Teleservices Gives IT Provider Jump on Leads

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Effective data analysis and a straight-shooting outbound teleservices provider have been the keys to a successful business-to-business lead-generation program for CenterBeam, an IT outsourcing provider for midsize companies.


CenterBeam, San Jose, CA, outsourced its program to PointClear, a BTB lead-generation firm. Hired last year, PointClear, Norcross, GA, used several channels including outbound phone, direct mail and e-mail to qualify leads and improve results for CenterBeam's inside sales team.


In the past year, PointClear made 113,000 calls and completed contact with 14,000 qualified decision makers for CenterBeam.


PointClear's job was to "shake the trees," said Kirstin Burke, director of marketing for CenterBeam. The IT provider asked PointClear to target CFOs at prospective client companies and gauge their interest in CenterBeam's services.


PointClear segmented CenterBeam's data, identifying the best targets. It then contacted them to try to smooth the way for CenterBeam's inside sales staff and pick the most likely prospects.


This year, the company will examine its past year's results to determine what is working and which vertical markets are providing the best response, Burke said.


"If you're not tracking the right numbers, you might be running down the wrong paths," she said. "You might be fixing a problem that is a stump cause and not a root cause."


In business-to-consumer marketing, it's accepted that the quality of the list is the key to any campaign, said Dan McDade, CEO/president of PointClear. BTB marketers have trailed their BTC counterparts on database marketing, partly because until recently the cost of data analytics technology didn't justify the effort based on the relatively small size of BTB lists.


BTB marketers are recognizing that data analytics has become cheaper and that reducing a list to focus on only the best leads improves response, McDade said.


CenterBeam has tens of thousands of prospects, but it's unwise to call them all, he said. PointClear determines which are best by segmenting them by SIC codes -- the standard industrial classification that represents the broadest categories -- and refining the list to subcategories that show the best response.


PointClear also records its conversations with prospects and gives a copy to CenterBeam. Before making a follow-up call, CenterBeam's inside sales staff can consult the recording to gauge the conversation's tone and decide the best way to approach the call, Burke said.


The recordings provide a level of transparency, she said, letting CenterBeam make a complete assessment of PointClear's work. Burke said it also was refreshing for her to hear PointClear project realistic results for the lead-generation campaign instead of overpromising.


"We're brutally honest with our clients," McDade said.


CenterBeam serves clients that have decided to outsource their IT, and in a similar vein, it had to decide whether to outsource its lead generation, Burke said. She estimated CenterBeam would be months behind where it is now in its marketing had it used in-house resources.


"We are experts on our market and understanding our message," she said. "For us to get to a place where we could do what PointClear could do would take six to eight months."


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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