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Accounting Telemarketing ROI

     -     Oct 27th, 2011   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

As accounting firm Marketing Directors review the marketing budget for 2012, there is little doubt that helping develop new business is a core goal of most firm’s marketing activities. While some firms invest in programs that improve or enhance the marketing “foundation”, others search for more aggressive programs designed to enhance lead generation efforts. One such program is executive telemarketing. This is when a CPA or accounting firm uses business to business (B2B) telemarketing to initiate conversations with prospects to determine if any opportunities exist. As accounting marketing professionals assess telemarketing as a viable option inevitably a key question arises. What type of ROI can we expect? I get asked this question so often I thought I would write a blog post about it to provide a succinct explanation of telemarketing ROI.  

First, let discuss what ROI means? Generally speaking, ROI refers to what the firm will “get” in return for the investment and effort they are putting into the project. A good marketing professional asks this about every marketing campaign they undertake (whether internal or external). In the case of telemarketing there are several benefits the firm will receive from a telemarketing campaign including; increased brand reinforcement/recognition, market education about a new service offering, and of course access to new prospect opportunities. All of these are benefits the firm receives from implementing a telemarketing campaign and all offer different levels of value. However, when an accounting (marketing or other) professional makes this inquiry they really want to know how much they can expect to close in new business.

The answer to that question depends on a number of factors.  Externally, the accounting firm must be sure they are selecting a competent vendor who can handle calling the C Level Suite of executives. Most firms are very good at making this assessment. However, almost every firm fails to assess their internal situation and to see how it can impact the overall effort.  There are several variables that must be considered when calculating a firm’s expected ROI. Below I have listed some of the more prominent variables that impact the final results, including:

 Market Presence– is the firm well known in the market for providing the promoted service or is this service new?

  • Firm’s Experience (providing the promoted service) – does the firm has a solid list of references to provide prospects?
  • Prospect List Quality – was the prospect list well researched and contact names verified?
  • Quality Collateral Material – does the firm have high quality collateral material that looks professionals and conveys key messages about the firm’s ability?
  • Effective Follow Up Process – Is the internal follow up process consistent and timely?
  • Sales Strategy – how does the firm approach sales? Is it simply a numbers game or is there a more comprehensive and coordinated approach in play? 

The answer to the questions above have a serious impact on the ROI a firm will receive from a telemarketing campaign. If there is a weak follow up process internally, then no matter what the telemarketing company there is little hope of the firm getting new business. Less potent variables like market presence and firm experience still play a role in how well a firm is able to convert leads to clients, but they still figure into the mix. 

Survey Says!

You may have noticed I have still not given an answer to the ROI question. I will happily provide the general trends, however I thought it was important to clearly explain how the accounting firm’s structure, actions and processes play a significant role in the firm’s overall ROI from such an engagement. Most telemarketing firms “generally” experience a response rate of 4%-6%. For example, out of 100 companies targeted generally speaking 4-6 of them will have an interest in speaking with you. The ROI can be determined based on the average fees for the featured service across the number of opportunities. Keep in mind, that in some it may be much more and in others much less. So before committing to a program be sure this ROI matches or exceed your expectations. Also, be sure to assess your internal situation to identify areas where you can make improvements or bolster processes. 

One last piece of advice

If a telemarketing provider tells you that guarantee results, then RUN! Like most things in life, there are no guaranteed results. From a practical standpoint it is impossible for any telemarketing provider to guarantee results. Unless they go on the sales call with you, it is not possible for anyone to make a real guarantee about the number of new clients you will get from using their service.  As usual, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!

If you are looking for a telemarketing company to help your firm generate leads, shoot me an email here. I am happy to help you out!

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