B2B ABM: Seven Sales & Marketing Tips for 2017 - Tip #5: Should You Buy Real Leads or Appearances?

Posted by Dan McDade

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on Dec 22, 2016 9:05:00 AM

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Is "appointment setting" an effective tactic for lead generation and nurturing?

Most companies have experienced lead “traction” issues in their history. The biggest complaint I hear from C-level executives is that they have no idea whether or not leads are being followed up. In addition, they have had no way of knowing how effective the follow-up is on the few leads that are followed up.

One tactic some organizations have used to solve this problem is "appointment setting." I like to call it appearance setting. The following are three reasons why I suggest you think twice before investing in an appointment setting program:

  1. The most logical argument against appointment setting is, ironically, at the heart of its selling proposition. The selling proposition is that someone agreeing to see your sales representative has to be more qualified than another prospect who is simply forwarded to you as a lead. The truth is that in most complex selling situations, anyone who agrees to see your sales representative for any amount of time, without additional preparatory conversation, has more time to waste than most senior level executives I know.
  2. If you are selling a relatively expensive B2B solution requiring the involvement of multiple decision-makers and multiple levels of evaluation, could an appearance with one person, without advanced discovery, possibly be the best first step with a new prospect in that situation?
  3. When good salespeople sell, they like to know something about the person they are selling to. They would prefer to present in a warm environment rather than in a cold-call situation. If they prepare the audience right, their visit is like a discussion with a new friend. If they have to go in cold, all of the focus is on the presentation. The reality is, few of your field sales people are great cold-call presenters and when put in this situation, they’re not being utilized effectively.

Putting a good salesperson in front of the wrong prospect is unlikely to generate revenue. Unfortunately, appointment setters are more focused on getting the appointment than they are making sure that the appointment is going to be valuable for both parties. 

Prospect qualification remains essential to ensuring that sales reps are talking to the right person, and that the right person is knowledgeable and engaged prior to the sales meeting.

Focusing on the quality of the connection leads to high-value, ready-buyer opportunities, a more efficient sales process, more accurate forecasts, better sales performance, and greater revenue.



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Topics: B2B Sales

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