How to Qualify and Convert your B2C Leads

No matter how well you construct your marketing campaigns or how exceptional your product/service is, if you can’t convert new leads, you’re going to struggle in today’s business world.
From companies that specialize in networking solutions to real estate vendors, the ability to follow up with leads from their first contact to the final sale is fundamental. Companies which fail to do that, often don’t do so because what they offer is wrong. They fail because they can’t convert leads into sales. Many tools exist to enrich B2B leads with a lot of useful information about the company, however for consumer leads (B2B) the process is totally different.

That’s where B2C lead qualification comes in. By creating tailored systems to process every lead that expresses interest, companies can prioritize high potential customers and focus their resources on the right leads. When you do that, good things follow and conversion rates increase dramatically. Let’s dig a little further to explore how lead qualification can turn your operations around.

 

Not all Leads are Equal: Learn How to Focus Your Energy Effectively

Firstly, it doesn’t matter what sector of the economy you work in, the same thing applies. Some customers are just more likely to convert than others. The secret is to hone in on those leads and dedicate your sales resources to them. Instead of spreading your resources thinly and trying to handle all consumers in exactly the same way, it’s vital to create an interface between customers and your staff. This interface needs to have the ability to rapidly assess every lead, sorting them into categories which stretch from high to low conversion potential. That’s what we call “lead scoring” – and it’s something that very few companies develop effectively on their own. It usually requires a little investment in external expertise to get a scoring system up and running. But when the conversion stats come through, it’s almost always worthwhile.

Understand Which Consumers you are Seeking to Reach

However, creating an interface between businesses and customers is just a first step in creating an efficient lead qualifying system. You’ll also need to carry out research to understand exactly what types of customers need to be targeted by your efforts. This isn’t the same as standard market research, which tries to investigate why people make purchasing decisions. Instead, researchers trained in qualifying leads seek to assess how customers feel after they have expressed interest in your products/services. They need to come up with templates for “ideal” customer profiles who are most likely to convert, and find ways of fitting actual clients into those categories when they make telephone contact, fill in online forms or send emails. It’s a specialist process, and one that has to be done well, or you can end up with categories that bear little resemblance to the customers you’ll actually be dealing with.

How You Relate to Customers is a key Part of B2C Lead Qualification

When you have an idea of who your ideal customers are, and you’ve set up the interface to handle their inquiries, there’s another crucial thing to think about: how your staff talk to customers in their efforts to qualify them properly. This usually takes the form of a simple conversation, but it can’t be a rambling, open-ended discussion. Staff need to be disciplined and focused on questions that matter. But at the same time they need to have the interpersonal skills and flexibility to relate in a human way to every single customer. Like good actors reading from a script but adding their own personality, lead scoring experts have to be responsive but always working to achieve results. If they take too long, their work becomes more expensive and customers may lose interest. But if they don’t ask every relevant question, the scores they come up with won’t be as meaningful. It’s a tough balance, and one which is easier to strike if you enlist the help of experienced B2C lead qualifying professionals such as Upcall.

Speed is Essential if you Want to Convert as Many B2C Leads as Possible

How quickly staff process conversations is important, but there’s another metric that catches many businesses out – how quickly they actually respond to B2C inquiries. Take real estate companies, for example. It’s well-known that companies which take longer to respond to customer inquiries tend to lose out. People might approach various realtors and be impressed by rapid responses, even if the company they choose isn’t necessarily the best equipped to meet their needs. This means that slick lead qualifying systems have to be optimized for rapid responses. With the right infrastructure in place, it’s relatively simple to achieve fast response times – an easy win on the road to converting far more leads into sales.

Turn Customer Contacts Into a Data-Driven Goldmine

Finally, B2C qualifying systems can add even more value to organizations by generating useful feedback for the companies that use them. If you are gathering data about customer responses, response times, which sales techniques work and scoring trends over time, you may be missing out on valuable data. By bringing in expert qualifiers to handle your B2C operations, you can get a much fuller picture of how your sales efforts are performing and learn more about your target demographics. With that information, you can develop your pitches and take your conversion efforts into orbit.

