B2B appointment setting is a crucial component of your company’s lead generation efforts. However, many companies struggle to do it the right way. With these proven to be effective B2B appointment setting techniques, your company has the opportunity to schedule high-quality sales appointments with key decision-makers and close more business deals.
Key Appointment Setting Concepts
- Define Your Target Audience
- Understand the Sales Pipeline
- Set Lead Qualifications
- Analyze Your Appointment Setting Process
- Stay Up to Date on Cold Calling Best Practices
- Integrate Email Marketing Automation
- Develop a Lead Nurturing Campaign
- Build a Team of Sales Experts
- Collaborate With a High-Performing Appointment Setting Company
Before your team can set sales appointments, you must first define your target audience. By clearly defining your target audience, you have the opportunity to pitch and personalize products or services that matter to them and their business’s needs. In addition, defining your target audience is crucial for the prospecting stage of your appointment setting program because it enables your sales reps and data analysts to build a list of prospects that meet your ideal customer criteria.
There are many ways that B2B companies determine their target market. Target market segmentation could include:
- Job Title
Defining your target audience is a vital sales appointment setting tip because it allows you to:
Researching your target audience thoroughly will help you know a lot about the prospect before the first phone call. For example, let’s suggest you’re a managed service provider that specifically wants to appeal to schools. In that case, you can personalize your messaging to align with the wants and needs of an educational institution, such as:
“While many students continue to learn remotely, our IT company ensures that your school’s network is secure and safe from cybersecurity attacks and learning isn’t disrupted.”
When you personalize your sales pitch to align with the wants, needs, and concerns of your target audience, you’re able to cater to their specific needs. If your sales pitch casts too broad of a net, it’s less likely that your message will resonate with a qualified lead.
When you set a definitive target market, you have the ability to create high-quality marketing collateral that resonates with prospects. Marketing collateral is a crucial B2B appointment setting technique because it allows potential customers to understand complex processes better and put themselves in your customers’ shoes.
After you understand your target market, develop impactful case studies, promotional videos, and sell sheets that enable prospects to visualize themselves as your customers. With marketing collateral, you can create an emotional appeal that encourages prospects to feel more in tune with your industry, company, product, or service. Once you understand your target market’s needs, you and your B2B appointment setters can use the right tone, language, and phrasing in each piece of marketing collateral.
When you know what your target audience values, it’s easier for sales reps to pitch company products or services that matter to them. This allows your sales team to enhance the quality of their pitch, have a better appointment setting sales call, and set high-quality sales meetings.
As your sales team speaks with key decision-makers (KDMs), make sure they have a list of open-ended questions to ask prospects. By asking open-ended questions, you have the opportunity to gather market research data and learn what companies in your target market value when it comes to a B2B service provider.
Understanding the sales pipeline is a crucial B2B appointment setting technique. Without a thorough understanding of your sales pipeline, you and your team can’t move leads through the sales funnel. Without moving leads, your sales process is ineffective and results in little to no sales appointments—at least not the ones you want.
By understanding your sales pipeline, you and your sales team better understand where prospects are in their purchasing funnel. When you know where they are in their purchasing funnel, you know what to pitch them and how often to follow up.
For example, if a prospect is in the consideration stage, it’s important to deliver personalized sales and marketing materials that align with what they’re looking for in a B2B service provider. In addition, you should reach out and connect with them on a routine basis.
On the other hand, if a lead is in the awareness stage, it’s essential to send them content that provides more information about your company, such as your mission, values, and product and service offerings. Since they’re currently in the awareness stage, it’s not necessary to continuously follow up with them. Even though they’re not ready to set up a sales appointment yet, continue to nurture the relationship until they’re near the end of their buying cycle. Throughout the lead nurturing process, you can also ensure that the lead meets your lead qualification criteria by asking qualifying questions.
As sales teams are scheduling appointments with leads in the sales pipeline, it’s crucial to make sure they are qualified. Lead qualification is the process of determining if a prospect meets your ideal customer criteria. By setting qualifiers, you ensure that sales reps are only setting appointments with high-quality business opportunities.
This B2B appointment setting technique is essential to a successful B2B appointment setting program. Lead qualification ensures that business development reps, sales reps, and account executives aren’t chasing leads that don’t provide ROI. Rather than chasing leads that don’t deliver results, your sales team can spend more time building relationships with prospects that can offer you a significant business opportunity.
Depending on your industry and the types of business opportunities you want, each company is different when setting lead qualifiers. Here are some ways that B2B businesses qualify leads in their sales pipeline:
- Square footage of the commercial building: This qualifier is often used for commercial cleaning, HVAC, and roofing companies. Many of our clients require at least 10,000 square feet of cleanable or air-conditioned space to increase the likelihood of high-quality business opportunities.
- Number of workstations: This qualifier is primarily used by managed service providers and software companies. Many of our clients require that leads have at least 10 workstations, so they know they’re getting a significant business opportunity.
- Number of employees: If a company has a small office or fewer workstations than their qualifiers require, they can also base the opportunity on the number of full-time employees.
- Revenue: A revenue qualifier is most commonly used for loan officer or Realtor recruitment purposes. This qualifier allows mortgage offices to measure a professional’s success by quarterly revenues or number of transactions.
Once you identify your target audience and build a team of high-performing sales experts, it’s time to put your appointment setting process to the test. If you don’t analyze your appointment setting process, you risk all of your hard work being unsustainable and ultimately failing.
Before you analyze your appointment setting process, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- How do appointment setters find and access prospect data?
- What sales tools and technologies allow them to access data quickly?
- Should appointment setters be responsible for finding leads, or should a separate team be dedicated to this task?
