28% of cold calls are answered on the first try. At least 17% of the numbers tried are disconnected. There are a lot of statistics and strategies surrounding cold calling.
When to call? How many times to call? Do we have the right information?
When a company is utilizing cold calling as a part of its marketing strategy, it’s important they understand the ins and outs. And if not, outsourcing a cold prospecting agency should be at the top of the marketing department’s list.
Keep reading to understand more about cold calling. And learn what questions to ask before choosing a cold prospecting agency.
What is Cold Prospecting?
Cold calling is a marketing tactic. It’s where a sales professional reaches out to a cold lead without any warning and tries to sell a product or service. A cold lead is someone who has never had previous contact or interest in a company.
Cold calling can come in many forms, including:
- Calling someone on the phone
- Texting a cold lead
- Sending a cold email
This tactic can have its advantages and disadvantages. A solid strategy is needed if your company is going to use cold calling. Or you can always partner with a cold prospecting agency to get expert help.
What is a Cold Prospecting Agency?
A cold prospecting agency is a company that has expertise in cold lead generation. And how to turn cold leads into warm prospects. The agency specializes in this type of marketing.
And they can likely get you fast results. With a dedicated team to handle your cold lead generation efforts, your sales team will have more time to focus on qualified leads.
All while the agency gets more for you! It seems like a given in hiring an agency. But before you do, it’s important to understand what to look for.
Keep reading to learn what questions to ask and discover a few best practices to follow when researching a cold prospecting agency.
What to Ask a Cold Prospecting Agency
When you’re in the discussion phase of finding a new cold prospecting agency, it’s important to ask the right questions. You want to know when to expect results and what is covered in the service.
Jumping into cold calling with a company and not fully grasping what they’ll do for you could end badly. Not only could you be wasting money on a service that isn’t what you want, but the partnership could also be a bad fit.
The following nine questions will help to get a feel for any agency you consider. And give you a clear picture of what you’re getting into.
1. How Long Until We Have Our First Lead?
An agency that knows what they’re doing will be able to get fast results. They’ll have solid lead generation strategies in place to deliver new opportunities within days of onboarding your company as a customer.
The right agency for your company will create a buyer persona based on your industry and business. They will also craft a strategy to maximize results. And leverage the strategy across several platforms.
2. Who Will Own the Cold Email Addresses?
You should ultimately be providing emails for an agency to conduct cold calling through email marketing. If a company wants to use their own email domain and not give your company a chance to own it, then they are probably not the right company for you.
You don’t want to lose access to your email list or inboxes once the partnership is over. And if things go badly, it would be detrimental to lose such valuable information.
It’s important to ask this and be comfortable with the response before you start working with an agency.
3. What Strategy Do You Have for Cold Leads?
A great agency will customize the strategy they use for your company. They should be asking questions about your goals and what your expectations are. But, you can ask what their overall strategy looks like before starting the relationship.
An effective strategy will be one that reaches many cold leads, but not in a spammy way. There should be a lot of personalization involved with cold leads.
The right cold prospecting agency for your company will have the answers to this question. And they’ll be happy to discuss how exactly they’ll be able to help you reach your marketing goals.
4. What Kind of Leads Will You Get My Company?
There are different types of lead generation. Some companies start a conversation. Others work with prospects all the way through until they book an appointment.
It’s important to ask this question beforehand so you know what kind of leads you’ll be working with. And so you can communicate what your company needs to see if they can meet the requirements.
5. What Kind of Questions Will You Ask Potential Leads?
A key component of approaching cold calling is to ask the appropriate questions to get a response. You can ask for examples of the types of questions they’ll be asking cold leads.
This can help you to determine if you think their services will help your company. We list 10 key questions to ask to get conversations going below.
6. What Industries Are You Familiar With?
Asking this question will tell you if the agency understands your market. Will they be able to navigate the challenges in your niche? Do they understand how to connect with potential leads?
Not having experience in your industry isn’t a bad thing, but it probably means you’ll have to wait longer for results. The company will have to do a lot more research and testing to succeed in a new industry.
7. How Do You Track Performance?
It’s important to understand what KPIs or metrics the company tracks. This will ensure you and the agency are in agreement with what success looks like for your campaign.
