120 Appointments Booked in 9 Months: Outsourcing Sales Acquisition for Online Education Company

Appointments booked
Email open rate
Boston, Massachusetts
Company size
4,374 employees
Audrey Wyrick
Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Cengage
Reading duration

About ed2go

ed2go is a registered trademark of Education To Go, a part of Cengage Learning, and a leader in continuing online education. ed2go has grown into a leader in the field of online learning, reaching students in 50 states and more than 16 countries worldwide.

Responsible team

Alisa Rassadina
Senior Account Manager

Client’s Challenges

ed2go’s team members are educators and technology experts trained in developing educational programs. While they excel in the educational space, lead generation is an entirely new ball game for their team. They concluded that by partnering with the right lead generation agency, they could unlock proven sales and marketing experiments using our team of lead generation experts. When ed2go approached Belkins, they struggled with a few key things:

  1. Doing cold outreach inconsistently. Cengage has had an ambitious annual goal of closing a high number of deals. To succeed, ed2go needed to reach out to organizations with Workforce Development training programs. However, their sales team didn’t have enough resources to do it at scale. That set of sales techniques, tactics, and campaigns they normally use loses its edge with time, which calls for customer acquisition optimization. All in all, ed2go concluded that finding leads and conducting consistent cold email outreach was the main challenge.
  2. Struggling with sales acquisition in-house. To make sure they were closing a predetermined number of deals, ed2go needed a steady flow of leads each month. To focus on closing deals rather than acquiring them, ed2go wanted to hire an experienced partner to manage the process. In addition, the client wanted its sales team to observe our team of outsourced SDRs at work. They could then learn how to send cold emails in high volumes and target organizations that fit their ICP.
  3. Working with an inaccurate ICP. Even though ed2go knew they targeted organizations with Workforce Development training programs in place, it didn’t mean their ideal customer profile was complete and accurate. In fact, if generated leads aren’t very hot or aren’t closing, it may mean that an ICP needs further inspection, which was the case with ed2go.

What We Did

Belkins's lead gen strategies

As veterans in lead generation, Belkins’s SDRs know the drill. Tweak an ICP until you hit the sweet stop, research leads extensively, and develop email templates that get clicks and replies. These steps can take some time, but you get amazing results when you never settle for anything below perfection. Here’s in greater detail what we did and why it affected the outcomes:

Calibrating an ICP

ed2go found that companies with Workforce Development training programs are their target audience. When we took the case, we saw the highest response rate comes from non-profit organizations. Having analyzed their past clients and deals, we created an ICP and started reaching out to leads. Later, based on the client’s feedback, we adjusted their ideal customer profile until it started producing results.

Importance of ICP

Perfecting cold email templates

We developed cold email templates that help us identify if the organization we’re reaching out to would be a fit. We straightforwardly ask if they provided direct workforce training. If yes, we would suggest they expand their career training initiatives. If we get no response, we continue emailing them for some time, offering case studies and other relevant materials. An effective email template goes hand in hand with persistent follow-up.

Effectiveness of email templates

Main Challenges We Faced

From the get-go, our partnership delivered. The client was open to new approaches and highly receptive to our suggestions. We also took heed of their wishes. Let’s now stress a couple of moments that made it all possible: 

  1. Target audience. The main challenge was finding organizations with some form of a training program, whether internal or external. However, once we spent a few weeks further defining the company’s ICP, we found the knack for finding great leads.
  2. Right titles. To make your cold email outreach campaigns effective, you need to be careful about who you reach out to. In order to achieve the max efficiency of the prospecting process, Belkins outsourced SDRs usually have plenty of follow-ups. And our account managers hone their attentiveness to schedule calls with the correct sales reps each time.


Results of Belkins and Cengage cooperation

Belkins and ed2go’s partnership worked like clockwork. The professionalism of Belkins allowed the team to fine-tune their approaches, and within days, they were delivering terrific results. With the help of our experts, the client has high-quality booked calls and is seeing an improvement in overall sales pipeline speed. Our top three achievements in 9 months?

  • 120 quality calls with prospects;
  • +60% open rate achieved;
  • Lowest rate of re-scheduled calls and no-shows.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hassle-free projects do exist. Although there can be many uncertainties in outsourced sales acquisition, trusting the process will go a long way. You must stay calm as intense stress will block rational thinking, making you less effective. However, in this case, when the client is receptive and open to your suggestions, you gain confidence and, as a result, become more productive. The ed2go case made us realize that our partnerships go much more smoothly when partners and vendors have good chemistry and move toward goals without any fuss. 
  2. Ambitious goals are to be supported with strategic thinking. The more ambitious your goals, the more strategic thinking they require. That’s why at Belkins we’re big fans of setting concrete plans but not forgetting the little details that make all the difference. Although lead generation implies rules and algorithms that make it pretty straightforward, there is plenty of room for the unexpected. Errors do happen but trying drastically different strategies is where we learn the fastest. Despite working within the same industries, our projects are never the same. 
  3. Let your value proposition shine through. The mistake we usually see in cold emails is not putting enough effort into the value proposition. If you know your lead research is robust and your product will certainly help your leads, don’t be stingy about telling them why! Share the details! In addition, send cold emails wave after wave and carefully monitor feedback. If the numbers don’t match your sales goals, keep working on messaging to ensure they reflect the product positioning and the client’s pain points. Always ensure your value proposition is seeping through your messages.