Whether you create mobile productivity applications or provide a service to develop software programs to enhance efficiencies, your software company provides solutions businesses need. Regardless of how good your product or service is, it doesn’t guarantee your company’s success. Although there are a variety of factors that influence how much success you have, one of the most important things you can do to help yourself is convert leads.
Faced with increased competition, business-to-business (B2B) software companies often struggle to reach the right decision-makers to close deals. To separate your company from the rest of the pack, the way you approach marketing has to change and evolve. You need to leverage tactics that are able to produce real results.
Having the ability to create a connection between you and businesses that are interested in your services is the best way to ensure success. So, what can your company do to improve its reach? The answer is to look for tools and strategies that engage with decision-makers. You need something that allows you to prove you understand their pain points and have what they need to solve them.
A great solution you may have overlooked is B2B appointment setting. This is a marketing tactic that enables sales representatives to turn prospective buyers into qualified leads. Through cold calling, follow-ups, and lead nurturing, the appointment setter sets up the pins so your closing sales representatives can knock them down and secure deals.
Appointment setting services play an important role in your outreach efforts. These sales representatives get the message about your software products and services in the ears of the people who need to hear it. If appointment setting is new to you or you simply want to improve your appointment setting strategies, here are six tips you should know:
Before you do anything else, you need to get in touch with the person who makes software decisions for the company. They are the ones who have the power to steer the company one way or another. If you’re not talking with the key decision-maker, then you’re likely speaking to a receptionist or secretary who doesn’t have the authority to sign a deal with your company.
The reason why talking to the receptionist or secretary is a problem is because they act as gatekeepers. Even if you dazzle them with the sales pitch for your software and services, all the effort you put into your presentation is likely to go to waste. You can’t expect the gatekeeper to package your message the way you want the decision-maker to hear it. The secretary or receptionist is just going to summarize and distill what you said into one or a few lines.
Getting past the gatekeeper sometimes requires a little strategy. An approach you could use to get around the gatekeeper is to ensure you get proper introductions before you begin the pitch. This turns a cold call into a warm call and often results in the gatekeeper checking to see if the decision-maker is available. This tactic is even more helpful when you point out that the call is a follow-up to previous correspondence like an email conversation.
Sometimes, you can bypass a gatekeeper entirely by doing some preliminary research. Key decision-makers often include their direct contact information on social media profiles or business networking sites. If you can dial their direct line or send a personalized email straight to their address, you won’t have to worry about gatekeepers altering your message.
Just like how you’re busy with managing life and the various aspects of your company, so too are your leads. Wouldn’t you hate it if some company cold called you as you were having dinner with your family? This is why it’s important to catch your leads at the ideal time.
Of course, it’s impossible—unless they provide you with their schedule—to know exactly when someone may have some downtime to spare. However, you can make an educated guess by leveraging what you know about their industry, as well as doing some homework. You can start out by looking into the organization’s normal business hours and determining when the decision-maker is typically in the office.
If the lead is located outside of your area, don’t forget to think about the time zone difference. Say your software company is based on the West Coast and your prospective buyer is on the East Coast. If you were to call sometime in the afternoon, you would likely be calling them after business hours. When in doubt, call during normal business hours, and avoid times when people typically take their lunch break.
If you’re not prepared for a sales call, you can quickly sour the relationship between your business and your lead. Their time is valuable and they have no interest in entertaining sales representatives who don’t understand their company and its needs. It’s important to spend the time they have given you to speak about software products or services you know they will be interested in.
Take a moment to learn about the business you’re connecting with and its industry. Figure out how you can significantly improve their operations with what you have to offer. Last but not least, anticipate being asked difficult questions about your products or services and come up with acceptable answers before the call.
A common mistake software companies make when trying to sell their products or services is expecting everything to go as planned. While you may have prepared for the call and anticipated how the client may respond, things don’t always go according to the script. You need to actively listen to what the lead is saying to understand their priorities. Doing this allows you to angle the presentation of your solutions in a way that meets those priorities.
However, it’s not enough to listen—your appointment setter should try their best to respond quickly to concerns the lead may have. If a lead sends a reply to your proposal, it should be answered immediately. Delaying gives the lead time to reconsider. In the time it takes you to respond to an email or call, your lead may set an appointment with a competitor company.
Sure, there are some classic sales tactics you’re going to need to apply during the appointment setting process, but there’s no need to be pushy. Imagine yourself in their shoes—wouldn’t you be turned off by an organization that was overly aggressive in their approach to sell software to your company? That doesn’t mean you can’t apply a little pressure, just be aware of how much you’re exerting.
To soften your approach a bit, try being courteous and asking if now is a good time to talk. Sending a couple of questions their way can also demonstrate your interest in working with them. If they have objections to setting up an appointment, be consultative instead of bullying them into agreeing. A little empathy can go a long way.
There is an entire market filled to the brim with software developers like your company—why should a lead want your services when they could go somewhere else? You need to prove to them that you’re reliable and what you provide is a cut above the rest. Arguably, the most important benefit appointment setting offers is the chance to build trust with your leads.
When it comes to building trust during the appointment setting phase, there are two factors to think about. These factors are:
- Human Rapport: Nobody enjoys talking to a robot. They’re stiff, lack personality, and only focus on finishing their tasks. If you’re sticking solely to the sales pitch you’ve created and aren’t trying to connect on a human level, it can make your lead feel like they’re talking to an android. Even asking simple questions—like, “How have you been?” or “Have any plans this weekend?”—can support your interactions with the prospect you’re targeting.
- Setting an Appointment: Although the end goal is ultimately to convert the lead into a customer, that’s not what you should be focused on during this phase. Rather, your immediate goal is to entice your lead into setting up an in-person meeting. After you secure the meeting, then you can begin thinking about selling them something.
Whether or not you have an internal sales team, your business specializes in software solutions. Marketing is something that comes secondary. However, you need strong marketing practices like appointment setting to gather leads and drive success for your company.
When B2B companies need marketing support, there’s always the option to outsource. By outsourcing your appointment setting needs, you allow experts to take over your marketing efforts. For example, Abstrakt Marketing Group has a well-trained team of experienced sales representatives you can use to generate leads quickly. We use proven practices to transform prospects into qualified leads that are ready to purchase your software.
If you’re looking for industry-leading marketing services, you can’t find a better partner than Abstrakt. We are the most recognized B2B lead generation company in the nation. Using our lead generation and appointment setting solutions, we create a predictable sales pipeline to help your business reach its sales goals.
From marketing collateral creation to building your social media presence, our team offers everything you need to grow your business, all under one roof. Contact us today to learn more about this lead generation for MSPs and how Abstrakt puts you in the best position for success.