If your business deals with customers from different parts of the country, then you need to pay attention to the areas covered by rate centers to provide accessible and affordable customer support to your customers.
Here’s a quick overview of what rate centers are and how they affect local calling.
Rate Center Coverage for VoIP Services
Rate centers, in short, determine which calls incur local rates and which incur long-distance rates. This is crucial to understand where your callers are located and how you can continue to serve them without then paying long-distance rates to call your business.
What is a Rate Center?
A rate center is a geographic location or area that determines what constitutes a local call and long-distance call. A Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) uses rate centers to manage local calling and pricing and assign phone numbers based on local area codes.
Each rate center will have a:
Geographic place name (city or state associated)
Nominal physical location (co-ordinates to determine distance)
Local area code (NPA)
One or more prefixes (NXX)
Specific local calling area (list of other rate centers to which local calling is provided).
In a nutshell, a rate center helps regulate the rates of phone calls within an area. And there are more than 15,000 rate centers in the US.
What Do Rate Centers Mean for Local Calling?
Rate centers help determine which calls are local and which are long-distance so that they can be charged accordingly. Calls within a rate center (geographic area) are usually considered local calls. And calls made from one rate center to another are considered long-distance calls.
US Rate Centers
Within the North American Numbering plan, we have multiple US area codes and rate centers. To find the rate center for a particular number, you will need the following information:
Area code — 3-digit number
Number prefix — first 3 digits of the number that follows the area code
Let’s look at an example. In this phone number 469-896-3563,
Area code is 469
Number prefix is 896
When you input this information in the rate center locator, you will find out that the rate center (geographical coverage) is Carrollton, Texas, United States, along with a map for reference.
How Do Rate Centers Affect Local Communication for Businesses?
So, what does all this information mean for your business? Understanding rate centers and what constitutes a local call can help you understand where most of your callers are calling from.
Track incoming calls to and run those phone numbers through the rate center locator. This will give you a general idea of where potential prospects and customers are located. You can then customize their caller experience by:
Buying a new local phone number — check with your new service provider how callers will be charged for calls made to your business with your new service provider.
Porting your VoIP number to a new service — not all carriers support every single rate center; be sure to check with your new carrier.
Local Calling with Global Call Forwarding
Global Call Forwarding offers local phone numbers from all cities and states in the United States. Our service and call reports let you identify what regions your customers call from. You can then buy local numbers for those areas and route incoming calls to your main office located anywhere in the world, not just the US. Callers will pay their regular local calling rate and nothing more. Chat with us online to learn more or request a demo today!
Inside sales have become the most popular sales model for B2B SaaS and many other high-ticket industries. But what are inside sales, how do they compare to outside sales, and what will the role look like in 2022?
A global health crisis forced millions of people to work from home, and many sales organizations still operate remotely. During this time, new technology also changed inside sales forever.
So, what is inside sales exactly and how is it evolving?
Inside sales are the exchange of products and services online. It is also known as “virtual sales,” “digital selling,” and “remote sales.” Inside salespeople build sales pipelines through digital channels instead of outside channels.
These are the most 5 common examples of virtual sales channels in 2022:
The Difference Between Inside and Outside Sales
The main differences between inside and outside sales are travel and the workplace. Unlike outside sales, inside salespeople do not travel to visit clients off-site.
Inside sales are done in an office or remotely, on the computer, and over the phone. On the other hand, outside salespeople meet clients at off-site premises and industry events, usually for entertainment and training purposes.
Inside and outside sales can be combined for greater effectiveness. An example of this is a company that leverages remote sales for leads and account management with an outside sales team that closes bigger deals and conducts in-person training. Also, the two are often paired to upsell and cross-sell solutions.
In past years, inside sales have been considered a backup to outside sales. However, changes in B2B buying preferences have increased the importance of virtual sales in B2B SaaS.
7 Advantages of Inside Sales
The inside sales model has many advantages versus outside sales or telemarketing:
Remote sales teams can quickly scale and deploy new agents in the cloud. For most businesses, their stack of sales tools is cloud-based and does not require extensive implementation.
These days, sales tech is relatively inexpensive. You can equip reps with a full stack of tools for about $200 per rep monthly.
Also, there are no relocation costs for inside sales, as you can hire talent globally to work from home. Outside sales reps carry much higher operating expenses and must travel frequently.
The salary for remote sales reps is also affordable for most companies with positive cash flow.
Digital sales tools have made it easier to coach inside sales reps.
Certain talk tracks and sales methods tend to win out. As an inside sales manager, you should be fully aware of your team’s playbook and monitor how the team interacts with potential customers. This is not easily achievable when managing a field salesforce.
Conveniently, inside sales are mostly done digitally. Managers in 2022 have more tools and coaching opportunities. This is a result of better collaboration tools, cloud-based CRM, conversation intelligence, recordings, chat transcripts, and virtual writing assistants.
4. Predictable revenue
Companies can predictably forecast and measure the ROI of an inside salesperson.
This is because inside sales reps should have targeted amounts of work to achieve each week. This can include the number of chats and calls answered, outbound dials, sent emails, meetings booked, sales demos, deals won, etc. The work is closely tied to lead generation and in turn, a predictable pipeline, of which the value can be calculated.
5. Global expansion
Whether you want to expand your business to new markets or tap into a diverse talent pool, remote sales offer great potential for global expansion. It can be done virtually from anywhere in the world.
Because inside sales can be done remotely, companies can easily onboard new reps from other countries. Hiring companies only need to ensure that reps have the right equipment and credentials to use the necessary tools. A global marketplace for hiring can give your business access to better talent at competitive rates.
Inside sales also offer an opportunity to sell your products and services to customers in other countries. The work does not need to be done on-site, which enables inside sales reps to sell to customers anywhere in the world. Companies can even take advantage of international virtual numbers to simulate a local calling presence in the country of their choosing.
Sales processes can be broken down and assigned to specialized roles. A traditional inside sales process might involve the following:
Identify target companies that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or new clients that fit expansion criteria.
