Appointment setting services can be an excellent route to achieving an important aspect of sales. Often this is the key to meeting broader business objectives. It’s all about putting your sales force and your potential new clients in the same room (all be it virtually these days). As well as being one of the most essential parts of telemarketing, appointment setting is probably one of the most difficult to master.
However, since few relationships in business can begin without first speaking directly to a prospect, Blue Donkey’s 22 years successfully delivering appointment setting services, means we understand what control levers work best.
Like payroll, accounts, and IT, some business functions have become more and more specialist. Telemarketing is definitely one of those. You can do it inhouse, and actually, whether you buy in appointment setting services or not, you should always make sure your sales team is ready and happy to pick up the phone. However, systematic, effective, and efficient use of the telephone as a marketing tool is harder to achieve inhouse now.
GDPR, gatekeepers, and incoming calls are just some of the reasons why companies find it harder than ever to have dedicated telemarketers. Couple that with the need for complex systems, databases, and metrics, and the business case for staying inhouse looks weak. Furthermore, telemarketing is a tough gig, you need trainers on tap because, at some point, even your best contributor to success will hit the wall. And when that happens, they need the right support.
When working towards making an appointment, it’s important that appointment setting services resolutely put the customer experience at the centre of the call. For agencies with business models heavily reliant on results, if they don’t get appointments, they don’t get paid. For clients using these kinds of appointment setting services, don’t be surprised if your brand is damaged by over-goal seeking behaviours.
Ask the right questions
Agencies with a strong client list have the experience to protect and grow your brand. Best in breed clients will generally levitate towards best in breed appointment setting services so asking questions about their experience, client base and successes will provide you with the agency equivalent of ‘situational interview questions’. These are ‘what have you done’ and ‘how did you’. Rather than the more theoretical ‘what would you do’ or ‘what do you do’.
Telemarketers should be commercially savvy, and able to understand and articulate the benefits of complex products. They should know the product well and have excellent training around asking questions, using benefits, and meeting needs. Potential clients will be a lot more likely to make an appointment with the sales force, and the subsequent meeting will be fruitful for both parties if your appointment setting services are exceptional to begin with.
Calls will win over hearts and minds if they are geared towards meeting the prospect’s needs in a gentle, sensitive way that say nice things about your business and brand. And, as ever, ensuring the highest level of best practice, not just mere compliance will pay dividends for your brand’s security. Remember to keep an eye on the latest ICO rules.
Attitude to data is illuminating
Some appointment setting services use their own databases and data. This may seem attractive, after all, why would you pay for data if you can have use of it for free? However, let’s be clear, data costs money. An agency, like any other business, will want to exploit the full potential of anything they spend money on. But the database is one place where you really don’t want to ‘sweat the asset’. Having the same source of data used for every campaign means you can’t take advantage of the best data available. And since data is probably the cheapest component in your marketing cycle, it’s worth making sure you only put the best quality data in.
Plan act review cycles
Using an agency like Blue Donkey that research, audition, test, and buy data for you specifically, will mean your campaign will have a better chance of success. Appointment setting services that purchase profiled data in small segments like this, will ensure a constant cycle of plan, act, and review pre-empts for every record that your project is touched by. So this delivers good value while maximising the performance of your appointment setting services.
Furthermore, the ‘rights’ to the data should always revert to the client. So every piece of intelligence or insight that’s gathered on each dial, forms part of the intellectual property that’s automatically transferred to the client buying the appointment setting services.
It’s not entry level work!
Finally, it’s important to know that appointment setting services are really not entry level work. In the 80’s and 90’s you could get university or college leavers, wind them up with some exciting messages, and let them go! Many excellent telemarketers started very successful business development careers this way. Nowadays it’s too much to ask. It takes years of training to be good at delivering appointment setting services. The profile of callers is everything. And anyway, would you want your kids given that kind of baptism of fire after 3 hard years at uni? Probably not.