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How to Reach Out to Customers and Prospects

A successful relationship with business to business and business to consumer clients and prospects depends a great deal on how you communicate with them. As important as what you say to your customers—and those you hope will be your customers—is how you connect with them in the first place.

Some customers want to talk on the phone while others prefer you send an email. And many times, best way to communicate with a person will depend on why you are talking with that person in the first place.

What follows are some of today’s best methods for reaching out to customers and prospects and how you will know if they are working for your business:

  • Phone Call: Many people prefer a phone call over any other mode of communication because they want the immediate gratification it brings. A one-to-one conversation works especially well when it comes to building relationships, when there is an urgent matter that needs to be resolved or when a more detailed conversation is required. Unsure if phone calls are the way to go? Ask yourself a few questions: Is it easy to get ahold of the person I want to reach by phone? Do they call back when I leave a message?
  • Email: Email works best when a person or business uses email as its preferred method of communication. In other words, if a person or business always requests you email them with questions or provides an email address instead of a phone number, it is easy to guess they use email almost exclusively. A quick email response will tell you that email is the way to go with such clients.
  • Text: Text often works well when you are trying to reach someone you are very familiar with. It is a good idea to ask a client before texting him or her. If you are looking to send out a marketing text blast, make sure you include an opt out message. If a lot of people choose to opt out, this probably isn’t the right method for your purposes.
  • Chat: Many people prefer chatting via a website than any other form of communication. Those who do say that they like being able to multi-task while communicating with a company’s representative. You’ll know if people prefer chatting simply by seeing how many choose this method.

What you have to say to customers and prospects may seem like the most important aspect of business communication. The truth is, however, that how you are approaching them is equally important.

 

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Why Closing the Sale is Just the Beginning

Today’s savviest marketers know that most of their customers will start by making a small purchase and then will continue to make more (and larger) purchases down the road. They also know that marketing done after an initial sale is just as, if not more, important than that which is done before the first sale.

In its article, Embracing the Bow-Tie Funnel: Why Marketing is Most Important After the Win, the online publication, MarTechSeries, explains that in order to optimize and sustain revenue growth, it is necessary to nurture and expand existing customer relationships. What follows are some of the post-sale opportunities:

  1. Implementation
  2. Renewal
  3. Expansion and Upselling
  4. Cross Selling

Unfortunately, less than half of all companies focus on both acquisition and retention. Tactical Telesolutions can help you contact customers post-sale. For more information on all of our services, give us a call at 800-700-7422.

 

 

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Why Retaining Customers isn’t Enough

With today’s constant influx of marketing messages, keeping your current customers satisfied is vital. After all, satisfied customers are much less likely to be lured away by special deals and one-time offers from your competitors. And don’t be lulled into the belief that losing one customer is no big deal if you add another. The fact is, even when you replace one customer with another you lose ground in the form of increased marketing and lead generation costs. 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/291926 You know that selling to existing clients makes great business sense but how can you encourage existing customers to do more business with you?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/12/21/how-to-upsell-any-customer/#66aead2fc406 Upselling is a great way compound profit. In fact, some companies will even sell a product or service at a loss in the hope of a future upsell. In most cases, it works.

https://hbr.org/2012/07/to-sell-more-focus-on-existing When you are performing at your peak, you are able to keep your competitors at bay. Moral of the story? Always be performing at your peak!

 

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How to Increase Sales to Existing Customers

We all know that it is much more cost-effective to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. However, as a business owner, simply maintaining the status quo shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. To increase your bottom line, and keep your business growing and thriving, it’s important to look to sell more to your existing customers.

With today’s constant influx of marketing messages, keeping your current customers satisfied is vital. After all, satisfied customers will be much less likely to be lured away by special deals and one-time offers from your competitors. The ultimate goal, however, is to treat your customers in a way that builds loyalty that leads to repeat and increased sales.

What follows are some effective strategies that will allow you to gain additional sales from your customers.

