Pipeline Generation BLog

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