an interesting company and idea

the company is Telaffects


I don’t write about specific companies and products/services often because, well, I am not really in the endorsement business. But. every once in awhile you run into something you kind of just have to share. This time?

Because it is one of those smaller companies (that always seem to be very very good) and they just need a break and they have a really good idea (or product). This is one of those times (and I actually have another one coming up which is more tightly tied to my desire to build a global children education initiative).

Anyway. With this company … think ‘the ultimate in creating business through existing customer base’.  Think appointments, acquisition, acknowledge (with a focus on knowledge). All through an existing list. I would imagine direct marketers would call it list management. But these guys aren’t just managing a list … they go into a deeper style of customer & prospect management. I actually believe they manage knowledge – one customer, existing or potential, at a time (and accumulate, assimilate and develop action plans). Yeah. Someone is going to want to use the ‘telemarketing’ word when they see what Telaffects is all about. Well. Not so much here. But I am not gonna haggle over the word and focus on what they can do:

  1. Increased quantity and quality appointments between your sales team and your prospect (quality appointments translate to higher closure/more sales)
  2. Shortened sales cycles by allowing your sales team to focus on closing qualified business rather than prospecting for potential qualified candidates (although this company could do sales, very well as a matter of fact, if an organization could suck it up and get over the psychological “they could never do it as well as our own people”)

Ultimately they have a nice system for the development and capture of account specific business intelligence. And by ‘nice’ I mean I am not sure I have ever seen a process  like theirs before.  It is designed to educate and prepare a sales team prior to engagement with the account decision maker (and this includes all that decision maker contact information that becomes handy in b2b sales and service) with the additional (if not more important) benefit of a centralized customer/prospect knowledge base. The hand off is seamless and really well done.


While they could certainly build a business from scratch in their system the reality is they have turned the traditional sales/marketing funnel upside down (and I love ideas that turn the traditional upside down).

note: I did not create this funnel and I cannot remember who made it but I found it when writing this and it fit for visual purposes.

upside down funnel

So. More about this company is called TelAffects.  (

The company describes themselves as bridging the gap between sales & marketing (although any CFO would salivate over the business management information he/she could use to manage the balance sheet). I expect they use this phrasing to protect their ass from fearful/insecure sales or marketing executives … but the reality is that (when done correctly) this is the b2b customer relationship (management, acquisition, marketing, sales, whatever you want to call it) department of the future … that is … if someone is savvy enough to do it his way.

It is faster, less qualitative, just as human as, and more efficient than a typical existing sales & marketing siloed organization construct.

Before I forget.

Their specific competency statement (on their website): TelAffects combines a consultative selling discipline with operations engineering intelligence to build sales solutions that yield predictable results.

(note: it doesn’t say marketing in there anywhere but trust me it is in what they actually do)

Ultimately this business model (idea) is the hybrid marketing/sales group solution for an organization (which will send the sales & marketing “specialist” lovers in the world through the roof).

But. While this debate, sales & marketing specialists versus sales/marketing hybrid, has raged for years I kind of believe its time is now. Especially in the b2b business.

What I really like about this business concept (well. there are several things actually) is the business “flow” management.

I cannot tell you how many companies I run into with cyclical/seasonal  sales cycles that constantly have angst driven discussions on ‘how can I even out my sales’ (which evens out production which evens out inventory which evens out expenses which … well .. you get it).

Well. This Telaffects system not only isolates the ‘truth’ behind the cycles (or maybe better said the pistons in the engine that drive the typical purchase cycles) it uncovers some customer aspects that could possibly shift some customers in a different sales/decisionmaking cycle.  Even better … their system truly gathers the information that could possibly help you find new customers (and know what to say and refer to specific examples) to fill out downward portions of the typical annual sales cycle.

The real underlying benefit to their business design (the true life blood of any organization) is innovation. Every company knows that their customers are probably the best innovation ideators they have access to. Yet, in a traditional marketing & sales construct the interface people (those most likely to be able to gather the innovation fodder) often aren’t the best people to recognize the best knowledge. So. Telaffects has a relatively unique ability, and opportunity, to tap into a user-centered innovation design. (which most companies only dream of and makes what TelAffects can do invaluable if used correctly)


The problem (or maybe better said  … the risk) in traditional sales & marketing scenarios is that they have a product which they need to sell and market (regardless of whether it actually has true value or maybe, even worse, the value that is being sold is not the value the customer wants).  In fact, in this Telaffects  model it is close to the opposite – they understand the market knowledge in as close to a quantitative methodology as you can get … and then the company has the opportunity to develop the product or service based on this understanding <real time learning rather than research based learning>.

