The Big Picture:
As a growth-minded leader of a B2B services firm, one of the primary challenges is generating high-quality leads and securing appointments with potential prospects. In today’s crowded, noisy and highly competitive marketplace, this problem is common.
Personally, it’s remarkable how many emails I get each day from appointment setting companies promising to fill the top of my sales funnel with qualified prospects & opportunities.
Additionally, my clients often ask for my feedback & experience on working with an outsourced appointment setting company to bolster their top of funnel efforts.
Here are the Pros & Cons I’ve observed within the outsourced lead generation model.
- Focus: These companies dedicate their time and resources to appointment setting, leveraging tested strategies and staying current with best practices.
- Volume: Many B2B firms lack dedicated business development reps, leading to minimal or sporadic prospecting. Outsourcing provides an active outbound sales arm targeting their market.
- Consistency: Unlike firms that prospect sporadically (prospect when empty, don’t prospect when working in-process opportunities), these outsourced companies maintain consistent outreach efforts.
- Hiring & Onboarding: They have an existing team ready to set appointments and a streamlined process for onboarding more as needed.
- Misaligned Prospects: Casting a wide net (to hit their “scheduled appointment” goal) can yield low-quality meetings with prospects that don't align with your ideal client profile. (I have yet to hear about a “Blue Chip” client win through an outsourced appointment setting company.)
- Conversion Challenges: As a result, many of these “Scheduled Appointments” lack quality, resulting in poor conversion rates.
- Communication & Control: As they operate independently, visibility and control over their activities are limited.
- Limited Talent Development: Outsourcing can hinder building an internal sales engine and developing future sales talent (Account Executives & Account Managers). Some of these organizations will let you hire your appointment setting individual, but not without a hefty placement fee.
- Premium Price: Typically, the B2B company double what the BDR makes. In other words, they are paying $80K - $100K for an appointment setter making $40K - $50K.
- Impact on Exit Strategy: Having an outsourced model may not align with the requirements of potential buyers looking for an in-house sales engine.
The Bottom Line:
While there are pros & cons to this appointment setting model, it's often unsuitable for firms lacking a refined strategy, repeatable processes, and an aligned sales structure. Rushing into outsourcing without these foundations can lead to wasted time and resources.
For those well-prepared with a “Blue Chip” strategy, process and structure, outsourcing could be a viable option. However, investing in a full-time Business Development Rep might be a wiser long-term choice.
Regardless of the chosen path, refining and aligning your sales strategy, processes, and structure are crucial steps forward.