Explore our work flow
If you would like to try our service, we will start by setting up a small-scale trial for you. We do not ask for a big commitment up front: we ask you to let us book you ten trial meetings. The trial meetings will give you a feel for how we operate and for the quality of the prospects we put you in front of. If you are not happy you can cancel at any time up to the tenth meeting and we will stop on the tenth meeting. But obviously we want you to continue. We will do our best to ensure you like what you get so you want to come back for more.
The next step is to get a briefing from you. We apply an intelligent approach to our research work based on understanding your business, your services and what it is that clients value about your work. The briefing feeds into a telemarketing strategy involving two key elements:
- 1. Clear definition of your target audience
- 2. Clear definition of the key messages we will communicate on your behalf.
First, the briefing helps us target the right companies for you. We have a selfish reason for this – it increases our chance of finding someone who wants to meet you. But it also means that when you go in to a meeting, you will find it easier to win the business, because the clients you meet are just right for your firm’s individual strengths and credentials.
So we will work with you to define your target audience. If you have been offering your service for some time, the definition will most likely be based on a profile of your most valued existing clients, because new buyers of your service will probably share key characteristics with existing customers. Alternatively, in the case of a new service, you can rely on our experience of promoting similar services to help you profile the most likely prospects.
Second, before we get going, we will also need to hone the key messages we are going to communicate to prospective clients. These messages will include your points of difference versus your competitors. When we speak to someone on the phone, we only get about 15 or 20 seconds to give them a reason to continue listening. We aim to put across sharp messages which galvanise marketers, such as someone who has just had 6 calls in a row from other prospective suppliers.
To help us create the most powerful propositions, we ask for all the information you can give us, whether it seems relevant or not. You never know where we will find a nugget of information which makes a difference in our work.
It helps that Sean’s background (Sean Sinclair, the MD) was originally in consumer goods marketing, starting with Unilever and most recently with Wyeth Consumer Products. He got dozens of calls every week from prospective suppliers pitching for work. So he got a pretty good idea of what kind of pitch works. So Sean takes pride on developing sharp messages which positions you clearly and gives the marketer a reason to meet you.
We will confirm in writing the messages we think should be conveyed. You can tell us where they need fine tuning.
Many of our clients find this initial consultation a valuable and eye opening exercise, in which their points of difference are tangibly clarified. It’s all part of the service.
Not only that, it’s free!
And we don’t stop developing motivating propositions on your behalf once we’ve set up your campaign. We are a small agency and Sean hears most calls that are made. So, right through the day, he is swapping ideas with callers about how they could get better results when certain questions are asked. (By the way, the other benefit of us being a small agency is that you get to talk to the owner of the company whenever you want to!)
Also at the briefing, we will check how quick you want to go in terms of the pace of meetings. This will depend on how many people you have to do the meetings and what other pressures they have on their diaries. If an individual is completely free for business development meetings, they might want twenty meetings per month. But if an individual needs to combine business development with other work, then perhaps they may only be able to handle two or three meetings per month. You can also vary the pace over time – if you are going to be busy for a couple of weeks, let us know and we will avoid booking meetings into that time.
Putting Together the List of Targets
Our team start writing all the requirements.
We now need a database of prospective clients selected according to the agreed specification of your ideal profile. Unless you have a reasonably comprehensive, recently cleaned (last 3 months) database of companies matching your ideal profile, we would propose sourcing new data which exactly fits your requirements. This gives you an up-to-date list of organisations which fit your ideal profile in terms of type and size, with names of the people who have decision making authority for your service.
Every time we have developed such a database for our clients (which is on 90% of the projects we have done), our clients have found that the new data includes a significant number of companies matching our clients’ ideal profile but which our client was not aware of. This data comes at very little cost, i.e. £200 – £300 unless you have a specialist requirement.
As a result, you will learn about clients who match your ideal profile but who are not currently on your database. We have to be good at getting data because of the way we charge. Charging on results makes you want results. The way to get better results is most often by improving the targeting. In fact, unless you target well, nothing else will work. So we know where to get good data. Sean Sinclair, Client Hunters’s MD, is an expert on business-to-business data and has had articles published in the specialist press on this subject.
So, before we start calling, we will get as precise as possible about your target audience. The benefit for you is that you only meet good prospects – because the data ensures they’re the only people we call!
And the data job isn’t done once you’ve agreed the spec. We then spend some time comparing alternative data providers to work out who is best able to supply your precise spec. The problem is that most data providers are happy to supply data for any spec you care to give them. But then, when you receive the data, you often find that not all the companies on the database fit the spec. For example, many will often turn out to be smaller than you wanted. A surprisingly high percentage, in fact. And just as bad, if you go to the wrong provider, a huge number of companies which fit your spec will most likely be missing from the database. By the way, you get the same problem with some telemarketing agencies, who rely on out-dated in-house database, which was set up against a different spec, for a different client, six years ago!
