Common Lead Generation & Appointment Setting Questions in 2022

As we talk with companies who are seeking guidance about outbound teleprospecting and lead generation services, the following 4 questions are the most common ones we hear.


1. How has the pandemic impacted prospecting behaviors? – Our world and our “back to normal” is evolving back to the way it was before the pandemic.  Not everything will go back to the way it was, but in business, most human behaviors seem to be going back to, or get close to, normal – “normal” defined as pre-pandemic.  In our office, we are as successful today as we were before the pandemic with scheduling appointments.  Things were confusing during the pandemic, mostly trying to determine if a target contact person was working in the office or working remotely.  People are still working remotely, but they have become reachable via phone calls.


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2. What do you mean, multiple call attempts? Persistence – we are firm believers in “tactful persistence is the key to success”.  If someone tells us they are busy and asks us to call them back, we call them back.  Most often we feel like a non-response to a phone call simply means the person is busy and is unable to talk, or they are not ready to talk.  This is fine.  We do not assume that they are not interested in what we are calling about.  We do a very good job of balancing persistence with politeness - with this balance we will continue to develop a prospect over time until they are ready to talk to us, and hopefully earn a scheduled appointment.

3. Does cold calling really work?  There are many terms for it – cold calling, outbound prospecting, teleprospecting – no matter what you call it, the question remains the same. Does it work? This is always a very good question and there are several key elements that factor into the answer.  The answer can be different based on these key elements: 

  • Outbound teleprospecting works if you have a good plan and process in place for making calls and managing the data (CRM)
  • It works if you have a sales team that hustles and goes after new business opportunities
  • It is a beautiful way to cover lots of territory and geography without having to travel
  • Lastly, and often overlooked, historically we have learned that there are fewer competitors involved when you generate opportunities through teleprospecting.

4. Why cold calls rather than social media or other digital approaches? – It does not have to be one or the other. Incorporating multiple methods can complement rather than compete against each other.  Both do a very good job of generating sales opportunities and together, you end up with more prospects to sell services to.  Both social media and teleprospecting have the ability to overlap and impact a larger group of people, where separately, they both touch people who respond to either digital approaches or phone calls, but not both.

There is a process that needs to take place when building a campaign – whether we coach you on building your own or build it for you. There is also a frame of mind that needs to be present.  You can do an outstanding job building your campaign but if you do not have the correct frame of mind, it becomes difficult to succeed with the campaign.  We will teach you both: the process and the frame of mind.

Maybe this article answered the question(s) that you have, if not, we are happy to talk to you. 

Decision Maker VS. Decision Influencer – Who Do You Talk To?

Teleprospecting for New Business Opportunities

The epitome of early-stage business development is making your very first teleprospecting calls into a new prospect list.  As you have likely experienced with B2B business development, at the beginning of the nurturing process, it’s highly unlikely to make a sale during your first few interactions with a prospect. Sure, “right place at the right time” scenarios happen, but not frequently. However, an outcome that is more likely to occur is identifying companies that will soon be in the market for your services. Because of this, it is wise to set your expectations as “getting the sales process started” when engaging in early-stage business development.

A conversation we have almost every time we build a campaign for a client is:

Who do we need to talk to?

Most commonly, our clients’ response is:

The decision-maker!

But, is this always the best approach for getting your sales process started? Our question then becomes:

Is it realistic to get the decision maker on the phone?

Usually at this point, our clients start scratching their heads…

Typically, decision makers are difficult people to get on the phone – as a general rule of thumb, the larger the company, the more difficult it is to reach the decision maker. If the objective of your cold calling efforts is to get the sales process started, and if a mid to long-term sales process is common, why not increase your likelihood of having a productive conversation and broaden your reach to include decision influencers.  These are people who may not be directly involved with the decision making, but are knowledgeable about future plans, and likely have a measurable contribution to the future decision.

In our experience, decision influencers are more willing to take phone calls and are more available to offer insight into the company’s future plans.  Because this is early-stage business development, a major goal in a conversation is to identify future purchasing plans.  It’s too early in the process to ask for a decision to be made – you are simply trying to determine the timing of future plans. 

We use this analogy frequently inside our office:

If you are on a first date with someone, is it normal to talk about wedding plans, or should you spend time getting to know each other?  Should you learn what the likes and dislikes are of the other person?  Should you learn about their needs? 

Over time, as you nurture a relationship, you then, start talking about the serious topic of a long-term commitment.

