Would you like to boost sales opportunities and support your internal sales team? Perhaps you've wondered if outsourced appointment scheduling is a good option for your business, but need more information before making that shift. This article will explore the benefits of outsourcing business-to-business (B2B) appointment scheduling and how business process outsourcing (BPO) can help companies increase sales opportunities.
According to the Gartner Information Technology Glossary,
“Business process outsourcing (BPO) is the delegation of one or more IT-intensive business processes to an external provider that, in turn, owns, administrates and manages the selected processes based on defined and measurable performance metrics.”
B2B appointment setting services provided by off-site companies fall under the larger BPO umbrella, which includes many other functions, from outsourced customer support to sales and marketing.
Read on to learn how outsourcing your B2B sales appointment scheduling can kick your B2B lead generation strategy into high gear.
B2B appointment setting, also known as business-to-business appointment setting, is a component of an overarching sales strategy that involves highly-skilled sales representatives making prospecting calls and scheduling appointments for closing agents.
Essentially, the appointment setter makes phone call contact with decision makers in other businesses. This often occurs via cold-calling, but your strategy may focus on having appointment setters dial warm leads instead. Once connected, your representative explains the services you can provide, and attempts to make an appointment with the other business to provide a free quote or offer a more in-depth sales presentation.
Once an appointment is set, it’s assigned to an internal sales team member to go out and close the deal. The primary purpose of this two-stage appointment setting strategy is allowing each B2B sales team representative to utilize their best skills, often resulting in higher sales volume and repeat orders.
While internal sales appointment setting works for some organizations, the process can be time consuming and costly, often requiring a team of workers to stay on the phones, dodging voicemails and hang-ups, sometimes with little return on investment.
When setting appointments, telephone agents must capture information about the caller accurately and efficiently, focusing on providing detailed information for the service provider, while getting off the telephone as quickly as possible to make time for the next call. The appointment setting process—controlling costs, avoiding mistakes, and ensuring the prospect is happy with their experience—can be stressful.
In many cases, lead generation is the primary component of outbound calling, whether outsourced or managed in-house. B2B appointment setting specialists utilize a database to contact “warm” or “cold” potential customers. Warm customers are those who have expressed interest in your product or service, whereas cold customers have been identified as primary targets based on location, household income, age, gender, or other qualifying attributes that your typical customers display.
Conversely, inbound appointment setters may schedule appointments for repair technicians, medical providers, insurance adjusters, and other companies in response to an inquiry from an existing client. It’s more common for companies to outsource inbound call centers because incoming calls are easier to train agents on, but outsourcing outbound call centers isn’t unusual.
These appointment setting services are commonly included in organizational sales development and lead generation processes, with the goal being to create long-term partnerships with customers and other businesses that can then generate additional sales opportunities as the relationship grows.
Companies’ B2B lead generation strategies may vary from one organization to the next, but the goal of maintaining a flow of new customers will always be the same.
Some companies rely on referrals to bring in new customers, which is only as effective as your current customers’ levels of brand loyalty. Other companies wager on email marketing campaigns or running social media outreach campaigns on outlets like Instagram and Linkedin.
And although there’s nothing wrong with a diversified approach, none of these methods are as cost-effective as bringing in a team of outsourced agents to reach out personally to hundreds, if not thousands, of potential new customers.
In that regard, phone outreach efforts to identify qualified leads can be a great entry point of a successful sales development funnel. Once agents have identified receptive customers and set an appointment for them to learn more about your product, your sales development representatives have the all-clear to attend the meeting, dazzle the customer, and close the deal.
Check out the following very strong reasons why phone-based outreach is ideal for lead generation.
Companies that utilize telecom outreach services to get in touch with current customers keep their brand top-of-mind for those customers, and help to establish brand loyalty that leads to future purchases, word-of-mouth advertising, and referrals to family and friends.
But what about calling potential customers? Studies show that cold calling can be effective at bringing in new business, with one study showing 28% of calls being productive in some way. And warm potential customers may be grateful to receive a call-back with more information on the products they had been considering. Calling interested prospects back shows a level of personal attention that often results in a final purchase.
Along with fostering strong relationships, generating brand awareness is an essential part of all great B2B sales strategies. Creating touchpoints to do this is a great place to start. Three ways an appointment setting partner can generate positive brand awareness that creates more qualified leads may include:
Businesses that outsource appointment setting efforts to experienced B2B appointment setting companies gain the benefit of seeing sales processes speed up without having to do the heavy-lifting themselves. Salespeople can stop spending time sourcing new leads and start focusing on what they’re best at: closing sales.
