If I earned $1 for every time a prospect asked me within 30 seconds of a first call: “how many leads can you guarantee” without providing any additional information, I would be a rich man. The simple fact is that if they were asked the same type of question by their prospects 30 seconds into the sales process, they would be as unable to answer the question as me. The bottom line is, there are steps we need to take as business “partners” before I can make an educated forecast of specific results from a telemarketing lead generation program- anything less would be mere guessing. Furthermore, there are many factors outside of my control that can make or break a program. We call these our “Top 7 List for Program Success.”
1. Quality of the list (both company and contact relevancy and expectations)
How accurate is your list? Currently, we are experiencing a 30% invalid rate with lists received from clients or external sources. Considering this, are you giving us enough time to work through the list, find referrals or new contacts, and generate interest? Furthermore, are you realistic about the contacts we are expected to generate leads from versus the target company’s size. For example, are you expecting us to call into C-Level executives from F500 accounts? Is this realistic? Have you been successful at this in the past?
2. Receptivity to the clients’ messaging and brand
Will your target market know who you are and will your messaging resonate with them or is there an education process that will need to occur? For example, we have worked with a F500 software company whose brand was well known but their messaging was focused on a new product category in which they were not known for at the time. In this example, there was quite a bit of education that had to occur before interest could be developed, and so the program goals were set accordingly. Are your expectations in alignment with your target’s perception of your company/solutions?
3. Target industry or solution maturity
Are you targeting a vertical that will recognize your solution as valuable in today’s environment? Is your solution a new concept or in a mature category. I recently spoke to a new player in the SFA market, a very well saturated market with widely-known competitive players, who was going to target mid-tier companies for leads and had very high, virtually unachievable, expectations. For this company, in order for the program to be successful, they needed to reset to more realistic expectations.
4. Effectiveness of offers (whitepapers, calculators, case studies, webinars, etc.)
The “privilege” to speak to a Salesperson is not an offer. Offers are a great way to assist in developing immediate interest and nurturing contacts. Creative ones we have seen recently include financing options, ROI Reports (from a SME rather than Sales), and one-on-one C-Level referral briefings to discuss solution results.
5. Exposure to market softeners (email or direct mail blasts)
There is cold calling and then not-so-cold calling. Sending out material in advance of a calling campaign gives the telesales representative something to reference, whether received by the prospect or not. When doing this, be sure to match the delivery methods to who you are targeting. For example, recent studies show over 60% of executives view email via a mobile device.
6. Involvement/attentiveness to the program
Starting with training and throughout the program, client participation is critical to the program success. If at all possible, participate in face-to-face training. Remember that most communication is done via non-verbal means and meeting your partner in person builds a strong relationship that will provide benefit throughout the program. Also, be sure to assign a point-person from your organization that will be involved in weekly meetings that are critical to performance monitoring and improvements.
7. Telemarketing metrics and ongoing measurement of success
If you don’t have metrics than can be used for setting expectations, you will need them. At The Lead Dogs, we provide our clients with our “best” advice and counsel to establish these metrics based on 15 years of experience and millions of phone calls; however, these will be personalized goals that we set and manage together. The more you can address items #1-6, the better our ability to set these goals. Otherwise, we need to set achievable and realistic goals and be prepared to adjust as needed.
Certainly, there are many factors within my control that are key to the program as well, such as appropriate staffing, training, call quantity and quality, program oversight, etc. However, hitting “our” number includes responsibilities on both sides of the equation and when addressed, these programs deliver outstanding results.