If you took a survey of Managed Services Providers and ask the question, “Does Telemarketing Work?” You would get mixed results. Some have used telemarketing to fuel their startup and have had great success with it; however, most would report dismal results from their past telemarketing efforts.
Logically if telemarketing has worked for some IT consultants then it should theoretically work for everyone. Since thats not happening let’s briefly evaluate what has lead to the success and see where others can improve.
What are the elements of a successful telemarketing campaign?
- The talent of the individual telemarketer
- The marketing message/rebuttals available
- The management of the Telemarketer/motivation and training
- The Talent of the sales person making the appointment
- The marketing message for the sales team
- The Management of the Sales Team
- Finally underlying it all is the Model, Pricing and References
It’s impossible to completely separate telemarketing from the whole sales process! If there is ZERO talent or oversight of telemarketing then often the telemarketing campaign can fail all on it’s own. However, the failure is usually systematic from the bottom up.
If we consider the model first we see that many of the firms that have failed at telemarketing have pulled back to PPC adds etc… where the prospects are clearly unhappy and actively seeking change. While these leads are good there still not perfect. If your model and pricing and sales are average then you can still achieve some success with these leads because the bar is set so much lower. When prospects are at the point of being unhappy mainly their only concerned about response time and tech skills. If you can demonstrate that your team knows what their doing and can show up fast then your liking to close the deal; irregardless of your over all model, pricing, flexibility and extra features.
However, when you make a sales call on a telemarketing lead set with a prospect who is happy with his current IT situation [which is extremely difficult to do] then the bar is going to be set much higher. Just proving that you could show up fast and that your competent will not impress a prospect who already feels that they have a tech that is competent and shows up when he is needed. These are the complaints that many IT consultants lodge when expressing the failure of a telemarketing lead – “I can’t sale someone that’s happy with what they have”.
In later posts we will document sales that have been closed with prospect that were Completely happy with their current IT situation; but for now take our word for it that there are prospect who a few weeks after a sales meeting with a different IT Consultant switched services. In our follow up research we have documented that prospects that have switch providers even though they were happy did so because the new Company demonstrated they were dramatically better across the board. They felt the new firm had better technology, better skilled and more techs, better pricing, more flexible terms, better references but they also stated that they saw a personal benefit for themselves. They have often expressed they felt the new provider would lessen their work load or their need to provide oversight!
Therefore we can conclude that if the team, model, terms, pricing, references, are not dramatically better then an IT consultant won’t have much success trying get sales from prospects that are happy. We have seen that typically many firms are extremely slow to change their model and terms. The first instinct is to try to hire a better sales person or spend more money on advertising, However, this begs the question, “What’s wrong with just doing PPC ads?” Well first there is nothing wrong with that but you have to consider that 95% of the market is “completely happy with their IT situation”. This means that everyone is fighting over a small sliver of the market that is highly competitive.
The few firms that have a truly better model and pricing – and can communicate that in the marketing place will have huge growth potential going forward without bumping elbows with lots of competition along the way!
What if you believe deeply in your bones that your Model really is the best and you haven’t had success with telemarketing? Well, this is possible and ofter the failure lies in ether the salesman’s ability to communicate that delicately to the prospect and or the telemarketers’ ability to communicate that.
Finally, sitting in a meeting with a decision maker that says, “I am happy with what I have”, is not the end of the world rather it’s a great opportunity. Why did they set a meeting to meet with you if there is no possibility of them switching? Chief Financial officers and Presidents are not gullible people than can be strong armed into setting meetings against their will. However, they can be given misleading information or have told the telemarketer not to send the salesman out. If you can rule that out then you still have a good opportunity on your hands you just need to be fully prepared for that opportunity.