This isn’t just because some data suppliers are plain bad (though some are). It’s also because certain data suppliers are only good for certain industries. We’ll go to one supplier for financial services, another for technology. Again, certain data suppliers are only good for certain job functions. So there are suppliers we use for marketing contacts who we would never use for IT contacts.
So it is crucial to set up a tailored database and to choose the right data provider depending on your spec. Alternative data providers, each of whom has their own area of knowledge and specialist skills, in terms of the type of companies they track and the type of data they can obtain. As a result, we help our clients get in front of great prospects. And many of those prospects you would not have heard of any other way!
Once we have the data, if you want, you can hand pick the companies we target for you. We can send the data over to you, and you can go through it and select the companies to target. You can check for companies you don’t want us to call, such as existing clients, or companies you just don’t want to target. You can also highlight the companies you would most like to work for, so we can put extra effort into getting meetings with those clients. Plus you can indicate companies where there is something special we can say – e.g. you have worked with a sister division. So we can tailor what we say in each case.
And even once we have obtained the data, the job of fine tuning the targeting isn’t finished. We will aim to further improve the targeting after we start work. Again, because we mostly work on a results basis, we are geared to notice very quickly when a pattern emerges in terms of good and bad results. We will cut or prioritize companies accordingly.
Starting the Calls
We'll help you select the best options possible.
We then brief our phone researchers regarding your requirements. We need callers to be very clear about the key messages to be communicated. In a business-to-business phonecall, you have 15 – 20 seconds to convince the other person to keep listening. So you have to be clear what you want to say. However, we do usually not script the calls rigidly. As a result of their briefing, our callers’ approach will be natural but focused and professional.
In order that you can be sure you will be represented right, our caller will phone you at the start of a project so you can talk to them and reassure yourself they will represent you effectively and obtain the right prospects for you. Our caller will also be your day-to-day point of contact during the whole time we work for you. So you can keep up to date with how the work is going and you can brief the caller on the best ways to work.
Once we start calling, the first job will be to identify the decision-maker for your service within an organisation. Commonly, the person with the “right” job title is actually not the decision-maker for your service. So our callers will hunt round each of the companies we call, speaking to a sequence of individuals until they find the person whose remit includes decisions about your service. Once we work out who the decision-maker is, more time will then be needed to get past gatekeepers (PAs) and voicemails. But finally we will speak to a decision-maker.
The caller will have a conversation with the prospect in which they aim to exchange information and ideas to identify the prospect’s business issues and establish whether or not they are in the market for your service. If the time is not right, we will agree with the prospect how long to leave it before contacting them again. Even if the time is not right for a meeting, our call has still had a positive result. We have increased awareness of your company and of what differentiates you from your competitors.
On the other hand, if now is the right time to meet, we suggest a meeting to the prospect. Assuming they agree, we fix an appointment. We ask for background information from the client as to their circumstances and what kind of work they need doing. This gives you something to focus on in the meeting in terms of what the client is looking for.
We then fax or email you with the client’s details including the provisional time for the appointment. Unlike some companies we don’t wait until the end of the day before letting you know about your meeting – we fax or email you as soon as we book, so you are aware of appointments immediately and you can start preparing for your meeting. And if the time we fix is not convenient, you can call us straight back to ask us to re-arrange.
We aim to delight our clients with careful preparation and by applying an intelligent approach to telemarketing.
How good are the meetings?
We aim to maximize your conversion rate
Our whole set up is geared to booking only the best possible meetings. For example, our callers are paid by the hour, not by the meeting they book. Bonuses for booking meetings constitute only a tiny fraction of their income. So our callers are not incentivised to book every possible meeting. They can be selective to reflect your requirements.
As a result, several times a week, we turn down meetings which we could book if we were less fussy. The reason is that the prospect is not yet ready to take on a supplier of our client’s service.
Our method is to check out the prospect’s readiness in every case by asking questions before we book a meeting. For example we will ask what specific projects the client has coming up, or what need they have which your service would meet. So if a prospect is a time waster the questions will make that clear. And if they have no immediate need for your service, we will not book the meeting.
By the way, if you have some questions you want us to ask when we book a meeting, just tell us. We will include them in the pre-booking questionnaire.
On the other hand, if our questions show that the prospect has a need, we will book a meeting. And when we send you the information about the meeting, it will include everything we could find out about the prospect’s requirements. This information is your reassurance that the meeting you are about to attend is highly worthwhile.
So the people you meet will have a relevant need at the time you meet them. They will also have positive expectations about you, expectations which reflect your real strengths. We make sure of this by pitching your strengths when we speak to them.
As a result, you will hopefully win the business. We can’t guarantee every meeting converts to business. But we aim to maximise your conversion rate and ensure you make a substantial profit from the meetings we get for you.
How to work more efficiently with you!
Once we have started work we will continually look for new ways to make it work better. We aim to learn how to book better meetings, how to work more efficiently with you etc.
For example, our clients can talk to the caller working on their campaign at any time, whether by email or phone. That means you can always check how the work is going. You can find out what problems and issues the caller has come across and help the caller with ideas about how to work better.