Marketers Ready to Invest in Big Data

Big data is an up-and-coming resource firms are using to gain more customer knowledge, and marketers are ready to turn up the heat on their investments in mining for the massive amounts of information. Recent statistics compiled at DMA 2012 and Forrester Research eBusiness Conferences revealed 68 percent of marketers are planning to increase data spending, while 45 percent believe analyzing data will be their biggest challenge.

Businesses bringing in employees to handle big data

According to recent research conducted by analytics firm Pentaho Corporation, nearly half of respondents are either in production with a big data project or planning to deploy one in the next 18 months. However, whether they have the staff to carry out those big data deployments is another story. Only 20 percent of respondents believe they are data scientists, making it hard for companies to deploy projects that require a lot of data.

While big data is the future of marketing for many firms, companies are ready to add new staff to carry out their deployments. The research, which was from Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive, revealed 56 percent of businesses are planning to hire new employees for data positions, and 53 percent of responding companies said these new employees will be brought on to help the make greater use of the mass amounts of information. These professionals must be able to quickly make sense of data streams and put information in the hands of business decision-makers to improve the firm’s offerings.

“With the growing prevalence of data environments that include legacy relational databases and big data sources, organizations must be able to quickly and cost effectively reconcile existing database and data warehousing infrastructure with their big data stores,” said Richard Daley, founder and chief strategy officer at Pentaho.

Social media data can impact marketing strategies

A majority of today’s consumers have a presence on either Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, and businesses need to take advantage of customer insights to help them improve their own brand. The Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive study found 78 percent of respondents said they are planning to make greater use of social media data posted by consumers in the upcoming year, allowing them to change their campaigns to better market their products and/or services to their target clients. Social media streams are growing as both businesses and consumers are building a larger presence on such sites. The insights that are created by the online platforms must be taken into consideration by firms to improve their customer experience.

Big data capable of changing companies

Using massive streams of information gives marketers the opportunity to learn more about their clients and cater strategies to meet their needs. However, the Infogroup Targeting Solutions and Yesmail Interactive study demonstrated 39 percent of businesses are not using information such as demographics and purchasing behavior to alter their marketing messages – a major mistake for firms that are building their own big data deployments.

Not only can big data help companies with marketing initiatives, the massive information streams can also improve the business in other ways. A recently created infographic produced by SAP showed 59 percent of C-suite executives said analytics could lead to more efficient operations at the firm, 54 percent believe such deployments could lead to higher sales numbers, and 50 percent see lower IT costs as a result of big data deployments.

Sales productivity news brought to you by www.infofree.com, home of unlimited sales leads, mailing lists, and email solutions.


Learn How to be the Best Salesperson Possible

how to be the best salesperson

The most successful sales professionals are not always the ones exhausting phone leads, constantly reaching out to members of their email lists and tirelessly searching for leads online – they simply know how to sell. Everyone is not built to thrive in the sales world; in fact, many people who are in sales aren’t exactly cut out for it. It takes a certain set of skills to be able to continuously walk away from sales meetings with that signed contract, and a recent article for Inc. magazine outlined just what professionals need to do if they want to be known for getting the deal done.

Do the proper research

Jumping straight into the pool of consumers or businesses that may be interested in the firm’s products and/or services can prove to be a fatal mistake that many sales professionals commit. Instead of reaching out to prospects too soon, learn as much as possible about those who can benefit from the firm’s offerings and truly get to know what solutions could help them the most. This will make it easier when it’s time to reach out to them, because having customer knowledge will give the sales professional more confidence to set up a meeting.

“Business is moving at the speed of light, and things change constantly,” Paul Castain, vice president of Jedi mastery at Castain Training Systems, asserted to Forbes. “When you gather information, review it over and over again before you reach out to the client.”

Give clients the floor

Getting potential customers to be receptive is half the battle for sales professionals, then they must carry out the conversation properly in order to land the meeting. While it may be difficult, don’t push for the the meeting right away, it’s important to first ask prospects about everything they need help with. Then, take some time to apply the research that has been previously executed, and build a response that can possible spark their interest in the firm’s offerings. If the conversation continues to flow, then it is the right time to ask for the sales meeting at their convenience, of course.