Identify decision-makers at those target companies. Research potential pain points and service use cases.
Reach out to decision-makers to understand their pain points. Try to spark an interest in your company and how your solutions could be beneficial.
Demo the effectiveness of your products and services. Work to close the sale.
Ensure successful onboarding of new customers. Pursue expansion opportunities.
This type of sales method is kind of like an assembly line. An inside sales manager could assign agents or reps to specialize in each task. The inside sales reps become more effective by devoting their full attention to perfecting and performing a single task.
The buyer’s journey in B2B is rapidly changing. Modern buyers prefer live screen-shares and phone calls to in-person demonstrations and face-to-face meetings.
Corporate travel in 2020 also became a lot harder. Starting in 2022, requests for health documents and travel quarantines could become more common. This makes it more difficult for outside sales reps to visit clients on-site, especially in other countries.In addition, many companies are still working from home.
Interested prospects prefer to buy and sell mostly online, and savvy buyers will do more individual research before making a decision. As a result, sales organizations must remain flexible and meet buyers in their preferred mediums.
You can run inside sales from anywhere, which will make it the preferred sales model in 2022.
What Does Inside Sales Look Like in 2022?
Business changed dramatically during 2020. The whole world was quarantined for many months. This forced all executives to do more business online and over the phone, permanently changing how business is done around the world.
Keys to Running a Smooth IS Organization
There are several components that are required to run a successful inside sales organization:
Equip managers with the right tools: CRM, call recordings, conversation intelligence, etc. Similarly, inside sales agents should have the right tools; high-speed data, sales automation tools, calling service with web dialer, writing assistants, etc.
Specialization with well-defined roles
Inside sales reps are more effective when assigned to specialized roles. For example, your team should have specialized reps who identify target companies and decision-makers, other reps who reach out to those decision-makers to spark an interest, and closers who can properly communicate the value of your services and win deals.
Sales & marketing alignment
Marketing and inside sales should be in close contact. It is the job of marketing to create brand awareness and interest and also to supply inside sales reps with the proper enablement resources to do their jobs effectively. Ideally, prospects should know about your business before salespeople reach out.
The process is key for an digital selling organization looking to scale. Ideally, managers should implement repeatable processes and properly educate their inside sales reps. This makes it easier to expand the team and in turn, grow revenue.
Morale & a good product
In order for salespeople to do a good job, they must believe in what they’re selling and understand its value. No righteous salesperson wants to deceive buyers and sell crappy products. They should be confident in the services that they’re selling.
Day in the Life: Inside Selling Techniques
A typical day in the life of an inside salesperson involves various tasks and responsibilities, with most days spent fielding inquiries, following up with leads or clients, prospecting online, and doing admin work. Depending on the company, the job of an inside salesperson might carry over after-hours. Results come from the work that salespeople put in.
5 Skills of a High-Performing Inside Salesperson
There’s a misconception that salespeople need to be smooth talkers in order to succeed. While being articulate in conversation helps, there are more elements of a successful salesperson.
In fact, many sales leaders believe that active listening is the number one digital selling skill. These are other valuable skills:
What Business Is Most Likely to Benefit from Inside Sales?
Does your business need remote sales? Well, it depends on where your company is in its lifecycle. It also depends on the sales cycle complexity and contract values.
Scaleups, startups, and SaaS companies are most likely to benefit from having an inside sales team. Many startups have used inside sales to hustle their way to $10 million or more ARR. Many companies will also invest in a digital selling team during their growth stages.
Future of Inside Sales: Will it Be Different in 2022?
We saw how work shifted from in-office and in-person to fully remote during the pandemic. Video conferencing exploded. Demos and screen sharing also took off. The digital funnel and virtual selling pretty much replaced in-person lunches and dinners. We don’t see many more changes occurring in the near future.
The Bottom Line: Compared to this year, inside sales processes in 2022 will not be much different. Most changes to remote sales already happened in 2020 and are here to stay.
A majority of top marketing teams will use attribution modeling and tracking to measure the effectiveness of their various marketing campaigns in 2021, according to Pyxl.
Attribution can help you understand the means by which customers come to know and buy your products and services. There are many different approaches to attribution modeling that modern businesses use today.
Call metrics are used to analyze what channels generate the most customer calls so that you can optimize your marketing efforts and improve ROI.
What is Global Call Tracking?
Many businesses today serve a global clientele.
The global economy is huge and it offers businesses a lot of potential to grow and expand. Although the top fifteen countries make up 75% of global GDP, tremendous potential exists for your business throughout the rest of the world.
International call tracking can enable your business to have unique phone numbers for different countries that are being targeted in your global marketing campaigns. Your marketing team can then track the results of various global campaigns through call tracking metrics.
Common Ways to Use Global Call Tracking
Compare the performance of multi-country campaigns side-by-side.
Assign unique in-country phone numbers to different traffic sources (social media, adwords, email, landing pages, etc).
Measure the results of your advertisements across a number of countries.
There’s a lot you can measure with call metrics such as where your calls are coming from and what times are most popular. You can even further delve into the content of conversations with our cloud call recording service.
But in order for your marketing team to benefit the most from global call metrics and really dig into the granular data, you’ll want to export your call detail records (CDRs) into a spreadsheet and apply filters.
Have you wondered which countries or regions are generating the most phone calls? You can easily determine this through global call tracking.
Once you’ve exported your CDRs, you should then filter by service line. You can type in the country code under column D and choose the right phone number. Refer to this list of international call prefixes.
You can do a sum of the lines to see how many calls came in from each country.
Analysis: You’ll want to look further into those countries that are generating lots of calls so you can understand which marketing efforts are more successful.
2. Call Volume by Time of the Day
It’s helpful to see when most of your calls are coming in. This helps you adjust bidding strategies at various times of the day and ensure enough staff is on hand to support high call volumes throughout the day.
You can see the total number of minutes in column I. Break the column down further by filtering the date and time columns.
Analysis: Long-duration calls are likely a sign of good quality conversations while short-duration calls may indicate low-quality sales calls.
