Evaluating Appointment Setting Companies

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B2B Appointment Setting

If you are like most sales and marketing executives, you do not have a background in outsourced appointment setting. With the right tools and decision making criteria in place, evaluating B2B appointment setting companies can create a smoother process.

With the increasing demands to close, sales and marketing professionals often forget the key component in closing deals; leads in the pipeline. This begs the larger question, "how should we generate more opportunity pipeline."

Insource vs. Outsource Appointment Setting

The first thing you need to consider with B2B appointment setting is whether you should insource or outsource. Building appointment setting services internally has certain benefits.

  • Retaining control of the lead generation process

  • Maintaining a fluid and flexible relationship between your sales reps and the appointment setter

  • Creating a bench of talent that can become quota carrying sales reps

When appointment setting is outsourced, you should be aware of the appointment setting company’s’s methods and metrics. Often the most difficult challenge that surrounds outsourcing is aligning the goals of your organization and the appointment setting company. However, if done correctly, outsourced appointment setting can pay off big.

Building a B2B appointment setting team from the ground up, however, is a strenuous process. It requires hiring, training, and supporting a new team. This poses a significant risk as efforts and resources spent by your company do not guarantee a successful B2B appointment setting services program. By comparison, the decision to go with an appointment setting company involves less risk and, with the right guidelines in place, can assure a profitable relationship with qualified inside sales professionals.

Define What a Lead is With Your Appointment Setting Company

Once you have decided to outsource to an appointment setting company, now it is important to define what a “lead” actually means. SiruisDecisions, the leading B2B marketing and sales research firm, established the following definitions to create a general understanding of a “lead”:

Look at the chart in context of your pipeline. Then ask yourself, “What is preventing optimal pipeline growth?” Depending on your definition of a lead, it could be one of the following: converting inquiries to leads or converting leads to Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

To convert an inquiry to a lead, your sales rep must verify that the company fits into your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). To convert leads to MQLs, the sales rep must reach out to leads for the purpose of qualifying them, gathering information, and scheduling follow-up. This is a more extensive process that not only requires a specific skill set, but the right DNA.

Should You Build a B2B Appointment Setting Services Team?

If you are building your own B2B appointment setting services team you should familiarize yourself with Vorsight’s model for creating a sales team of high performing hunters, (DEPT)T: DNA, Environment, Performance Self-Management, Training to Mastery, and Technology. The effective implementation of these five key areas is essential to the success of the appointment setting team as a whole.

Building an internal team takes quite a bit of time and effort. Many companies are more comfortable starting with an external appointment setting company, which can provide the flexibility and ability to shift to an internal team down the line.

There are a number of appointment setting companies in the lead generation space ranging from those that focus on lead inquiries to those that focus on MQLs. Each appointment setting vendor has adopted a unique process that will impact the nature of your partnership with them. It is necessary to define your company’s ideal working guidelines to develop corresponding vendor criteria.

B2B Appointment Setting Companies: True Identities vs. Aliases

The level of transparency an appointment setting company provides is a large factor in the decision making process. There are vendors that use aliases and therefore do not provide their client with direct contact with their caller. On the other side, there are vendors that provide the true identity of the caller. The appointment setting company will identify callers by either:

  • Aliases: All communication between your company and the callers are mediated through an account manager.

  • True Identities: These vendors allow callers and sales reps to work together in order to develop messaging and methods to track the progress of occurred meetings.

Choosing appointment setting companies that do not use aliases allows the caller to act as an extension of your team, as opposed to a separate entity.

Giving Appointment Setting Companies CRM Access

Another consideration that is related to transparency is CRM access. Some appointment setting companies will request access to your CRM system in order to leverage your past interactions with specific accounts. This access has the potential to decrease ramp-up time and allow for more targeted and effective messaging.

CRM access is a two-way street. When an appointment setting company requests access to your CRM, they are often more willing to reciprocate this action and provide you with access to their own CRM. Consider the benefits of receiving extensive reports from your appointment setting company which will allow you to track their progress. In addition, vendors are able to provide lists of prospects they have gathered and note any contact that has been made with given prospects.

Appointment Setting Metrics

The final significant factor to consider is metrics, or the key performance indicators (KPIs), that you wish to track. Each appointment setting company will have their own set of metrics by which they measure success. In turn, the vendor will have varying degrees to which they will align their metrics to yours.

SiriusDecisions published the following daily averages: 65 dials, 5 conversations and 1 meeting set. These averages will change from vendor to vendor, as will their pricing models. Some vendors utilize a pay-per-time model, while others favor a pay-per-meeting model. At this stage you need to ask yourself which model works for you.

Conclusion

We have only touched upon a few significant criteria for evaluating a vendor and their appointment setting services; others include the callers’ backgrounds, the number of callers per account, and the types of accounts that a vendor typically works with. Generating a list of criteria for evaluating a vendor’s B2B appointment setting services will create fruitful conversations with all vendor options. If you would like to learn more about appointment setting companies, contact us today.


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