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Appointment Setters Take Advantage of Convergent Technologies

Untitled Document The days of rotary phones and outdated cold-call lists have come and gone. The latest appointment setters use intricate customer relationship data to converse via Web cam with potential consumers. Invoices are instantly identified, and processes for membership registration are placed on autopilot. This is appointment setting in the new millennium--and the best is yet to come.

Appointment Setting Technologies Abound
Next-generation appointment-setting services tap the power of the Web to extend their global reach and personalization abilities. According to MANAGEsmarter, the complex challenges of differentiating products or services to customers and prospects require a new set of solutions that leverage technology. Passe manual methods often lead to such profit-killers as double scheduling, callbacks, or transfers. The message: how a company sells is more important that what is being sold.

  • Utilizing Customer Data. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technologies get placed in the hands of appointment setters to customize the pitch
  • Reducing Costly Overhead. Automating the appointment-setting process conserves labor and allows that money to be used in marketing and retention
  • Eliminating Scheduling Errors. The ever-present human error, while expected, can be reduced significantly by setting standard rules and processes

Appointment Setters Take an Active Role
An intriguing study by eti Sales Support underlined the critical nature of the human and technology interaction with respect to the appointment-setting process. In an environment rife with an unmotivated sales force, antiquated contact tracking methods, and ignorance of live market data, the study showed that an introduction of best-practices made an immediate difference in productivity and return on investment (ROI). Highlights of the initiatives include:

  • Automation. A system of automatic outbound and inbound lead distribution and notification to the sales force resulting in 1 in 5 sales per qualified lead
  • Synchronicity. Appointment setting through shared calendars improved employee satisfaction consistently
  • Timeliness and ROI. Web-based reporting of project progress and statistics generated $400 of revenue for every $1 of project cost

When It Comes Time to Choose
The ease of Web-based appointment setting encourages business of all sizes to consider taking the plunge. According to data collected by the Aberdeen Group in a March, 2008 study of over 200 companies, using direct marketing software and email marketing tools for appointment setting pays big dividends. Appointment-setting devotees set several interesting trends:

  • Quality over Quantity. Best-in-class appointment setters value lead quality over lead quantity, a characteristic identified using CRM data
  • Lead Satisfaction. Only 5 percent of the best-in-class organizations reported lead dissatisfaction, compared with 19 percent of the rest
  • Hidden Secrets. Clearly quantified deliverables equate to fewer missed appointments

As new packaged and andagrave;-la-carte appointment-setting technologies become available, finding the right fit becomes easier. CEOs should look for sensible tools that integrate seamlessly with their current operations.

Aberdeen Group (PDF)
eti Sales Support

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