In a recent blog, I mentioned the number one challenge facing MSPs today continues to circle around lead generation and how to win more clients. I’ve had several recent conversations with partners on this very topic, and the conversations always seem to start with, “We are great at closing sales once we have the prospect in front of us, but we continue to struggle with getting our name out there and getting in front of people we can speak to. We need a way to increase the volume of leads we are getting into our business today.”
Does this sound familiar?
There are two things MSPs can do to help improve this:
- Embrace the concept of marketing
- Have someone who can reach out and call on prospects
I want to specifically address the second point in today’s post.
You may think cold calling and telemarketing are dead; and they are an outdated, antiquated sales tactic that generates very little return. You may be reading this and thinking, Stef, been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.
I don’t need to tell you lead generation is basically just a numbers game. To win more business, you need more leads filling the top of your marketing funnel on a regular basis. Marketing—although a very important strategy for lead generation—can only do so much on its own. Telemarketing helps convert the virtual audiences you have cultivated into real leads for your salespeople to engage with—because, ultimately, people buy from people.
Please let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. If you have tried using a cold caller in the past, but didn’t get the outcomes you were looking for, do you know what went wrong? Do you have a clear understanding on why things didn’t work out better? Or did you try it once, and throw away the plan because it didn’t immediately get the leads and results you wanted?
The following five reasons could be why your telemarketing foray did not produce the fruits you were looking for:
1. You had the wrong person (or company) in the role. It is important to separate the role of cold caller from the person, or company, doing the job. The role itself is incredibly important, but it could be you had the wrong person in that role, or you outsourced it to the wrong company. Many MSPs I have spoken with admit it is challenging to find the right person, and have cycled through their fair share of recruits trying to fill the role. But, because they value the outcomes telemarketing plays in helping to drive leads into their sales funnel, they persevere, and never consider abandoning the role. Rather, they continue their search for the next candidate, or outsourced telemarketing firm, if the incumbent isn’t cutting it.
2. You didn’t provide them with any sort of sales mentorship or training program. What sort of training program did you provide when they first came onboard? Did you review your ideal target profile? Your company’s vision, mission, and value prop statements? Did you show them how to properly prepare for their calls? Did you provide call scripts or training around how to handle objections? Did you role-play in mock-call sessions to help them practice their techniques and build confidence? Did you teach them how to sleuth and research to find their own leads? Did you provide any sort of sales mentorship to help guide and show them the ropes, working to help make them feel part of the team?
3. You didn’t make regular check-ins a priority. As with any role, regular one-on-ones are vital. How is anyone supposed to develop in their role if they don’t receive ongoing feedback, training, and support? Scheduling weekly one-on-ones is key if you want your telemarketing employee to flourish. These meetings are critical to review questions or challenges your cold caller may be having, and to provide feedback, advice, and additional training on how to improve. They shouldn’t be pushed aside and treated as something you’ll get around to at some point. Rather, they should be treated as a high priority, no matter how busy you may be.
4. You hired them to cold call, but have them doing everything. Take an honest look at the tasks and activities you had your telemarketer doing. Were they given ample time to research and complete their calls? Or were other tasks dumped on them because no one else had time to complete them?
5. You didn’t compensate them correctly. I have seen many types of compensation plans implemented by various MSPs, so I know this point could be controversial. But if you fell into the camp of offering a commission-only pay structure, that might be where your issue lies. Offering a commission-only pay scheme can be demotivating and unfair to the person doing the job, especially because you are putting 100% of the sales process—from prospecting to closing—on their inexperienced shoulders. If they don’t get the appointment booked at the outset, no lead can be given to the sales exec, meaning no new contract is being signed. So when building your compensation plan for your telemarketing role, you want to structure it in a way where they are motivated to do the job well, which works to help maximize productivity and efficiency in your organization.
So if you have previously tried incorporating the telemarketing motion into your MSP and didn’t get the returns you were hoping for, take some time for internal reflection. Try and see where you can make improvements in your process and consider giving it another go.