Finding Prospects: Mailing, Emailing, or Calling – Which Works BEST? by Pat Ryan

Posted on Oct 21, 2015 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Training and HR

There are many theories about the best way to find prospects. Certainly large advertising campaigns and Pat B&W phototrade shows can take up a lot of the marketing budget. But, when you need to reach specifically-targeted individuals on a large-scale basis, it really boils down to three options:

  1. Mailing them,
  2. Emailing them, or
  3. Calling them directly

The context of this discussion will be from the frame of reference of a company that targets decision maker contacts in corporate training, HR, or talent management. Mentor Tech Group works exclusively with clients marketing and selling to the corporate training & human resources world—so we have gained an appreciation for the struggles Sales & Marketing teams go through when trying to reach this audience. We understand the challenges you face.

Let’s explore each prospecting method in more depth…

1. Mailing:

Once widely used to proactively engage prospects, direct mail has become a “thing of the past” for many corporate marketing departments. Sending hard copy material to decision maker contacts has fallen off considerably due to the increased reliance on email marketing and the high costs associated with most direct mail campaigns.

However, as a result of this decrease in the use of direct mail, we have found that what’s old is new again. Companies using a creative approach to direct mail may achieve some measure of marketing success by employing this age-old marketing approach.

There are three primary factors that contribute to the success of a direct mail marketing campaign:

  1. The quality of the list to which you’re mailing,
  2. The personalized nature of the piece (hand-addressed, etc.) and,
  3. The need for a value-based offer in the piece, leading prospects to gain value or education by responding to the letter.

Direct mail marketing is also the path of least resistance to reach decision makers in your industry.

Here’s why:

  • It’s easy to do (but not necessarily cheap!)
  • It does not involve REJECTION
  • You can reach hundreds of prospects in a very short time frame

Most lists used to reach corporate training or talent management decision makers are of questionable quality. Using typical industry lists, we estimate that up to 50% (sometimes more!) of direct mail pieces never reach their intended recipients. At $2-$3 per piece, plus mailing costs, plus list rental fees, you should be certain that your list contains actual decision makers, and that their contact information is accurate – or you are just throwing money away.

Conclusion: Direct mail can be an effective means of generating new leads, but make sure you use a high quality list if employing this marketing tactic.

2. Emailing:

Today, email marketing campaigns are a standard part of most companies’ marketing efforts to attract new prospects. Email marketing often has a higher response rate than direct mail marketing for two primary reasons:

  • Less effort is required to respond to an email versus direct mail
  • The prospect can easily click to your web site to evaluate your value proposition and how it may benefit them.

Beyond the cost of creating the email marketing piece, the cost to send it is minimal. This can be done in-house—or by an outside company that can deliver quality email marketing services.

Regardless of how it’s done, to get the best results, you should:

  • Capture the email address, phone number, title, and company information of those who respond to your email and provide a link to your website.
  • Use that lead information as a follow up tool. Your sales team has a resulting list of contacts requesting more information, as well as those who opened your email and clicked through your website! With most email marketing programs, you can view which contacts viewed which pages on your website and for how long. Now that’s useful information on which your sales team can act!

That leaves the cost of securing WHOM to email.

Securing quality market intelligence has historically been a challenge in the market you target. However, in response to this challenge, MTG created a precisely targeted database containing critical market intelligence for decision maker contacts in corporate training and HR. You see, most “list vendors” simply aggregate information from other outdated sources, making their information inaccurate, incomplete and obsolete. But, Mentor Tech Group provides something VASTLY different from this.

Mentor Tech Group  builds and maintains a specialized market intelligence database, using skilled industry professionals who conduct one-on-one telephone interviews with each contact in our database every FOUR MONTHS. Our database currently contains market intelligence for more than 34,000 training & HR executives at 5500+ top companies in the US and Canada. These are the exact people you want to reach!

Mentor Tech Group is the ONLY company focused exclusively on providing accurate market intelligence for companies selling and marketing to corporate training, talent management and human resources.