The sad news for marketing groups is that if it is done this way the actual marketing becomes a piece of cake … because the products and services are conceived from end-user identified value. Oh. Why is this sad? A company will need less $’s spent on marketing. Uh oh. (hey. and I am a marketing guy)

Ok. So I pointed out all the underlying strategic and infrastructure benefits. And mostly because I believe the long term benefits of this business idea is the real value … I have focused on that.

But in today’s short term mentality the idea looks so good it would have been really tempting to focus solely on the short term benefit <… because the short term burst of appointments and raw customer data is hard to ignore>. Sure. Look at the short term (if you check them out) but the long term benefits if I were managing a company would like one of the best capital expenditures I could ever invest in.

Oh. They have proof. (as I mention short term burst).

They have a bunch of case studies but suffice it to say “Established 152 sales appointments from 2,400 potential accounts” in 1st 6 months. Yeah. That was 1st 6 months. Oh. In the same 6 months. Captured current situation, vendor and competitor intelligence from 400 contacts.    Identified actual decision process and timing for 400 accounts.

< I wrote al that because that is the type of stuff that would make any CFO drool>

Beyond the 6 months? Once data normalized you could have accurate (or as accurate as possible) sales forecasting, production forecasting and a slew of cost management ROI type information.

These guys would pay out in so many ways I cannot think of a reason I wouldn’t do it if I were in the b2b business (and possibly some ‘to consumer’ segments that have b2b feel … like large private investment in the financial world as an example).
So. Why did I write about these guys?

– Immediate response. In today’s world I would have quick sales and quick market/customer information (so if I were in a new C level position this would have me rockin’ in 6 months)

Addressing the budget. B2B has always been the battleground for marketing spending (i.e., why waste money on marketing versus sales). And direct marketing has always claimed it has eliminated the “I just don’t know which half of my advertising is working.” (yeah. right.)

      But the TelAffects concept more closely addresses what Joe Kennedy supposedly said to his son (JFK) ‘Dear Jack: Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll help you win this election, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide!'”

      This model does about as good a job as you can find that matches up budget to results in a business model.

      The long long term. If it works why do you need a full marketing and sales department? Staffing becomes easier. You don’t need facilitators you need experts in responding to information. You already have the most efficient facilitator group (and you can actually know what they are doing) with these guys. So at the end of say 2 years you could minimize your direct marketing and advertising and limit sales to solely tactical usage (say whatever you need to do to support a specific trade show/event or any investor relations needs and specific meetings).

      Organization efficiency. One of the biggest struggles in organizational alignment (therefore costing the organization efficiency) is the relationship, or the lack thereof, between sales and marketing. It just is not possible for every sales and marketing effort to be combined and in larger companies they call for regular meetings at higher level between sales and marketing heads where plans can be mapped out and then discarded as each function tries to meet their specific P&L goals.

          TelAffects is a possible solution to the lack of camaraderie and spirit of ‘in it togetherness’ between the sales and marketing departments. They can facilitate the dialogue and interaction (if not eliminate most of sales vs. marketing at some point) and, at minimum, minimize internal competition.


          One last thought.

          I know you have it in your head as you have read this. Telemarketing <ouch … hurts to even type it>. Yeah. Well. Overcome this thought lingering in the back of your head and give ‘em a call. I would say the same thing I believe they would say …

          “Your one time experience 8 years ago with a telemarketing company is not meaningful.”

          I think their biggest issue won’t be their business model but rather that people will want to throw them into the telemarketing garbage disposal.

          But I really they are different.

          Certainly worth a look if you are in the b2b business and want to increases sales (at minimum).

          In the end I would guess their best fits are:

          Financial organizations.

          Business services organizations.

          Technology support organizations.

          But. I seriously cannot think of a b2b business they wouldn’t be good for. It’s a neat business idea.

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          Written by Bruce