Lead Generation vs Appointment Setting
VSA has a client with a large sales force who has hired VSA as a lead generation company, only! That’s right. This company doesn’t want any appointments set on their calendars, just the identification of qualified leads. Their sales force wants to schedule their own appointments, and not be locked into timeframes we set for them.
For us, as a B2B telemarketing company, this is unique. Most clients want us to use our cold calling services to for appointment setting with specific times and dates. This minimizes the workload put on their sales teams. But, this company’s strategy is to have VSA’s cold inside sales team handle the “heavy lifting.”
In short, they hire us to cull through large lists of companies who may use their services, and simply identify companies who fit the lead qualification criteria. For them, we are providing only our lead generation service.
Serving as the inside sales teams we often feel we’re doing only half our job when we generate leads for our clients but don’t also clinch the appointment. When we analyze it, though, we’re actually doing our client a great service. We are saving huge amounts of time by making hours upon hours of calls. We are finding the decision makers’ names and contact information, which often requires multiple calls. Then, when our inside sales teams engage in conversation, we thoroughly qualify the leads.
Through our appointment setting services, our client receives leads that have been asked very specific qualifying questions, including whom they currently use and when the contract is up, the extent of the services utilized, and whether they would accept a call from a sales representative. Any prospecting firm knows what a time consuming effort this is, and our client knows this, too. That’s why they hire us.
Initially, when we began acting as this particular client’s inside sales team, we actually set appointment times for the different sales people. This happened for quite a long time. However, we ran into so many scheduling issues. Both our client and the prospects asked us to reschedule appointments. Finally, our client decided that the best approach was to simply perform identify leads.
When this happened, we continued to ask the same questions to qualify each. As a B2B telemarketing company, we still had to represent our client credibly, know information about the service offered and how to differentiate between a qualified and non-qualified lead.
What made the change somewhat challenging, is that when a prospect asked for a meeting, we could not set one. Sometimes the calling team felt this would “give them away” as an outside agency, and not part of our client’s firm. But, prospects didn’t challenge us, and today our process is second-nature. When you think about it critically, it’s often harder to stop short of setting the appointment and still sound credible, as though we were really part of our client’s company.
Now, for this particular client, we spend less time on appointment scheduling and rescheduling and much more time on lead generation. Our cold calling services are focused on finding qualified leads. The sales people call these prospects later to set the meeting time and date – to fit their own schedules – and to develop preliminary rapport. It’s a win/win all the way around. We don’t plan to make changes any time soon!