It is perfectly acceptable to start building a relationship with the decision influencer.  During this journey, you will be able to learn more about the likes and dislikes of the company, and what the important elements are that you can build your sales strategy around.  There is a lot to be learned, but do not lose sight that you still need to ultimately connect with the decision maker.  If you are successful at building trust with the decision influencer, chances are, they will introduce you to the decision maker.

In summary, this approach is most beneficial when your target prospects are large companies with layers of people.  If you are cold calling into small and mid-sized companies, keep working to connect with decision makers as well.

Introducing Consulting Services for In-House Prospecting

Dunlap Marketing has recently rolled out two new services we will consult you and your team on: internal lead generation and internal appointment setting.

We are ready to get your sales team geared up to do what we do best – prospecting. Whether you’re adding a prospecting branch to your current sales team, or just refining the skills of your current team, we’re here to help you be as successful as possible at in-house prospecting.

Okay, So What’s The Deal?

Let’s look at the overall sales process as a four-person relay race. Each person runs one lap, passing the baton to the next runner at the end of their lap. In a business environment, each of the four laps of the race represents a stage of the sales process and look something like this: 

  • Lap 1: Prospecting
  • Lap 2: Salesperson Hustle
  • Lap 3: Product or Service
  • Lap 4: Company Name and Reputation

Laps 2, 3, and 4 might look differently at various companies. However, the one consistent variable is that Prospecting is Lap 1. Without prospecting, there would be no other stages of the sales process. 

Dunlap Marketing is passionate about prospecting – it’s where we have made our living since 1996. We have developed and implemented thousands of campaigns – not to toot our own horn, but we know what we’re doing when it comes to prospecting. We can help you get your own in-house prospecting campaign launched within a few weeks.

Very interesting. You’ve caught my attention.

You might be thinking “what needs to be in place for a successful prospecting campaign?”

  • Overall plan
  • Proper messaging
  • Targeted database records (and CRM tool to manage)
  • Staff willing to execute the campaign
  • Staff training
  • Implementation and a set schedule for calling times
  • Calendaring and pacing
  • Reporting and measurement
  • Ongoing management 

That’s a lot…now what?

We’ve got your back. Dunlap Marketing can guide you through the complete process, or we can isolate specific steps inside the process. Our approach is unique, but simple. Prospecting is necessary for every industry, every business, and every sales team. 

Let’s get the ball rolling and determine if our skills are a good fit for your needs.  

Additional Tools:

Six Steps to Redefine Your Target Market

Who is Your New “Best” Customer?

What to do when your current customers are negatively impacted by the economic state and they no longer need or can afford your services

Between oil prices and the pandemic, some businesses have been turned upside down.  Our best customers are no longer our best customers, they have been greatly impacted by either or both of these major economic bombs.  For our businesses to survive, we now have to figure out how to identify a new target market, also known as our best prospects and customers.

We will be discussing in detail the six steps to redefine your target market. Those steps consist of identifying second and third tier prospects and customers, creating your list, researching industry classifications, identifying patterns, researching similar companies that match patterns, and building a list based on research findings.

Let’s start by thinking about who our second or third best customer was prior to the drop in oil prices or the pandemic.  In doing this, focus on who these customers are by identifying what industries they might be in. For example, many of our customers are in different industries and are B2B with us as we perform marketing research services for them.  This exercise is not impactful if all of your best customers are inside the same industry.  Think in terms of “best customers” by different industry types.

My suggestion is to look into your current customer list and flag those second and third tier customers, ideally less impacted by our current state of the economy.  Once flagged, create a list of these accounts and include their address, city, and state.  With this information you are able to research their industry classification.  Document industry classification for each and you might start seeing a pattern of industry segments.  It is helpful but not critical to see patterns.

If you’re starting to see a pattern that you trust; next, think about refining your new target market.  Most common ways to refine include adding annual revenue and/or employee counts into the equation.  Geography might also be helpful.  Once you have captured all the necessary data, your final step will be to match other companies that mirror the final product of your research.

If you do not immediately see a pattern, consider adding more customers to your research list.  Or, you might find that you have a broader profile of customers.  When this is the case, often it becomes helpful to tighten up your requirements by making sure other elements are included in the search.  Often these include annual revenue, number of employees and geography, the same as above.  These elements are important in broad profiles because they allow you to make best efforts at zeroing in on your potential customer a bit more.

The final step is to build a new list of potential prospects based on the research work just done.  There are several list tools available to do this or Dunlap Marketing will be happy to do it for you.  The result is you have a spreadsheet of new prospect companies.  Now its time to reach out and promote the message of who you are and why these prospects should consider your products or services.  At this point you have adjusted your business based on world events, and you are on your way to making new “best” customers.