My most successful appointment setting b2b prospecting project

3,022 meetings is a lot of meetings. 85% of them were with C-level execs and the show rate was 87%. These meetings fueled growth and an eventual purchase of the company for an out of the park price. But let’s focus on the meetings and the four most important factors that fueled it. (You can read the testimonial with more details in the “Sell the Meeting” book.

Back story: Managed IT services company with 27 outside sales reps hires me for a 2-day on-site training. What were the new appointment setting results from these outside reps after the training? Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. One rep called me with a couple of questions, but nothing changed.

But, during the presentation, I would keep seeing a head poking out of a doorway. Turned out that this company had a team of 5 inside appointment setters setting meetings for the outside team. Why were they not part of the training? They needed meetings so much, management decided they couldn’t take them off the phones for two days to learn how to set more meetings. (A clue?)

I ended up sitting with the inside team during lunch and breaks. Plus, the company had purchased follow-up phone sessions from me, but as the outside team used less than five minutes of it, the inside team used those follow-up sessions.

Bottom line was this inside team ended up booking over 3,000 meetings, which fueled tremendous growth for the company.

Why was this project so successful?
If the inside team did so well, why didn’t the outside team improve?

Lot of reasons, but I believe there were four core reasons.

  1. The leader of that inside team was a true sales leader. He was ambitious and laser focused on bottom-line results. He stayed focused on what worked and didn’t let the doubters and negative voices sway him.
  2. They committed to a true system. When your team commits to a system and everyone is on the same page, you can go deep with it, improve it, tweak it up. You have control over your destiny when you are working a solid system.
  3. The manager proactively coached each team member. Outreach success arises out of how each call, email, sentence, phrase is structured, used, and delivered. Brick by brick, this manager built a cathedral. He didn’t focus on shortcuts and hacks. He trained his team to work the system well. He also did not abandon things that did not quite work as hoped immediately. He stayed focused on what needed to be done to create a system that, if worked properly, could be relied upon for results over and over. His team practiced and improved.
  4. Training follow-up. Change is hard. Success is a path of making a ton of decisions, but also quickly correcting the poor decisions and those that need improvement quickly. This manager used my experience to nip problems in the bud, get feedback on options when something needed improvement, and as an experienced, authoritative voice, his team would listen to.

There are a ton of reasons super successful teams are super successful and most are not. But I believe the four mentioned above are core to superior success.

Good leadership. Working a true system. Proactive individual coaching and upskilling. Follow-up and reinforcement.

The outside sales reps got no results because their sales managers did not coach them, advise them, assist them or guide them in any way as to how they should be doing the things that would produce the results desired. There were no expectations except “more.” The outside reps did not improve appointment setting as their sales managers demand it or hold them accountable for it in any way.

I give the appointment setting manager tremendous credit for what he did. There was tremendous pressure from his superiors to do things differently and manage the team in a different way. He resisted short-term pressures to create something that would produce continually over time.

Hope this story gets you thinking.