Smashmouth B2B Blog: Sales & Marketing Demand Gen

B2B Appointment Setting Teams and How to Get the Most From Them

Posted by Mike Damphousse

Appointment TimeAppointment Setting is a part of demand generation that is done through vendors that specialize in the task, or by inside sales teams that add it to their roster of tasks.  Building a performing team of appointment setters, as a business or a function of inside sales, requires best practices, tips and tricks -- and most of all -- discipline. 

I get asked the following question a lot when I’m on the road, be it from clients or prospects or from folks I’m chatting with during industry networking events:

“How do you get the most out of your appointment setting team?”

That's the $64,000 question.  Getting the most from appointment setters is always something that’s at the forefront of our minds -- especially when maintaining both quality and quantity in the results. The minute you stop thinking about driving performance is the minute production and quality drops, and a minute lost is a minute you'll never get back. 

There are several ways that you can keep your B2B appointment setting team cranking and happy, too.  If your team is happy, they’re going to be executing at a higher level.

Incent Them Strategically - If you want to get the most out of your appointment setting team, you’ve got to incent them to achieve the right goals.  If the most important measure is to have meetings with a positive outcome (read: logical next step in the sales process), then doesn’t it make sense that your appointment setting team is compensated on the quality of meetings rather than dials, pitches and meeting count? Old school call center tactics work, but need adjustments.  We're not selling new paper subscriptions here.

SPIFF Them Periodically - Everybody loves competition, fun and reward, and a SPIFF is a great way to way bring it.  If your team is chugging along but you’re looking for something to push performance or direct it in a certain direction, a SPIFF is a great tool.  Do you know what your reps hold dear.  Is it cash?  Is it time off?  Is it gift cards?  Is it ego?  Whatever it is, surprising them with a contest is a great way to up the team’s production and incent teamwork.

Provide Them With Sales 2.0 Tools - Don't just help your team, implement Sales 2.0 tools and techniques and make your whole organization more agile.  Run a training class on LinkedIn tips and tricks.  If your average appointment setter is taking 100-120 dials to get an appointment, why not demonstrate techniques that can shorten those cycles and provide better quality in the process?  Add click-to-dial software for your CRM, Jigsaw and NetProspex subscriptions, or social media tools for prospecting purposes, and you’re all set.

Give Them Freedom to Work - I've seen this job done a hundred different ways.  Provide freedom of technique.  If someone is better starting the task with research and others are better as hard core dialers, accommodate them.  Maintain best practices, but give your team the freedom to work in their comfort zone.  Find ways to measure them that takes into account "their personal best practices".

Provide Them With Support - Don't just give them a pitch and a phone.  Back up your appointment setters with resources and staff.  Help them with things like list-building, email creations, scripting, etc.  If your reps can spend less time on support tasks, that leaves more time for production.  Simple as that. 

Ultimately, what you want to do is get the most from your B2B appointment setters, and these are some of the ways we do that for our clients and ourselves.  How do you push your team to greater achievements?

Photo Credit:  ianturton via Flickr

Tags: b2b, b2b sales, outbound marketing, greenleads, lead gen, appointment setting, sales2.0, outbound, meetings

Be a B2B Tweeter, Not a B2B Twit

Posted by Mike Damphousse

Huh?Sometimes I think George Lucas just didn’t “get it” when he made the Star Wars prequels.  You know, the “other” Star Wars movies?  He had made the greatest trilogy in the world in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.  For years, with fans clamoring for more movies, Lucas said that either he wasn’t ready to make them or the technology in cinematography just wasn’t ready.  Then stars aligned and he was ready to make the rest of his story; three movies to be set before Episode IV (1977), to tell the story of how things led up to where they did.  To fans of the original trilogy, Lucas fell woefully short with Episodes I-III.  He didn’t get that what made the original movies was story, not special effects.  Sure, the newer movies had better effects, but the end result was miserable.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, specifically in the B2B Sales and Marketing arena, you’re sure to see some people on there that deliver fantastic information.  This is information that I’m very thankful for, as are my colleagues in the industry.  However, with all of the good, there are still some on Twitter who just don’t “get it.”  I’d like to share with you some ideas on how you can “get it” and keep yourself from becoming a Demand Gen Twit:
  1. Remember, it’s not always about you -- If there’s one thing that burns me up about Twitter, it's the people who are shameless self-promoters.  SHAMELESS.  Twitter is a great self-promotion tool, however, it’s an even better word-of-mouth tool.  It’s one thing to tweet about something you’ve done or your most recent blog entry, but it’s another if someone else does it for you.  What does that mean for you?  It means you’ve got to be writing great content.  Keep in mind what Chris Brogan says:  “[promote] the heck out of others

  2. Start the conversation -- One of the best parts about Twitter is the ability to have long-running conversations with a bunch of people.  That’s a great way to share new ideas (and get some, too) while keeping in mind my first point. Get involved and get people talking.  A number of people do this well; and for a great example, check out Mack Collier’s blog chat (#blogchat) that occurs most Sunday nights.

  3. Learn -- If there’s one thing that I love about Twitter, it’s that for the most part the folks that “get it” share a wealth of new information -- new information that is relevant to you because others finding and sharing it have similar interests to you.  The opportunity to have great content and data at my fingertips, throughout any part of my day, is exciting for me.  The more you read, the more you’ll be able to share, and the more you share, the more you’ll keep yourself from becoming another Twit.
There are a lot of ways to be a better B2B tweeter, and these ideas are for me as much as they are for you (maybe even more so).  So, help me keep the conversation going, and share with the rest us some other ways we can keep from being a Twit.

Photo Credit:  PhotoJonny via Flickr

Tags: marketing, b2b, b2b sales, b2b marketing, socialmedia, twitter, social media marketing

The Demand Gen Capital of the World: Andover, MA

Posted by Michael Damphousse

BAO CompetitorsLead Generation is an "industry" in New England, going back to the early days of the Route 128 Technology Highway.  At one point some entrepreneurial soul spun off from one of the big companies, such as Digital or Wang, and there you have it -- the 1st leads of an industry were generated.

Now there are over 1500 third-party lead gen employees in the area, not to mention all the companies that have based their outbound efforts in the area. 

The following competitors all call New England home.  We know most of our competitors and consider many of them friends:

A Better Call, Inc.

AG Salesworks

By Appointment Only        

Call Center Services

Chameleon Group

eCoast Sales

Good Leads



Green Leads



Mansfield Sales Partners

Marketing Connections


TSL Marketing

WhiteSpace Strategy Partners

(If I left one off, leave me a comment and I'll add them to the list)

We were confident at Green Leads that setting up shop in Andover, MA was a good decision.  It's a beautiful town, 20 minutes north of Boston, has a T (rail) station, fantastic reach to the lead gen talent pool ... and Linda and I live here.

Half of these companies are located in the Merrimack Valley, with Andover in the center of the map.  Does that make us the demand gen capital of the world?  It may have been debatable, but now that we've heard rumors that the largest of the appointment setting clan, By Appointment Only, is moving across the street, I guess that may seal the deal. 

Andover is now undisputably the demand gen capital of the world. 

So if you are looking for BAO competitors, just look over your shoulder.  There are plenty in the area, and specifically Green Leads is in the next building, where the parking is better -- and we were here first!

ps. The Shawsheen Luncheonette is our turf

Tags: b2b, b2b sales, demand gen, inside sales, b2b marketing, lead gen, appointment setting, Quality vs Quantity, introductory meetings, meetings, work