Idea Factor Blog

Globalization. Progress? Or Regress?

world globe-globalization

Globalization.

A word I have heard and experienced numerous times over the last 15 years.

At first glance, I can see the potential benefits of consolidating numerous offices and vendors to reduce interactions and have one cohesive presence.

In reality, what I have seen and experienced is a complete breakdown of PROCESS. To the extent that most things that were easy on a branch level, are so steeped in bureaucracy that they are at a complete standstill. Rather than a few weeks to market, it’s 6 months. Lost time. Lost opportunity.

 

As a mid-size entrepreneur, the amount of manpower required to climb these global-legal, master-contract-agreements far outweighs the ROI associated with working in a Global Environment.

The Stakeholders are frustrated because they are tied to performance — a performance they know they can get, if only they could get a Purchase Order (and that, my friends, is a tall order in a Global Environment).

 

I must tell you, that the move to Global has given us numerous instances where we were paid for work we didn’t do. We have been paid twice for some work, or we have not been paid at all.

Perhaps the most disconcerting is being paid for work that other Vendors did, and checks in their name were sent to us. Imagine!

As a company with integrity, we raise our hand immediately to right the wrong. Does that happen across the board? I doubt it.

In a recent transaction where we are months in to launch a very simple lead generation effort, I have to ask myself – is this progress or regress?

I think I know the answer.

 

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Employee Retention Strategies

Employee Retention with Happy Employees

 

Employee retention strategies are an important part of your customer satisfaction goals. Happy Employees = Happy Customers.

Employees that do not feel valued are constantly on job sites looking for a position that offers:

  • More Money
  • Week Onsite/Week Offsite Cadence
  • Better Work/Life Balance
  • Better Benefits
  • Summer Schedule
  • Perks and Incentives

. . . and all the other shiny things that companies are offering to entice your best employees to jump ship!

Striving for a work environment that is as rewarding as it is evolving can bring great results. We are proud to boast an average employee’s tenure is 9 years.

Our management team is constantly reviewing software tools and add-ons that we can integrate into our systems to ensure that the added requirements of growing omnichannel demands on both our inbound and outbound services are facilitated with ease given the complexities of the services, so employees do not get burned out.

Creating an environment where the employees are always learning, helps to alleviate boredom and allows them to feel challenged.

Reward programs, commissions, birthday celebrations, and various incentive programs keep spirits high throughout the year even as we work through pandemic challenges.

We created a very ZEN collaboration room and kitchen so that our employees can enjoy a book or magazine over their lunch hour as they eat. All part of a culture of respect and appreciation for the jobs they do.

In summary your employee retention strategy should be continually evolving. Please share some of your thoughts and strategies . . . always looking for innovative ideas!

 

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

 

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Changes in your Sales Cycles since COVID?

Hourglass represents time

This is a question that we have been asking several of our customers lately and although many are bursting at the seams with new business, there are an equal number that are experiencing much longer sales cycles.

Covid-induced skilled labor shortages, supply chain issues, disrupted cash flow, are just a few of the factors that have negatively impacted sales cycles. Testing the resilience of the businesses that are most affected.

If a business is experiencing a huge uptick in immediate business, they are dealing with the associated staffing and supply chain issues. If a business is experiencing a longer sales cycle, cash flow might become an issue. Pre-Covid there might have been a measurable ROI within 3-6 months of a marketing campaign. We have seen some of these increase to a 12–18-month cycle, so we are trying to gain and provide insight on prospect hesitancy and how it impacts marketing efforts. Once ascertained, we can develop measures to countervail the sales cycle disruption many of our customers are experiencing and set a more realistic expectation from the onset of the campaign.

A customer might then ask,“Why should we engage in any proactive marketing at all if this is the case?”  My answer to this is: Can you afford to lose that ground to your competitors? Lead Nurturing is an excellent approach to “court” your prospects through a longer sales cycle and keeping them close to you. This way, when the time is right, you are at the top of the list as a vetted option that they know and trust. Lead Nurturing allows you to gain a customer through a longer sales cycle, as opposed to losing them to a competitor that is forward thinking.

It you do not have the internal capabilities to put together a Lead Nurturing mechanism that makes sense for your field sales team, give us a call!

 

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

 

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay

 

Why Cyber Security and Marketing go “HAND-in-HAND”

cyber security and marketing go hand in hand

As a marketing organization, we receive, store, and transmit large amounts of data for many of our customers. Now more than ever, this part of our service requires a great deal of trust and vetting from the companies that strategically partner with us. That’s why Cyber Security considerations are so important.

Data security breaches are a growing concern and an ongoing challenge for many marketing organizations, and unfortunately one that many will experience before safeguards are implemented. That said, it is a significant but worthwhile annual investment to maintain a Cyber Risk Profile that is attractive and can be proven to potential/existing clients. The challenge here for many small to medium marketing businesses is they do not have the in-house technology teams to implement, maintain, test, and upgrade Cyber Security elements on an ongoing basis. For that very reason, we partnered with an IT firm, Fusion Computing Limited, who have the Cyber Security Certifications that are required to meet all current requirements and ongoing adjustment from our larger global clients.

