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An Expert’s Perspective on Lead Generation and Executive Appointment Setting

Capturing accounts is often the top objective for sales leaders. I’ve been a practitioner of content marketing and inbound lead generation for years, but I’ve always been very skeptical of the idea that outbound prospecting is dead.

We all know how annoying it can be to get stalked by overly aggressive sales reps that have no clue about what you really need. However, there has to be some middle ground.

The practices below may not be for everyone. However, the takeaways should provoke some thought for how you generate leads and opportunities to drive new business in your organization.

Key Takeaways

1. The typical inside sales rep makes 67 dials per day, but the average “best of breed” inside sales rep will make 190 dials per day.

2. 500 leads worked for 1 month should yield 40 conversations

3. The best follow-up or nurturing e-mails are basic text emails — three sentences, three lines long, sent at 3p.m. This is his recommended format:

  • Hi <insert prospect name>. I understand you oversee <insert function> at <insert company>. I would like to talk to you about <insert offering or issue> to understand if you have this <need or challenge> in your organization. Are you available for a 30 minute call to see if there is a fit?

4. You are ten times more likely to reach an inbound lead during the first hour following lead submission.

  • Call the prospect within the first hour.
  • If you don’t reach him, don’t leave a message.
  • Call back and try to reach the prospect live.
  • Rotate your caller ID — local numbers get a better response — or try calling on a cell phone.

5. View an inbound lead as a trigger.

  • The person downloading may not be the decision maker, but that shouldn’t stop you from finding the decision maker.

6. Establish a proper prospecting cadence.

  • Day 1 — Dial immediately, repeat often.
  • Day 2 — Dial. If you don’t reach the prospect, leave them a message informing them that you will be sending them an e-mail about what you want to talk to them about. Don’t leave your phone number in the message. Then, send the three-sentence e-mail that I described above.
  • Day 3 — Take a breather
  • Day 4 — Dial, Dial, and Dial again to try to reach them live. Establish some “guilt,” letting them know that you’re following up on the e-mail you sent them.

7. The best time to reach people by phone is between 7:30-9:00 a.m. and 4:00-6:00 p.m. It is best to work —two to five hour shifts and to use time zones to your advantage.

  • 6:30-8:00 a.m.: Call EST and CST.
  • 8:00-10:00 a.m.: Call CST and MST.
  • 10:00a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Call MST and PST.
  • 12:00-3:00 p.m.: Do non-call work … all of your prospects are eating or in meetings.
  • 3:00-5:00 p.m.: Call EST and CST.
  • 5:007:00 p.m.: Call CST and MST.
  • 7:0008:00 p.m.: Call MST and PST.

8. Don’t call unqualified leads or leads that are merely educating themselves.

  • Have a “trigger form” that establishes a clear signal that they’re ready to talk to a sales rep. This might be a Buyer’s Guide, a Demo or a clear request to “talk to a sales consultant.”

9. Set proper call goals.

  • The first ten seconds needs to get you to the next 30 seconds.
    • Who are you, and why are you calling?
    • Thirty seconds to three minutes
      • Establish one or two interesting talking points about you.
      • Three minutes to five minutes
        • If you sense interest, set a follow-up appointment.
        • Try the “Colombo” approach…start wrapping up, and then pause and ask … “One more thing … do you use …”

        10. Expect to reschedule

        • Twenty-three percent of B2B appointments get rescheduled or cancelled.
        • Take a cancellation as a reschedule.
        • Don’t use bridge numbers.
        • Send reconfirmations and updates from Outlook.

        11. In general, the more time they have invested in getting to know you, the more qualified they are.

        Good selling!

About the Author

Richardson Sales Performance is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations. Our methodology combines a market proven sales and coaching curriculum with an innovative and customizable approach to learning that ensures your sales teams learn, master, and apply those behaviors where and when it matters most — in front of your customers. It’s our job to anticipate change in your industry so that your sales team can focus on fostering long-term relationships, becoming indispensable partners for their buyers.

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