Source the Right Partners for your Lead Qualification Operations

Lead qualifying and scoring are essential to many business sectors in the United States. In fact, if your staff have to field multiple B2C inquiries every day, there’s an excellent chance that you can enhance your sales figures by bringing in some expert assistance. Upcall can create comprehensive customer engagement plans for all types of businesses. Our teams are experts in assessing leads and categorizing consumers, as well as masters of B2C communications. Get in touch if you want faster response rates and higher-quality leads. We can help your business enter a whole new era of efficiency and higher sales.

What Is B2B Sales Outsourcing and How to Do It Right?

At its simplest, B2B sales outsourcing has three components, as the name suggests. Firstly, it involves direct connections between businesses. Secondly, it’s a way to maximize sales. And thirdly, it’s a sales method which is “outsourced” to a third party service provider. As such, it’s an alternative to traditional sales systems that exist entirely within companies, and it has plenty of advantages over those older ways of operating. Let’s look at how it works in more detail before moving onto some of the reasons why you might want to give sales outsourcing a try.

 

Capitalize on the Advantages of Outsourcing Your B2B Sales

 

When you outsource sales, that doesn’t mean losing control over the strategic direction of your business and it doesn’t necessarily mean moving your entire sales team over to an external company. But it does mean harnessing the specialist sales expertise of external providers. Sometimes, companies choose to transfer their day-to-day sales operations completely. Others prefer to use outsourcing for individual campaigns, when a little bit more capacity is required and their core team can’t deliver.

It can also be employed for specific sales tasks. For example, you could choose to outsource your market research operations, bringing in specialists to research your client base and find out exactly what they want. Conversely, you might wish to move your lead qualification systems to an external provider with expertise in inbound marketing and responsive phone-based sales. And the same applies to both lead conversion and customer relationship management. Thanks to cutting edge outsourcing experts, all of these sales functions can be performed out of house. It’s just a matter of choosing which functions you would prefer to delegate.

 

Using Outsourcing Well Can Have Huge Sales Advantages

 

At first glance, outsourcing might seem intimidating, particularly for small businesses with relatively tight margins and a tradition of keeping close control over sales professionals. But that’s largely a mirage. Much of the time, SMEs find that the benefits of B2B outsourcing outweigh their anxieties about control, providing that outsourcing is done right.

Those benefits can be transformative for all kinds of business. For example, if you are branching out into a new product sector or geographical area, outsourcing can bring in local or sector-specific expertise that your core team doesn’t possess. In cases like that, it could be used to hit the ground running fast in an area that you aren’t familiar with, while you train existing staff to hone their knowledge or recruit new permanent staff to fill the gap. Outsourcing your sales operations is also a great way to innovate. Used well, outsourced sales teams can allow companies to try out new ideas before mainstreaming them in their own office.

Then there are instances where sales forces stagnate and a stimulus is required. Whether the causes are burnout or the inability to take in new ideas, outsourcing sales functions is often a good way to inject dynamism into your sales operations. Specialist sales companies can bring in agile, up to date ideas about customer liaison, lead qualification and CRM. And if you bring them in on a short-term basis, they can provide a motivation to your own sales team to shape up and improve their performance.

Finally, outsourcing can be a wholesale substitute for standard sales structures. If companies are experiencing sluggish sales and their metrics on lead conversion aren’t trending upwards, outsourcing can be an effective solution. In some sectors like real estate, more efficient sales teams can be the key to unlocking regions or retaining customers, and this kind of efficiency is where outsourcing excels.

 

How Can You Introduce A Streamlined B2B Sales Solution?

 

We know that outsourcing sales operations can have huge benefits for a wide variety of SMEs, but there are also dangers when outsourcing is handled poorly. For instance, existing customers might resent dealing with unfamiliar contacts, core sales teams could become demoralized, and managers may lose control over the overall direction of their sales strategy. These are real risks, so outsourcing needs to be done properly.

Firstly, it pays to understand which type of businesses are well-suited to outsourcing sales operations. Generally speaking, outsourcing works well when companies have large quantities of incoming leads (such as real estate brokers, vehicle leasing companies, or IT suppliers). And it functions best when these leads need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. So, if you operate in a highly competitive, lead-based sector outsourcing could be the ideal solution.

