Measured, customer-centric approach creates potential pipeline of £100,000 for Stirling Consultancy
The Stirling Consultancy is a UK based management consulting and business advisory firm. It was formed in 2008 with the aim of filling the gap in the market for a practical, results-focused, management support business. Since its formation, the team has grown and the business has extended its scope, now working across many domains, from strategy consultancy and marketing through to operational solutions and IT delivery.
Campaign objective and project background
The consultancy had grown organically through referrals and repeat business but by June 2017 it was felt that a more proactive approach was required in order to accelerate business growth. With no prior experience working with telemarketing companies, the company evaluated four agencies to assess capabilities and find the best fit. As this was the first time Stirling had engaged an external agency, and in light of their longstanding reputation in the industry, it was critical for the business to find a trusted partner capable of communicating their proposition well, who could be trusted with their brand.
After a thorough evaluation period, Stirling engaged The Telemarketing Company based on their collaborative approach, sector expertise and experience in engaging senior c-suite executives across multiple sectors.
Initially, a pilot was agreed with a strategy to engage senior managers with responsibility for business change within large organisations in access of £100M turnover. The goal was to create a pipeline of face to face appointments and high quality sales leads to be followed up by the team at Stirling. A focused, cross-sector list was provided by the consultancy, which included a range of decision maker titles, from Head of IT and CIO to more generic HR or general management job titles.
A briefing took place on-site at the agency premises, so that the calling team could build a clear understanding of the client proposition and brand values. Representing a brand in a competitive space, positioned between high-end consultancy firms and smaller recruitment agencies, the key challenge for the agency was identifying and engaging the right decision makers and communicating a distinct proposition. To gain interest, it was important for the team to clearly present key differentiators, including Stirling’s deep experience in delivering real transformational change to large organisations and the tailored, hands-on approach of the senior management team. Another significant challenge was overcoming inertia within businesses in an industry built on longstanding existing relationships and an extended customer lifecycle.
Given the mix of contact types within the data, the seniority of decision-makers, and the size of the target organisations, a structured approach, combined with patience and tenacity was essential. Multiple call attempts and longer-term nurture were critical to reaching the right contacts without negatively impacting brand reputation. A rigorous qualification process was also necessary to ensure leads and appointments were generated with individuals who matched the ‘ideal’ target customer profile for the consultancy.
Close collaboration with the client, supported by shared call recordings, regular reviews, on-site visits and live call listening, helped build momentum in the course of the campaign. Proactive account management, data management and reporting, supported by a bespoke calling platform and real-time reporting, also helped to identify opportunities and improve overall performance and results. The key to success was the agency’s structured and systematic calling, combined with their agility in testing different approaches and making incremental improvements over time.
In the pilot phase, a number agents were used in order to identify core callers with the best fit and style for the campaign.
A specific focus on GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and Cybersecurity in the initial part of the campaign was broadened in the latter stages. Given the value of the potential connections, broadening the approach and positioning a flexible offer around project management enabled callers to more easily gain a foothold, once they reached a qualified decision maker.
A better understanding of the target customer profile in terms of job function and organisation type was built during the campaign to inform future ongoing strategy.
A clear, direct approach from callers in the latter stages of the campaign, which focused on quickly and effectively positioning key benefits with senior, ‘time-poor’ decision makers has ensured the best return from each engagement.
The initial pilot was extended to an ongoing engagement and in the course of 500 hours of calling, generated 12 leads, representing a potential pipeline value of around £100,000. The structured and systematic approach taken by the agency and their commitment to continuous improvement has overcome significant inertia with senior decision makers in key organisations and provided a feed of well-qualified leads to be nurtured further by the Stirling team.
"I was impressed with the care taken to understand what services we are selling and how that translates in to the messages that need to be articulated during the calls. Fotis and his team were very measured in their approach and proactively suggested ideas that could be tried to increase the likelihood of success."