Does Appointment Setting Really Work?Does Appointment Setting Really Work?
Ah, yes. Appointment setting. The Holy Grail of sales. The saving grace of lead-starved organizations. The answer to all of your revenue problems. After all, conventional sales wisdom suggests that the more appointments you’re able to set, the more qualified opportunities you’ll be able to deliver to sales reps. And doing that will inevitably improve your chances of meeting or exceeding revenue targets, right? Maybe. Or maybe not. And at what cost?
June 6, 2013
Ah, yes. Appointment setting. The Holy Grail of sales. The saving grace of lead-starved organizations. The answer to all of your revenue problems.
After all, conventional sales wisdom suggests that the more appointments you’re able to set, the more qualified opportunities you’ll be able to deliver to sales reps. And doing that will inevitably improve your chances of meeting or exceeding revenue targets, right?
Maybe. Or maybe not. And at what cost?
To really produce the number of appointments you need to meet your sales goals, it’s not likely that just one dedicated appointment setter will do the trick—you probably need to hire a team of them. And the cost of doing that often outweighs the residual benefit of a boost in appointments.
The reality is that even the best appointment-setter will, on average, only create four to five new appointments per week. That level of production is fine if your sales staff is comprised of just one salesperson, but what if you have five or 10 salespeople? Five appointments isn’t going to stretch very far.
Alternatively, you could hire an outsourced appointment-setting agency, but that option often presents significant risk (low-quality appointments and leads) and expense (some firms charge the equivalent of $50+ per hour for their services).
Does that Mean Appointment Setting is Worthless?
Absolutely not—but it’s not the miracle lead-generation savior that many companies and service providers think it is.
Too many businesses look at their bare sales funnels and think, “If I could just get more appointments, we’ve already got the sales reps who can work and close those leads …”
Fair enough. But how you plan to acquire those appointments is the real issue. And if your strategy is to simply rely on appointment-setting to provide your sales reps with the leads they need, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results.
Unfortunately, appointment setters and outsourced appointment-setting firms don’t often possess the same depth of knowledge about your offerings or market that you and your sales team do. So, when they get on the phone, they’re only able to have conversations that are an inch deep. If a prospect asks any questions that go beyond basic product or service features, the conversation typically dissolves.
Then there’s the issue of appointment abandonment.
In my experience, the rate of abandonment when appointments have been set by untrained or unknowledgeable appointment setters is exceedingly high. And that’s not exactly a good thing for sales productivity.
Why Appointment Setting Should Be a Supplemental Tool, not a Singular Cure-All
So, what’s the takeaway here?
Yes, using an appointment setter can provide you with more qualified leads for your sales team, but probably not the volume that you need to meet your goals. In fact, it’s likely to provide only marginal returns, so relying on it to be the sole cure of your prospecting problems is misguided.
Instead, I believe that the better approach is to work an appointment setter into a larger, more encompassing lead-nurturing campaign that works proactively to warm up your market, build awareness, and attract prospects.
That supplemental use of appointment setting—as opposed to an all-in bet on it—will ensure that your precious resources aren’t wasted on one tactic that may or may not sufficiently meet your lead-generation needs.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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