  1. Anticipate their needs. The more research you do on your customers, the better able you will be able to figure out exactly what they need from you. What products are you selling that your customer hasn’t yet purchased but could benefit from? In other words, how can your products or services add value to a customer’s operation?
  2. Expand your list of contacts. Depending on the size of the company, make sure you are in contact with all managers that have purchasing power. Just because you work closely with one manager doesn’t mean you can’t work closely with others, as well.
  3. Set yourself apart. No matter how long you have been working with a company, make sure you are always differentiating yourself from the competition. Remember, it’s easier for customers to work with one vendor, too. Always let them know that if you they need something more, you can provide it.
  4. Continue to build trust. Your customers need to know that they can count on you. Just because you have a longstanding relationship with them doesn’t mean they know that. Present new ideas to make their business better. Call them out of the blue to see if they need anything. Consider hiring an outside telemarketing firm to conduct customer satisfaction surveys with your clients so that you get an objective view on what your customers really feel about your products and service.

Retaining customers is critical to your bottom line but increasing sales to these customers will allow you to be even more successful. Remember, your customers want to work with you—make sure they continue to feel this way.

 

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Five Practical Tips for a Successful Small Business Advertising Campaign

Big companies and multi-national corporations are able to spend millions on advertising. Small businesses, on the other, don’t have the same luxury. In today’s digital marketplace, however, that doesn’t mean that small businesses don’t have any advertising clout.

As a small business, however, you must be vigilant about how you spend your marketing dollars when setting up an advertising campaign, so you get as much as possible out of it. Here are some practical tips to ensure that you don’t squander any of those dollars!

Tip #1: Carefully Define Campaign Goals. While it is easy to say that you want more sales, this is too broad of a goal and will likely lead to you squandering your resources. It is important to be specific. Do you want to focus on lead generation? Brand awareness? Launch a new product?

Tip #2: Identify the Target Audience. Your target audience will be your ideal audience for this particular campaign. You want to zero in on a particular segment of buyers or consumers. It also is important to find the best ways to reach these individuals. Are they likely to respond best to social media? Email marketing? Print ads? Telemarketing?

Tip #3: Time it Right. Are you going to use a variety of marketing methods—direct mail, social media and email, for example? Then you need to time the launch of these elements to best complement each other. A combination of inbound and outbound marketing techniques is a great way to maximize your advertising dollars.

Tip #4: Create the Appropriate Message. Whether you are calling prospects, sending emails or using print ads, what you say is crucial to any campaign’s success. This may seem obvious, but you may be surprised how many businesses become so involved in the overall scope of the campaign, they forget what they want to say. You may have to bring in help with this aspect of your campaign. For example, if you are using telemarketing, choose a firm that can help you with script creation that hits the mark.

Tip #5: Measure Results. At the end of any advertising campaign, it is important to determine if the goals you set out to begin with were achieved. In most cases, this will mean much more than how many sales you made. For example, are more people aware of your brand as a result of the campaign? Did you obtain a list of solid leads?

 

Small businesses don’t have to resign themselves to sub-par advertising campaigns. They just need to know how to use their resources in ways that give them the best return on their investment.

 

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Why the Best Marketing Strategies Combine Elements of Inbound and Outbound

In the never-ending battle between inbound and outbound marketing, it turns out neither can claim victory. Instead, the most successful strategies incorporate both methods. And this is backed by research that shows that sales conversions rise significantly when a company moves from using only inbound or only outbound to a combined approach.

It can be difficult, however, to know which inbound strategies and which outbound strategies are best for your business. The truth is, it will probably take some trial and error until you know for sure. It also may vary depending on what you are trying to accomplish with a particular campaign.

An article posted on business2community.com, 7 Practical Inbound and Outbound Marketing Tactics to Implement Today, provides some suggestions how to make the switch to a combined marketing approach. These include:

  • Using inbound data to inform your outbound efforts
  • Emailing and retargeting visitors who have engaged with your content
  • Encouraging communication between your inbound and outbound teams
  • Measuring the ROI of both inbound and outbound

It can be difficult to go from an all inbound or all outbound marketing approach if that is how you have always done it. Chances are, however, once you see the results you will wonder why you waited so long to try it.