“You have to understand your audience prior to getting on the phone, and continue learning about them as you go along,” Castain told Forbes. “Once you make the first call, find out their preferred way to communicate, and use that throughout the rest of the process.”

Build a strong relationship with prospects

Many sales professionals can have an extensive list of products and/or services that nearly perfectly meet the needs of consumers or a business, but they still aren’t able to close. In several instances, this will be because they were unable to form a strong bond with prospects before they started pushing for the sale. Before even presenting the company’s suite of items, form a relationship with the purchaser and begin talking about how the business’ offerings may be able to meet his or her needs. The more trust that can be built with the prospect, the better opportunity the sales professional has in landing them.

“Approach them before they are in buying mode,” Wendy Weiss, sales coach and author told Forbes. “You will become their trusted advisor. They will get to know you and feel comfortable with you, and when they are ready to buy, you will be the first person they think of.”

Work for the prospect

While sales meetings are about adding clients to the firm’s customer base, it doesn’t always have to come off that way. During time with the prospect, sales professionals must truly pretend like they are working for them, trying to tailor the company’s offerings to perfectly meet their needs. If purchasers believe that the person they are working with has their best interest at heart, they will often be much more willing to place an order. Sometimes sales meeting won’t work out, and that’s fine, but sales professionals who play for the same team as their prospects will find that they are on the winning side much more than walking away as the losers.

“Don’t be scared to ask tough questions,” Weiss told Forbes. “Salespeople are afraid to uncover something that might tell them that the prospect isn’t as qualified as they thought. You need to find that out, and you need to let them go if they aren’t an ideal fit.”

Sales productivity news brought to you by www.infofree.com, home of unlimited sales leads, mailing lists, and email solutions.


Improve Customer Experience to Generate Leads

generate leads, lead generation, customer experience

The new year gives many sales professionals a renewed focus, allowing them to pay more attention to lead generation and adding new clients to their client base. Businesses have enacted a number of measures to entice prospects to interact with the company and look into buying their products and/or services, but in today’s fast-paced world meeting clients’ needs is more important than ever.

According to recent research by software firm Oracle, 97 percent of executives agree that delivering a great customer experience is critical to giving their firms a competitive advantage, and companies that fail to offer a positive, consistent and brand-relevant customer experience could be missing out on 20 percent of annual revenue.

“This report demonstrates that organizations around the globe and across many industries are beginning to understand the real business impact of not offering great customer experiences, but are facing execution challenges,” said David Vap, group vice president at Oracle. “We recommend that organizations map their customers’ journeys to identify specific improvement areas that will help them cross the execution chasm.”

Add customers, don’t lose them

Ninety-one percent of survey respondents wish to be considered a customer-experience leader in their industry, while 93 percent said improving the way they care for the customers is one of their top priorities for the upcoming year. While many businesses hope to improve their customer experience, 37 percent of firms are just beginning initiatives toward the services they provide for their companies.

“By empowering customers and employees, breaking down organizational silos, and implementing flexible processes and technology tools, organizations can deliver personalized, seamless customer service through the entire experience lifecycle,” said Vap.

Failing to deliver a quality customer experience can equate to unhappy clients and some who decide to bring their business elsewhere. Less than half of business executives who responded to the survey said they believe a poor customer experience could lead to lost customers, however, 89 percent of customers said they would switch brands if they are not treated the way they want.

Change the company to improve the customer experience

Businesses that put the customer first will often make the adjustments to meet their clients’ ever-changing needs. Below is a list provided by Fast Company that details how businesses can change customer service strategies to ensure they meet all of the needs of their clients.

  • Define a strategy:

    Companies can say they want to improve customer experience, but if they don’t have a set strategy in mind, they won’t be able to truly provide what customers want. By setting priorities and using insights from data collection, businesses will be able to start formulating their strategy.

  • Learn what customers want:

    Businesses have different products and/or services and likely have a client base with unique needs. The more customer information firms can acquire, the better offerings with be to provide clients with what they want.

  • Hone in on the best ideas:

    When brainstorming ways to improve the customer experience, firms will often have a wide range of suggestions to wade through before settling on the right ones. After deciding what ideas to implement, the best customer experience plan will begin to take shape.