- What’s the first step in the appointment setting process? A cold call? An email?
- Within the first few calls, what information is gathered by appointment setters?
- How do sales and development reps cleanse data?
- How do they determine who the key decision-maker is for that company?
- How do they find KDM information?
- Where do sales development reps store and track information about leads in the sales pipeline?
- Do we need an appointment setting software to track and manage leads effectively? If so, how do we choose the best CRM for our sales process?
- Once an appointment setter finds a business’s KDM, how do they approach the pitch? What does the messaging sound like?
- How does a sales rep’s pitch align with the target audience? What kind of questions are they asking?
- How do appointment setters nurture relationships with prospects?
- What different types of marketing collateral do reps send to prospects? What content is relevant to them and their businesses’ needs?
When it comes down to it, a sustainable appointment setting process should tell you how to gather information about KDMs, how to contact them, and how to consistently move them throughout the sales funnel to secure a sales appointment.
Cold calling best practices are constantly changing, which means you and your sales team need to stay up to date with the most recent B2B appointment setting techniques. When it comes to cold calling appointment setting practices, there are typically two representative roles that lead the sales call efforts:
- Business development representatives (BDRs): BDRs are responsible for going through a list of prospects and determining if they are qualified for your company’s product or service offering. They are also responsible for pinpointing the KDM, their job title, email address, and direct line if applicable.
- Sales development representatives (SDRs): SDRs are the “appointment setters” and are tasked with taking the qualified leads discovered by BDRs and pitching them your company’s product or service. Overall, the end goal of SDRs is to nurture relationships with qualified leads and set up sales appointments between them and account executives (AEs).
Many companies believe that cold calling is dead; however, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. Cold calling is as effective as it’s ever been, and it’s continuously evolving to align with advanced sales tools and technologies.
Cold calling is a great way to build rapport with prospective businesses that could use your company’s product or service. A sales call is typically the first touchpoint between a company and a prospect and progresses them down the sales pipeline. While they may not be looking to make a change to their current B2B service provider just yet, you can nurture your relationship with them and shoot for an appointment when they’re looking to reevaluate contracts.
To have a successful appointment setting program, it’s essential to have all the right team players hungry for growth. If you want to be a skilled salesperson, you should have the following personality traits:
- Grit and resilience
- Great active listening skills
- Competitive by nature
While cold calling best practices are always changing, these six character traits remain the same. With the proper training, you can have all the best B2B appointment setting skills. However, without the right mindset and eagerness to learn, you risk poor results.
Email marketing is a critical B2B appointment setting technique. While cold calling is still an effective appointment setting tactic, email marketing is another way for you and your sales team to connect and build relationships with KDMs.
With email marketing automation, you can nurture leads and keep your company at the forefront of their minds if something goes wrong with their current B2B service provider. This lets you learn more about what they currently have in place and uncover where their provider may be lacking. In addition, email automation allows you to send high-quality marketing collateral that aligns with potential customers’ pain points and push them further toward the end of their sales cycle.
Automating your email marketing efforts takes the stress off of following up with leads in the sales pipeline because your automation program can do it for you on a routine basis. In return, your sales team can spend more time making appointment setting sales calls to qualified leads in the pipeline.
Without a lead nurturing campaign, your appointment setting program is not sustainable. Most prospects reject meeting for a sales appointment after the first pitch, and that’s why it’s essential to follow up with them continuously. If you call a prospect once and kick them out of the sales pipeline, you may never set a sales appointment.
By developing a lead nurturing strategy, you and your sales team have the opportunity to build stronger relationships over time. When you regularly interact with prospects, you have more chances to uncover pain points and present them with value.
A lead nurturing program is unique from every other stage in the sales pipeline because it never stops until an appointment is set with a KDM. Even if a B2B partnership doesn’t make sense to their business right now, that doesn’t mean that it will always be that way.
For example, let’s suggest that a prospect has had the same in-house cleaning person for over 40 years—what’s going to happen when the one in-house cleaning team member decides to retire? Who are they going to look to for their office’s cleaning needs? A random cleaning company they found in a 15-year-old Yellow Pages catalog?
By consistently nurturing the relationship with a potential customer, your sales team has the opportunity to understand what they value and what they want out of a commercial cleaning partnership. When the time comes, your commercial cleaning company will be the first they think of when their current solution is no longer available.
B2B appointment setting is not a one-person show; it requires a team of sales experts to handle specific tasks. Without an experienced B2B appointment setting team, you risk an unsustainable cold calling program and sales pipeline. Each team member has a specific task so your business can achieve high-quality results every time.
To have a successful appointment setting program, it’s essential to have the following experts on your sales team:
- Business development reps
- Sales development reps
- Account executives
- Customer service (success) reps
- Sales managers
If your B2B company lacks one of these key sales team members, there can be confusion about which team member is in charge of what tasks. Not having each sales team member increases your risk of qualified leads falling through the cracks.
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B2B appointment setting isn’t an easy gig. It takes a lot of time, money, and planning to develop a successful program. Many companies don’t have the resources to dedicate their time to building and sustaining their appointment-setting efforts.
Many B2B companies choose to outsource their appointment setting efforts to prioritize what they do best—run a business. When you partner with a trusted appointment setting company, you have access to high-performing sales experts and all the sales tools and technologies you need to build a sustainable sales pipeline. While outsourced sales reps help you find qualified leads, your internal team can focus on crafting the perfect sales presentation.
Outsourcing your appointment setting services gives you the opportunity to save a significant amount of time and money. As mentioned previously, running a sales team is expensive when you add up salaries, benefits, onboarding costs, and more. For the price of a single sales rep, you gain access to everything you need to prospect, nurture, and set sales appointments with qualified leads.