HOW A CRM SOLUTIONS PROVIDER OUTSOURCED ITS LEAD-GEN PROGRAM
Objective: Gain more and better leads to be closed by a small inside sales staff
Strategy: Use outsourced teleservices for lead-gen and nurturing
Results: A 23% gain of opportunities, and about 80 new leads
Customer Effective is a Microsoft Gold Certified channel partner selling Microsoft's Dynamics CRM solutions. The Greenville, S.C.-based company had been focused since its founding in 2002 on a three-state radius and on smaller businesses. Recently the company has been expanding its reach to enterprise-size companies throughout most of the eastern seaboard and as far west as Dallas, and transitioning to a marketing focus segmented by vertical industries.
The changes came along with some growing pains for Customer Effective.
“Eight years ago, we started with one customer and built it up to about 300,” said Mike Rogers, VP-business development and marketing at Customer Effective. “We spent a lot of time getting quality leads, handing them off to our sales reps, running with the sales cycle, converting into real revenue and then figuring it out over and over again.
“We're a lot like other companies, trying everything to make it happen,” Rogers said. “How to get customers? You name it, we tried it.”
One approach that didn't work was employing an inside sales force to prospect for leads, Rogers said.
“We're focused on complex solutions selling, where you're selling $200,000 to $1 million engagements as a business strategy,” Rogers said. “We're not selling software as much as consulting services and dragging CRM along. It's an outside sales model.”
Microsoft suggested that Rogers outsource his lead-gen efforts to Norcross, Ga.-based PointClear, which deploys (among other techniques) outbound phone-calling to score leads prior to turning over the best to Rogers' staff for conversion.
“We always segment so that the highest potential group is receiving utmost attention,” said Karla Blalock, VP-solution services with PointClear. “We might know, for example, that financial services organizations of a certain size behave in a certain way, so we'll touch them similarly with a series of phone calls and emails.”
Rogers started his campaign by targeting companies that already had in place a CRM system by a non-Microsoft vendor. With PointClear's help, he winnowed that by mapping prospects against the company's own best customers, seeking “lookalikes.”
Segmentation also justified for Customer Effective such higher-priced outreaches as direct mail with a personal letter, or even FedExing a case study to a particular individual, which then was followed up by phone.
Phone conversations conducted by a trained, dedicated teleservices staff are important, Rogers said, because inevitably questions arise, such as: Have you migrated a company from Salesforce to Microsoft? “It's important to be able to take on a conversation about some of the challenges about legacy CRM systems,” he said.
Customer Effective and PointClear revise their database every Tuesday, Rogers said, continually disqualifying names while adding others gleaned from lookalikes, webinar attendees and other sources.
Of his segmented lists, Rogers said, he “revisits, and revisits and revisits them by reviewing our results weekly.”
Rogers is pleased with his results so far. Of the strong lead opportunities gained by the company, 23% were generated after a PointClear phone call or email. Leads totaled about 80, with many converting.
Overall, revenue and leads increased “significantly,” Rogers said.