Paying Your Telesales Staff To Set Appointments?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Group Of Call Center Happy Smiling Business Operator

More and more companies are electing to employ their own in-house telesales staff to set appointments for the field sales teams.  The question that arises though is how do you compensate this inside sales team?

I can tell you that the most obvious answer is usually the worst one. How you structure the compensation of the telesales force is critical.

Commission on the Sale
The most obvious and seemingly logical answer is to pay the telesales person (TSP) a percentage of the order when the outside or field sales person (FSP) closes the sale. However, I strongly caution you about this. While this idea appears reasonable, attractive and very cost effective…it can cause more problems than you may imagine, and below are just a few.

#1: The Telesales Person Tries to Make the Sale Rather Than SELL the Appointment.

The biggest and most detrimental problem that occurs when the TSP’s income comes from closed sales, is that the TSP will look for SALES on the telephone rather than APPOINTMENTS. The TSP must think ONLY about appointments that he or she believes will SELL, since that is how they are paid. Now you have people who are trying to determine, well too early in the sales process, if the prospect will buy, rather than just setting a qualified appointment.

You do not want the TSP to be make judgements about who will buy and who will not. All they should do is set qualified appointments!

In our Telesales Training courses we cover exactly how to do this. Your job is to sell the appointment and not the product or service – if the prospect pushes back then say that’s why you need the meeting because it’s easier to explain and illustrate than over the telephone.

#2: The Lay Down Prospect Does Not Buy

You have a TSP that has no choice but to consider if the prospect will buy or not. When this happens, they will also seek out the easy sale; the prospect who SOUNDS as if he or she is just waiting with check-in-hand, for the sales person to show up. The TSP then sets an appointment with a prospect they feel is a guaranteed sale. Then what happens? The FSP does NOT close the sale!

Experienced sales professionals know that the prospect that sounds like the easy, lay down sale on the telephone, is often the most difficult prospect to close. However, when the FSP fails to close this apparently EASY sale, it creates severe feelings of animosity and resentment between the two sales people. The TSP feels the FSP is incompetent and is throwing away great leads, and then no longer wants that FSP to run his or her appointments.

#3: The FSP Feels the Same

In the #2 scenario, the TSP felt the appointment was a sure sale. Conversely, the FSP felt the same appointment was a pure waste of time with an uninterested prospect. The FSP now becomes less than enthusiastic to run appointments set by the same TSP, and the same bitterness grows within the team.

#4: Cannot Control Destiny

One of the most positive and alluring aspects of selling is that you can have some control over your income and your destiny. However, with the above pay scenario, both the field sales and telesales people feel a distinct LACK of control.

The above scenario makes both sales teams feel as they have little control over their own income and destiny.

The Answer

Since the TSP does not close the sale and is not responsible to close the sale, why pay them on closed sales? The TSP is responsible for setting qualified appointments.

More specifically, the TSP is responsible to SELL the appointment!

Pay them for just that! We’ve got a ton of Cold Calling Tips if you’re interested to improve your skills further. Also, check out this interesting article on What Is The Sales Velocity Formula. It will show you have to make more sales more quickly!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Originally published: 30 April, 2020

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More

Arrow down