Sales productivity news brought to you by www.infofree.com, home of unlimited sales leads, mailing lists, and email solutions.

Avoid These Sales Call Errors and Stop Wasting Time

sales call errors, sales leads

Sales professionals work too hard to generate B2B leads to have ineffective meetings with prospects. However, mistakes happen, and being aware of some of the most common mistakes could leads to higher levels of success. This list of sales call errors provided by Jeffrey Seeley, CEO of Carew International, in Inc. magazine can be a great learning tool for marketers who want to make the most of face time with potential customers.

Turning the meeting into a therapy session

Business professionals in almost every industry face challenges that can make their job a struggle. While it is the sales professionals’ job to talk about how their offerings can help a firm streamline its processes, allowing prospects to simply rant about issues that aren’t relevant to the meeting can quickly turn the sales call into a waste of time. Making sure that the conversation flows with topics that sales professionals can relate back to how their products and/or service could improve a firm’s processes can make the meeting with prospects worthwhile.

Becoming too friendly right away

Developing a rapport with sales prospects is a good way to add them to the firm’s client base, but it’s important that the conversation sticks to its intended purpose. According to the Harvard Business Review, sales professionals can make sure this happens by only using relevant anecdotes and examples to get their point across. Telling stories about how the company’s offerings can benefit a business is a proven sales strategy; however, it’s important to not let the discourse turn into a storytelling session, resulting in fewer chances to turn the prospect into a customer.

Asking too many questions

Learning about the company can help sales professionals understand how what they are trying to sell can be helpful to the business, but interrogating the potential client too aggressively can quickly turn the sales call into a disaster. A better strategy than asking a bunch of questions in a row can be fostering a conversation where both sides can give and take, providing both the prospect and the professional with an opportunity to learn about one another.

Sales productivity news brought to you by infofree.com, home of unlimited sales leads, mailing lists and email solutions.


Infofree.com Sales Leads Loved by Mortgage Broker

Infofree.com has received a positive review suggesting its mortgage leads are superior to those of competitor companies.

San Mateo, CA (October 9, 2014) – Infofree.com, the premier provider of sales leads and mailing lists, has received an outstanding review and recommendation from Tim Kepler, a Mortgage Advisor for Landmark Mortgage Group.

Kepler has been using Infofree.com’s sales leads since 2012. He continues to use the service for the great value and quantity of mortgage sales leads he’s found. Kepler has found the mortgage leads he needs to utilize a variety of marketing tools to grow his mortgage banking firm.

Kepler endorses Infofree.com’ sales leads at the affordable rate of only $49.95 per month. While he has used other systems in the past, he has found a better value, at only $49.95 per month, in his Infofree.com subscription.

“I have found that the value and the information and the ease of search with infofree was superior to other companies and other firms that I’ve worked with,” Kepler said of the tool.

Landmark Mortgage Group is a multi-purpose financial institution on the west coast. The mortgage banking firm focuses on providing mortgage financing for purpose and refinancing residential real estate. To learn more go to www.lmglending.com.

Kepler and his associates can find value in mortgage and real estate leads, as well as other sales leads and database lists from Infofree.com.

Infofree.com is a subscription-based service providing sales leads, mailing lists, business credit reports, background/criminal searches and a fee contact manager, CRM101. To access this quality information go to www.infofree.com.

About Us: Infofree.com™ is revolutionizing the sales lead and mailing list industry by providing search, select and view of over 15 million business records, 250 million consumers and hundreds of other specialty databases for a low, flat price. Reach new homeowners, new movers, newlyweds, new businesses and much more!


Vin Gupta’s InfoFree.com Reinvents CRM and Lead Gen Tools For Small Business

A Series of Forbes Insights Profiles of Thought Leaders Changing the Business Landscape:  Vinod Gupta, Founder and CEO, InfoFree.com…

The content of this article was published on Forbes.com on January 8, 2014. You can read the original article here.

Legendary pioneer of database marketing and lead generation services, Vinod “Vin” Gupta is at it again.  After creating his first start-up, InfoUSA, in 1972, taking it public in 1993 and then selling it in 2010, he’s out to disrupt the lead generation business once again with the introduction of InfoFree.com.

