33 Questions to Ask B2B Appointment Setting and Lead Gen Vendors

Posted by Mike Farrell

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,  Distinguished VP at Gartner : "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 is your outbound methodology (Channels) - Phone, Email, Text,  LinkedIn, other?
  • What are typical outbound activity KPIs for each channel per month?
  • How do you generate the list of accounts to call?
  • Can we provide an ABM (Account Based Marketing) list for you to call?
  • Do you have Intent Data to enrich the ABM list?
  • Where is your staff based (USA, India, Philippines, Eastern Europe, other)?
  • What types of clients do you work with (Software/Tech, Financial, etc.)?
  • Do you specialize in supporting Start-ups (VC backed), Mid-size (growth) or Enterprise (ex: IBM)?
  • What quality controls do you have in place?
  • What type of reporting do you do and can we see samples?
  • How many SDRs/BDRs do you have?  
  • What is your annual attrition rate for SDRs/BDRs and managers? (use LinkedIn Company Pages to see for yourself).
  • What is the average tenure of your SDRs/BDRs?  
  • What is your SDRs/BDRs' experience in general outbound sales?
  • What is your SDRs/BDRs' experience in your industry ?
  • How do you assign a SDRs/BDRs to a client?
  • How do you pay your SDRs/BDRs?
  • Are they incentivized for Quality or Quantity?
  • Do you record calls for coaching and QA?
  • Can you provide us with a call recording sample?
  • What technologies do you use? CRM? Autodialers? Power dialers?
  • Do your reps use email or text?  If so, how?
  • How do you help your clients measure the success of the programs?
  • Can we have an example of a project that failed, and why?
  • Can we 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? CPL? Monthly fee?
  • What are your SLAs (service level agreements) for leads/appointments?
  • How do you manage east coast/west coast/European time zones?
  • How do you create your messaging?  Do you work from scripts? 
  • What is your onboarding process?
  • When do we see our first leads?
  • When we get a lead or a meeting, what do we get?  Can you provide us with a sample?

What would you ask that we missed?