Most B2B marketers have seen Google ads touting appointment setting services, and the vast majority have probably resisted the urge to click on them. I suspect that many think that these services are not very effective, or they misunderstand the art and science behind B2B appointment setting, particularly if they have never used such a service.
Alternatively, if marketers have hired an appointment setting service and it did not work well for them, they probably think that all appointment setting services are a waste of money. I completely disagree, because I see it working exceptionally well every day. To set the record straight, here are 6 common misconceptions about B2B appointment setting services:
- The appointments are never qualified and never turn into deals – It’s true that unqualified appointments typically do not turn into deals. For this reason, you need to carefully consider which appointment setting service you engage. Some appointment setting services simply get any appointment. If a prospect will take a call, that counts! On the other hand, if you use an appointment setting service that qualifies based on BANT* criteria, those appointments can and do turn into deals. The very best appointment setting firms see, on average, a 60+ percent conversion rate to forecast revenue.
- It is easy to schedule a qualified sales appointment – Scheduling a qualified sales appointment is not at all an easy task. It typically takes multiple phone conversations and/or an exchange of multiple emails. In essence, the inside sales person scheduling the appointment is running a 1-to-1 nurturing campaign and it can take several weeks to qualify a prospect. The very best B2B appointment setters need to contact approximately 10 companies in order to obtain 1 qualified sales appointment.
- Our sales people can schedule their own appointments – Yes, they can, but is that the best use of their time? Sales people should focus on closing deals, not finding leads – that is marketing’s job. Time spent looking for leads means hours lost working on qualified opportunities.
- It is easy to build my own inside sales team to schedule appointments – It is definitely not easy to build your own inside sales team. In fact, building an effective inside sales team requires time to plan, hire, train, re-train, and manage. It’s tremendously expensive and time-intensive. And if you decide you need an inside sales team, do you want them to spend their time scheduling appointments based on a cold-calling strategy (which is typically what appointment setting services do), or warming up leads that come from marketing campaigns, or managing and closing low-end deals?
- Cheap appointments are just as good as appointments that are more expensive – This is a prime example of the old adage, ‘you get what you pay for’. You can get appointments for as little as several hundred dollars each, but what you get is just an appointment. And, while you may consider the dollar cost you pay for the appointment, you need to add in the additional costs associated with qualifying an appointment if the appointment setting company isn’t doing that (and they are not doing that for cheap leads). Before you hire an appointment setting service, download this white paper and use the built-in calculator to determine the true cost of a qualified lead. You will be surprised by the results.
- One appointment setting service is just as good as another – There are many appointment setting services available, each offering a different value proposition. If you are looking to engage a service, the first step is to identify your objective and qualification criteria. If you want appointments based on full BANT criteria, do not let the service talk you out of it. Many appointment setting services will accept authority, need, and timeframe (ANT), but shy away from budget (the big B). It is your decision how qualified your appointments should be, but bear in mind that meeting full BANT criteria does take time.
In the end, working with appointment setting services is just like working with any other professional services provider: Do you research, ask a lot of questions, and choose the firm that’s most responsive to your particular needs. If you choose wisely, you won’t be disappointed by the outcome.*BANT stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. For example, you may be seeking prospects who have a Budget of $60K for your solution; you may want to speak with VPs of Marketing or VPs of Customer Service; you may be looking for prospects who are in need of a better CRM system; and you may want to limit the search to prospects who want to purchase within 6-9 months.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 6 Common Misconceptions About B2B Appointment Setting Services
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