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Moderation the Key to a Successful Marketing Strategy

Everything in moderation is a phrase we hear quite often. This advice makes especially good sense it when it comes to a company’s marketing strategy. Research shows that sales conversions significantly increase when a company uses a combined approach of inbound and outbound marketing.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/03/28/what-is-the-future-of-digital-marketing/#5fa64f6631e3

If you’re wondering if inbound or outbound marketing is the future of digital marketing, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not one or the other. Instead, it’s a little bit of both.

https://www.business2community.com/inbound-marketing/7-practical-inbound-outbound-marketing-tactics-implement-today-01906221

Inbound and outbound marketing used to be at odds with one another. Now that they are working together, both tactics are becoming more successful.

https://customerthink.com/the-b2b-marketing-ironies-of-our-time/

Many of the companies that push inbound marketing actually use outbound marketing to push their products or services. And vice versa. Ironic? It certainly is.

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The Importance of a Two-Pronged Marketing Strategy

Outbound remains a critical piece of any company’s marketing strategy. However, in today’s digital marketplace, the outbound tactics of direct mail, email blasts and telemarketing works best when coupled with a corresponding inbound approach.

When working together with inbound marketing, the cost of outbound is lowered while the quality of leads produced is increased. In fact, when executed correctly, the sales opportunities from a combined approach of inbound and outbound marketing can lead to double or even triple the sales opportunities than either method executed on its own.

It can be difficult to know exactly how to marry these two marketing techniques to ensure the best outcomes. What follows are just a few of the ways inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other and, therefore, increase their success rates.

  1. Targeted Content. Personalized experiences are the name of the game today. In other words, whether they are reading a blog or opening a direct mail piece, people want to feel as if it was written just for them. Make sure that anything customers or prospects receive from you captures their wants, needs and pain points. Content also should include information that is relevant to buyers at various stages of their sales journey.
  2. One-to-One Connections. Sales conversions are more likely to occur when there is personalized follow-up at every stage of the sales journey. A phone call after a direct mail piece or email solicitation goes a long way towards building a relationship with a potential client.
  3. Experienced Telephone Agents. The individuals managing inbound and outbound calls from customers must be adept at knowing how to listen and build rapport with potential customers. Not only should they be well-versed in the product or service your company offers, they also need to understand how to handle leads that are not yet qualified so that they place them where they need to be in the sales funnel.

When companies understand the importance of combining their inbound and outbound marketing tactics, they can devise a marketing method that allows them to set realistic and measurable goals and then do the work to allow them to reach those goals. While it is true that many of today’s companies believe that outbound marketing is no longer relevant, these companies would do well to understand that when it comes to inbound and outbound marketing, it is not an either-or proposition. Rather, the most sales conversions come about when these two strategies work together.

 

 

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Four Misconceptions about Outsourcing Appointment Setting Tasks

Many companies would love to outsource their appointment setting tasks because they believe doing so would save them valuable time and resources. They are absolutely correct.

When companies do not delegate appointment setting to their salespeople, these salespeople are able to do what they do best—close sales. Likewise, hiring an in-house staff to complete these tasks can be cost-prohibitive. Finally, delegating other staff to make these calls in their downtime can cause issues since appointment setting takes a specific skill set that not everyone possesses.

Unfortunately, many companies who believe outsourcing would be a good choice are hesitant to do so because of a concern over handing such a vital task to an outsider. The truth is, most companies who outsource their appointment setting tasks have had great success. The key is to understand some of the common misconceptions associated with outsourcing and then find a quality firm to conduct this important business development tool.

So, what are the most common misconceptions associated with outsourcing appointment setting?

  1. Calls will be automated or made by offshore agents. While some firms may use robo-calls or offshore agents, quality ones do not. Make this the first question you ask prospective firms.
  2. Fake appointments will be set up. Another critical question to ask is how appointment setters are compensated. If they are paid per appointment this is a red flag. Remember, quality firms that have been in business for a long time are looking to establish long-term relationships with the clients they serve. Setting up sham appointments is not the way they do this.
  3. There will be a large upfront fee. A reputable firm will likely offer a pilot program so you can see your results before you make a long-term commitment.
  4. Outside appointment setters won’t properly represent my brand. High-quality firms that handle appointment setting tasks for companies got where they are because they are able to become brand ambassadors for the companies they represent. That means they get to know everything about your company and are able to pass that knowledge onto prospects.

