It’s amazing how similar two seemingly different prospect groups can be when it comes to expectations for appointment setting. On one hand is the F500 division leader that needs leads for a nationwide sales force. The other is a new entrepreneur that is a technical expert in their field. Both offer solutions that were developed based on real needs that either they or a product development team were able to identify.
The amazingly similar thing is what they often seem to expect from appointment setting. “We just want to throw some spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks,” is what many of them seem to want to tell us. Evidently, they think that because they have a truly valuable product where there is real need that nearly everyone hearing about it will want to hear more in a phone or personal appointment. This just isn’t the case.
Particularly when the product or solution is “proven” because it’s more or less a commodity, the executives need to understand their organization’s point-of-difference as a provider, in addition to the typical product benefits. Sometimes the way the product solves problems is new and it’s hard to communicate the basic value proposition in a few words on a cold call.
Relying on the solution’s effectiveness or even value is not necessarily going to get you meetings. The person on the other end of the phone has to be the right person for a meeting; you have to quickly get their attention and give them the reason that they should spend time with you. All of this seems obvious until calling starts and the prospects you’re contacting don’t make decisions about the solution or there are scenarios where the benefits are not achievable. Sometimes the wrong benefit is presented as primary where another seemingly minor benefit is what gets people to listen.
And there are many downsides to trying to see what will stick by simply calling a list that is believed to have the right prospects. You only get one chance to make a first impression and numerous calls to the wrong contacts at a prospect company could fatigue your target and tarnish your brand. The point is that you can’t go back and undo this. And, once you do discover an effective message and the decision maker, you can’t erase what you did the first time when you call back for a second try a month later. Consider, too, the budgetary impact and the morale problem that you could be creating by investing in a lead generation campaign that’s less than successful.
What’s the solution? Research your market before you invest in a lead generation campaign. Everyone expects the campaign to generate opportunities and early failure can send a negative message to all of your employees. Research your market to ensure that you know what prospects are doing now and why and who suffers from the present situation, an overworked line employee or the CIO. Sometimes it seems like a company saving $2,000 or $2 million in a month is a sure indication that they will buy. But you may not know that they would be breaking a $500 million national service contract to save $2 million.
Effective market research will increase your chances of hitting the wall the first time and sticking. It will instill more confidence in your team since they’ll be more successful and success begets success. You will be talking with decision makers at prospect companies who appreciate the opportunity to learn about you and they will appreciate you whether they buy or not. Of course, all of this could contribute to a lower cost of sales leaving budget for… more spaghetti.