Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMB for short or SME to the Philippines) think that it’s cheaper to run a text messaging (or SMS) campaign than to call customers. In reality, it costs more to do business using any kind of text messaging solution, including social media, if the intent is to sell; and who in his right mind wants to pay for text blasting thousands of people if the objective is not to close a sale?
Here are my reasons why calling is better than text messaging:
1. Text messaging is like a flier activity in the corner street. There’s no information about the stranger except his or her mobile phone number. It’s a blind way of selling. What did most do when they were handed that flyer? They threw it in the trash can without even reading two sentences about it.
2. The rate of interest from text messaging is a high three percent, just like fliering which is also similar to direct mail advertising. The general response statistics is 1-3 percent but many say it’s even below one percent. This low-percentage response rate is the market that will want to talk to you.
3. But you’ve still got to call and talk to this stranger who’s interested. That’s the real business scenario to text messaging; and that’s a cost on top of the SMS you sent.
4. Concluding this three-point reasoning above is my proposal: Why not short-circuit the process and just go straight and call them?
This is not just for the Philippines. If you are a business owner, manager or director living or operating in another country – any country in the world – everything written in this article will apply to you wherever you are as it does in the Philippines. But it’s a great example to use a developing nation like the Philippines, isn’t it?
So, keep reading.
A single employee or rep will cost you 52,108 Pesos to talk to 1,920 people a month. This monthly expense includes the minutes you spend to call, salaries, use of computer and internet, and 20 percent more for miscellaneous operating expenses just to be on the safe side. On the average, 1,440 people or 75 percent will be interested in your product or service because it’s an interactive, two-way verbal communication, and about half of that or 720 people will want to buy your product or service, whether they are consumers or people working in other businesses or organizations. Of course, doing business in a developing country like the Philippines usually includes the need to send a field sales agent to the interested prospect, demo your product if need be, and go through the normal sales cycle of contract signing, collection of upfront payments and others. But that’s your business process and I don’t know anything about that. However, it’s “generally speaking” or a norm in the country to do some of these, if not all. Regardless, the point is that the person your rep talked to over the phone already expects to buy from you.
Below is the table of variables I used to arrive up with my numbers, above and in other parts of this blog.
Going back to SMS, if you text message 1,920 mobile numbers, assuming that all text messages are read by all 1,920 people, expect only 60 people to be interested. If half of the 60 people buy, that’s 30 sales prospects that still needs to go through the same sales cycle and motion as I wrote above.
So, why on earth are businesses still sticking to text messaging when they already know the low percentage points it generates in interest and closed sales? Being cheap doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest cost of sales. Calling your market using their landline or mobile phones isn’t expensive as one perceives.
“Talk is Cheap!” There’s a way to achieve that.
My premise here is to use a cloud based system that doesn’t require you purchase automation, telecommunication equipment and telecom lines. All you need is a full-time rep working on a computer running Linux, Mac O/S or Windows, Firefox or Chrome as your browser, internet access of about 100 kpbs of broadband speed, and a good headset – and your rep is good to go.
And cloud based or web based access means operating expenses, not capital expenses. You subscribe to a web service, free or for a fee, and use it. When you need to stop using it, you stop paying. Then, use it again at your appropriately planned time. There are millions of web apps available, and dozens if not hundreds will fit that need to have a real live conversation with your prospect.
“Does my rep have to be office-based or home-based?”
It doesn’t matter. It’s cloud computing! And by GoAutoDial Inc. provides one of the cheapest yet robust and efficient cloud computing solution for this requirement. If you’re queasy about the idea of an “At-home Rep,” read another GoAutoDial blog, “.”
You may ask, “Why on earth would I want to pay those amounts to call?”
Umm… really? Just take a look at some of the things you’re getting for paying that amount:
And that’s the burden of cost on GoAutoDial, not yours. In return, GoAutoDial allows to use a state-of-the-art web app that provides:
Do you still think it’s expensive?