Finally, while price is always an important consideration, you really do get what you pay for. If you are looking for a cheap way to line up the most appointments possible, there will be plenty of businesses willing to take your money. The key is to find a quality firm who has a proven track record of success and who can set appointments with people who are interested in what you are selling. Work with that type of firm and you will wonder why you ever tried to set appointments yourself in the first place.

 

 

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Telemarketing Remains an Invaluable Tool in Business Growth

If you are a business owner looking to grow your business, there are several marketing avenues to explore. Some of the most popular avenues include content marketing, email, social media and blogging. And these are just a few of the ways technology is taking over the world of marketing.

In spite of the seismic shift toward digital marketing, one tried-and-true method continues to perform as well, if not better, than these strategies. That method is telemarketing. So why is this? Why, when everyone seems tethered to their smartphones or tablets, do telesales still perform so well?

Perhaps the number one reason telemarketing remains so popular is that it has been able to not just keep up with digital marketing, but it has been able to integrate with those digital methods.

If you are wondering how your business can benefit from telemarketing in today’s increasingly digital marketplace, read on:

  1. Telemarketing provides a direct link to customers and prospects. No matter how tech-savvy and tied to computer or mobile device, there are times when a person wants to talk to a real person. Telemarketing allows them to do so. Inbound telemarketing allows a person to call and talk with an actual person when they can’t get the answer they are looking for online.
  2. Telemarketing builds trust. Relationships are the key to any long-term partnership between a business and customer. It is hard to build such a relationship if you never actually speak.
  3. Telemarketing can gage customer sentiment. Just as texts can be taken out of context, it can be difficult for a business to know how a customer really feels about their product or service without having a conversation with that customer. Also, talking with a customer allows an agent to convey empathy—something that is very hard to do through text or email. While it is not necessary to show this level of empathy and understanding all the time, when there is an issue with a client, it is often best to pick up the phone and let that customer know you care enough to talk with them.
  4. Telemarketing allows for the generation of immediate leads. Not only does talking with a customer allow you to get a better feel for what they are looking for in a product or service, it also allows you to upsell on the spot. There is no better way to get a feel for exactly what a customer or prospect is looking for than to have them tell you.

Telemarketing continues to be an important way to grow your business. And much to many business owners’ surprise, the rise in digital technology has made telemarketing even more valuable.

 

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How to Handle Inbound vs. Outbound Appointment Setting

Appointment setting happens one of two ways. Inbound calls become appointments if the prospect calling believes that their inquiry was handled well and that the business they are approaching is a good fit. Outbound calls lead to appointments when the lead is looking for what the business offers, and the business is able to convince the lead that it can meets its needs.

Since inbound and outbound appointment setting calls both have the same objective, you might believe they should be handled the same. After all, the only real difference is who is picking up the phone and making the call. The fact is, however, that these calls are very different, and the difference comes down to one important factor: motivation.

Inbound appointment setting means that a prospect is motivated to act. This means you need only to take advantage of this motivation if you want the caller to set an appointment. Provided you don’t say anything that turns the caller off and you handle any questions well, an appointment is practically guaranteed.

Outbound appointment setting calls are, of course, considerably more challenging but that doesn’t mean that they have to be less successful. The key is to help outbound prospects move from neutral to positive.

The best way to do this is to make the appointment relevant to the prospect. Let them know how this appointment will ultimately benefit their business. In other words, inbound callers are already motivated to set an appointment whereas prospects who are receiving an outbound call need motivation to be created for them.

So how can that be accomplished? First off, although it may be considered cold calling, that doesn’t mean you have to go in cold. Do your research and make sure that you know all that you can about the business you are contacting. Once you do that, you need to understand how to communicate to the prospect that your business provides the products and services they need.

