Steps to create a discovery call system and get more clients

B2B sales prospecting, lead generating and booking discovery calls is not rocket science.

The steps outlined below may seem like a lot to tackle, but if you look at each step individually you see that they are not difficult.

They key to booking discovery calls that convert to profitable sales is knowing all the steps and then executing them in a coordinated manner. That will get you the result you seek at an acceptable cost.

1. Determine your ultimate sales goal

This is not about setting appointments. This is about generating worthwhile, profitable sales at an acceptable cost.
All efforts must contribute to reaching your pre-determined worthwhile goal.

Answer questions like this. What volume of new revenue do you seek? How many new accounts do you need? What is the average new account worth? How many sales appointments do I need to obtain one worthwhile account?

Answer these questions so that you do not end up setting appointments with prospects that do not buy or buy too little.

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2. Properly profile your discovery call targets (Many screw this up)

Fifty percent of your results come about solely by selecting the right targets.

Most common mistake made in a rush to jump start sales is to engage in activities to “see what happens”. Big mistake.

Keep your eyes on your ultimate goals. You need accounts of a certain size that generate an acceptable profit margin. Exceptions exist, but the majority of these accounts typically align with a specific profile. They may be in a certain industry, geographic area, generate a certain sales volume, have a specific range of employees, etc.

Do not assume you know who your best targets are. Take a few brief hours to list out the current clients you have you wish to clone in droves. Add to that list your competitors’ best clients you would like to have.

Now next to each name on the list write specifically what you know or can find out about that company. What specifically is their industry, SIC code, revenue range, employee size range, side of the street, location, building color, growth rate, etc. You may have to do some research to obtain this info, but if you know where to look, it is quick and easy to get and invaluable to the success of your lead generation program.

Simply stated, 80% or more of your best prospects will fit into a specifically defined profile. If you spend too much time looking for exceptions instead of focusing on the main profile, you’ll end up frustrated and wasting money trying to find qualified prospects.

3. Set up your team, or yourself, for success

In addition to a very tight list, you need a CRM properly setup. You are going to need tools that identify decision makers within companies and provide phone numbers, emails, etc.

Position your team for success by providing the proper tools to work with.

4. Your CRM must be setup for maximum efficiency and focus

As you or your team work your system, you need to think ahead as to how you will use all the information that is discovered, or should be discovered in the calling process.

Worth info: Ability to sort by pontential value

One example of this is that you should have a field labeled “worth.” When possible, and you can make reasonable assumptions as to how much someone might buy, you should code by those ranges. I have always favored a simple A – E system. C is an average sized account. B is above average but not in the highest range. A is your highest range of value. D is below average but still acceptable. E is not acceptable and won’t be called again. You set the ranges that apply in your business.

Why is this so critical? Because as you call you get information. You should constantly be sorting suspects by potential value. You do this so that you can allocate time appropriately. Example: By identifying companies that are too small to buy in acceptable amounts, you stop calling them and wasting that time. You spend that time on higher value suspects. The flip side of that is also true. As you identify more and more suspects with above average buying potential, you can choose to allocate your time where it is worth more. You can also choose to market and sell to higher value suspects in ways that would not make sense for average or below average prospects.

You would also create fields by other sorting criteria useful to you. What they might buy, when they review vendors, etc.

The concept is to deal with groups of similar accounts. You can’t decide to spend time or money with a group of accounts if they are not properly segmented.

You also want to standardize certain repetitive notations. You don’t need to hand type “called, left voicemail message, scheduled another call in three days “over and over again. You just code that LVM for left voicemail message. Did you call and nobody picked up? Code that as NC for no contact. Many repetitive notations can be reduced to two keystrokes. Save yourself drudgery and do this early.

5. Writing your appointment setting scripts

You need three standard scripts to start. An identify the decision-maker script, a 30 second set the appointment script and a voicemail script. My recommendation is to type these out double spaced on one sheet of paper that will be right in front of you when you call.

Remember that the script you start with will not be the one you end up using.

As you call, you will make changes. It is not unusual to morph through six scripts before developing the one that flows off your tongue best.

6. Create your supporting materials

You don’t need a lot, but what you do need is very important. You need a email you can use to supplement your calling, so that those who you cannot reach, yet have an interest in your offer, can identify themselves to you.

You also need some type of material to send to those who request it AND WHO YOU DEEM WORTHY OF RECEIVING IT.

One caveat. Just because someone requests information from you doesn’t mean you should send it. If your typical response to someone who requests that you send them information is “um, okay”, you are a wimp. Information requests are typically people who will waste your time. Send info only to those you have qualified as to their specific intentions and whom you have decided are worthy of an additional time investment.

7. Design your measurement system

You truly only need two forms. The first is a daily/weekly activity form. On this form, you will track your key activities. Those activities usually involve setting meetings, having conversations with decision makers, and initiating the process with new companies. You will also want to keep track of how many companies are being pursued at any one time.

There is a certain rhythm to success. Over time you will learn that in order to set X number of sales appointments you must contact Y companies. In order to set a sales appointment you typically have to speak to X number of decision makers. If you know your typical pattern and keep this info in front of you, you will have an early warning system when you start to deviate from your numbers. You can then take action to get back on track before it is too late.

You also want a separate weekly result sheet where you track the specifics of your successes. When you set up a sales appointment you would list out all the specifics of that appointment and details known about the prospect. This is important because over time, you will notice certain patterns about the worthiness of certain appointments.
Use this information to prioritize your time and focus on activities that yield better results for you.

8. Design your incentive system

Outside of selecting your targets, I think that the incentive system is the primary reason your program will produce results at a reasonable cost.

A big mistake made is to set up an incentive system that is unreachable. Management typically believes that by setting high goals before any extra money is earned, they can increase productivity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Management should only be concerned with the cost per inquiry and the cost per sales appointment. You want to have a system where no matter what happened yesterday, the last two days or last week, the appointment setter can feel that if they do a good job that day, they can make more money.

If you set a high monthly goal and the first week or so is poor, the appointment setter mentally gives up for the month because the bonus goal is now out of reach. Same for a high weekly goal.

This works best. Let’s assume that the average weekly productivity for a part-time appointment setter is six qualified appointments. The first small incentive payment should be earned at the 3rd or 4th meeting. An increasingly additional larger payment should be earned for the 5th, 6th and 7th meetings weekly Because a bonus payment is always within reach, there is always the incentive to reach it.

What gets results is counter-intuitive. Small incremental payments always within reach consistently generate leads and appointments at the lowest cost. Incentive systems that set the bar too high destroy the motivation of the appointment setter. Be concerned only with your per inquiry or per appointment costs. That is what counts.

9. Hiring your appointment setter

These are demanding jobs to fill and retain people. Turnover will kill an otherwise great program. These are part time jobs. Let me repeat. These are part time jobs. Productivity plummets after 3 to 3 ½ hours of calling. You are fooling yourself to think otherwise. The best people are those who can earn more money than at their previous job and who value a convenient, flexible position.

Many people value a flexible situation. If you are willing to vary work hours and be flexible with working moms, you can find a loyal, hard working employee who gets you results.

Big tip. The most important interview is the first phone call someone makes to you inquiring about the position. Resumes are of little significance for these jobs. Take a moment to evaluate how they come across during phone conversations and their overall phone demeanor. That is what your prospects will be doing.

The above is an overview of the major steps which take place in setting up a B2B lead generation system which will consistently set qualified discovery calls or sales appointments for you at a reasonable cost.