How appointment setting companies generate leads worth having

Appointment setting companies are faced with a dilemma. Hungry clients requiring sales leads a-plenty, against a backdrop of strict lead criteria. The sentiment ‘We want all the leads out there but we only want certain leads’ is the kind of conflicting one that comes with the turf. And we get it, demand is high but only within certain conditions.

There’s a school of thought which says if the volume of leads is high enough, the client can cherry-pick what they want, so they won’t be disappointed. It’s a volume-driven approach, and it’s hugely problematic in B2B appointment setting, mainly because you have to churn a mass of data, to connect a volume of calls, to get a few wins over the line. The adage ‘never mind the quality, feel the width’ is apt. Organisations using this approach are rarely market leaders looking to grow a loyal customer base. Instead, if you want to nurture and grow relationships which have the potential to make a difference, we absolutely endorse treating buyers and their data with care, diligence and respect right from the get-go.

Less is more

If your telemarketing team or agency work on the basis that they’ll present a mixed bag of leads, of varying criteria, quality or warmth, they may well be setting you all up for failure. Data is precious, and customer experience even more so. Besides, some leads just aren’t worth the effort it takes to sell to them. Mismatching objectives may well mean they’re not right for you, and you’re not right for them, so you end up with a cheap sale and a customer that takes more time and energy than they should.

So what to do? Valued outsourced Appointment setting companies recognise it’s far more rewarding when the conditions for a good relationship are laid down and valued from the outset. Fewer leads that convert to high-quality clients are preferable to a ton of leads that flop.

Profile data carefully

The story starts with data. Decent companies take great care to make data selections which help, not hinder a project. You might think that goes without saying, but many organisations hold data in their systems which they can’t trace back to a targeting decision. Some records will have come from a trade show, others from an inbound enquiry. They were never qualified in or sifted out. These records should be excluded from appointment setting campaigns until some work has been done to actually establish that they warrant the time and expense of meeting the buyer. If the business isn’t quite right and an appointment is generated with the wrong data, the resulting appointment will be an expensive and frustrating waste of time for everyone involved.

Test and test. Then test 1 more time!

For appointment setting to be successful, data should be carefully selected for its propensity to convert to sale. A good way of doing this is to look at your best clients. Who are they, what do they do, what needs are you meeting. Then take a small section of data which emulates that picture and call it. Test several small sets before deciding whether to add more of the same kind of data to the mix. Look for relevance. In other words, if 50% of the calls you or team make are deemed irrelevant because the organisation or buyer type wasn’t right, stop and review. Because effectively you have wasted the time of 50% of the people you called, and that’s not good for you, your team, the person you called, or your brand.

Value judgments

If you’re outsourcing to an appointment setting company, they may assume any data you provide is robust enough for them to carry on dialling without question. At Blue Donkey, we always test data in small sets, even if it was provided by our client. We’ll make a value judgement about how warmly calls are received, and how closely target companies fit our client’s criteria. If we’re concerned, the project will be reviewed and if necessary new data sourced. You should keep asking, does the feedback from calls or marketing suggest we’re banging on the right doors.

Find the MAN

Another thing that you might think should go without saying is this, make sure appointment setting calls are targeting the right key decision-maker. It’s so easy to get this wrong due to the ambiguous range of job titles in use. Appointment setting companies like Blue Donkey have routines that enable them to do this with every record. You should do the same. Before targeting someone, make sure they are the right MAN. This will be the person with the Money (or Means), Authority, and Need to make a decision. Then qualify them in and out. That’s when you check at reception level ‘what is the name of the XXX?’ This will be a job title such as Finance Director, take the name, check the spelling phonetically, and then qualify out. That’s when you ask ‘what is their exact job title?’ If it’s Finance Manager, you’ll know they may not be the senior decision-maker you’re after and you have to ask who they report to.

Pepper your buyers with benefits

A decision-maker receiving a cold call out of the blue, when they’re probably in the middle of something, means they’re suddenly yanked into a discussion they were not planning to have. Appointment setting companies are doing this all day every day. In order to show some sympathy for disturbing the buyer, the call has to be made as simple to transition in to as possible. Benefit selling is one of the things you can do to make the call work for the buyer. If you are selling features, you’re talking about what something can do, if you’re selling benefits you are explaining what something can help a buyer achieve. Benefits are what creates the desire, and benefit selling is the process of connecting what a product does (feature) to the problem your buyer needs to solve.

Finally, give buyers time to think and reflect, so be prepared to gain consent for another call, at an agreed time before the appointment setting process is complete. Work at a pace that’s right for your potential buyer. We know it’s tempting to try and get the appointment there and then, however, if you push hard for the appointment you’ll put the decision-maker off. Pushy isn’t a good look and it’s bad for your brand. Even if you do get the meeting, it’s likely they’ll cancel.