3. Call Source & Campaign Performance
This is what call tracking is all about — on a global scale.
Look at your various campaigns to evaluate which campaigns are generating the highest number of successful calls. For example, you can assign one call tracking number to social media campaigns and another number to paid search.
In the coming months, you’ll be able to enter unique names and tags for each phone number.
Analysis: Allocate more of your budgets towards high-performing campaigns.
4. Call Duration
It’s important to know how long your calls last. As a general rule, sales conversations last longer than x amount of minutes. Through global call metrics, you’ll be able to see which calls have a sufficient duration. And if you notice a dip in call duration, you can bring it up in meetings and brainstorm ways to improve caller experience.
Analysis: You don’t want to spend money on channels that do not source high-quality conversations.
5. Caller ID
Is there a certain area code where most of your calls are coming in from? Are these first time callers to your business? You’ll want to measure this through global call tracking. It is important, however, to connect our data with your other tools like your CRM and / or marketing software to really make the most sense of the metrics.
Analysis: Invest more in cities where you have lots of callers.
6. Landing Page Performance
Landing page performance can give you insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. You’ll also want to talk to sales managers as much as possible and ask about lead quality and next steps in your buyers’ journeys so that you can create quality landing pages that convert.
Analysis: Invest more in landing pages that are performing well. For the low-performing landing pages, try to see how they can be improved.
How to Calculate Global Marketing ROI
Once you have all the data and it’s synced with your other business tools, how are you going to present your findings to upper management? That’s an important question that many marketers face.
Upper management is often concerned with revenue and profitability, though some marketing teams use other metrics to measure success. At a basic level, you’ll want to keep close track of costs and conversions in your calculation of ROI.
ROI = (final value of investment – initial value of investment) / cost of investment x 100%
Conversions can be new customer acquisition, qualified leads, etc. But you’ll want to clarify this definition internally and then measure conversions.
In order to calculate overall costs, download invoices into excel and you’ll see costs by country. You can add this up or simply view costs by country.
How to Sync Global Call Metrics with Your Business Tools
At some point, you’ll probably want to sync your call tracking data with your other systems and tools. This will help you recognize more patterns in the data and make better use of metrics. You can do this through our API.
Why You Need Global Call Tracking
Want to get more insights into where your customers are and what leads them to connect with your business?
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Global call tracking can help you measure the effectiveness of your international marketing campaigns. This will help you increase profitability and slash costs.
Talk to our sales team to learn more or get a free demo today to see how we can help.
Everyone is talking about Voice of the Customer (VoC) data as an essential tool to understanding your customers and improving their experience. But what is VoC and how do you collect such data? Here is a detailed guide to what VoC is and what to keep in mind when collecting customer data through these top 10 Voice of the Customer methodologies.
Voice of the Customer: Definition and Methodologies
First, what is Voice of the Customer? VoC is the way your customers talk about your products and their experiences or interactions with these products and services. It is a market research method where a business collects detailed customer feedback about their products and services used.
Why is VoC Important?
So, why should you collect customer feedback and pay attention to the voice of the customers? Customers using your product are in the best position to explain how useful, user-friendly, and worthy your product or service is. When collecting VoC data, look for:
Customer pain points
Hesitations or objections
Desires and needs
Requirements and expectations
Benefits, usage, results
And so, learning how they use the product and how successful it is in helping them complete tasks will help your business create better products as well as market your current products more effectively.
By collecting VoC feedback, your business can gain:
Comprehensive and detailed insights into what your customers look for and need from your products and services.
Data that can be put towards product development and marketing efforts.
Collection — Collecting feedback and information via interviews, surveys, polls, etc. related to specific products or services.
Evaluation — Analyzing and studying responses to identify customer needs and expectations.
Implementation — Using feedback and analysis to create better experiences and products that boost business performance.
In this post, we will specifically focus on the collection phase of VoC data and what methodologies work best.
And when collecting VoC data, it is good to be prepared with the following questions for each data collection project:
What is the purpose of this data collection project?
What is your target audience or group? (Current customers or new prospects?)
How will you collect this data? (In-person interviews, online surveys, social listening, etc.)
What stage is the customer or prospect in? (Unaware, problem aware, solution aware, product aware, most aware)
Once you have these factors in place, you can focus on questions to ask your customers and prospects.
What to Ask Customers?
Before we dive into VoC methodologies, let’s quickly run through how to prepare for customer interviews and surveys. In other words, what questions to ask your customers so you can get the best feedback and insights. Your questions can be focused on how customers perceive your business or how they use your product or service; customize questions accordingly. Here are some questions to consider:
What made them look for your business/product/service?
When did you realize you needed something like [product/service]?
What brought you to [business/product/service]?
How did you find out about [business/product/service]?
What problem were you trying to solve with [business/product/service]?
How did you go about researching for a solution to your problem?
How or why do they pick a business/product/service?
What matters most to you when choosing or signing up with a business or purchasing products or services?
What characteristics do you look for in a business, product, or service before purchasing or signing up?
Why were you interested in trying our [product/service]?
Did you consider any alternatives to our [business/product/service]? What were they?
Why did you choose our [product/service] over [competitor]?
About your business/product/service
What comes to mind when you think about our [business/product/service]?
How are you using our [product/service] at the moment?
How would you describe the [business/product/service] to a friend?
What do you like the most about [business/product/service]?
What is the most useful feature of the [product/service]?
What surprised you about [business/product/service]?
Would you recommend [business/product/service]? To whom and why?
How can [business/product/service] improve your customer experience?
How can [business] improve the [product/service]?
Understanding pain points, concerns, and issues
What would you like changed or modified regarding the [product/service]?
What features do you wish the [product/service] had, that it doesn’t currently have now?
What concerns do you have about [product/service]?
What competitor would you prefer over our [product/service]? And why?
What’s the #1 thing you can do with [product/service] that you couldn’t do before without the [product/service]?
What’s the biggest problem that you were able to solve/fix with our [product/service]?
What concerns or hesitations did/do you have before deciding to buy or sign up for [product/service]?
