How to Implement Smart Calling with a Smart Plan – Plus: A Case Study from Mike Dunlap

What is Smart Calling

Smart calling is the act of making prospecting sales calls with a plan. In this instance, having a plan entails utilizing a known process and systems you can trust.

Dunlap Marketing has been in the business of conducting smart prospecting calls since 1996. Over the years, we have developed a smart plan that we utilize with every campaign we work on.

The following are crucial steps, developed by our team, that should be followed as you and your team prepare to make smart calls:

  1. Data Records – clearly identify the businesses you want to call (ie: current customer list, idle customer list, specific industry categories, specific sizes (revenues and/or employee count), defined geography
  2. Identify the Decision Maker – know who the right person is you want to talk with; if this information is not available to you, know the proper title and/or department
  3. Messaging – prepare a message that is brief, quickly gets to the reason for your call, asks good qualifying questions, asks about current satisfaction levels, and defines next steps
  4. Utilize Technology – have a data-capture tool that allows you to properly document the valuable information you gather, a tool that allows you to define and schedule next steps, and might allow you to send follow up emails
  5. Schedule – develop and commit to a schedule for making your smart calls; create a schedule that is reasonable and achievable, then follow your plan and be patient
  6. Commit – trust your plan

If you follow the above steps, you will be implementing a Smart Calling campaign with a Smart Plan, a plan that is targeted specifically to a group of companies, some of which might become your future customers. There are common industry phrases that describe this type of work such as cold calling, telemarketing, teleprospecting, or lead generation. No matter what you call it, when it’s done properly, it is an excellent way to fill your pipeline with qualified prospect opportunities.

Personal Case Study

At Dunlap Marketing, we like to make a habit of practicing what we preach. The following case study, dictated by Mike Dunlap, Founder and President, tells the story of Dunlap Marketing’s marketing and advertising journey over the past 7 months. While utilizing various modes of marketing, such as PPC and social media, we wanted to see what would happen if we included smart prospecting calls in the mix.

For the last 7 months (July 2018 through January 2019) our company, Dunlap Marketing, has been focused on a growth plan. As part of the plan, we implemented a few initiatives to assist in our growth. We committed to launching multiple PPC and social media campaigns, along with an internal calling campaign. The results have surprised me.

We began tracking the monthly activity, expenses, and ROI associated with our PPC and social media campaigns. Having committed significant dollars and time, and learning a great deal along the way, we have been amazed at our findings. The world of PPC, Google Ads, Bing, LinkedIn, and Facebook advertising is expensive and very difficult. It is also constantly changing, and we find ourselves competing for keywords with companies that provide differing services. For our company, each and every marketing dollar is important to us and we are not in a position to compete for relative, yet high dollar keywords.

I mentioned earlier that we also maintained an internal calling campaign. (And for the record, we followed all the steps listed above as we ran the campaign!) Below outlines the findings of our growth initiatives thus far:

Budget / Time: Over the past 7 months, approximately 74% of our budget has been allocated to PPC / social media efforts and 26% has been assigned to internal Smart Calling. Something far greater than 74% of our management time has been devoted to work associated with PPC and social media .

Measurement: At the end of the day, we track our sales progress based on the number of proposals delivered to qualified prospects.

Results: Over the last few months, virtually every proposal delivered was the result of our internal calling campaign. Our overall ROI is overwhelmingly in favor of sales activity resulting from Smart Calls. We remain committed to PPC and social media, primarily because we feel over time, these methods will reach prospects that we cannot connect with via Smart Calling efforts.

Utilizing a smart plan while implementing smart prospecting calls has proven to be a successful addition to Dunlap’s overall marketing strategy. Being a low cost, positive ROI-producing solution, consider adding smart calling to you company’s growth strategy.

How To Implement A Simple Plan To Sell More Business In The New Year – Utilizing Telemarketing

Originally posted on December 30, 2015 as Start The New Year Smart – Sell More Business

How do you eat an elephant? What a silly question! Adult elephants range from 6,000 – 12,000 pounds – eating all of that would be a very large (no pun intended) and daunting task. But, hypothetically speaking, if you were to eat an elephant, how would you accomplish that?

One bite at a time, of course.

By the way, how does eating an elephant have anything to do with creating a plan to sell more business?

bitesizeelephant

How To Implement A Simple Plan To Sell More Business In The New Year

Generating 70+ new leads in a year might seem like an unrealistic goal, similar to eating an elephant. However, if you break it down into “one bite” increments, you will see how generating 70+ new leads is, in fact, a very obtainable goal.

To start, keep in mind the mentality behind “one bite at a time” is to keep the task at hand, in this case, generating 70+ qualified leads in 12 months, simple and manageable. With this mind set, you will be able to see the impact this method can have on your lead generation, appointment setting efforts, and ultimately, the ability to sell more business.

