Veterinary Business Development (VBD) was founded in 1990 by veterinary surgeon Douglas Hutchison after he identified the potential for a commercial database of veterinary surgeons and subsequently created the Vetfile brand – still the UK’s largest and most accurate veterinary database.
With ready-made access to every veterinary surgeon in the UK, expansion into veterinary publishing was the logical next step. Titles including Veterinary Times (a weekly news journal), The Veterinary Business Journal and VN Times (a nursing title) took the publishing arm from strength to strength and the business grew quickly to become the UK veterinary sector’s leading communication provider. VBD then launched vet times.co.uk, a website providing daily news and recruitment listings for UK veterinary professionals.
Campaign objective and Project background
With a high quality specialist database as a foundation for the business, VBD’s distinct proposition enabled it to grow to become market leader in its field. Following a review, the team decided to consolidate their position with a more direct marketing approach, with the particular objective to raise awareness of vet times.co.uk.
The Telemarketing Company was selected to support this objective by generating high quality appointments with Vets, Practice Managers, Partners, Head Nurses and Buyers responsible for recruitment, within largely private veterinary practices. The Telemarketing Company was identified as the best fit for the requirement due to its depth and breadth of experience and also the professionalism demonstrated at every step of the process.
“From our initial contact with them right through to the conclusion of the contract, the detailed approach never wavered.”
Commercial Director, VBD
VBD provided data from their extensive database, filtered to focus on high priority segments including medium-sized practices where VBD had no pre-existing relationship, but where the number of employees would warrant recruitment support.
A face to face briefing session took place at the Telemarketing Company’s offices with a number of callers to ensure flexible cover for holidays, sickness and absence. Callers were briefed to position themselves as calling from VBD, with the objective of introducing VBD’s jobs website and opportunities for exposure across print and online jobs boards, apps and social media sites. The target outcome was phone appointments for VBD staff and, where queries arose or prospects needed further clarification, calls were to be routed live to a specialist team via hotkey transfers.
Awareness was a further objective of the campaign and the calling team was briefed extensively on VBD’s unique proposition comprising the volume and reach of their on- and off-line circulation, and the support available to set up and maximise return from advertising opportunities. Where prospects were not ready to commit to an appointment, further information was provided to be sent via email to nurture interest and future pipeline.
Given their longstanding reputation in the market, VBD was keen to avoid a hard sell approach and callers were briefed accordingly, in line with VBD’s brand guidelines. In addition, questions around competitor activity and pricing were incorporated so that calling could capture intelligence to support future strategy.
A target KPI of one result every hour was agreed between the client and agency. Early stage reviews and shared call recordings ensured client feedback was gathered as the campaign gained momentum and calling honed to meet the brief and maximise campaign results.
Calling took place over a four week period during which time 177 results were achieved, comprising 41 phone appointments, 15 hotkey transfers and 121 emails sent out to share further information. The agreed target was surpassed with 1.29 results achieved every hour, with over 53% of results achieved on the first call.
In addition to the targeted outcomes, over 295 conversations took place with a decision making contact and 2163 updates were made to the VBD database, including 1642 contact names, 218 job titles and 160 email addresses captured or updated.
For VBD, the campaign delivered a successful proof of concept and has opened up a new channel through which they can increase exposure, develop new opportunities and continue to expand their business.