Understanding results and outcomes
What has changed for you since using [product/service]?
What measurable results have you noticed since you started using [product/service]?
What results are you hoping to achieve with our [product/service]?
Top 10 Voice of the Customer Methodologies
Let’s now look at the 10 different Voice of the Customer methodologies that you use to collect customer data:
1. Detailed Customer Interviews
One of the traditional VoC data collection methods is conducting detailed interviews with consumers. These interviews can help you get insights into the customer’s perspective about your business or specifically about a product or service you offer.
You can conduct in-person, phone, video, or email interviews, depending on your capabilities. However, in-person interviews are considered the most effective for this purpose. You can choose to interview particular customers or target groups, depending on why you are collecting this data and how much information you need.
Be prepared with a list of questions and follow-up questions before conducting the interview. Inform customers how long this interview will last and what the purpose is.
2. Customer Surveys & Feedback Forms
A customer survey is another good (and common) way of collecting customer information and understanding customer expectations, needs, and pain points. There are a few different ways to send out customer surveys:
Online surveys through links or emails through survey tools such as SurveyMonkey
Phone surveys through customer service teams or automated IVR systems
In-app or in-software surveys
In-person or suggestion-box surveys
Contact forms surveys, etc.
You can send out such surveys and feedback forms when prospecting new leads or to new and long-term customers. As mentioned above, be prepared with questions to include in your survey form. When appropriate, include and offer multiple-choice options, drop-down lists, text-boxes, and so on. This will enable customers to provide more information and give you detailed results.
3. Customer Reviews
Online customer reviews are a great spot for collecting information about how customers are using your products and determining how they feel about them. You can look up Google reviews as well as industry-specific review sites such as G2, TrustPilot, Capterra, etc.
Additionally, since these reviews appear online and are visible to potential customers, you will want to watch these reviews and respond to them as well. Respond to good reviews with “We appreciate your business.” And respond to negative reviews with positive and solution-focused responses. In other words, show new prospects how your business handles negative reviews and customer concerns.
Call detail records can be helpful when putting together insights and data based on history. You can use call records to understand the preferred communication channels and contact times. Additionally, you might even identify common complaints that require the help of your customer support team. This information can be used to create support content that helps customers solve issues through self-service options, when appropriate.
5. Recorded Calls
Next, record and review calls with customers. A call recording service is a great tool for sifting through common customer needs, expectations, and complaints. Here, you can identify patterns, anomalies, and more. These insights can then inform better product development and enhanced customer experience.
6. Email Groups
You can use highly personalized emails to specific segments or send well-written generic emails to all your customers. Make it easy and less work for your customers to answer the survey. You may choose to include the feedback form or poll within the body of the email or include a link for them to click. Let them know the purpose of the survey and how long it will take them to complete it. You may even choose to include a reward for a lengthy survey that will take up a good amount of their time.
7. Social Listening
Social listening refers to paying attention to what your customers and clients are saying on social media platforms. More specifically, what are they saying about businesses, products, and services like yours? You can choose to simply listen or actively participate in the conversation to learn more about customer expectations and interests, directly from customers and in real-time.
8. Live Chat
Live chat (whether monitored or AI-enabled) is a popular customer support channel. Web visitors often use live chat to connect with a company as opposed to calling or emailing them. This makes live chat a good source for collecting VoC feedback. You can collect feedback by asking questions in real-time or scheduling a follow-up survey after assisting the customer.
9. Focus Groups
Focus groups are groups of people who asked to share their thoughts, feelings, and expectations about a product or service. You can use focus groups to test new products or features, gain feedback on existing products and services, learn how to improve user experience, and more. This is another common way of understanding the Voice of the Customer at different touchpoints.
10. Customer-Focused KPIs
There are two customer-focused KPIs or metrics that can help you gain insights into how satisfied your customers are and whether they will advocate for your brand:
1. Net promoter score (NPS) measures the loyalty of a business’s customers. NPS provides quick feedback from customers focused on whether they are likely to recommend your product or service. A common example of this is — “How likely are you to recommend our [business/product/service] to a friend or a colleague?
2. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) measures the level of customer satisfaction after interacting with a business or using a product or service. Use questions similar to those in NPS measures and customers can answer with ratings such as a scale of 1-10 or range of Very Satisfied-Very Dissatisfied.
Let Voice of the Customer Methodologies Enhance Your Services
It’s not an underestimation how important customer satisfaction is, and companies should aim to ensure they are delivering on this fully. As we have demonstrated, Voice of the Customer data is a key tool for businesses to understand what customers appreciate about your business, and ultimately, where your business can improve. If you are aiming to maximize the experience for your customers, be sure to implement VoC methodologies and learn more about how to please those seeking out your products or services.
What is the best way to sell to a new lead? This is the age-old question. Salespeople and marketers have tried and tested different methods and approaches and have collected varied results. Two of these methods that salespeople continue to use are cold calling and warm calling. But what is the difference between these methods and which approach is more helpful for your business?
The Difference Between Cold Calling and Warm Calling
Both cold calling and warm calling are outbound calling sales approaches. In these approaches, salespeople reach out to prospects and try to sell or move them down the sales funnel. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these methods and their pros and cons.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is a sales technique where a sales team reaches out to prospects and leads who may or may not have heard of the business. In other words, these prospects have not interacted with your business or purchased products and services from you. They have not heard from your business or representatives before. Some of these prospects may not have even heard of your business.
Cold calling then is the attempt to increase brand awareness and sell products and services to these prospects by introducing them to your brand. Usually, sales teams are given a list of prospects deemed fit for specific products and services. This list is put together through market research of target audiences. Your job then is to reach out to them, educate them about the brand and product, and make a sale or set up a sales appointment.
Pros and Cons of Cold Calling
So, what makes cold calling successful and why do some business managers say that cold calling is dead? Here are the benefits and issues that come with cold calling:
Pros of Cold Calling
Cons of Cold Calling
Solo hunting; reach out to customers on your own
Customers are usually wary of unknown phone numbers and may not answer
Connect with new customers
Customers are usually annoyed by cold calls
Lets you weed out bad leads and uninterested customers
Warm calling, on the other hand, is an inside sales process where sales representatives reach out to prospects and customers who have previously interacted with the brand. These individuals are aware of your business and demonstrated some interest. Maybe they liked a social media post or downloaded an eBook from your website or submitted an inquiry about a product.