Highly-skilled agents are capable of proving end-to-end sales support that goes from first point of contact to closing the deal efficiently. The off-site team is experienced in upselling and cross-selling techniques that increase sales. And, there are opportunities to support the internal sales force with territorial planning and mapping.
Your outsourced phone representatives are often the first point of contact between your company and a potential new customer, so it’s essential that your outsourced appointment setters are highly qualified to represent your brand and provide an incredible customer experience. The best B2B appointment setters will be able to do the following":
The key to identifying high-quality prospects is knowing which questions to ask. So, whether the brand representative is engaged in cold calling or social media outreach, the goal is to find out quickly:
To be a great phone-based telemarketer, you must be friendly, personable, and able to carry a conversation. This doesn’t just mean that the operator is chatty; they have to be able to speak about your product in a friendly yet informed way, while also being able to listen to the customer’s needs. The specialist will need to be quick on their feet, able to respond to questions without hesitation and move the conversation back to the primary goal without making the contact feel rushed.
Your company’s value propositions are the key behind each customer’s decision to buy. In today’s world, customers invariably have a wide selection of options for any purchase they’re considering, and the final decision often comes down to what makes your business different.
If your appointment setter is able to effectively describe and promote your value propositions in a way that potential customers respond to, chances are good that he or she will be filling your appointment slots up left and right.
To efficiently overcome objections, an outsourcing partner spends time learning what client (your business) is willing to offer to facilitate closing sales before initiating the first touchpoint. A trained agent knows how far they can go in negotiating with customers in order to overcome objections.
For example, suppose an agent is calling potential new customers on behalf of a software agency. If the potential customer does not have funding to purchase new business software, the company may offer attractive terms or discounts for longer-term contracts. The representative may be given permission to offer special deals to first-time buyers. Or maybe the best way to overcome hesitancy may be to suggest volume pricing to incentivize the intending buyer to utilize existing credit lines.
You'll notice that along with a strong knowledge of the client's business model and product offerings, being able to answer questions in stride is a key soft skill that sales reps must possess. Should a question come up that requires additional research, the lead qualification agent can ask for permission to follow-up with another call, email, or social media response. Or, the agent may ask to schedule an appointment so a sales specialist or manager can answer specific questions in depth.
Outsourcing appointment setting can optimize the sales process and streamline the sales pipeline. Cost-effective solutions reduce cost-per-acquisition rates, improve reorder percentages, and help managers allocate valuable internal human capital more effectively.
BPO frees up key personnel so they can focus on doing the jobs that are most important to an organization, while delivering a steady stream of high-quality leads. Partnering with an outsourced company empowers decision-makers to monitor call center performance and stay informed about the effectiveness of their appointment setting practices.
Call center appointment setters have the skills and resources to connect with potential customers across multiple touchpoints. With business process outsourcing, you can bring in highly qualified team members at an incredibly low cost.
Technology enables agents to reach out on social media channels, via email, by telephone or text from any location on the planet, at all times of day.
Outsourcing partnerships can be customized to align with a new business, a startup, and small, mid-size, and large companies. Successful B2B business development activities that leverage the skill and knowledge of outsourced call center agents increase sales opportunities, reduce labor costs, and significantly lower turnover rates. BPO partnerships also expand potential customer touchpoints and support better strategic business decisions, while controlling costs.
When deciding which partner is best for your organization, it helps to find one that follows your preferred methodology for qualifying leads. Remember that different agencies may have different definitions of what constitutes qualified appointments. For some, qualifying a lead means the agent talked directly to a company decision-maker. Other agencies may consider an appointment with a department manager, with or without purchase order approval capability, a highly qualified lead because it gets your sales team in the door. Ask before committing to a partnership.
Outsourcing appointment setting offers numerous benefits from reshaping the sales funnel to lowering operating costs by reducing labor and employee retention costs. Handing off the appointment setting process to a skilled off-site call center-based salesforce is an important first step in elevating the quality of your B2B lead generation efforts.
If you’re considering outsourcing your B2B appointment setting processes, you’re already in the right place. TDS Global Solutions offers 30 years of experience as a global outsourcing partner. Over the past three decades, we’ve supported 750 businesses as they prepared for sustained growth and territorial expansion with talent acquisition consulting, startup launch assistance, and call center assessments to ensure agents are meeting business development goals. We invite you to dive deeper into top countries for outsourcing with TDSGS, or reach out to us online to see how we can help.