Go and call similar vendors so that there’s a comparison. Some of them can bring down the cost of each call but guess what? They’re going to slap you with long-term contracts, hefty deposits just in case you don’t pay, monthly recurring subscription charges for using their web app, set up costs that doesn’t seem logical, maintenance fees, version upgrade insurance costs… Oh, gee! Can you imagine the small business owner to be paying all these?
is an all-in-one, web-based (IP-based) PBX solution complete with a full suite of customer contact call center features akin to what the large call centers are using today. If you’re paying a lesser amount to call a landline or mobile phone in the Philippines, the total cost of calls plus sophisticated software I enumerated in the previous paragraph is imbedded into the rate – but not too much. Read more why.
For one, does not require a long-term contract tie-in from you. You can start and stop anytime. Then, assess your telemarketing campaign for a month or so. After which, start and stop again. All your data is still intact, and you can continue where you left off. Starting and stopping is a reality in business. You’re a very, very rare business organization to be conducting a sales campaign that lasts for three years, non-stop. However, most run their telemarketing campaigns for two or three months, stop to continue the field sales campaign running on top of the telemarketing campaign, simultaneously assess the results, before beginning a new campaign. You can’t do that if you signed a one-year contract. If you sign, you’ll be paying for empty seats or unproductive user-licenses. Not something the small business owners wants to do.
does not require you to pay a deposit per seat. Many vendors who charge for deposits think you might just stop one day and not pay them what you owe. So, if that happens, they’ll just credit the last receivables from your deposit, which is usually larger than what you last owe; meaning, they still owe you a balance of cash and (sometimes) it takes forever to retrieve. With www.justgocloud.com, not asking you for a deposit per user means your cash remains with you. You can just invest that extra cash in mutual funds that earn money, or place it back to your business. In the end, the small business owner wins!
does not charge you for a monthly subscription fee. GoAutoDial Inc., the Filipino IT company that developed www.justgocloud.com, wants the small business owner to be as competitive as the large conglomerate. But the budget of the small business owner is small. How can a small guy compete with the big guy when vendors are charging the small owners the same amount of money as they charge the big boys? That’s unfair! So, GoAutoDial removed the monthly subscription then. “Power to the SMB!” Life is good!
does not charge you for a one-time exorbitant set up fee. “Set up fee for what?” Exactly! In reality, the application software solution or web app many vendors like GoAutoDial offers is already running in the cloud. It’s not going to take rocket science to set up your space in the cloud solution. In fact, with , you set it up your organization, campaign and user profiles yourself, eliminating GoAutoDial to have to charge you to set up everything for you. Therefore, the small business owner wins because GoAutoDial developed to be a user-friendly, a do-it-yourself or DIY solution, complete with all the training materials and videos to help ease the set up.
1. Lead generation is the activity of calling people and organizations to know them more (or get more information about them) and build their interest in your product or service. Minimum-wage employees who can express themselves well in your chosen language but not necessarily sell, can perform this activity. Once the prospect is interested, your real sales superstars come into the picture and Wham! The deal is done.
2. Marketing a new company or brand does not necessarily mean broadsheet and magazine advertising that’s just darn too expensive for the small business owner. If you provide a product or service where you can only service or reach a locality or region, why on earth do you need to spend hundreds of thousands of Pesos to reach a nationwide audience that can’t use your brand or you can’t service them at all? Social media? It may be inexpensive but is it really effective? Just like lead generation, you call. Unlike text messaging, your verbal message goes beyond 160 text characters per lead.
3. How about the coming national and local elections? Will SMS and the over-abundance of paper fliers really make people want to vote? has a feature called “Voice Blasting.” What it does is it automates calling and blasts a pre-recorded voice message when someone answers the phone. It’s your decision whether to simply hang-up after the 45-second voice message is completed or allow the recipient to “Press 1″ and he or she is routed to the next available volunteer. Every action after the voice message ends depends on your rules, and you encode your rules into . Hey! This also works well for advertising agencies, marketing departments, and so on. You can use it on a survey project, better than text-based surveys. Voice blasting becomes a surprising, immediate and unique way to market and even sell. Consider this voice blasting campaign:
“Hello! This is ABC Company. We’re giving away iPads for free. Would you like one? Press 1 if you do.”