You also need to be clear about the purpose of any outsourcing operation. There’s no sense in duplicating work between core teams and outsourced providers. And there’s no sense in tasking external companies with performing work with a low return. Because of this, it makes sense to audit your sales operation before outsourcing, to understand where external contractors can add value, and tailor your commissioning around those findings.

 

Choose the Right B2B Sales Experts to Enhance Your Business

 

Outsourcing sales operations can be hugely beneficial if you know what you are looking for and understand how it can enhance your bottom line. But there’s another key aspect to the process that needs to be considered: The need to find a partner who is responsive to your needs, will implement your plans faithfully, and who has the skills to deliver. Not all outsourcing companies meet those criteria, so be sure to research your partner thoroughly.

Ideally, both you and your outsourcing provider need to have a complete understanding of the task in hand. For example, if you take qualifying leads out-of-house, the external sales representatives need accurate information about your products and how the sales funnel works following initial contact. If not, as customers move on to Account Executives to close the deal, misunderstandings could develop, resulting in poorer lead conversion rates.

Everything has to work together, or as closely as possible, making it vital to provide outsourcing companies with high-quality briefs. And your partner needs to be honest about any difficulties that arise. Outsourcing is a process, not a magic spell, and teething problems usually arise. So both sides need to have a strong working relationship.

 

Revolutionize Your Inbound Marketing Systems with Strategic Outsourcing

 

By now, you should have an idea about whether your business meets the criteria for outsourcing sales operations or not. If your sales figures are stagnant, you need to expand confidently, your lead qualification systems are dysfunctional, or you just want to try something new, Upcall could well supply the perfect solution.

Upcall specialize in providing teams of “Upcallers” who are experts in handling inbound marketing challenges. As a first point of contact between clients and companies, our teams can field calls and draw customers into sales funnels, qualifying leads diligently before handing them on to your own executives.

At the same time, Upcall’s service provides real-time data regarding contacts and leads, while delivering efficiency gains below the cost of a full-time sales employee. Whether you need a temporary solution or a long-term replacement for your sales staff, help is at hand. Outsourcing could be the way forward, and Upcall are ready to help you take the first steps.

YC Demo Day S17 Takeaways as an Alumni

yc demo day s2017 summer
The one and only.

Twice a year, some of the country’s finest minds flock to the prestigious Y Combinator Demo Day, where a number of hopeful startups present their business plans to a carefully selected audience of investors. Some of the finest minds are invited to flock the night before as well – to the rehearsal run viewing reserved for those alumni who presented successfully the cycle before. Alumni such as Upcall.

Upcall presented on the Winter 2017 Demo Day this past March, and now our own founders, Sam and Michael, attended the Summer 2017 Alumni Demo Day as guests. My, how time flies! At this invite-only event, the graduating class has the opportunity to do a dry run of their presentation before the big day.

upcall demo day yc
Upcall CEOs Sam (left) and Michael, presenting their own pitch this past March.

We asked Sam and Michael to share their thoughts about the event, including advice and who else was helping advance sales team efforts like Upcall. Read on for a little Q & A:

Q: What was your overall impression of the event?

A: An impressive batch. A great variety of companies, from over 17 countries and across all industries – including medical, construction, and autonomous cars. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Q: Tell me about the quantity and composition of the companies. How many startups are included this year?

A: YC is getting bigger every year and reached 1,400 total funded startups. This batch alone had 132, and as I mentioned from all over the world. We noted a slight uptick in female founders presenting, at 12%. Here’s some more statistics about this year’s Summer Demo Day to check out. 

alum night yc demo day
Credit: sfslim on flickr.

Q: Did any pitches strike you as particularly unique?

A: Yes – Flock is a wireless security system for neighborhoods. They’ve already helped to arrest a thief thanks to their cameras. Using this, someone could give the police evidence they need to help after a crime has been committed.

Another one was Mystro. This is an app to help drivers find better rides between different platforms, like Lyft and Uber. It was created for drivers by a driver, and makes on-demand drivers more money by allowing them to drive for multiple on-demand apps and miss less trips they might want.

