After fifteen years of working with computer businesses owners providing IT lead generation I have witnessed a domino effect of one telemarketing agency going out of business after another. Many times these companies just simply exit from the industry while others lose their recommended status from strategic partners like Robin Robins. Often, the failure of one company merely entices another IT vendor to experiment with offering a telemarketing service, only later to fail themselves. The question that seems worth asking is why so many vendors fail trying to offer appointment setting services to managed services providers?
Two examples that come to mind are Ulistics and Vertical Axion both are companies that offered internet marketing services to managed services providers and saw the failure of a few telemarketing firms as a signal that they should enter the fry. Both companies got burned trying to offer IT lead generation and ultimately had to remove this offering from their services line up. In fact, I was told by Gary Pica that when he sold Digital Dynamics to mindSHIFT that he thought about offering a telemarketing service to MSP’s himself. However he ultimately decided against it because the telemarketing agency always gets the blame when a marketing campaign goes south but the ‘sales trainer’ can get away blameless. This statement more that anything else can really illuminate why all these companies drop their telemarketing service like a hot potato!
The truth is that the average computer consultant will readily admit that they are not salespeople and therefore no matter how good the sales leads are they almost certainly will burn the leads. This naturally results with the IT consultant pointing their finger at the telemarketing agency and accusing them of providing bad leads. This is exactly what Gary Pica was describing as he admitted to playing that blame game himself when he had outsourced appointment setting. This is because tech sales people think that appointment setting is all about finding prospects that are ready to buy.
The Cause of Failure
When the reality is that cold calling can only find prospects that are open minded and willing to listen to a presentation. This means the burden of selling lies with the computer consultant as long as the appointments meet basic criteria like having enough computers or being set with a decision maker. I have likened this process to a relay race where the starter hands the baton off until the anchor finishes the race. This illustration means that the responsibility of closing agreements rest with the skill level of the sales person, their price competitiveness and the innovation of the IT services model and of course the last person holding the baton.
This is the main reason why so many companies have tried to offer telemarketing to computer consultants and later realized it’s a game that is nearly impossible to win. The only way to achieve success is for the appointment setting firm to partner with the computer consultant to ensure their clients will in fact be able to benefit from the sales leads they provide. This means setting the right expectations on how long the sales cycle will take, making sure the offering is going to be innovative, the price is competitive and finally that the salesperson has the needed skills to successfully convert IT sales leads into signed agreements.
This is something that MSP Knowledge will focus on as we can leverage our CEO’s experience closing cloud agreements from direct marketing leads over the last three years. He accomplished a successful sales track record by using a very persuasive sales presentation, building rapport with unique strategies and making sure to follow up, follow up, follow up! We will ensure that our clients are properly armed and have what it takes to succeed and we never plan to turn tail and run from this market or drop it like a hot potato.