Additionally, warm calling also includes gathering feedback through surveys, informing regular customers about new promotions, or inviting them to webinars, etc. In some cases, calls made after cold emails may also be considered warm calling. This is because you have already established a connection and familiarity with the customer.
With warm calling, your job as the sales rep is to answer their questions, provide more information, and engage them. By doing so, you are moving them down the funnel and closer to a sale.
Pros and Cons of Warm Calling
If cold calling isn’t the way to go, can your business benefit from warm calling? Let’s look at how warm calling can convert more customers and what potential issues to keep in mind.
Pros of Warm Calling
Cons of Warm Calling
Leads are aware of your business and interested
Sales reps may not take these calls seriously enough
Leads are more likely to become customers
Over-calling may discourage the prospect
Personalize calls to meet prospects’ needs
Customers may prefer other channels of communication
Develop stronger customer and business relations
Stock scripts may discourage leads
What Does Your Business Need?
Whether cold calling or warm calling is right for your business depends on your business structure, values, and goals. Also, another factor is where your business lies in its growth process. If you are a new business, then cold calling is the way to increase brand awareness and identify key markets and audiences. On the other hand, if your business is relatively established and has a strong online presence, then warm calling and inside sales will help maintain credibility and attract valuable customers.
How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?
Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of virtual call center tools and features that can support both your cold calling and warm calling efforts. Get outbound calling, particularly, to connect with customers and leads around the globe with local and toll free numbers. You can even use call routing services to maintain connectivity across different locations and time zones. Speak with our representatives to learn more about how we can help your specific business. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online!
Market research is essential to understand your target audience, their pain points and goals, and how you can serve them better. Without these insights, your product or service does not reach its full potential. Learn how to use local phone numbers when conducting market research to achieve the best results.
Local Market Research: Definition
Local market research is the process of evaluating a current or new market. More specifically, when researching a market, researchers pay attention to customers’ and prospects’ needs, pain points, goals, and motivations. These insights then fuel product development and marketing efforts. If you do not know who your target audience is and where they are, you will be selling to the wrong crowd. Market research can help your business find the right customers and the best ways to reach them. There are many different ways to conduct market research such as interviews (in-person, phone, video), observation, surveys, etc. Check out our comprehensive guide to local market research.
Why Should Your Business Research Your Market?
Local market research helps your business gain insights into various aspects such as:
How customers view your business
What lucrative markets should you target
How to best develop buyer personas
How to develop your product in comparison to competitors
In what ways you can improve customer experience and loyalty
Market research studies current and new markets so your business can develop good and relevant products and market them effectively.
How to Conduct Market Research with a Local Number
Here we will look at how a business can use local phone numbers when conducting market research. Businesses can get local phone numbers for various countries, cities, and regions around the world. Local numbers have specific area codes and formats assigned to them which are recognizable by locals within that area. This makes local numbers great tools for conducting research and test marketing. So, how can your business use local numbers to conduct research?
1. Market Segmentation
You can segment your target audience into smaller groups to get more detailed information and feedback from them. This process is called market segmentation. You can then use different local numbers for each segment to track responses and measure results. The four main types of market segmentation include:
Demographic (B2C): based on individual attributes
Firmographic (B2B): based on company/business attributes
Psychographic (B2B/B2C): based on attitudes, traits, values, motivations, etc.
Behavioral (B2B/B2C): based on usage, user status, purchasing/researching habits, etc.
Depending on what information you are looking for, you can either focus on behavioral or demographic elements or more. Information that you receive through market segmentation can help you tailor the product and its features as well as refine your marketing strategies to better appeal to each segment.
2. Brand Awareness Research
You can also use local phone numbers to learn more about your brand awareness. In other words, how much do customers know about your business, and how aware are they of its existence. Furthermore, you do not need to limit yourself to your own country. You can measure brand awareness in neighboring countries as well as target markets.
Your marketing and sales teams can take this a step ahead and study your customers’ awareness of the problem your business can solve. Most customers do not know that they have a problem or that there is a solution (your product or service) to their issues. Teams can take this opportunity to learn what stage of the buyer’s or customer’s journey your target audience is in.
You can also use local phone numbers to improve brand awareness in these target areas. You can do so by purchasing local numbers and advertising your product locally as well as focusing sales efforts in those regions.
3. Campaigning & Marketing ROI
Next, local numbers can help with marketing and campaigning efforts as well as measuring ROI. Use local numbers along with specific campaigns and promotions and study the results. How many customers are coming through specific campaigns or promotions? How many of these customers are converting? And how many stay on as repeat customers? The customers who don’t convert, what are they looking for?
These questions can help you determine better ways to appeal to customer pain points and display your product as a valuable solution.
4. Qualifying Leads via Presale Surveys
Presale surveys include questions marketing and sales teams use to qualify leads and determine quality prospects. This is a good way to weed out low-rank prospects as well as customers that won’t add value to your business. It also helps reduce time spent chasing bad leads. Your teams can use local numbers to easily connect with potential customers and vet them before they move further down the pipeline.
5. Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty Research
Lastly, use local numbers to keep in touch with existing customers. Your current customers are much more valuable than new customers because they are the ones who are likely to stay and become advocates for your brand. And so, you want to ensure your business and products are satisfying current customers. Measuring customer satisfaction and loyalty can help you understand how your product is performing and how much customers value it. If it is not performing well, you will need to make changes and improvements.
Survey New Markets with Local Numbers
You can get local phone numbers from Global Call Forwarding for target countries and areas. We offer international virtual numbers for more than 160 countries around the world and provide call management tools to effectively organize calls when conducting research. Browse through our inventory today or call us to learn more!
