Appointment setting metrics. What to measure – what not to.

What do the best b2b appointment setters measure?

The top performers at B2B appointment setting stand out because they use different sales behaviors and techniques compared to those who are slightly above average, average, or below average.

Those that are top producers at B2B outbound tend to be a bit contrarian.

I set more than 2,000 C-level appointments before I wrote books on the topic and started coaching sales teams. One of the earliest and best decisions made early in my appointment setting career was to decide whom to listen to.

    Proven sales script (with analysis) for B2B appointment setting

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It made absolutely no sense to me to take advice from those that were average or less with setting sales appointments and discovery calls. That meant that what most sales reps thought was gospel was to be ignored.

One of the most popular beliefs, which I think is killing the quality of b2b discovery call results, are telemarketing metrics that prioritize the number of dials made. It never made any sense to me. Stil doesn’t.

IMHO, measuring outbound call dial activity is next to worthless.

Over the course of many years and personally setting 2,000+ high-level sales appointments, what activity did I never keep track of? … The number of dials I made.

What do most BDR, sales development representative and sales managers say to that? You have got to be kidding me.

What do successful appointment setters say? “Of course!”

Three reasons why measuring dial activity is next to worthless when seeking to set appointments? 

  1.  Top appointment setters do not make the most dials. They work an outbound cold calling plan and get people to pick up the phone and talk to them. That takes time.
  2. You get what you measure. If management prioritizes dial activity, they tend to get more dial activity. But management needs qualified opportunities and enough of them, not activity. It is bottom-line results that should be your key KPI.
  3. Assuming someone is within a reasonable range of dial activity… let me repeat…assuming someone is within a reasonable range of dial activity… leaps in results come from improving three factors that SHOULD be measured.

The danger of overemphasizing dial activity over…

… targeting, thinking, qualifying, process, and effective sales scripts.

These are the dangers of overemphasizing dial activity.

  • Top talent flees
  • High business development representative (BDR) turnover
  • Reps work to meet weekly report, not solid results
  • Reps stop efforts to improve their sales behaviors
  • Results due more to randomness than skills and solid systems
  • Meetings booked tend to be smaller, of lesser quality and churn faster.
  • Future purchase intent is rarely explored, which costs opportunities.


I may sound like a jerk in these next few paragraphs. Sorry, don’t mean to be.

Top talent flees: Top talent flees environments that overemphasize dial activity. They resent being required to do things they know to be stupid, and cost them and the company money. Plus, companies that prioritize dial activity tend to require other dumb stuff and that chases away top people.

Top producers have other job options, so they flee environments where they can’t use their talent to earn the most. The average and below average producers don’t have the same job options, so they tend to stay.

High business development representative (BDR) turnover: In almost every environment where I see super high dial requirements, I see high outbound team turnover. Turnover is death to appointment setting programs.

Reps stop efforts to improve sales behaviors: Reps stop trying to improve as the high dial requirements don’t give them time to think, rewrite scripts or learn new tricks.

Results are due more to randomness: I call this broken clock selling. A broken clock is right twice a day, but you wouldn’t use it to tell time. Blind squirrels find a nut once in awhile. Broken appointment setting systems book a meeting here and there, doesn’t mean the system is working.

Meetings and discovery calls booked tend to be smaller, of lesser quality and churn faster: When dial activity is prioritized, the quick and easy to reach get the attention. BDR’s don’t invest the time to chase better accounts as they take more time at the expense of dials.

Future purchase intent is rarely explored: This is such a strategic fail. If you are booking discovery calls B2B you probably offer something companies don’t buy very frequently. Maybe they tend to change vendors every three, five or seven years.

Outbound telemarketing teams that get the best probe for future purchase intent if someone says no to meeting now. Just an extra question or two identifies those that are going to buy from a competitor (or maybe you if you are aware) within the next three to 12 months. A key to appointment setting success. But in environments where reps have high activity quotas, they don’t ask, as it takes away from their daily call numbers. Ridiculous.

REMEMBER: The best B2B appointment setters do not make the most dials.

They don’t. They generate the best results in terms of accounts closed, revenue and profit for the time invested, but they don’t make the most dials.

Activity is only one of the factors that impact appointment setting results.

You have to call the right companies, in the right way, with the right messaging, all the while making judgments about qualification, potential size of opportunity and the odds of closing it.

What are the three metrics that SHOULD be measured and tracked?

1. The number of records that fit the profile of good accounts, that you start your outbound telemarketing process with on a daily or weekly basis. I call these “launches.”

2. The number of “conversations” you have with identified decision-makers within those targeted suspect accounts. You could also include responses to emails in this category.

3. The conversion ratio of those conversations or email responses to discovery calls set.

Successful appointment setters focus on measuring and moving the numbers on those three factors. That may or may mean more dials. That leads to quantum leaps in appointment setting success.

A coaching client called me recently to report setting five 5 high-level appointments in two days (her quota was 10 a month.)

Why the jump in results? After learning all the process, scripts and techniques, I had encouraged her to focus on moving her numbers on those three key factors. Never mentioned dials.

She did specific things to launch her B2B appointment setting process with more qualified suspects.

She did specific things and worked a complete sales lead generation plan in order to have more conversations with identified decision-makers.

She said specific things reduced to writing in her phone scripts to convert more conversations to appointments.

Voila! More results. No mention of dial activity.

On the flip side of that lead generation success story…

… was called in to consult for a team that had a large database,  had the top automation and predictive dialing tools, and high activity requirements.

My advice was to delete their whole database. Every single record. There was no rhyme or reason as to why companies were selected. There was no way to tell those that might fit or be close to the best account profile and the totally unqualified.

Upon getting the news a BDR said “Thank god, now I don’t have to call the unqualified over and over again.”

They were calling the phone book and their sales messaging scripts were the equivalent of chasing away good prospects with a baseball bat, but none of that got any attention. Only activity did. No wonder there were few results. 

Summary

Professional appointment setting measures and focuses on the quantity and quality of appointment setting results.

More activity alone won’t generate qualified leads without focused priorities and an effective appointment setting process with scripts that communicate value and credibility in moments.

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