Should IT Appointment Setting Be Paid By the Hour?

When researching call center options for IT appointment setting and lead generation services, companies typically find two different pricing models from which to choose from.

One option presents a fixed number of hours or a turn key price that includes a specified amount of work that will be done. It is common that inside this agreement, there is a defined number of calling hours that are paid for.

The other presents itself as a performance based model where payment is tied to the actual appointments that are set.

Salesmanship 101 teaches that prospecting leads to possibilities, which lead to warmer or qualified opportunities, which lead to appointments, proposals, then hopefully closure. Normally, few shortcuts exist that get you from the beginning to the end of the sales process, without following normal progression.

Performance based pricing programs commonly appear to be attractive as they offer what most sales organizations want, appointments. There is comfort in simply paying for the appointment without regard for the process required to secure the appointment. There is usually a noticeable premium paid to purchase only these appointments. Motivation on the staff that make the prospecting calls is also different as the single focus is on scheduling appointments. This single focus sounds good but in the long term the number of meetings becomes limited, costly and you miss out on at least 50% of potential opportunities.

Hourly or fixed price programs usually account for the residual value of successful events identified that fall short of being appointments. Steps are put into place to develop and cultivate these events while also seeking out appointments. These types of campaigns usually incorporate email, land mail and scheduled follow up calls as methods to nurture prospects, building a relationship prior to finally being able to set an appointment. Over time this approach produces a higher quantity and quality of appointments. Interestingly, over time, you’re cost for each qualified selling opportunity is less.

Whether selling products or services, in most business-to-business transactions, people still buy from people. Building relationships remains very important. Hourly or fixed price programs are more conducive to doing this.

In either pricing model, knowing the reputation of the call center is very important. If you do not select a center that is based on integrity, the risk is high for disappointment. It is worth your time to verify the history of the call center, know their specific experiences relating to your industry, learn who their employees are and how they sound. Do they outsource or offshore for staffing or do they formally employ their staff. How is the staff managed and measured daily, and how do you interact on a day-to-day basis with the staff and management, especially while your campaign is active.

A call center that is proud of their staff and qualify work will allow you to monitor live calls that are being made on your behalf. These type of centers will actually encourage you to listen to live calls because they know your feedback will make a positive impact to the overall campaign results.

In the next article we will look in more detail at some of the specific risks and rewards that are a by-product of the program you select.


Mike Dunlap


December 26, 2013