Entocycle is an insect factory! They transform food waste into insect-based protein for the aquaculture and livestock industries. Very smart and innovative way to help the environment.

70 Million Jobs is the ultimate second chance – it’s a job marketplace for people with criminal records. Their mission is to help the formerly incarcerated men and women regain agency through employment.

Value Voting helps increase voter turnout through strategic primary voting. With the United States constantly engaged in the fight to encourage voter participation, this can help your organization achieve their legislative goals.

Q: Any startups worth noting for boosting your sales team efforts?

A: A good number of them! There was:

  • Slik – Slik offers highly targeted leads with an advanced filtering system, contextual data about decision-makers, and varied pricing.
  • Prism – Why do your customers do what they do? Prism lets you define your audience, collect feedback, and gather insights to find the answer.
  • Loop Support – Quality customer support is a necessity for any well-run company. Loop Support helps growing companies provide great customer support, from answering tickets, collecting insights, and doing their research for a knowledge base on your customers.
  • Meetingbird – With a slogan like “Less Scheduling, More Doing”, how could you go wrong? Meetingbird is a helpful Chrome extension that integrates with your Google calendar and email for easier scheduling.
  • Thematic – Thematic lets you use customer feedback to make effective changes, with text analytics and visualizations from your NPS, CSAT, user research surveys and chat logs.

Upcall is no stranger to empowering your sales team, either! Our special YC offer includes ½ price on-boarding, and 10% off all plans. Try us out and generate leads for your industry here.

yc demo day make something people want motto
Credit: pahlkadot on flickr.

Q: And last but not least, any advice for those thinking of founding a YC-worthy startup one day?

A: It’s simpler than you think. Just solve a real problem. The main motto at YC is “Make Something People Want.”

And there you have it – Upcall’s own little sneak peek into the S2017 Alumni Demo Day!

Ready to start your own call campaign with Upcall? Start your demo now!

 

Upcall is also looking for more talented individuals to join our team. Check out our available positions here!

Upcall’s New Features — All Designed to Help You Communicate and Interact Even Better with Your Upcallers. 🙌

Great news! Connecting, interacting and training top notch Upcallers for your outbound calling campaign has never been easier!

Coordinating with a growing team of agents can be a challenge, especially when they are remote. At Upcall, we know that communication is the key to success. And now we’ve made it even easier:

Discover Upcall’s 5 new Features for this month!

1. Company pages are live

Now Upcallers can get all the information they need in one nifty centralized spot.

Fill out all the information you want to provide to your Upcallers directly on your company page. From there you can upload:

  • Specific files and other content
  • Links to specific websites or media you want to share
  • An FAQ for your Upcallers

2. Kickoff meeting

One of our biggest releases yet, with requests from both Campaigners and Upcallers left and right. We heard you loud and clear!

So how does it work?

  • In the pre-launch phase, while preparing the campaign, you can hold a kickoff meeting. It’s as easy as sending a link.
  • Upcallers will apply to your campaign. Simply approve them and they can join the kickoff meeting.
  • This kick off meeting is the perfect occasion to meet your Upcallers, explain your goals, and present your company campaign. Use this as a platform to re-assert your vision and give some advice on your upcoming campaign.

TIPS:

  • The kickoff meeting is a great tool to set your campaign up for success. Keep in mind that Upcallers who invest the time are more successful and more committed to campaigns.
  • To make your campaign that much more attractive to potential Upcallers, and ensure a great attendance rate, you have the option offer a tip to all Upcaller applicants who want to join your campaign and kick off meeting!

3. Organize a conference call

You can now organize a conference call with your online Upcallers.

Once your campaign is live, you can reach out to your Upcallers through our Conference Call feature. We recommend keeping your exchanges within the platform to more easily keep track of your correspondences, as well as for quality assurance and security purposes.

When should you check-in with your Upcallers?

