Choosing an appointment setting service partner is a big decision. You're handing over the internal control of your brand for top-of-the-funnel prospects and it's important to really make sure your appointment setting partner meets all of your most important qualifications.
Below is a list of 5 considerations we think are most important when determining who to partner with:
1) Expertise in your industry
Are you looking for appointment setters to ask basic questions and set up appointments for your salespeople? Or are you looking for appointment setters to have intimate knowledge of your industry so they can have real conversations with prospects about their problems and generate higher quality meetings for you and your team to provide a solution?
The answer to those two questions will help you decide if your appointment setting partner must have expertise in your industry or not. There are many service providers that are willing to ask the basic questions and will provide you with very top-of-the-funnel and only slightly warm leads, which fits the requirements of many buyers. But there are others that expect appointment setting service providers to deliver hot leads that are actively making their way down the sales funnel. If this is your expectation, make sure your provider has experience in your industry.
2) Proximity to your business
Is it important to you that you meet your sales representative or visit the company headquarters of your appointment setting partner? We think the proximity of your business to your service provider makes a pretty big difference in the success of partnerships. In fact, some of our most successful partnerships have been with organizations within driving distance of Incept.
While it may be easy enough to jump on a flight and go meet the team before launching your project, not all businesses have this option. You'll want to decide if this is something important to you, and if so, add it to your list of considerations before choosing a partner.
3) Ability to effectively use multiple channels to generate appointments
Are you just looking for cold callers or would you like to take a more account-based selling approach? The approaches and the outcomes they drive are considerably different.
Account-based selling is a multi-touch, multi-channel strategy coordinated between both sales and marketing to pursue targeted, high-value accounts. It uses content marketing, social media, website conversion strategies, and individual sales ownership in order to attract leads, warm them up and close them with a seamless experience.
Comparatively, most exclusively cold call approaches use cold lists and an auto dialer to slam through as many calls as possible in hopes of finding a needle in the haystack. While this approach can work well for certain projects, we've seen much greater success with the account based selling approach - a capability important to consider when determining the best partner.
4) Direct communication with the lead generator
There are many appointment setting services that are run just like call centers. There are multiple sales representatives cold calling for your account. Everyone has a basic understanding of your organization and it's offering but no one knows it intimately.
There are other appointment setting services that allow you to work one on one with your own lead generator. Each day, you have access to that individual to discuss what went well, what needs improvement, and how to pivot the sales strategy. Essentially, this lead generator becomes an extension of your sales team, as if they were a part of your organization. This kind of relationship leads to much more successful partnerships and is very important to consider when selecting a partner.
5) Fractional pricing to ensure the quality of appointment
We meet with many organizations that are looking for pay-per-appointment pricing. While on the surface this looks like the most equitable scenario for both parties, we've seen that it actually can degrade the quality of lead an appointment setting service passes through.
When a service provider is tempted with passing through leads in return for a pre-agreed upon fee, it's more likely that you will be passed leads that hit your bare minimum requirements just so that the service provider can recoup on the time spent uncovering those leads as quickly as possible. You're more likely to have to weed through slightly warm leads in order to find the hot ones yourself.
When a partnership is based on a fractional agreement, where you pay the service provider as if they are a fraction of your team, the quality of the lead tends to be higher.
If you're in the process of hiring an appointment setting service provider, make sure you consider these 5 things. What other considerations are important to you?