From the client side, we always advise both our clients and potential new prospects to consider the following when choosing a vendor:

  1. Does the vendor have a Cyber Security Plan or Certificate?
  2. Have they had any breaches, and if yes, how many?
  3. What is their plan if there is a breach?
  4. Do they have Cyber Security Insurance and in what amount?
  5. When was their last Cyber Security Risk Assessment, and how often to they do one?

These are a few of the questions that we suggest you ask at the vetting stage, if the vendor you are considering will be sending, compiling, storing, or receiving your data as a marketing partner. You have the right to ask these and other questions to ensure the safety and confidentiality of your data.

This service needs to go “hand-in-hand” with any marketing programs performed on your behalf to ensure that you and your customers are receiving the best possible protection from Cyber attacks. If they cannot or will not answer these questions and prove these asks to your satisfaction, find a vendor that will. The hit to your bottom line will pale in comparison to the hit that your reputation, built over years of trust, will take if you don’t.

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Image by csifferd from Pixabay

No Need to Toot Your Own Horn When . . .

A new customer that we have recently partnered with reached out to one of their resellers last week to introduce them to our services, not knowing that this particular reseller has been our existing direct customer for over 10 years.

After listening to the service offering, touted results, and ROI potential, the reseller questioned: “Are you talking about Idea Factor?” When they answered yes, the reseller went on to explain that they had worked with us for years and had experienced consistent collaboration and results, including a $200,000 account that they landed from the last campaign we ran with them.

Not trying to pop our collar on this one, but it is an AWESOME feeling when your customers advocate on your behalf. It made my day!

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

How Old are Your Contact Lists?

Robot sweeping binary characters data cleansing

When last have you refreshed your data? Data cleansing was an important practice for any business prior to the pandemic, but has become even more so during these times.

During a recent list cleanse we were able to determine that 37% of that database were no longer in business. There are a variety of reasons behind this. Some businesses have not been able to survive the financial strain of the forced closures they have been subjected to. Other companies have had to re-invent themselves and revise their product/service lines to survive. Others still have had to fast-track their move to an e-Commerce solution to move inventory and meet sales requirements during the pandemic and do not have the customer support mechanism to support and drive sales in this manner.

The bottom line is that your sales team might be chasing previously viable prospects that have now gone out of business or have re-tooled their business and are no longer a viable prospect for you. This would frustrate the efforts of your sales team as well as management and waste valuable resources and time.

There is a way to minimize wasted resources, time, and money. CLEANSE YOUR DATA!!!

Call both your dormant customer base as well as your active prospecting list to ensure that :

  1. They are still in business
  2. They are still offering the products, services, and/or programs that make them viable for business with your company
  3. (Dormant customers), Thank them for their business and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can

This will ensure that all sales and marketing efforts levied against this data are real opportunities.

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Mentoring

Image of adult teaching child to fish which illustrates an example of mentoring

There are many who reach their career goals without a mentor.

That can be especially difficult for first generation immigrant professionals, for whom the personal and professional transition presents additional challenges.

As a first generation professional from an immigrant family, I have found that the quickest way to gain the knowledge and skills to close those gaps is through effective mentorship. By welcoming a different way to look at things, I have been able to adjust my thinking — allowing me to get closer to my goals.

First, the mentor needs to be willing to share the intimate details of their journey to success, including setbacks and failures. They also need to have the patience and bandwidth to commit the time and energy to this relationship. Strong trust, implicit honesty and respect for this relationship will ensure you thrive and produce results.

It’s easy to share positive comments and not so easy to share the negative ones. However, the negative comments are the ones that truly allow us to grow.

A mentor must be invested in the success of their mentee.

Ready to help them to set and achieve goals by actively listening, periodically nurturing, and providing constructive feedback and encouragement. Providing opportunities to tweak or make changes in areas where success is stalled or stagnant. 

Mentoring is a great tool to achieve your goals in a shorter timeframe while ensuring that you are not missing or burning opportunities that might present themselves throughout your career.

If you are in the winter of your professional career, and are not quite ready for retirement, I challenge you to consider mentoring a young professional in which you see promise. The rewards of helping another person achieve their career goals can be the cherry on the icing of your retirement cake!

ABOUT IDEA FACTOR

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

How to Bring in New Business by Nurturing Leads

Next month we thought that we would emphasize the Lead Nurturing message to our Business Development Agents (BDA) in a manner that was fun, meaningful, and relevant.  We are buying each team member a small plant. 

WHY? Because in the same way you have to water, prune, ensure sunlight and repeat the process to care for a plant, lead nurturing requires all the same diligence and repetition to blossom into new business and bear fruit.  Once a team member has converted a nurturing prospect to a lead, they receive a little flagpole that they can stick in the bottom of their plant! Whoever has the most flagpoles at year end receives a bonus.