Second, take off your sales hat. You are trying to set appointments, not convince anyone to buy anything. Your call should provide the right incentive to want to hear more. Remember, at this point prospects are just starting their journey through the sales funnel. Rush them and you won’t get past this first step!

Finally, admit it if outbound appointment setting isn’t your (or your sales team’s) forte. This doesn’t mean you should give up on outbound appointment setting, it just means you are probably better off outsourcing these calls to a business to business telemarketing firm. This is hardly admitting defeat. Rather, it is choosing to do what is best for your business and increase the number of appointments set.

 

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The Importance of Database and List Scrubbing

When done correctly, list scrubbing or data cleaning can do wonders for your business. When done incorrectly, it can derail your marketing efforts and leave you worse off than when you began the process.

Most B2B and B2C lists are outdated within six to 12 months. That is why it is so important that you make sure you have the most up-to-date information possible if you want your sales and marketing strategies to be successful.

Successful data cleaning will benefit your business in three important ways:

  1. It will detect and remove any errors and inconsistencies contained within your databases and lists, whether you are using those databases and lists alone or merging them with others.
  2. It will eliminate the need for time-consuming and costly manual inspections or computer programs.
  3. It will allow all of your sales and marketing processes to work seamlessly together.

Sounds like something you should consider, right? Absolutely. The danger, however, is when you undertake list scrubbing or data cleansing without a clear plan. If you are looking to embark on this process, there are some important things you must do in order to ensure success.

  • Pinpoint where most errors are occurring. When you pinpoint where most data errors are occurring you can better get to the root of the problem. Speak to employees so that they can tell you where they are encountering mistakes. Be sure and track those mistakes.
  • Begin with a single point of entry for all data. Make sure lists or any other data that is entered into your database is standardized. This will make it easier and faster to catch any mistakes.
  • Validate the accuracy of all data. Where you get your customer information lists from is critical to your success. Work only with reputable list companies or business-to-business telemarketing services firms.
  • Ditch the duplicates. Always use tools that identify duplicates immediately. Duplicates can wreak havoc on databases.
  • Append data. Once your database and lists have been scrubbed, it is always a good idea to use third-party sources to append your data. This will allow for more and better data to be captured. It also will allow you to better segment and target customers and prospects.

 

 

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The Continued Evolution of Lead Generation

Methods of lead generation continue to grow and change. What was common 10 years ago may have fallen out of favor a few years later only to be making a comeback today. When engaging in lead generation, therefore, it is important to keep up on current trends so as not to lose out to your competition.

Today, there are several ways of engaging in lead generation, with experts homing in on a few that seem to be gaining the most traction for 2018. So, what are those engagement methods and why do they work? Read on to find out.

  1. Automated Processing. Prospects are yearning for a more personalized experience, so marketers are waiting to make personal contact, for example by phone, until they have captured that type of data through inbound traffic. Lead scoring is another example of tasks automation can take over so that salespeople can concentrate on closing deals.
  2. Big Data. Quality data is essential to marketers wanting valuable insights on prospects. Tracking behavior also is critical to understanding what people desire and allows you to understand not only their behavior but where they are in their journey toward making a purchase.
  3. Content Marketing. Content marketing has been shown to triple the success of conventional marketing techniques when combined with these techniques. The key to successful content marketing is to carefully target prospects and deliver content that speaks to specifically to them. Mediocre content designed only to increase SEO will not do the job.
  4. Customized Tools. Boring and tedious contact forms that prospects have to fill out are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Calculators and quizzes are much more interesting for prospects, making it more likely that they will stick around to complete the tasks. These interactive tools have been growing in popularity for a while and show no signs of slowing.
  5. Diversified Channels. While telephone and email marketing are still crucial to most lead generation efforts, now you can diversify and throw some other methods into the mix. This includes things like direct mail, social media and texting. This approach allows for multiple touches without sending the same message over the same medium over and over.

Lead generation is as important today as ever. The key is to make sure it remains successful by drawing in and engaging exactly the type of customers you are looking to target.