Launched in 2011 with no outside funding, Gupta’s InfoFree is a user friendly and inexpensive online resource that allows sales people and small sized businesses to market to their most relevant audiences by providing unlimited sales leads, mailing lists, business credit reports, e-mail lists, and other relevant databases that connect through a simple, but powerful CRM package for just $49.95 a month. InfoFree now has over 10,000 subscribers and 100,000 users through its freemium model.

“We built our CRM service ourselves.  Our customers find CRM packages like Salesforce.com too complicated for their needs.  I call it ‘CRM for Dummies’ with 3-4 simple but powerful functions.  90% of our customers didn’t use a CRM, so we asked them what they needed. We want to reach the least common denominator to develop the largest possible market.  There are five million small businesses and 20 million sales people, that’s the size of the market we are going after.

We’re a self-service subscription model based in the Cloud,” says Gupta. “I remember meeting Marc Benioff at the Aspen Institute 10 years ago.  He was telling me how he was going to revolutionize the CRM business and how he was changing the enterprise software model from licensing to recurring subscription revenue.  It stuck with me,” continues Gupta.

Having risen to success, he lost all independence in the running of his business and faced both shareholder law suits and an SEC investigation, following which he sold InfoUSA in 2010. He plans to keep InfoFree private.  “It’s run like a family company, which is the way I prefer it now.  I’m no longer a prisoner to managing a board or investors.  I spend my time helping customers. I just love being an entrepreneur. If you have a good product, at a great price and you’re proud of it–you just tell the truth.  It’s not a hard sell. My goal is to have one million users paying $49.95 a month,” continues Gupta.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in agriculture engineering IIT Kharagpur, Gupta immigrated to the United States to seek his higher education. He earned both a master’s in engineering and a master’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  He built his start-up in the ’70’s after arriving in the US with nothing more than $58 in his pocket. He grew a database business from his garage with 4,800 yellow pages books and turned it into a multi-million dollar, NASDAQ-listed corporation. “The first time I was compiling Yellow Pages.  I said I was creating a list.  I didn’t know at the time that I was an entrepreneur,” says Gupta.

His first created “sales list” sent 5,000 pages of Yellow Pages contact information via a WATTS line. He then decided to sell the list to others.  His first year in sales were $44,000 with a profit of over $22,000.  “I thought I was a millionaire,” says Gupta.  Thus was born the idea for InfoUSA. Over the years, Gupta grew the company from a stack of Yellow Pages in his garage, acquired 45 companies, and took the company public in 1993.

One might think time and great success would slow the irrepressible serial entrepreneur. At 67 years old, Gupta has done and seen it all, yet he remains a man in perpetual motion. “I’m one month older than my friend Bill Clinton,” says Gupta, who like the former President, continues to work and devote time and money to philanthropic activities. He is active in a number of charities, sits on the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC and endows a number of schools in his native India. He set up a business and law school at his alma mater—I.I.T. Kharagpur—by donating $8 million of his own money.

“Work keeps me happy.  My dad said never stopped working.  He’s 95 and is still working.  To me, work is a holiday compared to growing up in a village in India, with no running water, no toilet and working for $40 a month. Just like my friend Warren Buffet says, ‘I tap dance to work every day’,” concludes Gupta.

Bruce H. Rogers is the co-author of the recently published book Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders now available on Amazon http://amzn.to/OETmMz

 


Database Marketing Best Practices

Three Best Practices for Database Marketing

Database marketing continues to be a vital tool for multichannel marketers. Whether it is through email lists, direct mail or mobile marketing, developing and managing a database is essential for driving advertising campaigns. Databases offer small businesses the opportunity to archive customer information in one accessible place and allow companies to optimize marketing strategies to generate stronger sales. Adopting a few best practices for database marketing management can prevent marketers and sales teams from losing lead conversions and keeping the database up to date with the target client base.

1. Develop customer experience goals

One of the best ways marketers can direct their multichannel marketing campaigns is to integrate the database with established customer experience goals. Instituting long-term plans into the database lies in proper management. According to CRM Trends, companies can define the database’s consumer experience goals through evaluating current database performance. Asking how client interactions are being handled and about any potential improvements can help marketers identify how the existing marketing strategies are assisting overall customer satisfaction.