Telemarketing, telesales, cold calling, inside sales; they’re all the same, right? Sales approaches where a salesperson calls a lead and tries to sell a product or service? There is some truth to that. However, these approaches differ in their methodology and how involved salespeople need to be to convert leads. Learn about the key differences between telemarketing and inside sales so you can adopt a sales approach that is most effective for your business.
The Difference Between Telemarketing and Inside Sales
Telemarketing, inside sales, and cold calling are terms often used interchangeably. This is because they are similar services that make outbound calls to prospective customers and try to convert them. However, each approach and its methodology is different. Here we discuss telemarketing and inside sales so you can better understand the differences between the two sales approaches.
What is Telemarketing?
Telemarketing as a cold calling sales tactic has been around for years. The general understanding of telemarketing is that it is a scripted, one-call closing sales technique. In other words, telemarketing calls are highly scripted and they aim to close a deal or disqualify a lead in one call. These calls or prospects are usually about small-ticket, B2C products while the leads are low value.
Most people have come to expect telemarketing calls as spammy, disrespectful of time, and monotonous. Telemarketers get to the point; they engage with potential customers just once and decide if it is a closed or lost deal.
On the contrary, some businesses view telemarketing as more than just impersonal and monotonous selling. In this case, telemarketers don’t just try to close a deal in one call. Instead, they work on prospecting, building relationships, and sourcing opportunities, all during a phone call. And more recently, there has been a shift from scripted conversations to more personalized ones.
In short, telemarketing is quick and supports smaller sales cycles for low-ticket products.
What are Inside Sales?
The inside sales approach takes telemarketing to the next level. Inside sales includes multiple calls at various touch-points. The selling process in these calls is more complex with the reps taking a more involved approach and working closely with prospects. These calls are not scripted and tailored to the prospect’s specific situation and needs.
Inside calls target B2B and high-end B2C sales; that is, high-ticket sales. And they require longer nurturing and strategic targeting. Salespeople performing inside sales are well-trained and focus on personalization and relevance to bring new customers aboard. Inside sales also include:
Building rapport and trust with the customer or prospect
Providing expertise and information to help prospects make informed decisions
Developing genuine relationships with prospects
In short, inside sales is more detailed, has a higher value, and a longer sales cycle.
Telemarketing Versus Inside Sales
As you can see, the key difference between telemarketing and inside sales is how involved the salesperson is.
Telemarketers may not be required to study leads beforehand or work closely with prospects to help move them down the sales funnel. They may use call center software and predictive dialing to go through their list of prospects.
Inside sales teams may use more advanced call center software and virtual communication tools such as outbound calling, web dialers, engagement tracking, sales forecasting, and more. The sales acceleration technology used by these teams helps them identify and convert valuable prospects by finding the best times to call and preferred methods of communication. This leads to a better experience for both the prospect and the salesperson.
Making Sales Calls with Outbound Calling
Global Call Forwarding offers a variety of call center software tools that help businesses make sales calls more effectively. You can use our outbound calling service with our web softphone to make sales calls from any location. Our virtual phone numbers enable you to increase your local presence in a variety of markets the world over. Want to learn more? Speak with our global specialists or chat with us online today!
More and more customers expect their brands and businesses to offer 24/7 customer support. This is significantly important for businesses with a wide and international customer base. The Follow the Sun customer service model can help your business become more reliable and accessible. Secure valuable global clients and increase their trust and faith in your business by letting them reach you easily!
So, what is the “Follow the Sun model”? Follow the Sun is a customer support method that focuses on providing consistent customer support without regard for geographic location or time restraints. In other words, Follow the Sun is a 24/7 customer support approach for local and international clients.
Medium to large companies, especially international and multinational companies, can use Follow the Sun coverage to offer 24/7 global customer support without relying solely on one customer service team. With such a model, customer service reps are not overburdened or forced to work late shifts. Instead, businesses can use remote or distributed customer support teams or BPOs to offer uninterrupted customer service. This constant workflow helps businesses:
Offer accessible customer support and assistance
Increase response times
Build customer trust
Position your business as a reliable one
3 Principles of a Follow the Sun Support Model
The main purpose of such a model is for businesses to offer uninterrupted customer service without geographical and time constraints. To accomplish this goal, Follow the Sun coverage is based on the following principles:
1. Availability Across Multiple Time Zones
For this approach to work effectively, customer service and support teams need to be spread across different locations and time zones. This way, businesses can maintain continuity of workflow and support, and customers can find help wherever they are located.
2. Faster Responses
Customer service teams need to be on top of their jobs and resolve queries quickly and accurately. First call resolution rates should be high with agents available 24/7, not only for phone conversations or chats but also to resolve trouble tickets.
3. Knowledge Hand-Outs
Finally, a system should be designed where information, knowledge, and business processes are seamlessly transferred from one team to another. Handoffs for pending tasks and queries are essential so the next team member can resolve them and the customer does not have to connect with the business again for support.
Pros and Cons of a Follow the Sun Service Desk
There are numerous customer service approaches and models out there. All are trying to help businesses offer excellent and uninterrupted service. However, which model works best for your company depends on the type of business you run, your communication infrastructure, and your budget. More importantly, what are you hoping to achieve with a new customer service model? To determine if a Follow the Sun support schedule can help your business, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of such a model.
6 Ways Follow the Sun Schedule Can Benefit Businesses
1. Increased availability and accessibility
By having your customer service team work around the clock or in multiple locations, you greatly increase the chances of being available to every customer who calls your business. Every customer call is valuable and a potential sale. And so, losing out on customers who call during off-hours can hurt your business. Additionally, your business also becomes accessible to customers outside your target market. And this can help you find new leads (more on that later).
2. Faster responses and problem-solving
By employing agents at all times and locations, you can train your customer service teams to offer quick and accurate responses. Customers calling for assistance want their issues resolved as soon as possible and correctly. And if your business’ response times and first call resolution rates are high, your customers will come back for more and recommend you to their networks.
3. Consistent and reliable customer service
By doing all of the above, you can position your business as a reliable source of customer support. Current customers will rely on your service and continue to invest in it. You can then showcase them through customer reviews and testimonials that will inspire other similar customers to connect with your business.