 

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Three Pitfalls of Event Marketing and How to Avoid Them

Planning an event for customers and prospects can seem like a relatively simple task. After all, how hard can it really be?

The fact is, executing the perfect event can be a daunting task that many marketers are ill-prepared to handle until they have a few under their belt. One of the most important things to consider when it comes to event planning is what could go wrong. After all, if you are prepared for the most common worst-case scenarios you won’t be blindsided by them. Instead, you can put your efforts into making sure ahead of time that these things don’t occur, remembering the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What follows is a list of common pitfalls related to event planning and how to avoid falling victim to them.

1.     Depending on manual processes. If you are spending a large portion of your time uploading spreadsheets filled with information on attendees and breakout sessions, for example, that is time away from what you should be focusing on—delivering leads to your sales team, following up with attendees and more. The key to avoiding all of this wasted time is to automate anything and everything you can. Further, consider outsourcing when possible. Event registration is one example of something that is much better handed over to a company that specializes in this type of service.

2.     Failing to streamline check-in. First impressions are lasting impressions. If people attending your event are subjected to long lines during check-in, their overall impression isn’t going to be favorable. Consider allowing people to check-in with their smartphones, for instance. Anything that prevents long wait times is a positive because when people are forced to wait they will most likely spend their time fuming about the company that is causing them to wait.

3.     Overlooking sales and marketing opportunities. Companies often spend a huge portion of their marketing dollars on events. In spite of this fact, they often look back on these events wondering why they didn’t take full advantage of it. Hosting a successful event means more than making sure everyone has a great experience (although that is extremely important). It means making sure you follow-up with prospects within 24 hours by phone or email. It means capturing data at every opportunity throughout the event so that you can send personalized marketing message and product recommendations to individual attendees.

Marketing events offer a great ROI. They key is to avoid making costly mistakes that render your event a sales and marketing failure.

 

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B2B vs. B2C Appointment Setting

Appointment setting can be broken down into two types. These types are business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). In general, B2B appointment setting comprises of phone call communication between two businesses to initiate or finalize a transaction. 

On the other hand, B2C setting includes a direct communication between businesses and consumers. 

B2B Appointment Setting
About 20 percent of an appointment setter’s time is spent creating and leaving voicemails. It is suitable for businesses unwilling to talk to someone without their prior knowledge. It''s a useful method of filtering undesired communication. Therefore, it''s vital to leave the type of voicemails that will attract and convince prospective clients.

B2B appointment setting has several benefits, including:

·      Allows you to select potential clients

·      Facilitates effective brand marketing

·      Often leads to new growth opportunities due to reliable communication with customers

Tips for Successful B2B Appointment Setting

·      Make a long-lasting impression on a client for them to call back

·      Allow clients to call you at a time convenient for them

·      Avoid leaving your address in a voicemail message

B2C Appointment Setting
B2C appointment setting needs determination and endurance. Lead generation for product sales is usually voice recorded hence creating a high-interest level in potential clients. It is also suitable for disseminating vital information for an investment''s product sales.

The technique has a reasonable response rate as it allows instant interaction with clients. You don''t have to wait for their reaction to your product advertisements. A quality telemarketing setting also provides clients with precise answers enabling them to make informed decisions.

Subtle Differences between B2B and B2C Appointment Setting

Target Group 
B2B telemarketing entails making phone calls to initiate transactions with different enterprises. On the other hand, B2C setting targets direct consumers of a particular product.

Drive 
B2B is relationship driven while B2C is typically product driven. For a connection to be established, businesses have to work together. For B2C the product determines the performance. If clients are impressed, they will embrace the product.  

Sale Strategies
In the B2B setting, there are clear sale strategies that are implemented by a salesperson while in B2C the end users handle a particular channel. The consumers or clients are left with the option to respond and not called to give a response.  

Market Size
B2B has a small target market compared to that of B2C. It is so because of the number of businesses in existence as compared to a product which is consumed by many people. 

Despite having slight variations, both B2B and B2C appointment settings have common goals. These include promoting product brands, increasing sales and retaining clients.

 

 

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