The specific KPIs and metrics should be dependent on your company’s goals. A great agency will have a clearly defined method to how they track campaign success.
8. Do You Outsource Any Functions?
When you hire an agency, you want to know they will be handling your campaign. A lot of companies do use external vendors to manage parts of their operations.
It’s important to understand this upfront. You don’t want to be surprised if you find out they’ve sent your company’s work to another organization that you’ve never heard of.
Some companies do partner with vendors to maximize their results. This is still something that should be told upfront.
9. How Many Accounts Is An Account Manager Responsible For?
This one is really important. If the account managers are overwhelmed and too busy, they won’t be able to dedicate the time they need to to your account.
Marketing campaigns require a lot of testing, optimization, and analysis. You want to make sure the agency you are partnering with has enough account managers to manage all aspects of your campaign.
Smaller agencies won’t necessarily have account managers. Some are run by a single person and others are small with just a few team members. Asking this question gives you a clear understanding of the agency’s dynamic.
Best Practices for the First Discussion with a Cold Prospecting Agency
Besides asking the above questions, there are a few other best practices. You should understand all of these before you sign a contract with an agency.
When choosing a company to work with, you should consider your goals and what they offer. Do those two things align?
How many other clients have they helped? What do their reviews and testimonials look like?
Do they have good communication? Will they give you regular updates and access to analytics? Consider all of these before negotiating a contract with an agency.
1. Ask for Details About the Contract
Once you’ve determined you want to work with an agency, or you feel they could be a top contender, you should ask about the contract. How long is it for?
Before signing a contract, be sure you understand:
- The types of messages they’ll send
- The cold calling strategy
- Expected results
- Your goals and the strategy they developed
- The engagement process
- The types of calls-to-action used
- Where leads come from
The answers to these questions will give you a clear picture and guide your decision-making. Partnering with a marketing agency shouldn’t be taken lightly. The right company could generate significant revenue growth.
2. Determine Who Will Own What Assets
When working with an agency, they will have their own tools and assets to use during your campaign. It’s important you can get access to that, or at least a copy when the partnership ends.
For example, say you want to move your cold prospecting efforts as an in-house function. Having the performance metrics and previous emails would be necessary to set up a strong department.
3. Understand the Partnership Expectations and What’s Expected of Your Company
This one isn’t exactly about results, but more about the roles everyone will have. To create a great campaign, the agency will need information about your target audience and past successes. They’ll also expect you to set goals and sign off on the strategy.
And your expectations for the company should include what they’ll do for you. Include how they’ll communicate with you and how often you’ll see performance metrics.
It’s important to hash out these details before you sign a contract so everyone has clearly defined roles when the partnership starts.
4. Determine a Price
You want to make sure the price of the service meets your budget requirements. Discussing the price before signing a contract is a must. You don’t want to get stuck legally with a company and not have a way to pay for the service.
5. Ask for Case Studies
This is a great way to understand past results. By reading case studies from past customers, you’ll get an idea of what kinds of campaigns they have created and the success they’ve achieved.
Questions the Agency Should Ask You
To truly understand your company’s needs, an agency will need to have details about the challenges you’re facing and the goals your company has. These questions can be intense and there may be many of them. But this is to let the agency know exactly how to assist you.
1. How Involved Are You in Marketing Decisions?
A thorough agency will ask this question to ensure they are speaking to the decision-maker. If they aren’t, they’ll know they need to develop further relationships with your company before moving forward.
2. What Are You Currently Doing for Cold Prospecting?
This answer will let the agency know what you are doing. And what clearly isn’t working. This will help them to shape your strategy.
Having insights for previous campaigns is a great way to measure new ones. And this helps the agency to know what issues they are expected to overcome.
3. What Does the Team Look Like That We’ll Be Working With?
The agency you choose will want probably want to meet the team they will be working with. This could be your marketing department or the ultimate decision-maker for the purchase.
4. What Challenges Do You Currently Face?
Your response to this question will tell the agency what they need to overcome. And help them to decide what areas need to be adjusted to get cold leads generated for your company.
5. Have You Used Other Agencies in the Past?
This is another question to understand what hasn’t worked for your company in the past. They’ll probably ask for details about the campaigns with past agencies and what the ultimate outcome was.
