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Tuesday, 25 March 2014 08:56

Why Pay-for-Performance Appointment Setting Doesn’t Pay Off

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The Lure of Pay for Performance

It sounds so attractive to pay appointment setting companies fees based on the number of appointments they set up for you. It seems there’s no risk, and would appear to make it simple to compare one teleservices company to another. It comes down to dollars and cents you pay for each appointment.

Quantity Not Quality

But is that really true?

You might be getting quantity, but what about quality? When you pay by the appointment, appointment setting companies are motivated to give you as many appointments as possible. In turn, they are likely paying incentives to their agents based on the number of appointments they set. So the natural inclination for agents is to blur the edges of the definition of a “qualified” appointment.

The Hidden Costs

Once you have the appointments set up, your field sales people have to prepare for an appointment, travel there, and meet with the “prospect.” What if the appointment is not qualified? They may be interested in your solution, but do they have the authority to buy it? The budget? If the appointment does not meet all the criteria for a qualified lead, your sales people end up wasting their time on sub-par leads.

Alternatively, sales people figure out almost immediately that some of the leads are not qualified, and take one of two routes. They either waste time digging through piles of leads trying to qualify them. Or, more likely, try a few appointments that don’t work out, and discard the rest.

It’s not good for converting sales, boosting morale, or the bottom line.

Focus is on Quality with a Fixed-Rate Campaign

The alternative is to pay by the project, also known as fixed-rate, based daily or monthly rate. As long as you clearly set objectives up front, this usually provides a better ROI because the appointment setting company can focus on quality leads. In addition, they approach your project with a long-term perspective. This means they’ll be more likely to:

  • Seek out and capture accurate data that will help produce results in future campaigns.

  • Nurture leads until they are warmed up and ready for a sales call. On the other hand the agent who is paid for the appointment will likely pass along marginal leads because they want to get paid now.

If you’re new to outsourcing appointment-setting, you may be concerned about paying for a service when you don’t know the results you’re going to achieve. So how do you do your due diligence and alleviate your concerns? Here’s what you need to find out:

  • The education and experience of their agents. The more experienced and educated, the more likely they’ll be able to have smooth, free-flowing conversations with the decision-makers you want to reach.

  • How they go about training agents on your products, industry and markets? The more in-depth the training, the more likely they are to be successful.

  • Does the company dedicate a team of agents to your campaign only, or will they be working on several projects at the same time? You want agents to focus on your campaign alone and present themselves as part of your company. Essentially, they become an extension of your organization.

  • Do the agents use scripts? When agents are inexperienced, untrained and/or working for several clients simultaneously, it’s harder to let them loose on the phones without the crutch of a script. If a company’s agents are unscripted, just working from an outline of topics, you can rest assured that they are confident in promoting your company.

  • Do their agents talk the language of your target audience fluently? If you have global market coverage, look for a teleservices company whose agents have the breadth of languages you need for your campaigns.

  • Who are their clients? If the appointment setting company works with best of breed companies, they are most likely producing exceptional results. And, if you want to know for sure, just ask for a few references.

  • Can you start with a pilot project? This is an excellent way to gauge the results you are likely to achieve working with a particular appointment setting company.

For information about how 3D2B can help you call +1 718-709-0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).