CRM Trends suggest organizations focus on parts of the database that can create the strongest return on investment, such as the quality of email lists or if current digital marketing tools are generating new leads. To enhance customer experience, companies can develop these potential areas by responding to customers in a unique way that can also adapt to changing preferences.

2. Archive birth dates

Many database marketing experts suggest obtaining birth dates during the lead generation process to allow marketers to send customers special deals for their birthdays. Companies can simply ask for the month and day of birth during email or direct mail subscription or while cold calling. Many customers shy away from providing too much information about themselves, but offering to send them an offer specific to them on their birthday may convert a lead into an existing customer. Businesses may also offer the option of not providing the year of birth, if the customer does not wish.

Databases tend to be overflowing with customer information, such as purchasing behavior and how many times they have changed addresses, but birthdays never change and allow marketers an essentially effortless opportunity for connecting with consumers. Companies might want to consider adding inquires about birth dates during the lead generation process to promote brand loyalty and increase customer retention.

3. Monitor consumer preferences

Consumers frequently change their preferences regarding their marketing subscriptions and databases grant businesses the opportunity to manage customer information in one place. New marketing channels open up all the time, but database marketing continues to be an essential part of every advertising strategy and companies might want to consider adding the ability to update customer preferences within the database. Marketers and sales teams gather innumerous amounts of consumer data every day and allowing the database to shift with customer preferences offers businesses an easy way to keep all information within a single archive. This one portal not only stores the data but can track activity in case preferences change.

Customers are the heart of database marketing and companies should align their multichannel marketing campaigns around target client base data. Businesses might want to consider adopting best practices that allows the company to easily archive and update customer information in accordance with changing consumer preferences. Database specialists recommend organizations use database marketing as an essential part of multichannel advertising initiatives and to align all practices according to the target audience, but to never forget to stay informed about existing customer inclinations and to integrate current data into future initiatives.

Database Marketing news brought to you by www.infofree.com.


Maintain a Healthy Company Credit Score

Review the company credit report to maintain a healthy score

Building strong credit is essential for organizations to cultivate growth, but not keeping an eye on the company’s score can lead to future struggles. According to a recent study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), almost 20 percent of consumers surveyed found an error on their credit report that was not rectified until it was disputed. Inspecting the business credit report regularly and maintaining every account can help companies catch any errors that would affect the business in the long term.

Financial struggles can result from incorrect billing

According to Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI, business owner Gary Lindner nearly lost his company due to a mistake on his organization’s credit report. An energy services provider incorrectly cited Lindner’s company, Atlantis Custom Aquariums, for being behind on the organization’s accounts, causing his bank to remove the business’s line of credit. The accounts in question were not his and the errors were resolved after Lindner disputed the charges, but the issue remained on his company’s credit report.

“It dropped my score significantly, enough that I could not rent,” Lindner told the news source.

Monitoring the company credit score may protect against error

Although there is no guarantee that severe errors will not happen to companies that take precautions, financial experts suggest organizations be proactive in protecting their score.

According to Credit.com, credit reports contain data on the company’s information, loan histories and collection records, so many times errors show up. Keeping all accounts and details about the business up to date can reduce the likelihood of mistakes falling unnoticed. Companies might want to track all accounts and annually review the business’ credit report to avert any errors from affecting the score. Experts advise organizations in similar situations to Lindner’s to stay in communication about disputes to prevent credit bureaus from neglecting the issue. The longer the error stays on the organization’s report, the harder it will be to maintain a good score.

Companies may also sign up for alerts about their score to help monitor activity and prevent fraudulent charges to be placed on accounts. Choosing reliable lenders and creditors with strong histories of reporting any errors to credit bureaus can assist businesses in managing their line of credit.

Businesses that review their score frequently have a stronger chance of noticing and disputing any charges. Resolving issues quickly can help reduce the chance of a drop in the company’s credit rating and help the business grow.

Sales Productivity news brought to you by www.infofree.com.