6. Do You Know Your Target Audience?
The right agency will be doing their own research on your targeted audience. But it’s always a good plan to have a direction to go in. And by understanding how you currently target cold leads, the agency will be able to identify where the strategy needs improvement.
7. What Goals Need to Happen for Your Company in the Next Year?
This will help them understand the impact their company can have on your cold prospecting efforts. This helps the agency to create a vision. It also gives them an ultimate end goal to work toward.
They can have that ultimate goal in mind whether you work with them for a month or the entire year.
8. What Would Be Your Expected Outcome? And What Would Be A Great, Beyond Expectations Outcome?
This question will give them a good idea of your expectations. And what kind of results would really wow your company.
How to Get Cold Leads
There are many ways an agency can generate cold leads. Some agencies buy lists of contact information. Others qualify leads individually to get the best opportunities.
With cold leads, it’s important the agency understand how to connect with them to increase engagement. This will turn cold leads to warm or hot. And will get your company fast results.
Many companies use tools and software integrated with their customer relationship management system to increase cold leads. These tools use artificial intelligence to pre-qualify leads and determine the contacts most likely to respond.
This can result in faster and more impactful results.
Cold Marketing Tips
Before an agency makes cold calls on your behalf, they should research who they are targeting. And they should create a script or outline to follow. This is important no matter which communication method they are following.
Knowing who you are speaking to before reaching out is a must. Not only does this increase your likelihood of success, but it makes for a more personalized experience. A great agency will do a lot of research as part of your campaign.
Follow a Script or Outline
Cold calling can get overwhelming. Having a script or outline with the key points you need to hit with each prospect is a good idea. This will ensure you say everything you need to say for each person.
When an agency creates an outline or script, they should be telling cold leads the following information about your company:
- Who you are and what you do
- Why they are being contacted
- The value your company will bring
- Include a call-to-action detailing what you want from them
You want to generate interest in your company. Cold calling isn’t to increase sales immediately, it’s to garner interest and get conversations going.
Questions the Agency Should Be Asking to Turn Cold Lead Generation into Warm Prospects
When outsourcing with an agency, you should understand what questions they will be asking. Open-ended questions are the most common types of questions used for cold leads.
There are many other elements that ultimately decide if an outreach effort is successful or not. The tone of the conversation, what you say, and the feelings you create for the other person are all an important part of the formula.
The following 5 questions are great to use with cold leads.
1. Start with an Icebreaker
When initiating a conversation, it’s important the agency is showing interest in getting to know the person they are contacting. This will make the person feel valued and important. And increase your chances of getting a response.
Common icebreakers when connecting include:
- How are you today?
- Tell me about yourself / your company
- Is there anything I can do to help you?
- Ask about their company, location, or family
Icebreakers are meant to get the person talking and open to conversation with you. The agency should be making this all about the lead.
2. What are Your Goals?
This question will help you to understand what the client needs. You can then connect their challenge with the solution your company offers. The agency you choose to work with should understand the initial challenges and issues your audience faces.
This not only shapes strategy, but it dictates how interactions should go with leads.
3. Ask About Buying Habits
A good way to get a read on a prospect is to see if they have used a competitor’s product. Do they have experience in using the type of product or service you offer?
This question can help guide the conversation. The agency you are with will then know if they need to educate more about the product or dive right into how it can solve the prospect’s problems.
4. Discover Additional Pain Points
Ask probing questions to understand specific or unique challenges they may have. You can ask about current issues or goals they have. You can even ask them if they have more questions about the product or service you offer as a way to discover any additional needs.
5. Create Scenarios and What Ifs
You can connect how your product or service will help their problem directly. A great marketing agency does this and does it well. These types of questions will help them to understand how the prospect defines success.
And that will tell them exactly how to proceed.
Outsource With an Agency
Is your company ready to scale its cold lead generation and partner with a cold prospecting agency? Is the thought of generating lots of leads thrilling for your marketing department?
At Thumbstop Media, we are ready to help you maximize your opportunities. Equipped with the successes of thousands of companies, we have the expertise needed to change your cold leads to hot ones!
We leverage our expertise to research the industry you sell in and craft relatable content. And we define the strategy so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
Contact me today to get started. Or if you want to learn more about our outbound marketing packages.