Telemarketing pilot creates new opportunities and solid appointment pipeline for IMS of Smithfield
IMS of Smithfield, a premier supplier of meat, poultry, and game, was established in 1970 in the heart of London’s famous Smithfield Market. Founder, Roberto Raggio, is still involved today and, working alongside his brother and son, has built the family run business over the past 50 years based on a reputation for quality, trust, reliability and service. IMS is today one of the most respected and renowned meat suppliers in the UK, with a massive range of meat products and several processing divisions supplying many of the biggest brands in the catering industry.
Campaign objective and project background
By continuously exceeding customer expectations in terms of quality, service and price, IMS had grown its client base organically over the years. However, given the size of the food industry and the breadth and depth of their range, they felt there was still significant untapped potential within the market and the opportunity to accelerate growth. They therefore set the objective to raise awareness of their brand and increase their market share by developing new relationships with clients with potential to become long-term partners.
A list of priority accounts in the hospitality sector was drawn-up but calling in-house proved difficult due to limited bandwidth within the team. It was decided, therefore, to engage a specialist agency to undertake the work and generate high quality appointments for the in-house team to follow up. Trusting the brand to an external agency was a major step for IMS and The Telemarketing Company (TTMC) was appointed based on its long-standing reputation and experience in the food industry, to carry out an initial pilot within London as a proof of concept.
Given the wide portfolio of products offered by IMS, the target audience for the campaign was diverse, ranging from small cafés and caterers to large restaurant and pub groups. TTMC sourced a set of new data to match the target audience to supplement the internal list, agents were assigned based on experience and fit for the campaign and a two-hour briefing was held at the agency’s premises in Brighton. The agency would be calling as the client and, given IMS’s brand reputation, it was essential that agents adhered to brand values and could talk credibly about the proposition. The client briefed the team on the various elements of proposition and the benefits relevant to each target segment, so that they could position these appropriately.
As the priority for IMS was to build sustainable long-term relationships with larger organisations or groups, it was critical that TTMC managed the data effectively to ensure the best prospects were prioritised. The data was segmented into Priority 1, Priority 2, Priority 3 accounts – so that calling could be targeted and results tracked and reported for each individual segment. The IMS team felt that face-to-face meetings would be the best way for them to get across the depth of their experience, breadth of service and expert knowledge, so this was the priority, with the secondary objective to set phone appointments.
The campaign was unique and presented a number of challenges for TTMC.
- IMS offer bespoke products and value-added services, tailored to the needs of their diverse customer base. It was necessary to tailor the proposition for each of these multiple audiences.
- Agents needed to understand quite complex processes and the requirements of different customer types, preparation processes for halal and kosher products, for example, or the specific needs of Fine Dining/Michelin Star restaurants.
- Decision makers varied depending on sector or organisation size and type, and were generally hard to reach, not desk-based and, in some cases even without email. Agents had to identify and engage with the person in charge of meat and poultry purchasing, which could vary significantly in each case.
- Agents needed to get to grips with quite a technical product portfolio and the many different types and cuts of meat. Pricing was also quite technical and agents needed to capture detailed requirements and liaise closely with the IMS team to provide pricing and product information.
The client was very engaged, provided a thorough briefing and ongoing support to help meet these challenges and ensure that agents got up to speed quickly. TTMC proactively managed the campaign and close collaboration, supported by regular reviews and call recordings, ensured performance was optimised and that the campaign began to yield good results.
After the initial six-week pilot period, telemarketing had shown itself to be an effective new marketing approach to increase awareness of the brand and drive new business and longer-term pipeline for IMS.
One result was achieved in every 7.48 hours of calling and a conversation took place with a qualified decision maker every 1.63 hours. In total, over 400 conversations took place with hard-to-reach prospects, resulting in 13 face-to-face appointments and 15 telephone appointments. A significant proportion of results were generated from Priority 1 data.
The campaign has created a strong pipeline of new opportunities and future potential within the supply chain for IMS. They are happy that telemarketing and The Telemarketing Company have proven their worth and are now looking at potential new campaigns for the future.