Our Simple Lead Nurturing Process

  • MAKE DETAILED NOTES of the lead generation conversation with the prospect in our CRM.  Note the correct name and title of the contact that the BDA spoke to.  Capture the products/services that were of interest to the prospect and why.  Take note the date that they would like the BDA to reconnect with them and the preferred method(s) of contact. Write down all personal details of the conversation, engagement, marriage, birth of a child, a new pet, as they are a great segue back to the sales opportunity.
  • TAG the data for follow up so that several people have a line of sight when the first nurturing touchpoint is due.
  • Follow up with the prospect WHEN the BDA was asked to, not before, to annoy them, not way after to disappoint them or get there too late.
  • If the BDA has their prospects’ mailing address, send them a direct mail piece advising that the BDA is looking forward to reconnecting with them.
  • Follow up with the prospect in the WAY the BDA was asked to, if they asked the BDA to call… don’t email or text, and make sure the BDA leaves a message if you don’t get them live, THEN the BDA can follow up with an email.
  • If the prospect has been replaced by a new contact that has not been apprised of the details of the BDA’s outreach, send the file back into the lead generation process.

In addition to having a little fun and trying to instill the process, the additional benefits of a plant for the team members are that they beautify any space, clean the air, and even help to increase their sense of well-being and creativity.  

Always interested in hearing about other Lead Nurturing Strategies… What’s yours?

About Idea Factor

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to http://www.idea-factor.com or look at our Services here.

Treat your Vendors Like Family

A support network of exceptional vendors is crucial to the survival and success of any business.  They help to keep your business running smoothly, remain protected, and offer a cost effective service that is constantly evolving to stay in step with ever changing business environments.

At Idea Factor, our vendors are dear to us and share our philosophy of a WIN, WIN, WIN experience.  There are a few key factors to a great supplier/ vendor relationship.  The first is to source vendors that shares a similar culture to your own.  If the core culture of your vendor does not align with your own, you will often find yourself in conflict with them, and unsuccessful in trying to achieve mutual goals.  The outcome is usually costly, and frustrating for you and your team as the results are not there.  The second key factor is collaboration.  When there is a spirit of collaboration, information flows easily and frequently between you and your vendor. They listen to your objectives and ask the right questions.  Everyone is laser focused on a goal that has been clearly defined, and everyone knows what role they play in achieving that common goal.  The third factor is testing and measurement.  If you test and measure you can identify gaps and shore them up. A vendor that puts something in place without
testing or measurement only knows that something is wrong when there is a
failure in production, delivery or service…. Which means there has already been a negative impact to your customers or consumers.  Testing and measurement allow you to proactively insulate your business from as many scenarios as possible that might let your customers or consumers down.

These are the reasons why we treat our vendors like family!  They are a precious resource to the function, growth and success of our business.  How do you treat your vendors?

Finally, and this is the hard part, if a vendor is missing the mark on any or all of the three key factors mentioned, as painful and difficult as it may be, you need to make a change.

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com or look at our list of services here.

Absenteeism and the Pandemic

Absenteeism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absenteeism… is a problem that plagues many companies, large and small. Our company was no different….until this year.

Based on a briefing done by Sunlife Financial Group called Absenteeism Trends in Canadian Organizations Missing in Action  the rate of absenteeism for a full-time employee in 2001 was 9.3 days per year costing the Canadian economy $16.6 billion dollars in 2012.  Happy to say that we have not contributed much to that 2021 equation!

For the first time in my 25+ year tenure with Idea Factor, absenteeism in the company across all departments has fallen to almost 0.  At first, we were extremely perplexed, but then we delved into the reasons why.

With employees running the gamut between remote schooling and daycare issues, managing family healthcare, spouses being laid off or having work hours reduced, and all the other stressful Covid induced events that have taken place over the last 8+ months, employee attendance and KPI’s have actually greatly improved.

Here’s why.  Like most, we struggled with how to re-open and make everyone feel safe, maintain full, un-interrupted services to our customers, and meet all provincial legislation around opening.  So, we came up with the following:

We split our staff, including management, into Alternating Teams, Team A and Team B.  Week 1 Team A works onsite, and Team B is remote, the next week Team B is onsite, and Team A is remote.  This checked all our boxes and ensured business continuity for our clients should an incident of Covid occur at our physical location or someone in either group test positive.

What we did not plan or expect, was the residual benefits.  Employees are better able to manage the everyday items that crop up during their home week, still meet the full responsibility of their position, and were much happier and emotionally fulfilled.  This resulted in better KPI scores across the board.  Things like setting up doctors or dentist appointments, getting your car serviced, communicating with your child’s teacher, prepping dinner, or just managing the anxiety from the pandemic or everyday life is easily managed when you are able to work at home two weeks out of four in a month.  Giving our employees the cadence needed to manage their familial, personal and emotional lives benefitted everyone. Who knew?

Idea Factor provides a full suite of marketing services including B2B lead generation (gathering qualified sales leads), surveys, data mapping, event tele-boosting, trade show follow up, in-bound and out-bound omni-channel call center services, data cleansing, list cleaning, customer retention and loyalty programs.

Our commitment to excellence in customer service has awarded us repeat business for more than 25 years, from both our global and community clients. To find out more go to www.idea-factor.com or look at our list of services here.