Conclusion: Emailing using high quality market intelligence and a value-based offer will enable your team to reap ever-increasing response rates from your marketing efforts.

3. Calling:

This is the most proactive method of discovering WHO your prospects are: Call them and ask them!  It also has the following paradoxical challenges:

  • Those most well equipped to perform cold calling are usually least likely to have time to do it, or even want to do it—so it is either not done at all—or done intermittently (thus, poorly).
  • Those most likely to be chartered to do cold calling are usually second tier callers—and are usually not as good at it.
  • Plus, doing this involves REJECTION—and it is human nature to avoid rejection.

But, since the payoff is high, one would think that a higher priority would be placed on cold calling. Being so potentially effective, why is cold calling usually the last method of proactive prospecting performed?

The reason is that cold calling is often the path of most resistance—because it has the most challenges. But, it also has the potential to deliver an excellent return on investment. Most companies considering it are perpetually in one stage or another of trying to figure out how to do it right—doing it in-house, or outsourcing it.  Both methods have challenges…

To Outsource, or Not to Outsource Your Cold Calling?

  • Doing it in-house.
    • Lack of focus—inside sales/telemarketers end up getting “pulled” into doing other, unrelated tasks, making them far less productive
    • Turnover problems—it’s a hard job
    • Competency problems—it’s not easy to find someone good at doing it that wants to do it!
    • Headcount—do you have the “bodies” to do it?
    • Your team works with a poor list! (Get a precisely targeted list!)
  • Outsourcing it.
    • Does the company have a thorough knowledge of your industry?
    • Do they “speak the language” of corporate training/HR decision makers?
    • Do they have an understanding of “solution sales?”
    • Do they understand the level of detail necessary to obtain about prospects?
    • Regardless of how it’s done, the ROI achieved by outsourced calling is directly correlated with the abilities of those making the calls.

To achieve excellent results in your company, it should be required that cold callers:

  • Be experienced in your industry enough to engage a C-level executive about the benefits of your solution or service
  • Be 100% focused on making calls and finding prospects—otherwise performance will suffer
  • Have the ability to “schmooze” with people—a lively and friendly personality, one who can think quickly on their feet
  • Be able to handle the rejection and the mundane nature of the job

Conclusion:  Cold calling can be a very effective way to get prospects interested – but you HAVE to have the right people doing it!  Many companies are wasting their money because the wrong people are making the calls.  If you’re going to do it well, you have to do it right.


So, what’s the bottom line? A combination of emailing and phone based follow up will yield the best results and the best ROI.

  • Specifically, select an email program designed to capture “click-through” information.
  • Be sure you’re using a high quality list of decision maker contacts in your target market.
  • Create and leverage value added, curriculum-based, or thought leadership content in your campaigns.
  • Call to follow up with all respondents in a timely manner.
  • As a result, your cold-calls will become “warm-calls” as your sales reps call to follow up on the results of an email campaign – i.e. the download of a white paper, a newsletter click-through, or a webinar registration, etc. Instead of “cold calling,” your reps will now be calling to check in as a result of the prospect’s action, allowing them to build trust quickly and have a more meaningful conversation to uncover any specific prospect questions or needs.

As a result of employing these methods, your business developers will be working with a much more manageable calling list, and the calls they make will now be “warm calls.” This is a much better use of their valuable time, and one that will produce much more bang for the buck than doing either solely emailing or cold calling.

Remember, Mentor Tech Group is the only company specialized in finding decision-maker contacts in corporate training and HR. Our market intelligence data can supercharge your mailing, emailing and cold calling efforts! The information we provide is precisely targeted and highly accurate, because every piece of information in our database was entered as a result of a personal conversation with one of our Market Intelligence Consultants!

What makes MTG’s solution SO different?

To start saving money, please contact us today.  We’re here to help you reach the decision-makers you seek – whenever you’re ready!

Call (651) 457-8600, Ext. 3

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