Although your company is different from the next company, all businesses share a few similarities. One of the most important similarities every business shares is the need for lead generation and appointment setting. However, many organizations tend to struggle with these two business necessities, especially managed service providers (MSP). These two facets of the business are essential for growth, so how can you improve your marketing efforts?
You can’t improve something you don’t fully understand. So before we dive into how to be better at lead generation and appointment setting, let’s first take a moment to explain what they are. Starting with lead generation, this is the process of attracting prospects and converting them into someone who’s interested in your products or services.
A common mistake MSPs tend to make in regard to lead generation is trying to capture as many leads as possible. While it’s never a bad thing to have a lot of leads, what’s the point of having leads you can’t convert? Contrary to how it may sound, lead generation is actually about being precise with your lead targeting. Think of it like this—instead of casting as wide of a net as possible, you’re casting the most precise net.
An important part of lead generation is business-to-business (B2B) appointment setting. This is a sales development technique aimed at helping you close deals. It involves sales development representatives (SDRs) cold calling, following up on, and nurturing promising qualified leads. The SDRs work to set up sales meetings for closing sales representatives who deliver more detailed sales pitches.
The goal of appointment setting is to delegate the task of prospecting to other sales representatives. This allows your closing salespeople to save time and only focus on convertible qualified leads. An appointment setting is particularly useful in deals with larger sales prices, like MSP acquisitions.
Unfortunately, not every prospect that expresses interest in your company, products, or services is a legitimate lead. So while you may spend a fair amount of time trying to convert these buyers, they may just be dead ends. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find a way to avoid wasting valuable time on these prospects and focus on real leads?
When used correctly, lead generation and appointment setting have the power to cut through all the noise. These processes allow your sales team to get your message in front of the right people. And it results in you being able to make deals faster and more efficiently with qualified leads.
There are many ways to generate a lead and most of them fall into one of two categories: inbound and outbound. Imagine talking to a stranger who has already heard of your company and wants to do business with you. In this case, converting the stranger to a customer is a natural transition that doesn’t require steps like cold calling. Inbound lead generation is about focusing on organic interest like in this example.
On the other side of the spectrum, outbound lead generation is focused on reaching out to true strangers. The tactics involve trying to make first contact with prospective customers. Whether it’s through cold calling, social media outreach, or marketing emails, this is an attempt to spread the word about your company and what it has to offer.
Appointment setting is a helpful tool for attracting leads, but some teams can benefit from it more than others. The best use cases for B2B appointment setting include:
- The selling of expensive B2B products: Selling high ticket products and services can be a complex process. In addition to identifying the client’s key decision-makers, you also have to win them over. With appointment setting services, you’re able to stay in touch with the lead and build a rapport with them. After a few weeks or months of gentle persuasion, your leads feel more comfortable investing in your product because they understand that the investment will pay off in the future.
- A long sales cycle: A consequence of purchases that require a high level of involvement is a long sales cycle. Appointment setting helps to break the cycle down into more manageable parts. Instead of overwhelming a lead with sales information right away, appointment setters ease potential customers into the sales pipeline and guide them into the next stage once they’re comfortable.
Even if a company shows some interest in what you have to offer, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a qualified lead. Before you pursue a lead, you should first make sure they are a lead you can convert. The process of qualifying a lead starts with gauging the interest of the customer.
There are a variety of ways to gauge the interest of a potential lead. For example, if you offer a coupon for your managed IT services and you get contacted by an interested party, it shows that company has some level of interest in your services. This plays an important role in the next step.
Once an organization’s interest is gauged, it’s time to score your leads. Lead scoring is a practice where you assign numerical values to your leads based on their level of interest. Where they fall on your scale of “interested” to “ready to sell” determines the order of priority.
You know that lead generation and appointment setting help MSPs attract qualified leads. But did you know there is more than one type of lead? In fact, there are two types of leads you should know about: marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads.
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL): This is when someone or a company qualifies as a lead after thorough research. They are deemed as “ready to be marketed to,” despite not expressing interest previously.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL): Similar to an MQL, this is a buyer that qualifies as a lead. However, this lead has already indicated interest in your company before being contacted.
These two types of leads differ in a similar way to inbound and outbound. Essentially, it all comes down to the lead’s readiness to buy. An SQL likely doesn’t need to be convinced before investing in your products and services, while an MQL is steadily growing interest in what you have to offer.
In order to improve lead generation and appointment setting in small MSP markets, it helps to create a plan first. Having a well-thought-out and optimized strategy can make implementation a much smoother process. The first step you should consider for your plan is determining your target audience.
Sending a message without targeting is like throwing a handful of darts at the same time and hoping most of them hit the target. In reality, a lot of those darts are either going to miss or they may bounce off the board. By figuring out who your audience is, you can create a company message that resonates with them. Think about who your ideal customer is, where they are located, what industry they are in, and how big their company is.
After that’s decided, it’s time to create said message. Keep in mind that whatever message you come with will have an impact on your lead generation campaign. As an MSP, you should focus on telling your audience how you can solve their IT problems.
If you want to refine your marketing message even further, you can create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real-world data. It’s designed to tell you what prospective buyers are thinking, what their pain points are, and what they’re doing to solve their problems.
Once you have your plan all set, you are able to begin implementation. Starting with the inbound side, your attention should be on making your business known. Your website is going to be front and center in your inbound lead generation campaign. This means your website should help you connect with your target audience and explain your product or services clearly.
Something else that helps with generating leads is publishing high-quality content. Any kind of content that is considered impactful, informational, and relevant qualifies as high quality. To provide the visibility this content needs, the writer should use search engine optimization (SEO). This refers to keywords, links, and publishing consistency.
On the outbound side, you should build a contact list and engage with qualified leads. This can be through emails, cold calling, or even sending a LinkedIn connection. What’s most important is that you highlight what you offer and how you are able to solve the lead’s pain points.
If you fully understand the complexities of lead generation and B2B appointment setting and are capable of leading your own campaign, then you could do it internally. However, most organizations choose to outsource these services. In addition to simplifying the entire process, it also helps businesses avoid the cost of hiring an in-house marketing team.
Abstrakt Marketing Group is an industry-leading marketing company. Over the years, we have won numerous awards for our innovative marketing services. If you’re interested in lead generation and appointment setting for your business, our team is more than ready to help you achieve your goals.
Contact us today to learn more about how Abstrakt can help your business.