Appointment Setting Skills Help Keep the Sales Funnel Full

Appointment setting probably isn’t on your list of favorite things to do as a salesperson. Unfortunately, it is an important part of the sales process and necessary to keep the sales funnel full.

When approaching appointment setting calls, remember that time is money. While appointment setting can be an arduous task, if you succeed at getting an appointment set, a large part of your selling work is done. That’s because prospects who make appointments are more likely to buy what you are selling.

In a perfect world, you could outsource your appointment duties. Since this is not always possible, here is some advice to help make the process go more smoothly:

Don’t waste your time trying to get a hold of just one person. Large companies usually have more than one decision maker so you can cast your net wider and attempt to track down more than one person at a time. Keep in mind, however, that although there is usually more than one decision maker in a company, all of those decision makers are likely to be high up in the organization.

Persistence is the name of the game. It may take an average of 10 attempts to get the opportunity to ask just one prospect to meet with you, but it could take even more. The only thing you know for sure is that you never know how long it will take to connect with a potential appointment. The key is to remain determined, even if it takes longer than you expected.

You are trying to set an appointment, not make a quick sale. While it is human nature to want to try to sell your product or service as soon as you get a prospect on the phone, this is never a good idea. Since the prospect wasn’t expecting your call, he or she is unlikely to be wiling – or able – to make a decision on the spot. Don’t squander the opportunity to meet with a prospect by launching into a hurried sales pitch that will in most cases be rejected.

No-shows aren’t always the end of the road. It is easy to get discouraged when an appointment is a no-show, however, this is an expected part of the appointment setting process. It may help to know that 50 percent of no-shows can be rescheduled. Further, the professional manner in which you react to a no-show can actually improve your prospect’s opinion of you and increase the likelihood that the prospect will show up the next time around.

Getting the Most Out of Your CRM System

Few people would argue that a quality customer relationship management (CRM) system is an important revenue and lead generation tool for companies. Unfortunately, many companies that have invested in a quality CRM system are not getting as much as they could out of that system.

One of the most common complaints salespeople have about their company’s CRM system is that although it yields a large amount of data, most of that data is irrelevant or doesn’t provide any significant insight to help them do their jobs better.

While CRM systems are designed to generate a great deal of information about customers, it is important to remember that when it comes to CRM systems, less is usually more. To put it another way, CRM systems work best when those systems are set up to provide only the information that is relevant to the sales team.

In order to ensure that your CRM system is as effective as possible there are some things to keep in mind. When it comes to setting up your CRM system; begin with only the fields, tabs, and functionality you absolutely need. This doesn’t mean you can’t add more fields, tabs, and functionality as needed; but you never want your sales team to be distracted by unnecessary information.

Remember, CRM systems should be used to improve the efforts of your sales team. While it is tempting for management to want to collect as much information as possible through the CRM system, this will not help your sales people do their job. Even if information collected is significant to management, if it doesn’t specifically help salespeople close sales, salespeople do not need it.

CRM systems can yield exceptional outcomes. Unfortunately, in many cases management is unable to grasp how much, and what type, of information is necessary for their sales team to do their best work.

While CRM systems are touted by many in the sales industry as the place to compile every single piece of information about a customer, designing a CRM system in this manner can actually hurt your sales efforts.

When your sales team feels there is too much information to process and dig through when they use a CRM system, you can be sure they will stop using it. CRM systems are intended as a way to keep customer data organized in a way to help your sales team. If your sales team stops using it, no matter how much you have invested in the system, it will have been a waste of money.

Increase Sales through B2B Telemarketing

Implementing a B2B telemarketing campaign is an excellent way to increase your company’s sales. That’s because a B2B telemarketing campaign is one of the best ways to identify prospects as part of your lead generation efforts.

Despite the success of B2B marketing campaigns, many companies mistakenly believe that telemarketing campaigns are not as effective as other types of lead generation efforts such as social media or direct mail. Statistics, however, do not support this belief. In fact, a survey by B2B Marketing magazine reported that 60 percent of marketing managers say B2B telemarketing is effective for lead generation with an additional 30 percent calling it “very effective.”

Marketing experts report that B2B telemarketing owes much of its success to its reliance on human interaction. In other words, people want to talk to people.

If your B2B telemarketing campaigns have not been as successful as you would like, you might be going about it the wrong way. What follows are three things to keep in mind when implementing your next B2B telemarketing campaign:

  1. Cold-calling is not dead. In fact, cold-calling is one of the most effective methods telemarketers use to generate qualified leads and identify prospects. The key is to know the people you are calling and focus on that knowledge. It also is vital to keep your call script concise while capturing the interest of the person who you are calling.
  2. Build on events. Generating leads from trade shows and other business-related events can do wonders for your B2B telemarketing efforts. When you follow-up by phone with individuals who attended your events, you have the perfect lead in for sales generation.
  3. Focus on appointment setting. When you use B2B telemarketing for appointment setting with prospects, you are helping to secure essential face-to-face interactions with potential customers.

It is important to keep in mind that while B2B telemarketing is effective, it still takes time. Many leads need to be nurtured over long periods of time. B2B telemarketing efforts allow you to keep track of potential customers and remain engaged. And the more engaged you are, the more likely a prospect will turn into a client.

Finally, B2B telemarketing is an excellent way to stay in touch with current customers. Since it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, staying in touch with current customers always makes good financial sense.

How to Clean Up Your Email List without Deleting Potential Leads

Looking to clean up your email marketing list but concerned about deleting legitimate leads in the process? You’re not alone. Many business owners are concerned that through the process of email lead scrubbing they may inadvertently remove quality leads.

While this is a valid concern, if done correctly, email list scrubbing will actually improve your business development and lead generation. That’s because such efforts help to ensure that you aren’t wasting your time and money on uninterested, outdated, or bad leads. Email list scrubbing also will:

  • Lower the number of individuals and companies that mark your emails as SPAM.
  • Improve your deliverability and email open rates.
  • Keep you legally compliant by taking unsubscribes off your list.
  • Allow you to better segment your emails.
  • Increase email content relevancy.
  • Save money if you are being charged per email sent.

Marketing experts agree that approximately 25 percent of an email list becomes irrelevant each year. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell which 25 percent have gone bad. If you are wondering what emails you need to remove from your list, here is a quick guide for which addresses to remove:

Unsubscribes: If an address unsubscribes from your list, you are required by law to remove it.

Duplicate or invalid addresses: Every email address needs to be checked to confirm that it is a working address and that it is not being duplicated.

Addresses that didn’t opt in: Removing these emails is the best way to improve email deliverability, as well as open and click through rates.

Alias addresses: When you see an address like info@companyname.com, you should know that most ESPs won’t deliver the email because one or more of the email addresses associated with the alias did not opt in to receive your emails.

Disengaged recipients: Don’t delete these emails immediately, but if a person or company has stopped opening or clicking through your emails, you need to try to reengage them. If reengagement fails, it’s better to remove them from your list before they mark you as SPAM.

Bouncing addresses: While some emails that bounce back do so because of a temporary problem, others bounce back because the address is invalid or blocked. In those cases, you need to remove the address from your list.

Finally, many businesses have trouble deciding how long to keep an email address on their active list. While no one would delete the email address of an active customer, it’s harder to know what to do with email addresses that appear to be abandoned. A good rule of thumb is to get rid of any address that is consistently bouncing or marking you as SPAM, and try to reengage the others. If the other addresses still bring no response after reengagement efforts, it’s time to delete them, as well.