What Makes a Cold Calling Program Successful?

 

Legal Social Media, Inc. is a firm that writes Facebook entries, blogs and tweets for personal injury law firms.

 

This is a cutting edge service offered by a small, yet successful firm. The company had always acquired clients through word of mouth, and decided to broaden its reach by using outbound cold callers.

 

Legal Social Media was new to outbound B2B cold calling. This is how the firm structured the campaign:

  1. The list: The firm ordered a list of small personal injury law firms, with practices comprised of 2-3 attorneys.
  2. The message: Legal Social Media used a fairly compelling message, essentially: you need to use social media to get your next clients, or your competitors will get them first.
  3. The offer: The firm chose not to include a special offer, such as “first month free,” or “first twitter account free for every Facebook account.”
  4. The callers: The calling team was competent and had experience targeting attorneys.

The campaign’s primary objective was to set telephone appointments. the second objective was to send emails to interested firms with the goal of making a telephone follow-up to set a time to talk.

 

In the first 25 hours, Legal Social Media set 1 telephone appointment which did not result in a sale. Their firm also sent 12 emails to law offices, but could not reach the attorney decision makers after sending the emails in the short remaining time.

 

After these 25 hours, Legal Social Media decided to stop the program. The company concluded they would not produce a sufficiently high ROI, based on these early results.

 

So, what happened? Was Legal Social Media right to stop the program? Here’s my analysis of the campaign:

  1. Regarding the calling list, it turns out the decision makers were the attorneys themselves. Talking directly to attorneys requires multiple phone calls, and thus meant Legal Social Media would need to spend more time and money than budgeted.
  2. The message was fairly compelling, but just not strong enough. This is a cutting edge service and attorneys are slow to adopt new products and services.
  3. The lack of an offer hurt. Perhaps if there had been a special offer to sway a few more decision makers into scheduling a telephone meeting, more attorneys may have stopped to listen. Without an offer, and with already busy schedules, attorneys didn’t see a reason to stop their existing work and act now.
  4. The outbound callers were clear, confident and friendly. Unfortunately, they rarely spoke to decision makers or key influencers.

 

This case study is a classic example of a well-planned program that had most of the right ingredients, but overlooked critical factors.

 

Perhaps if Legal Social Media had the budget to continue the program longer term, had created an effective process for converting information seekers into sales, and had incorporated an introductory offer, this program could have proven successful and resulted in a positive ROI.

 

I purposefully used this case study to show how two critical barriers: the willingness to make a long term investment and having strong sales skills, can prevent a potentially successful program from achieving full potential.