28 Questions to Ask B2B Appointment Setting and Lead Gen Vendors

Posted by Michael Damphousse

There are so many demand gen vendors out there, and if you are a demand gen professional in sales or marketing, we've probably called you.  Outsourcing some or all of your appointment setting or lead generation activity to a third party vendor is a task that shouldn't be undertaken by responding to one cold call.  

Words of wisdom from two industry leaders:

b2b sales leadsTrish Bertuzzi, Inside Sales Expert, @bridgegroupinc: "Hiring a third party lead gen vendor is like dating… the chemistry is either there or it is not. When you are interviewing vendors you have to get a sense that they are smart, interested in the same things that you are and passionate about what the future looks like."

B2B appointment settingCraig Rosenberg, The Funnelholic, @funnelholic: "If they charge less, be more skeptical – Believe it.  I believe this across lead gen: the most important thing to look at is cost per opportunity not cost per lead.  Cost per lead is a narrow look at the success of a program.   A higher cost lead (if justified) will convert better with sales.  Oh and by the way, here is the thing with outsourced lead gen as well: these are leads that go directly to sales guys.  My suggestion is to pay whatever price it takes to keep them from hating you."

Below are some appointment questions to ask the vendors you are considering -- and don't forget to ask me.

  • What quality controls do you have in place?
  • What type of reporting do you do and can I see samples?
  • How many reps do you have?  How many managers and non-reps?  (look for heavy overhead)
  • What is your annual attrition rate for reps and managers? (use LinkedIn Company Pages to see for yourself)
  • What is the average tenure of your reps?  
  • What is your reps' experience in general outbound sales?
  • What is your reps' experience in your industry ?
  • How do you pay your reps?
  • Are they incented for Quality or Quantity?
  • Can I talk to your newest rep and longest serving rep?
  • Can we come for a site visit?
  • During the site visit can I just sit on the floor for an hour and listen?
  • What technologies do you use? CRM? Autodialers? Power dialers?
  • Do your reps use email?  If so, how?
  • How do you help your clients measure the success of the programs?
  • Where do you get your lists?
  • Who are your closest competitors?
  • Can I have an example of a project that failed, and why?
  • Can I have an example of a project that has succeeded?
    (After hearing the two examples, ask for references at both companies)
  • How do you manage client calendars so that appointments are set during available times?
  • What is your pricing model?  Pay for performance?  Monthly fee?
  • What is your lead acceptance criteria, what makes a billable meeting, how do we reject a meeting and why would we?
  • How do you manage east coast/west coast time zones
  • Do you outsource or offshore any of your work?
  • How do you create your messaging?  Do you work from scripts? 
  • What is your startup process?
  • When do we see our first leads?
  • When we get a lead/meeting, what do we get?  Can you provide us a sample?

What would you ask that we missed?