For most businesses, getting their expert salespeople in front of new business prospects is the secret to fast growth and long-term business success. The challenge is, most seasoned sales people are so busy supporting their existing clients that they don’t have the time to prospect for new business. So they end up trying to leverage their network to grow their account base. This will obviously work to a certain extent, but this approach usually leads to slower growth than what is desired by the business owner, general manager, or executive team.
On the flip side, the junior sales person in most
sales organizations has little prospecting experience and their closing skills are still being developed, so their efforts are usually mixed at best.
So what is the solution?
For the last 15-20 years, the answer for many businesses has been to outsource the appointment setting or lead generation to a telemarketing company. In some industries like the technology reseller or IT channel partners, these services are subsidized by the manufactures. However, over the last 5 years or so, these telemarketing firms have grown complacent and so ingrained into the fabric of the manufactures that indirectly fund them that their effectiveness is never questioned.
In the case of Technology VARs, the expectations are so low for these programs that many are satisfied with receiving just a few sales meetings over a quarter-long B2B sales campaign!
There are 3 things that need to be in place for a successful outsourced sales appointment-setting campaign.
- Integration with the business
- Systematic and frequent reviews of the campaign
- Focus on making connections and not on finding “deals”
Integration with the business
Let’s start with the obvious… it’s difficult to schedule sales appointments or to generate quality leads. This task gets even harder when you are a third party organization. That is why we recommend partnering with a marketing company that you can trust and treat them like an internal organization. When the inside sales team making calls for the business can approach the prospect without the baggage of “calling on behalf of” or “representing YOUR COMPANY, Inc.” the quality and the success of a program improves considerably.
Systematic and frequent reviews of the campaign
When a marketing company is talking with your target prospects it is important to have a predictable process for reviewing the program results and collaborating to ensure a successful partnership. The business should plan to review the program at least every 2 weeks whether the program is going well or not. Part of these meetings should be spent discussing sales objections, market news as well as the meeting or lead volume and quality. Also, share the wins that come out of the meetings with your marketing partner. These success stories are motivating to everyone involved!
Focus on making connections and not on finding “deals”
This element of a successful partnership with an appointment setting firm comes from an acknowledgement that there is only so much that can be accomplished on a cold call. Cold calls should be used primarily to build credibility, create interest, and gather high level qualifications then to set a “discovery meeting.” In an effort to measure short-term ROI, Marketers who invest in outsourced lead generation services too often want to skip the discovery step and move straight from the cold call to a sales presentation. By placing too many restrictions on the qualification of an acceptable meeting or lead, the number of new business opportunities generated is limited and more importantly, the ultimate return on investment is short-changed.
Trust your sales people that when they get in front of a business decision maker at a qualified company that they will ignite a new business relationship and find an opportunity even if the opportunity is further out on the horizon than is desired.
New business is new business whether it is closed in 30 days or next year.