  • We will send you notifications when our Upcallers make their first, 20th, and 50th call so you know when to check in and hear how they are communicating with your leads.
  • Our Upcallers love feedback! Pay them a compliment or offer constructive feedback and they’ll continue to improve and tailor their calls accordingly. If you want to reference a specific call where they were outstanding, leave feedback in that call record.
  • Use our chat feature — you can address Upcallers in a group, or chat to them 1:1.
  • Feedback works both ways too! If you want to hear your Upcaller’s experience with your leads first hand, organize a check-in conference call and you can discuss methods and objection handling tips.

Some best practices when conferencing with Upcallers:

  • Schedule a meeting in the chat with your Upcallers. It’s always best to offer about 3 different possible times to check in.
  • Check which Upcallers are logged in.
  • A call conference can only be launched by campaigners. You have all the control!
  • Keep in mind that even if your Upcallers are logged in, they might be in a call. Always check their availability, and give them a few minutes delay so they can catch up.

4. Notifications

Check out notifications and alerts on your Dashboard!

Now you can check your bell when:

  • A new goal has been reached
  • New Upcallers have applied
  • And much more …..

5. Email and chat alerts!

We added new email notifications each time your Campaign and Upcallers reach a new key goal. Woohoo!

How’s it work?

  • When you’re on your dashboard, keep an eye on your “chat” button.
  • Each time you receive a new message from an Upcaller, you’ll get a notification alert (see that little red button?)
  • Upcallers will receive the same alerts on their dashboard when you contact them through the platform. (Remember that they may not be able to reply in real time. Your Upcallers are working hard and could be on a call.)

The Upcall team is always happy to be improving your experience in every possible way. Check out these new features and see what they can do for you!

Are you ready to launch an outbound call campaign with Upcall?

Happy 1st Birthday, Upcall! 🎉

Upcall is celebrating its 1 year anniversary! We are also proud to announce that we have just moved into our new San Francisco office, in front of the AT&T baseball park.

,Sam & Michael, Upcall Co-founders

​A note from Sam, our CEO, on how it all began:

“A year ago, my brother and I created Upcall with one goal: Make it easier for millions of companies to reach out to new leads and engage with existing customers. We knew we could do this by creating a unified platform with instant access to a network of qualified U.S. call professionals with great features to monitor results.”

“Having run several startups, I always felt the need to effectively scale my sales team. It normally took me weeks to find the right person, and call centers, aside from feeling stilted and impersonal, didn’t allow the flexibility and transparency needed to work. What I really wanted was a fully integrated, more local solution with my existing marketing and sales tools.

“I decided to team up with my brother, Michael, and the two of us set out to offer a smart and disruptive way to generate leads over the phone at scale.”

Professionals focused on customer experience and localization would be key players. Helping companies like you connect with prospects, leads, and clients was and is the goal. And that’s how Upcall became what it is today!

We care about local, genuine human interaction.
We believe that technology can improve the way a company interacts with its stakeholders — not replace it!

Upcall’s first year in a nutshell!

  • In one year, our team has more than quadrupled!
  • Upcall has provided crowdsourced outbound calling for over 200 clients from companies such as Coldwell Banker, Farmers Agents, Munchery, Buildzoom, Naturebox.
  • Our Upcaller community has been growing right alongside our clients’ needs. Everyday we continue to engage and select the cream of the crop to join our amazing group of US agents.
  • Our goal is to provide our Upcallers with both flexibility and a sustainable source of income befitting their experience

Take a look at what our Upcallers have to say about us:

“Best and only one of its kind. Dedicated and amazing staff!”

“Everything I got is even better than I expected”.

“The work is consistent and hours are flexible. You run your own schedule.”

Thank you, for a wonderful year. We want to help businesses reach the highest heights it can with our support.

And last but not least…what’s next at Upcall?

What we’ve achieved in just one year is only the tip of the iceberg for how we see the future. Upcall is a whole new world of generating leads at scale from your desktop!

As part of our commitment to providing you with the very best, we’re excited to share some of the new features coming to you soon: such as multi-user access, calendar integration, company pages, and API version 2.

And we’re still working on more exciting innovations and features down the road, like call transcription and keyword analysis, voicemail drop, an intelligent script building tool, and a native Salesforce and other CRM integration.

The future never looked so bright!

Are you ready for your next campaign?