Ah, the new leads. By making your business available in multiple time zones and locations, you have the opportunity to get customers in multiple countries. These may even be customers your business does not ideally include in top business personas. You can get insights into other areas for growth, new customer bases, and new ways to improve your product.
5. Considerate employee experience
Follow the Sun support schedule means not having to make your employees work overtime or odd shifts. Employees can work within their regular daytime office hours and provide support to customers in those time zones. This can help employees maintain a work-life balance and do a better job when interacting with customers.
6. Establish a global presence
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your business gets to be on the global stage. You can establish a global presence without needing to open up multiple physical locations around the world. Some companies don’t need a physical presence to do business. However, an approach like this helps your company maintain a virtual presence in multiple locations and offer support to all customers.
Issues to Consider With This Approach
1. Communication and collaboration issues
When teams are distributed or spread across multiple locations, there’s a possibility of miscommunication and it is harder for teams to collaborate and be on the same page. However, we now have technology and communication tools that can help ease this process. Project management systems, chat, cloud-based CRM, and so on. Users can use these tools to enter and update customer info, assign tasks, update progress, and more.
2. Lack of coordination
Similar to the above point, a common issue with a Follow the Sun model is improper hand-off coordination. This happens when the previous team does not properly hand off pending or incomplete tasks to the new team or individuals in the next shift. Again, a well-designed CRM or project management system can help ease this process. However, employees need to take the time to update their records.
3. Unfamiliar tools and tech
Most of the issues mentioned above can be solved if efficient processes are set in place and advanced tools are used to streamline these processes. However, this means that your employees are well-versed in the different tools and technologies used. If not, then employees may spend more time learning the software or re-doing simple processes instead of taking care of customers.
How Can Your Business Offer 24/7 Global Support?
If you think your business can benefit from offering global 24/7 customer support, then you need to start planning how to provide this service.
First, Make a Plan
Establish goals and create a plan for how your business and customer service teams will offer round-the-clock, global customer support.
Some companies do this by having multiple customer service hubs or remote teams. They will use separate phone lines for each country or hub. Then, these companies get time-based routing or location-based routing from a virtual number provider like Global Call Forwarding. These routing strategies enable incoming calls to forward or route to different locations based on specific rules set by the business.
For example, time-based routing forwards calls to specific locations or numbers based on the time of the call. Location-based routing forwards calls to specific customer service teams based on the location of the caller. These strategies help callers connect with the most appropriate customer service agent in their time and location (and at times, language) preferences.
Another way to offer 24/7 service is to have all incoming calls (from different countries) forwarded to your main customer service hub and have employees work in shifts.
Next, Invest in the Right Technology and Tools
Don’t just “go with the flow.” Pay attention to the ways your teams can streamline and standardize the communication and hand-off process. Your teams will need the right tools and phone system to make this strategy work. For example, consider global SIP trunking to easily configure and manage your shift to a Follow the Sun model. Additionally, you will want project and content management systems that can help your managers and customer service teams communicate and collaborate virtually in real-time.
How you plan to adopt the Follow the Sun support schedule depends on your communication infrastructure, business phone system, remote teams, and budget. Make a decision that works best for your business.
Reach More Customers by Being Active
Follow the Sun coverage, if adopted and executed well, can help businesses reach more customers and a wider audience. More importantly, by offering reliable and responsive customer service, your company can secure valuable customer relationships and attract new leads. Learn how our call routing and call forwarding solutions can help your global expansion efforts. Call us today at 1 (888) 908 6171 or chat with us online!
Customers drive a business to success. Understanding your customers — who they are and where they come from — can help you offer better service. This is especially important when entering new markets. How do you know if this new market is going to be lucrative for your business? Enter: market research. Local market research helps businesses understand prospects and customers in target markets and regions. By gaining insights into your customers — their habits, preferences, goals, and motivations — you can improve your service and develop stronger relationships.
What is Local Market Research?
Local market research is the process of collecting specific information about your customers and prospective buyers. Your marketing or sales teams gather information about buyer personas and target audiences as well as existing or returning customers. The goal is to identify how your product will be doing in a new market or is doing in an existing market.
Benefits of Conducting Market Research
Market research helps your business slow down and pay close attention to your customers and buyer personas. More specifically, who are they? What are their pain points? What goals and solutions are they trying to achieve? And so on. Your business can then use this information to develop better products and a marketing plan that is more naturally appealing to prospects. Market research can help you identify:
Where your customers are looking for products and services
Where and how they conduct their research
What features and services (solutions) they are looking for
Which competitors prospects are looking at
What’s trending in your industry
What customers expect from a business or service like yours
Specific customer challenges and pain points
Who and what influences their purchases, and so on
By conducting market research, your business can identify strong markets, new areas of investment, strengths and weaknesses of your product, and new customer bases. Your teams can then create more effective marketing strategies.
Types of Market Research
There are many different ways to conduct market research and your teams do not have to do all of those mentioned below. Before doing any research, make a plan. Determine the goal of this research. Do you just want to learn more about your buyer personas or do you want to learn more about how your business stacks up against the competition? Similarly, do you have the budget to conduct a full-fledged analysis or can your teams make do with interviews and case studies? We have listed the different types of market research below so you can decide which ones make sense for your business.
1. Interviews & Focus Groups
Interviews (in-person or online) are one of the most common market research methods. Your teams take the time to speak with customers and prospects going through a series of questions and taking important notes. By speaking directly with the consumer, you can get a feel for their needs and preferences.
Focus groups are another common method of conducting research. With focus groups, a handful of pre-selected individuals are asked questions, test out products, watch product demos, and provide feedback or ask questions. This way, your teams can identify what aspects of your product and brand are clear and which areas need improvement.
2. Market Segmentation
Local market research gives insights into the new market that you plan to enter. And market segmentation helps you identify the best target audience for your product or service. Market segmentation is the process of dividing your target audience into smaller, more approachable groups or segments. Four main types of market segmentation include:
Demographic (B2C): based on individual attributes
Firmographic (B2B): based on company/ business attributes
Psychographic (B2B/B2C): based on attitudes, traits, values, motivations, etc.
