relationship management, vendor management, administrative work, and much more. So start with Swedish customer service and with the same agents, expand to nearby markets with no additional overhead costs.

Even with its growth, Sweden is a small nation that does require outside companies to bolster its revenue and support economic structuring. Trying to find native Swedish customer support from home for your local business? Contact IdeasUnlimited for handpicked candidates, relieving you of the hassle of advertising, shortlisting, and running background checks on your Swedish workers.

 

With the latest call center programs, virtual assistance, and 8-year experience, the options at IdeasUnlimited are endless! Contact us today to see how our Swedish customer support from home service and multilingual call center services can benefit your business.