I realized something though: I once worked as a retail manager where I made the decisions. My boss, the store owner was largely free to do what he pleased. Could he have done a better job than me? Probably. But essentially he "outsourced" that function to me so he could be free to golf, open a new store, whatever he wanted. There was an opportunity cost that he capitalized on.
In-House Lead Generation
Sometimes it makes good sense for a company to keep the qualified appointment setting function in their building, especially if it's a simple sales process or the company is small enough to co-ordinate that effort effectively. The major advantage of course is that everything is under one roof, and sales campaign visibility is at your fingertips. A few tips if this is the route your go:
Recruit well. Find the right cold caller(s) and train them. Although somewhat time-consuming, make sure you get the right person for the job. Two of the most important features Vendere Partners looks for in their employees are an upbeat attitude and technology savvy.
- Invest in the proper infrastructure to support the appointment setting programs. This could include: CRM, phone system, telemarketing sales leads, e-mail marketing software.Technology is a crucial factor to make cold calling work. Companies must have the latest telephones, desktops, and lightning-fast internet connection.
- As with any employee, management of these internal cold callers is also essential. Companies must continuously motivate their cold callers using compensation incentives and they also need to utilize supervisors to monitor the effort of each agent and make certain that the goods are delivered.
Outsourced Lead Generation
Numerous companies offer B2B Lead Generation as their core competency. These companies/firms tag themselves as an authority. They’re very much plug-and-play since they have everything in place such as the technology and the processes. Here are some advantages to outsourcing lead generation:
- Lead generation companies are much better at qualified appointment setting than salespeople who prefer the aura of presenting, negotiating and closing.
- In a dedicated environment, appointment setters average more calls per day – Vendere Partners' prospect managers average between 110-140 calls per day (what traditional salesman has time to do that between selling tasks?)
- Due to economies of scale, it’s often less expensive to outsource sales prospecting because dedicated lead generation companies have the resources in place and can scale the usage of these resources.
- It is simpler to administer a sales staff when the appointment setting is outsourced - no more designing and reviewing call sheets that are of little benefit.
- Appointment setting firms often offer ancillary benefits to working with them. Often, the service INCLUDES e-mail marketing, sales lead lists, and reports. Be careful though, because often a company hides under the “proprietary umbrella” and won’t grant you access to the list they are calling. Ask if you get access to the list and master data.
- Even if you decide you don’t want to outsource lead generation after you’ve been engaged with an appointment setting company, you have an inside sales pipeline already built for when you bring the function in-house. Make sure YOU get access to the data at the end of the campaign – see #5.
- Separating lead generation and deal-closing in the sales process is the new paradigm that the top percentiles of companies are using. It makes sense. They are separate processes with separate methods using different metrics. One merely feeds the other. Sales prospecting brings you up the field; your closers score touchdowns.
When selecting a lead generation company, keep the following in mind:
- Ask about experience – How long the company has been in business, and whether the company specializes in B2B sales lead generation. You don't want a company that uses high school kids cold-calling consumers at dinner time to represent your company in selling high-tech products or services to senior business executives. Ask if the company has direct experience in your specific industry.
- Get real numbers – Ask the vendor to set expectations as far as how many appointments they expect to obtain.
- Review their technology - Ask prospective companies what technology they use to make telemarketing more efficient. Ask to see reports on activity and results. Are they furnished on-demand? Can they integrate with your systems?