See how many responses you get for that 10-second spiel. I bet you my Parker ball pen it’s going to be a 99.9 percent response rate of people pressing “1”. The technology is there but your creativity matters a lot! Think about it!
I can list hundreds of applications you can use with but that’s creating a Leo Tolstoy novel and I’m not a novelist. LOL! The point of this blog is to let you know this kind of technology exists today, and is available for small, medium or large organizations in the Philippines, and elsewhere in the world!
“And what about the company that provides this service?”
Like I mentioned, GoAutoDial Inc. is a Filipino company. It is duly registered with the Philippine SEC in the municipality of Pasig City, National Capital Region (NCR). It has a cadre of application software developers and technical engineers who manage the entire infrastructure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, built in three stable, secure and private cloud based data centers around the world, all certified with international standards like ISO, PCI DSS and SAS70.
“So, how reliable is GoAutoDial?”
Well, last year, their Enterprise version, an onsite, premised based version of , was installed in more than 2,000 sites (businesses, organizations, small owners) all over the world, not discounting the years before 2011 where a few more thousands of organizations installed GoAutoDial Enterprise. For its service launched in December 2011, it already has more than 4,000 users signed up into the service as of June 2012, worldwide; and it continues to accept more new customers every day. It’s been here for several years and it will continue to be here for decades to come.
Not convinced? Okay, let me show you a worst-case scenario.
If the Mayan calendar proves to be correct, meaning the world ends on December 21, 2012, what did your business financially lose? Nothing! Well, a few Pesos remaining in the balance of your availability to call (or VoIP minutes). But that’s it! GoAutoDial doesn’t hold hundreds of thousands of Pesos of your money as deposits. Loose change is what the company still has from you. Convincing, huh?
If you live and do business in another country, I’d just like to repeat myself that the same is as applicable for use in your country as it is in the Philippines. can terminate VoIP calls to landline and mobile phones in more than 100 countries, making it a very easy solution to start, very easy to use and (obviously now) very easy to earn, anywhere you are in the world.
The power of the small business owner is now equal to its large competitors, thanks to GoAutoDial and . Because of this solution, the playing field and rules of the game have now become more fair and equal. In the Philippines and elsewhere in the world, there are no restrictions to telemarketing, and “Do No Call” (DNC) laws and national databases do not exist. This field is still very much open.
So, you’ve got to stop thinking small – right now! Think big but spend small!
asks no money from the small business owner just to sign up, set it up, and start using its cloud computing solution. The only cost to you and your business is on a per call basis – and that’s fair. You just need to estimate your usage and prepay the corresponding amount.
“I’m scared it might not work.”
Heck! Prepay only 1,000 Pesos first and find out for yourself – that’s 28, five-minute landline calls or 24, five-minute mobile phone calls. I’m pretty sure that’s enough to convince you and your team how awesome is going to be for your business. So, you’ve stopped calling to assess and convince yourself it’s a great solution. Can you continue? Of course! You’re data is still there – intact. Just prepay more, according to your accounting periodic rules of payables or project budget; and nothing more.
Stop thinking on only the cost of the call.
is all about the cost of everything you need to do to set up, operate and call customers. Can you even consider recording each call on a mobile phone, if it is even possible? Do you really want to spend that much money tied up in a couple of boxes of computer servers and telecom equipment when you have no idea if you will be able to sustain your sales, marketing, service and support campaigns non-stop for the next three years just so you can amortize all the assets you bought into your financial statements?
The cost of the call is not just the call itself but everything about the call – your rep, the customer, the information, how productive was the call, the recording of the call, did your rep follow the script to the letter, did the call need to be transferred to the supervisor, customer not available-callback, and so on and so forth.