Here is how you do it:

January:
200 Start with 200 target prospect records (Don’t know how to build a prospect database? We can help with that – “Identifying Your Database for a Telemarketing Campaign”)
3 Make 3 call attempts into each record on average
8 Calling hours required each week to make 3 calls into 200 records (32 hours per month) – this is equivalent to 1.6 calling hours each business day, or 20% of your day
6 Lead opportunities identified in January (generally speaking)
February:
100 Add 100 fresh, new prospect records (300 cumulative prospect records for the year)
+ 100 Existing/prioritized prospect records that justify continued calling (assuming that 50% of January’s 200 do not warrant additional calls this month)
= 200 Total February prospect records
3 Call attempts into each record on average
8 Calling hours required each week (1.6 hours per day)
6 Lead opportunities identified in February
12 Cumulative lead opportunities identified YTD
March:
100 Add 100 fresh, new prospect records (400 cumulative prospect records)
+ 100 Existing/prioritized prospect records that justify continued calling (assuming that 50% of February’s 200 do not warrant additional calls this month)
= 200 Total March prospect records
3 Call attempts into each record on average
8 Calling hours required each week (1.6 hours per day)
6 Lead opportunities identified in March
18 Cumulative lead opportunities identified YTD

Do you get the gist? …We thought so. If you continue this discipline for April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November, your December will look like this:

December:
100 Add 100 fresh, new prospect records added (1,300 cumulative prospect records)
+ 100 Existing/prioritized prospect records that justify continued calling (assuming that 50% of November’s 200 do not warrant additional calls this month)
= 200 Total December prospect records
3 Call attempts into each record on average
8 Calling hours required each week (1.6 hours per day)
6 Lead opportunities identified in December
72 Cumulative lead opportunities identified YTD

In conclulsion

There you have it, the results of a disciplined approach to the new year– 72 leads in 12 months and now you are a sales pro! As with any lead generation project, some of these will not work out, but the game of numbers tells us a good amount will convert into proposals, then become new customers for you. Additionally, you will have developed a great database (pipeline) of future opportunities.

Lead generation and appointment setting isn’t as bad as you might have thought. By the way, how did that elephant taste?

Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas – kaitlind@dunlapmarketing.com – 281.496.9870 x180

The Best Way to Make Cold Calling Work

Throughout Dunlap Marketing’s 22 years, there is one question we are very accustomed to hearing – what is the best way to make cold calling work? While this sounds like a simple question, it’s not always a simple answer.

The Best Way to Make Cold Calling Work

The truth is, cold calling absolutely works; however, as with any marketing campaign, cold calling works best when used in conjunction with other forms of marketing (ie: email, social media, etc.).

To dig deeper and to get more specific, cold calling works best with a strategic plan. Let’s play a quick game –

Would you rather spend your marketing dollars calling into random companies who may or may not (likely, not) be interested in your product / service OR would you rather spend that same money calling a customized list of companies who match your target prospects? I think I can guess your answer to this question.

Hungry for more on how to build a database?

How about this – would you rather spend money and time calling into prospects without a clear direction for your call OR would you rather spend time and money having productive conversations with prospects, always having a defined next step? Again, I’m going to assume you’d prefer the latter! And if not, why in the world are you wasting your time reading this article?!

Trying to figure out how to write a telemarketing script? We can help with that! 

In a nutshell, the two best ways to make cold calling work are to incorporate it as one component of a larger marketing campaign and to approach it with a strategic plan.

For more information, please reach out to Dunlap Marketing.

Contact form

Mike Dunlap – miked@dunlapmarketing.com – 281.496.9870 x. 140

Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas – kaitlind@dunlapmarketing.com – 281.496.9870 x. 180

Measuring and Analyzing

ARTICLE #6 IN A 6 ARTICLE SERIES

Congratulations! You’re at the point in your telemarketing campaign where it’s time for measuring and analyzing the results. It’s taken a lot of work to get here – you have identified your database, written your script, role played with the script, started calls, and followed up as necessary with your prospects.

Now, it’s time to take a step back and revisit the goals of your campaign. What were you trying to accomplish? Most likely, you were trying to uncover actionable events that can help you grow your business.

At the end of a calling campaign, it’s helpful to analyze your progress throughout the campaign.

Note: You don’t have to wait until the end of a campaign to analyze – it’s helpful to look at results and productivity at other points as well. For example, a few checkpoints are:

  1. After the first few hours
  2. The halfway point
  3. As you’re nearing the end
  4. Once you’ve completed the campaign

Keep in mind, if something needs to be adjusted, it’s better to know sooner versus later. This is why we suggest multiple checkpoints throughout the duration of a campaign.

 

To begin measuring and analyzing, first, compare your results with your goals. Did you achieve, exceed, or fall short of what you were hoping to accomplish? Why? What will you tweak for the next time?

If you have technology, you can pull reports that show exact numbers – the hours called, calls connected, the number of actionable events, etc. Analyzing and understanding these data points will help you with the success of future campaigns. However, while it’s important to look at these numbers, do not undervalue the callers’ thoughts and opinions. Reports show you numbers, while the callers can tell you more about how the calls were received and what they heard from the prospects.

The most effective analysis will include the data and feedback – this will paint the clearest picture of the campaign as a whole and give insight into the meaning behind the numbers.

In summary, most prospects make buying decisions when their timing is right and they have a need or pain with their current solution. The best way to capitalize on good timing is to establish the discipline to be calling on a consistent basis. Remember, a day you do not prospect will create a day in the future when you won’t have something to sell.

For questions and more information on telemarketing campaigns, contact Dunlap Marketing.

Mike Dunlap – miked@dunlapmarketing.com

Kaitlin Dunlap Cuevas – kaitlind@dunlapmarketing.com