Converting a phone call to a qualified lead can be a complicated process often requiring a well-trained call staff, a specifically-designed script, and a certain amount of nurturing. Sometimes it can take as many as ten calls to gain a qualified appointment to result in customer conversion.
Setting up this process can be expensive and require a lot of time and resources for a company, stealing attention from a sales department’s priority tasks. Because phone marketing can have a high rate of conversion, many companies turn to outsourcing appointment setting.
Outsourcing appointment setting often gets a bad reputation with businesses believing a third party service could not provide what they need or benefit them in this area. This is far from the case, and an effective appointment setting company can customize your marketing strategy, script and process to work hand-in-hand with your marketing goals.
Obviously, this approach is more effective at converting prospects into qualified appointments. Check out some of the most common misconceptions businesses have about outsourcing appointment setting.
Appointments are not qualified
The ultimate goal of a phone marketing strategy is to get convert prospects to qualified appointments for a company’s sales department to turn into a customer. Many businesses think outsourcing their appointment setting will not gain them the appointments in their demographic or have the potential to turn into a customer.
An outside appointment setting company will have a system in place to properly engage prospects, nurture the conversation, and qualify the interest during the call.
Appointments will never turn into deals
This concern is commonly linked with the first. When an appointment is unqualified, it is unlikely to result in a deal or sale, thus making it an inefficient use of the salesman’s time. The key to ensuring you receive qualified outsourcing appointment setting will lie with your choice of the outsourcing company.
When choosing a company for outsourcing appointment setting, discuss with them the process of qualifying leads and what set of guidelines need to be met before the company will pass it on as a qualified appointment. Appointment setting services using, for example, the Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline (BANT) criteria to qualify their appointments have an average conversion rate that can run as high as 60%.
Scheduling a qualified sales appointment is easy
While it may sound like a simple task, scheduling a qualified appointment can take multiple engagements and a well-versed and researched script to get the qualified appointments you need to turn potential prospects into customers. Large corporations will often employ inside sales personnel who will create a one-on-one rapport with potential leads to turn them into qualified appointments.
This process can take several weeks, and numerous exchanges and results in a significant amount of time and resources to train and maintain an inside sales team to be able to build up this type of relationship.
When you choose outsourcing appointment setting, you will be choosing a company who has the sole purpose of engaging prospects and qualifying them for your company. An effective appointment setting company will have the ability to obtain a qualified appointment in as little as one engagement.
Salespeople should be responsible for scheduling appointments
Many companies require their own salespeople to schedule their appointments. Unfortunately, this can be an ineffective way for them to use their time. A salesperson is often seen as a closer. They are the person you send to an interested party to close the deal and cement the new relationship between the customer and the business.
Additionally, your salespeople will need to spend their time nurturing the relationship to ensure customer satisfaction and promote repeat engagement. Time spent looking for qualified leads, or cold calling, can result in hours lost better spent on closing the prospects on the verge of making a decision.
By outsourcing appointment setting, you are not only freeing up some much needed time for them to focus on the essential aspects of their job, you will also be providing them with qualified leads so they can use be more efficient and convert more prospects.
It is simple for a business to build an inside sales team
As with building any effective team, building an inside sales team to reach out to prospects and qualify leads can be an exhaustive, time consuming and costly process.
You will need to plan your workflow, acquire the equipment you will need, go through the process of hiring qualified individuals, provide initial training sessions as well as supplemental training on updated processes, and employ managers and supervisors to oversee the operations.
The process can also be even more daunting if turnover is a concern as staff will need to be continually hired and trained as others leave.
Once you have established the basis for forming a team, you will have to develop and put in place a strategy for how calls will be handled, followed up, and what qualification process will be used.
Will a cold call strategy be used? Will leads be gained from marketing campaigns? Will the same script be used for each call? If the script is variable, will the staff be allowed to make their own alterations? In the end, developing your own inside sales team can be an extensive process unlikely to provide you with the experience an experienced appointment setting company can provide.
By outsourcing appointment setting you will save the time and money it takes to create and train an inside sales team, and you will also save on the costs of maintaining the team and continually training them to meet and exceed your goals.
A cheap appointment is as good as an expensive one
As with anything in the world, you get what you pay for. When an appointment is set and passed along to a salesperson to close the deal, it is expected the lead has been properly qualified. If you are receiving unqualified appointments, you will add more time and money to the process to qualify the lead before it would be suitable for a salesperson to invest additional time.
Some companies may feel the point is to simply get appointments and one appointment is as good as any. Unfortunately, these appointments will take a lot of time and resources to complete and if the customer has no intention, no inclination, or no means to become a customer, the time and resources put in will have been wasted.
When outsourcing appointment setting, it is vital the company you choose knows the value of qualifying the prospects before setting the appointment. While these companies may have higher rates at the outset, the savings can be significant if the appointments they set have more likelihood of turning into customers.
All appointment-setting services are the same
There can be high-quality and low-quality products and services in any industry, and appointment setting is no different. While you can hire just about any appointment-setting company to get you some appointments, companies solely focused on numbers and who do not employ the processes needed to properly qualify appointments can leave you with multiple unproductive appointments and will result in wasted time by your sales team.
Outsourcing appointment setting can be an integral part of creating an effective sales strategy as long as you choose a company who can bring value to your sales team by providing you with the potential leads you need to gain the customer you want.
How using BANT is an important part of the qualifying process
When outsourcing appointment setting you need to know what process the company uses to make sure the appointments they set are qualified and have the possibility of resulting in conversion. One of the most effective tools for qualifying prospects is using the BANT opportunity identification criteria. Bant stands for:
- Budget – What type of budget does the prospect have? Would your product or service fit into their budget?
- Authority – Is the prospect allowed to make a decision on behalf of the company? Are they an influencer of the decision maker? Are decision made by one person or a group?
- Need – What needs does the prospect have? Would your product or service fall under a need or a want?
- Timeframe – When does the prospect plan on implementing the solution or making their purchase? Has the timeframe been determined or is it a when-needed situation?
If a prospect meets at least three of the four items in the Bant opportunity identification criteria, they are considered to be a validated and a good lead for a sales team to pursue.
When considering outsourcing appointment setting, it is vital to dispel all of the myths and misconceptions concerning many businesses. Outside appointment setters can provide a great resource for qualifying leads and help to ensure your sales team has the time to do their job instead of wasting their time and efforts chasing down impossible prospects.
The key to making sure your outsourcing appointment setting is efficient and a proper investment is choosing the right company to service your needs.
Valve+Meter Performance Marketing knows what it takes to set qualified appointments for their customers and work directly with your sales team to help ensure they get them the appointments they need with the appropriate decision makers.
Valve+Meter uses a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals who blend their skills in technology, techniques, training, selling, and audience segmentation to ensure that customers are provided with the prospects and qualified appointments they need to close deals and increase sales.
Take the first step in gaining the qualified appointments for your sales team needs by contacting Valve+Meter today to schedule your free appointment setting consultation.