Outsourced lead generation achieves 118% of target, freeing up in-house sales resource for Edge Computers
Edge Computers have extensive experience providing IT equipment and technical/aftersales support to educational establishments. They work alongside the major vendors to support digital education and make this cost-effective for all schools in the UK. They also help with professional development for teachers and support schools in implementing a digital learning strategy.
‘Devices for Education’ is a Microsoft-led programme designed to make it simple and affordable for schools in the UK to give every child access to a laptop which is fit for purpose. To support this initiative, Edge Computers has partnered with Microsoft to develop a 1:1 Digital Teaching and Learning program to support schools and improve student outcomes.
Campaign objective and project background
Edge Computers approached The Telemarketing Company (TTMC) as they wanted to assess the ability of an outsource agency to deliver a regular feed of high-quality leads to their sales team. The client’s sales team were cold calling schools themselves to generate leads, which diluted the time they had available to focus on closing sales. Edge Computers had considered recruiting in-house but felt, if successful, an external agency could provide a dedicated resource to streamline their process that could flex up and down with their needs.
Edge identified TTMC as the best fit for a pilot campaign based on the depth of their experience targeting the education sector, representing technology-sector clients, and supporting Microsoft partner programmes.
The goal was to call schools to raise awareness and generate interest for a remote meeting or an opportunity to quote on a specific requirement. The client provided a database of schools, colleges and multi-academy trusts in London and a briefing session outlined the key objectives:
Firstly, to promote the Microsoft 1:1 Devices for Education Programme, highlighting Edge’s ability to support schools transitioning from textbooks to mobile devices over the next 5 years.
Secondly, to promote a trade-in offer from HP and Lenovo to give schools £150 for their old devices when making a new purchase.
The briefing session also covered multiple benefits within their offers including:
A fully managed service for implementation and ongoing support of a Digital Learning Strategy at the school.
Access to the HP and Lenovo Trade-In offer (only available via approved resellers).
Access to extra funding through vendor promotions, parental contributions, HMRC Gift Aid Submissions
- Professional Development for teachers
- “Pools for Schools” whereby Edge Computers can supply schools with devices to trade-in when they don’t have any or don’t have units that meet the qualifying criteria.
As calling began, feedback and call recordings were shared, and the client was able to monitor results and performance in TTMC’s real-time reporting portal. Multiple reviews took place in the early stages to discuss and optimise the approach. Given the complex and multi-layered offer, there was a lot to be covered within each call. Agents needed to engage with prospects, listen to understand needs, establish levels of awareness and engagement with the programme, then present a succinct, tailored proposition, bringing in the relevant threads of support available.
Profiling questions were critical to gauge existing knowledge of the ‘Devices for Education’ programme and to understand what type of support would benefit each organisation. Some organisations were aware of, or already engaged with the programme, whilst others had not even heard of it. Multiple questions were incorporated to flush out levels of awareness and identify any upcoming projects where the school could utilise elements of the offer.
Agents were calling organisations of different sizes and types, from primary schools to universities, with a broad mix of decision-makers, from Head Teachers and Business Managers through to IT and Digital Heads. A number of options were considered to optimise the targeting strategy. It was found that targeting Heads of IT was the most fruitful approach as they had the greatest awareness and understanding and were well placed to influence the wider decision-making unit.
With tweaks to the approach and by carefully qualifying fit, building awareness and nurturing interest, the team became skilled at identifying which benefits were most relevant and positioning an offer that would resonate. Lessons learnt on early calls and close collaboration with the client ensured the campaign was optimised on an ongoing basis.
With continuous improvements, a steady flow of leads was established. As the sales team were no longer generating their own leads, they now had the bandwidth to promptly pick up and prioritise the leads they received from TTMC and spend more time preparing for the meetings scheduled. They also had full access to prospect insight via call recordings and detailed lead notes so they would understand prospect needs ahead of the call and be better equipped to convert.
At the end of the three-month pilot campaign, TTMC had achieved 118% of target, delivering an average of five leads per day for Edge Computers’ team. The pipeline has an estimated value of £250,000 and includes high value leads and opportunities, which predicts strong ROI once leads have been fully worked.
Having been a little sceptical initially, the client has been extremely impressed with how quickly agents were able to pick up the complexity of the proposition, engage prospects to understand their requirements and then distil the benefits into a succinct and persuasive proposition. 100% of results have been achieved on the first call.
The pilot has proven that an external agency can provide a flexible and effective lead generation resource that streamlines the sales process and frees up the in-house sales team to focus on their priorities. In addition, the client has benefited from a wealth of insight to help gauge market readiness and inform future strategy.
Calling has paused for the summer with a view to scaling up in the autumn, either expanding geographically, or targeting sectors outside of education.