Behavioral (B2B/B2C): based on usage, user status, purchasing/researching habits, etc.
By segmenting your market this way, you can approach product development, marketing, and sales with a renewed focus and cater to a wider audience.
3. Buyer Persona Research
This type of research is focused on creating realistic buyer personas that can help you develop better products and market more effectively. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of a target audience. Buyer personas are detailed and take into account a target audience’s:
Desire, motivations, goals
What products or solutions they need
What they expect from your business
Your business can have multiple personas. Nailing these personas can help you target this audience better. Also note that personas develop over time so be open to modifying and updating your personas as new changes and expectations emerge.
4. Brand Awareness Research
You can also use market research to determine how well your brand or business is known in target markets and areas. Customers that are not aware of your brand will look to other brands for solutions that you offer as well. This part of local market research lets you know how much attention you need to pay to increase brand awareness.
You can even take this one step further to identify how well your solution is known. For example, customers in another market may not be immediately aware of how your product or service can solve an issue they might be facing. For that matter, some prospects may not even know they have an issue that your product can solve. This is an important aspect of market research because it lets you know where and how to market to these groups.
5. Qualifying Leads with Pre-Sale Surveys
Before entering new markets, every business needs to be certain that this new market is going to benefit the business overall. Otherwise, you might end up wasting money, time, and other resources. One way to test new markets is by conducting pre-sale surveys to qualify leads and prospects.
Pre-sales surveys are questionnaires reps use when speaking with prospective customers to collect qualifying information about them. These surveys help sales reps identify good leads, understand the leads better, determine their needs and pain points, etc. By doing this, the business can reduce time spent on acquiring bad leads by focusing on good prospects instead. This further streamlines the sales process making it more efficient.
6. Product or Service Use Research
This type of market research looks at how and why your customers use your product or service. More specifically, what features or benefits do they use the most and why. And also, what features are they struggling with. This type of research focuses more on the purpose and usability of your product so you can refine and create better products.
7. Observation-Based Research
Observation-based research is, as the name suggests, research pulled together through observing how customers and prospects interact with your product or service. This is similar to Product Use Research because it helps identify how usable your product is and what areas need to be clarified.
8. Pricing Research
If your business is a new one or you find that customers are not going through with the purchasing process, you may need to look at your pricing structure. One way to determine if your pricing strategy is well-developed is by observing what similar products and services or your competitors are offering. Pricing research focuses on getting insights into the prices similar products sell at, what target customers expect to pay, and what the competition is doing. These insights will help you build a better pricing strategy that customers are comfortable with as well.
9. Competitive Analysis Research
This type of market research looks closely at what your competition is doing. More specifically, what competition does your business have? What’s working well in your industry right now? What is your target audience looking for when it comes to products like yours? What additional features and services are competitors offering? These insights can help you develop better products and processes while being at the frontline of your industry.
10. Budget & Campaign Research
Businesses can also use local market research to plan out budgets and measure ROI on marketing campaigns and investments. Your sales and marketing teams can track call records, visit times, customer preferences, and customer pain points, to name a few. And then use this information to streamline marketing efforts and budget more effectively.
For instance, market research and metrics can highlight popular service times. In other words, periods of time or certain days that the business is more likely to have customer interactions. The business can then offer more services during those periods. Similarly, test marketing can identify which marketing and promotional efforts are working well and which are not producing desirable results. Your business can then decide to allocate funds and which strategies to pay more attention to.
11. Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty Research
Next, you can use local market research to improve your customer relationships. Connect with existing customers to understand how they use your product, how satisfied they are, and how likely they are to stick with your business. This information is essential in retaining valuable customers and learning how you can improve your product or service to attract more customers.
Take the time to understand your customers’ pain points and how they use your product to solve their problems. This can give you new insights into how you can refine your product and market it better.
To conduct original research, your business will need a research team (or your marketing or sales team) and a plan of action. Here are some things to consider when researching markets:
1. Make a Plan
Start by making a plan and setting goals. Consider these questions:
What do you want to research?
What core customer or target group do you want to research?
How will this research be conducted? In-person interviews? Observations?
What type of questions do you want answered?
Who will conduct this research?
How much do you want to spend or invest in this research?
2. Choose a Buyer or Audience Group
Next, identify your buyer personas and audience groups. Define and flesh out buyer personas so that they are specific and can help you narrow down core customer groups. Then, use this information to identify groups to target for your research. Compile lists, review your market segments, and create customer groups for engagement.
3. Decide on Methodology
Once you have your groups ready, decide what type of market research you want to conduct and how your teams will conduct it. Think: in-person interviews, video or phone conversations, on-field observations, social media polls, email exchanges, and so on. Make sure your methodology and budget go hand-in-hand.
4. Prepare a List of Questions
Based on your focus and goals, prepare questions or questionnaires that customers will answer. If you are doing a usability test, then prepare steps that customers will follow to complete a task or achieve a goal. Either way, give customers clear instructions and simple questions, then follow up based on their responses.
5. Use Local Phone Numbers
Local phone numbers make it easier to connect with local customers and prospects in different countries. This is especially significant for companies that have an international customer base. Make customers and prospects feel comfortable answering your research or survey questions. And if they receive a call from an unknown number, they will be less likely to answer your call and provide feedback. Your business can get local phone numbers from a virtual phone service provider like Global Call Forwarding.
6. Summarize Findings & Results
Finally, once all research and tests are complete, review answers and results and summarize your findings. Then share this data with the rest of your teams, especially with marketing and sales teams. The next course of action is to decide how this information can be used to create better experiences for your customers and prospects.
Conduct Research to Build Better Customer Relationships
Local market research goes a long way in understanding who your customers and prospects are and what matters to them. These insights can help you develop better products and experiences that draw more customers to your business. They can also show you how to develop better relationships with your customers so that they come back for more and recommend your business to others!