Oct 25, 2013

new to a new market?

OK, maybe this post's title holds too much newness, but when a company expands internationally, there are two types of market situations it can encounter: either the sector is well established & pretty much everyone in that market knows the product, or the company brings a new-to-market kind of service.

The later is the most interesting marketing challenge: how to market your new b2b service and find early adopters. 

Think about a kind of service that's totally new to your targeted professionals; only those working in multinational environments have heard about it from their colleagues abroad, but nobody has put it in place in this market. Let's also say that the acquisition cost is not high for the average company, because this is also a key factor. 

The marketing work actually means education work, and it needs to start internally: for sure you're not going to find sales consultants trained to sell this kind of service, so your first task is to market your company's unique selling proposal to them, before even considering to approach the market. If they “buy” your service and are convinced by its benefices, they can inspire confidence in front of the customer and sell it.

Say this stage is successfully passed; you have your sales team in place, all trained and packed with marketing collaterals, and you’re ready to face the outer world.

In terms of outbound telemarketing, I've tried three scenarios to approach the target market:

1st was to write a long email with all the benefits and features of our service, send it to the right job title and then call and ask if they were interested.
The typical answer was that they did not receive / read the email, and that they were not interested: "What company did you say you were calling from? Never heard of you. No, we're not interested." [abruptly hanging up]

2nd was to cold call the right job title, recite a very long and articulated speech about our service, and ask if they were interested.
Usually, the caller would get through with his first two or three phrases, get interrupted and prompted to get to the point or send an email with their story [easier to delete or block]. 

3rd was to cold call the right job title, state the main pain our service could help solve, then ask for a meeting with one of our consultants.
This approach generated 4 meetings per day per telemarketer. Pretty good ratio, I'd say.

Here are the lessons I've learned from trying all the approaches above:
- Email alone is ineffective as introduction channel.
- Product introduction can't be done over the phone. People are very reluctant in answering any question about their company or business processes, since they don't know you.
- If the purpose of calling people is to ask them if they are interested, the answer will always be no. They don't know you and they don't understand your new service; why would anyone be interested?

Your best chance is getting your sales consultant in front of the potential client. The meeting provides the time and the frame for company and product introduction, the dialogue helps unveil the customer's pains and objections. It's where your representative can make an impression, transfer trust, present your company’s credentials and collect information about your product's strongest competitor - the way your client currently works to solve the problem your service addresses.

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