Many managed service companies choose to hire in-house instead of outsourcing their sales appointment setting. There are pros and cons, and I’m going to share with you some things you should consider before you make your choice.
1. Do you know who you’re looking for?
As Managed Sales Pros matured as a company, we took the time to profile our team to identify the characteristics that our top performers shared. This has been one of the things that has helped us grow faster than our competitors, and we learned some interesting things.
For example, the top five personality traits for a successful appointment setter do not overlap with the top five personality traits for a sales executive. Want to make a great hire? Look for people with customer service experience and stable employment histories. Great sales reps (or great telemarketers who are used to closing on the phone) do not make great appointment setters.
2. Do you know how to compensate them?
Great talents are not wandering around aimlessly looking for small IT companies to work for on a commission-only basis. HR nightmares are. Without exception, any time we interviewed someone who was only interested in the “spiff” they would receive, we got badly qualified meetings.
What we’ve learned is that lead generators thrive in predictable, process-driven environments. They’re not excited by variable compensation plans. Good lead generators are stable, handle stressful and repetitive situations well, and prefer a predictable compensation plan. They are service-oriented, which means they derive their work satisfaction from a successful outcome, not a bump in pay. In short, they aren’t at all like salespeople, so you can’t pay them the same way.
3. Can you support them?
Sales reps are self-starters. They work well independently. Lead generators require support. Lots of it. If you’re struggling to find the time to complete everything you need to do on a daily basis already, adding a lead generator to your time is going to hurt you, not help you.
Earmark a significant period of time to on-board and train them. Then, set aside at least an hour a day to support and manage them on an ongoing basis. If you have a great process in place already—and some extra time—hiring in house will work for you and be more economical than outsourcing.
Sales appointment setting can net you a 500-percent ROI over a 24-month period, but only if you (and your caller) do it consistently and correctly. If this will be your first foray into prospecting, set your expectations appropriately. Sales prospectors will start performing at about the 90-day mark and start performing well without day-to-day micromanagement at about the nine-month mark.
If you’re expecting a new team member to come in and find you leads on day four, you’ll be disappointed. They aren’t magicians, and there is no shortcut to prospecting success. If your caller turns over every 60 to 90 days, you’ll never see success, so hire right, train well, and support them for success. Alternately? Outsource it.
About the Author: Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn.