Whether the economy is strong or weak, no matter what conditions are like in your industry, every B2B sales organization needs to keep filling the pipeline with new sales meetings and new business opportunities. Outsourcing appointment setting can be a great strategy to generate new sales leads and keep your pipeline full.
If your sales team needs an extra boost of capacity, if you aren’t ready to hire full-time sales development representatives but still need to generate leads, or if you just need some outside perspective on what your prospects are saying and how you could approach them differently, working with a B2B lead generation firm to outsource appointment setting could be the right strategy.
But as you consider whether to outsource appointment setting, it’s important to understand the landscape of this specialized professional field. Sometimes companies have misconceptions, misunderstandings, or misaligned expectations about how appointment setting works and what results can be achieved. Before you invest in B2B appointment setting outsourcing services, it’s important to have clear expectations. Make sure you have good levels of communication, rapport, and trust with any B2B appointment setting outsourcing firm that you hire.
Let’s take a look at a few of the biggest misconceptions around outsourced appointment setting – and how you can have the best possible experience when working with outsourced appointment setters.
When hiring a lead generation firm to outsource appointment setting, you might worry that the appointment setting team can’t represent your business as well as your in-house staff. What if they don’t understand your solution, or don’t know the “lingo” of your industry?
Here’s the reality: a good lead generation firm will provide extensive training to the appointment setters assigned to your program. Many reps have worked in the B2B sales and marketing field for years, and they know the process of building relationships at the top of the funnel. A good lead generation firm will quickly be able to get up to speed on your specific solution and value proposition.
Appointment setters don’t need to be conversant in every technical detail of what you sell; they just need to know enough to have that first conversation with a prospect, spark interest, and get sales meetings booked on the calendar. Your sales team can take it from there.
Good appointment setters will be well-trained in their specific skillset of making cold calls and booking meetings. But they will need some additional onboarding, guidance, and training on your company’s particular solution.
As part of setting up your lead generation program, a good B2B appointment setting firm will want to have an in-depth conversation with you to get up to speed on your product, your vertical, your target market, and any other background details to help understand how you sell and what challenges you’re facing.
Before you hire B2B appointment setters, make sure you have clear expectations for what they’re going to accomplish and what their deliverables will be. Keep in mind that appointment setting is part of the “top of the funnel process” of B2B sales.
Appointment setters are often a prospect’s first point of contact with your organization. These outreach calls are not supposed to close the deal, they’re supposed to be the first conversation to introduce the prospect to your company and your solution and to get the prospect interested to hear more.
Ideally, your appointment setting team is going to produce a list of new business leads that you can review and use going forward. As part of their work, depending on the scope of the project, they might provide detailed notes about how the conversation went, what questions the prospect might have, and how urgently each prospect needs your solution.
Keep in mind that not every business lead is equally “warm.” Some of the new leads will be of higher quality than others. Some of the prospects might have heard of your business before and will be intrigued to hear more. Some prospects might not be immediately ready to buy but would like to have an introductory sales call to learn about your solution. Some prospects might be skeptical or have a low level of interest but are open to chatting with your sales team.
Appointment setters cannot smooth the path to closing a deal on every sales conversation. New sales leads require careful handling, and every sales process can have unexpected bumps. But when you outsource appointment setting, your team of reps will try to open a conversation and get the prospect interested. Then you and your sales team can take the handoff and proceed with the rest of the sales cycle.
When you decide to invest in lead generation services, it might be tempting to go with a firm that promises specific results. But here’s the problem with that: appointment setting is unpredictable. It’s not an exact science. Reps don’t know what they’re going to hear from your target market until they get on the phone and start talking with prospects. The mood and sentiment of your prospects can change fast, depending on what’s happening in their businesses and industries.
Strategic Sales & Marketing has been in the B2B lead generation industry for decades, and we’ve seen all kinds of situations. We do not guarantee specific results in terms of the “number of leads” or “new pipeline opportunities.” Instead, we want to deliver the right results that give you a strong ROI on the investment you make with us.
Sometimes when lead generation companies guarantee specific results, like guaranteeing a specific number of new leads, they end up hitting their target – but you’ll end up missing yours. For example, a firm might guarantee to deliver a big number of leads, but the leads turn out to be mostly low-quality.
Which would you rather have: 1,000 new leads where only 5 of them are truly ready to buy – and the good leads get lost in the clutter? Or 100 new leads where 50 of them are ready to buy and the other 50 are pre-qualified as serious buyers?
In lead generation, as in so many other aspects of business and life, sometimes quality matters more than quantity. Choose your lead generation firm accordingly.
If it’s your first time investing in an outsourcing appointment setting, you might be reluctant to commit too many resources until you know what results you can get. Some lead generation firms make big promises or offer to work on commission. Some firms might offer a surprisingly low-budget quote for the cost of your lead generation program. Are good appointment setters really so cheap?
Here’s the thing: a good lead generation firm will want to work with you over a multi-month engagement. They will have a process-oriented approach that navigates the challenges in a methodical way. Generating good sales leads and getting appointments with qualified buyers takes time and effort and well-honed professional skills. It’s an investment worth making.
Most reputable appointment setting firms will have minimum monthly investments that they want you to commit to, kind of like a retainer agreement. This gives you priority access to the lead generation firm’s team and shows that you’re serious about the long-term commitment of appointment setting. If a firm is promising you overnight success at cut-rate budgets, this should be a red flag. Chances are, they’re not going to represent your company in a credible, professional way – they might even alienate your prospective customers and damage your reputation.
Appointment setting is not a frictionless, turnkey process, and the results don’t happen overnight. Of course, any good B2B lead generation firm will try to make the process as easy for you as possible. But you and your team, as the client, will need to have hands-on involvement to provide guidance, and feedback, and to monitor the process along the way.
Sometimes clients expect near-immediate results. But appointment setting takes time. Reps need to spend a lot of time on the phone to engage with prospects, find decision-makers, and do the upfront legwork of building relationships and establishing trust. When hiring appointment setters, be hopeful – but be patient.
Outsourcing appointment setting is often misunderstood. But if you hire an experienced B2B lead generation firm like Strategic Sales and Marketing (SSM), you can get clear guidance, a time-tested process, and the best possible results. SSM will work to understand your marketing challenges and set clear expectations for how your appointment setting program will operate. We serve in a spirit of partnership to our clients – we want to be an extension of your company that represents your brand with confidence and professionalism, in the same way as your best employees. SSM trains our appointment setters to be energetic, determined, focused, and motivated – but all with a considerate human touch. Our conversations with your prospective customers will leave them wanting to hear more, and opening doors for a warm welcome to your sales team.
Contact us for a free consultation. We will develop a customized quote based on your business needs.