Should You Outsource Appointment Setting?
Should You Outsource Appointment Setting?
The decision to outsource appointment settings for B2B companies has the potential to enable fast, scalable, and predictable growth. On the flip side, choosing the wrong b2b appointment setting partner can result in lost time and resources.
Sophisticated buyers of lead generation and expert practitioners of outbound motions draw clear distinctions between what appointment setting is versus what sales development does.
The end goal for both should be the same: To set qualified meetings with prospects who have decision-influence or decision-making abilities at companies within your ideal customer profile (ICP).
Before deciding to outsource appointment setting, it’s imperative to understand why specialized sales development is critical to sustainable and scalable business growth.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Predictable Growth and Appointment Setting in the 2020s
The basic tenets of appointment setting haven’t changed a whole heck of a lot. Once an opportunity to start a sales conversation has been identified (website hand-raisers, landing page form fills, responses from cold emails), someone and/or something must convert that interest into a scheduled appointment.
With the advent and proliferation of automation, AI, and chatbot technology in recent years, outsourced appointment setting services have evolved beyond the dial-and-pray model of the past.
Additionally, like the publication of Aaron Ross’ Predictable Revenue nearly ten years ago, watershed moments in sales development ushered in a new era of sales development and specialization. Today, sales specialization and outbound motions are a growth lever. Consistently filling the top of your funnel with qualified leads is critical for forecasting future sales with predictable, cost-controlled growth.
Sales development typically consists of four pillars: strategy and messaging, research, outreach activities, and appointment setting. Like the anchor runner of a 4×100-meter relay, the setting of the appointment receives the glory. The other three runners are equally important, but crossing the finish line (or hitting quota) is the goal.
Plainly put, good appointment setting is a function of an intentional, well-executed sales development motion.
When Outsourcing Isn’t a Fit
However, outsourcing the appointment setting role may not be the right fit for an organization for several reasons:
- Your business model doesn’t fit outbound, let alone outsource, economics. Freemium SaaS, most B2C, and transactional business models are the ones that jump out.
- You want to grow your sales team organically and build out a career path from sales development representative (SDR) to sales executive (SE).
- You work in an industry where a sales cycle cannot be chopped up in stages (i.e., appointments aren’t relevant).
- You possess economies of scale or inherently have an advantage of doing outbound marketing and cold calling yourself (e.g., you are also in the people business and can source talent affordably).
3 Things to Consider: Outsource Appointment Setting
Lead generation requires resources, intentional effort, and patience. Building a predictable pipeline is hard. The hiring, training, and retaining of topflight sales development representatives are more challenging than ever, too. Among The Bridge Group’s 2021 SDR Metrics Report’s findings include:
- The average tenure of an SDR is only 1.8 years
- The average on-target earnings (OTE) compensation is over $75,000
- The highest-performing sales development organizations use more sophisticated and expensive sales technology stacks
One of the biggest challenges to growth is scaling the sales development and appointment setting functions. With today’s emphasis on going to market faster than the competition, outsource appointment setting firms can provide the quickest path to market.
When creating an in-house SDR team, building out the hiring, training, compensation plans, and career development takes time and resources. Growing teams of SDRs become an endless treadmill set at a breakneck speed of recruiting, hiring, training, firing, and replacing talent.
With outsource appointment scheduling services, those operational challenges are shouldered by your partner. By outsourcing your appointment setting, you can scale up and down as needed without taking on the responsibility of hiring and firing. It’s a win-win situation.
By outsourcing your appointment setting function using a subscription-based firm, the monthly cost remains flat. Compared to pay-per-appointment models (where the price can far exceed appointment value), subscription-based models are cost-controlled.
For example, let’s take a look at a hypothetical cost-per-appointment analysis between a subscription-based model and a pay-per-appointment model:
In Month 1, the PPA model is more cost-effective; however, as the outsource appointment setting firms gain data and get more effective at setting qualified appointments, the subscription-based firm becomes more cost-effective. Additionally, in both models, there are no bonuses or overhead costs for the client company.
Not shown is the cost for hiring a single in-house SDR to set appointments. The average ramp time for an SDR is slightly above 3 months (lowering slightly to 3.1 in 2020), so standing up a single SDR to set appointments would likely result in fewer appointments and higher overhead in this time frame.
Cost-controlled growth should be heavily weighed when debating whether to outsource lead generation and appointment setting.
Outsourcing is not only an intelligent choice for scaling and controlling growth, but it’s also a great way to gain valuable market insights and establish market fit.
Market insights can range from learning how your prospects are currently solving problems to simply learning if you’re articulating your value proposition well enough. Using an appointment setter to gain insights can be helpful for both your inbound and outbound marketing efforts—especially when rebranding, penetrating new markets, or introducing new product lines/services.
Because of the breadth of experience setting appointments, lead generation firms ought to have experience engaging with prospects in their target market. The firm’s experience and knowledge can immediately be used to your advantage in understanding how to penetrate key accounts.
The Bottom Line
Outsourcing such a critical component of your sales pipeline should be considered carefully. On one side, a well-oiled in-house SDR team can be a feeder system for sales executives. On the other hand, outsource appointment setting enables companies to scale fast without the headaches of management.