Use Big Data to Develop Creative Marketing Campaigns

Understanding consumers is key to building a direct mail marketing campaign or developing email lists that drive sales. Big data, or customer information analytics, provides companies with the opportunity to examine client purchasing preferences and develop marketing strategies that are relevant to targeted consumers. Big data can be used as a tool to understand which marketing initiatives currently work and firms can then create projections for what might be effective in the future.

Computers acquire information but not value

Big data analytics allows marketers to track consumers in the digital space and offers a wealth of information for professionals who can interpret the data. According to IBM, the sheer volume of big data can be overwhelming, with over 2.5 quintillion bytes generated every day. But not all data is equal.

Big data involves any kind of created information and incorporates both structured and unstructured types. Unstructured data can be a hassle to monitor, as it can be anything from text to daily activity on social sites to videos posted online. Technology does not necessarily shift through the relevant statistics, and companies that use only the insights that the software finds can be missing out on developing creative campaigns that improve customer satisfaction.

Ways to use big data for creative marketing

Businesses looking to use big data within their advertising initiatives might want to only track information about target clients to decrease the amount of data being analyzed. Consumers prefer a personalized touch, and marketers can use big data to notice any digital spaces that can be improved, such as increasing website traffic through more targeted email lists.

If customers are attracted to video blogs or websites, companies can use this knowledge to begin creating similar videos to reach those consumers. If data suggests a certain segment of consumers are receiving less direct mail but are still subscribing to mailing lists, marketers might want to boost their direct mail campaigns and invest in more creative options, such as uniquely-shaped postcards.

Big data offers many benefits to marketers and businesses need to ensure they have a professional take the time to look at the information can help firms notice absences and develop innovative campaigns.

Sales Productivity news brought to you by www.infofree.com.


How Social Media Influences Database Marketing

For the past few decades, database marketing has been the traditional go-to solution for marketers looking to drive sales. Even with the development of email and the importance of reaching leads online, database marketing has maintained its place as the foundation of the industry. The rise of social media, however, gave companies the opportunity to reach consumers immediately. But the online evolution has positively affected the database marketing industry and social media has the potential to increase the traditional marketing method’s importance within consumer culture.

Ability to instantly collect client data

Database marketers are always looking for new means of assimilating customer information, and social media allows marketers insights into consumer culture. The sites offer companies the opportunity to track their target consumers through Facebook likes, Twitter feeds and Pinterest pins. Each of these sites grant businesses immediate information through customer activity, such as comments on company products.

But social media as a research tool is unstructured, and many database marketing experts suggest only using the sites as a means to gain consumer perceptions, and not as another method of acquiring analytics. Software cannot perceive various kinds of language within blogs and posts, and might not be the best solution for marketers thinking about using social media instead of traditional analyzing methods.

Many email subscribers are on social media, and marketers might want to consider adding an option within marketing materials to connect with the company through their social media page. However, businesses might want to keep special email offerings exclusively for the customers on their mailing lists.

Networking generates new leads

Social media grants clients the ability to talk about and refer a company to members within their connected circle. Many of these contacts might be within the businesses’ target audience and marketers might not have been able to reach without the referral.

New leads through networking sites do not have to be confined to the online world – companies can employ email and direct mail marketing initiatives to them as well. By connecting with new customers online, marketers now have the immediate opportunity to offer email and direct mail subscriptions. Giving consumers options regarding their contact with the company can improve client experience and satisfaction with the brand.

In addition, many clients are starting to find themselves moving away from the social sites and might appreciate businesses that take the time to figure out their specific preferences in case they do not stay virtually connected.

Younger generations becoming bored with social media

New research into consumer behavior indicates customers are starting to decrease their time on social media sites. According to Piper Jaffray, an investment and asset management firm, younger consumers are getting tired of the networking sites. Previous research indicated teenaged buyers drive $819 billion in sales worldwide, but depending on a company’s target audience this might not be too important. Either way, as more generations of consumers start returning to more traditional marketing methods, database marketers might see an increase in sales among direct mail and email lists.

The future of social media in the marketing world might be unclear, but database marketers can take the new networking tool and begin to use its benefits within their own campaigns. No matter what happens, online sites will continue to garner useful consumer information and drive customers toward a company’s brand.

Database Marketing news brought to you by www.infofree.com.