When you are hiring for an outbound appointment setting person, how important is sales experience?

I have heard both sides of the board on this:  outbound appointment setting companies using young, impressionable people direct out of college and others using ex-field sales/vp of sales

Answer

Michael Damphousse (CEO/CMO, Green Leads)
I like to mix it up. Some of Green Leads' best appointment setters are creative, artsy types with no sales experience. They just had the skill set of communications and understanding and we were able to teach them what we needed to teach them.

That said, when representing a very technical product, or when calling into the highest of C-Levels, there is nothing like experience. Things to consider:

- Balance your team until you find the right mix
- Don't be afraid to try different profiles of individuals
- Experience in sales can be a benefit or a detriment. We sometimes have to deprogram experienced individuals
- Remember that if the goal is to sell just enough to get an appointment for a more talented sales person...then that's what they have to be good at.
- I look for conversationalists that are quick on their feet that are motivated by ego, reward or competition

Here's a blog article where I touched on the topic: http://www.green-leads.com/b2b-blog/bid/54155/B2B-Appointment-Setting-Services-and-Woodchucks

Good Luck!

Mike Damphousse
Green Leads
1 Additional Answer
Brian Berlin (President, Straightline Strategies, Inc.)
I prefer callers with sales experience because they understand intuitively their role in the sales development process. Plus they're essentially working for the client's sales reps, and should be able to empathize and communicate comfortably. With a sales background, the question the caller should ask is: 'Would I consider this a lead?'
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