When a business needs to grow and has expended all of their resources, they usually start considering other options. Maybe their solution is to hire another salesperson. Others may look to digital marketing services to help them grow. But have you ever considered hiring an appointment setter to generate more leads and grow your business?
Here is why a B2B appointment setter is often the best solution if you’re struggling with B2B lead generation.
Table of Contents
- What are sales appointments and how do you get them?
- Outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing
- How to get perfect sales appointments
- How an appointment setter helps you get more qualified appointments
- Why you need an appointment setting team AND a sales team
- The process of landing a qualified appointment
- What to expect from B2B appointment setting services
- Best practices when outsourcing appointment setting
- What does an appointment setting company do?
A sales appointment is a meeting with a potential customer in which a detailed sales pitch is delivered. Once a prospect hears your elevator pitch and sees the value in what you have to offer, a follow-up discussion is usually scheduled so that you both can learn more about each other. This is called a sales appointment. The meeting can occur in-person, but COVID-19 has caused a shift in the sales world; and now, a virtual sales appointment is usually preferable.
You might think that the only way to schedule sales meetings is to call a prospect up and simply ask for the meeting. However, there are other approaches you can take. Both outbound and inbound lead generation tactics can help you drive leads and schedule more appointments.
- Inbound Marketing—Inbound marketing refers to a type of marketing in which potential content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization efforts are used to attract customers to your business to learn more about your products or services. If a prospect visits your website and decides to contact you, this is known as an inbound lead. If the opportunity is a fit, it can also result in a sales appointment.
- Outbound Marketing—Outbound marketing, often referred to as, ‘interruption marketing’ is a form of marketing in which a product or service is promoted through outbound sales activity. This activity often includes cold calling and emailing. If a sales rep schedules a sales meeting with a prospect on the phone, that prospect is now considered an outbound lead.
Incorporating both inbound and outbound marketing tactics into your lead generation strategy is the best way to maximize your opportunities and schedule as many qualified appointments as possible.
You may understand that your goal is to schedule more sales meetings, but how do you make sure those meetings are high-quality appointments? The sales appointment is where the magic happens, and if you screw that part up, your sales program is ultimately doomed.
Here are a few tips for how to get perfect sales appointments for your business.
- Cleanse and qualify leads—You can’t have a great sales appointment if you don’t cleanse and qualify your leads.. Lead cleansing, or data cleansing, is the process of gathering basic info through research and initial conversations with your prospect. Cleansing ensures that you’re talking to the right decision maker and that all of your basic contact information is accurate. Lead qualification is another critical step because it involves asking leads more detailed questions. A qualified lead is a prospect that fits your ideal customer profile and has a good chance of becoming a long-term, successful customer. It’s the appointment setters job to speak with leads and qualify as many of them as possible.
- Establish trust—Before they listen to you, a lead needs to trust you. To establish trust, your appointment setters must know how to nurture leads. Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with the leads in your sales pipeline and adding value throughout the buying process. To establish trust, keep track of activity in a CRM and make frequent sales calls to the leads in your pipeline. Show them that you’re more than just a telemarketer and that you want to build a relationship so that you can uncover a need and fulfil that need.
- Offer value—You’ve cleansed your data record, qualified the lead, and established trust with that lead. Now all you have to do is schedule the sales appointment. How do you do this? By offering value. Show the potential customer why they should invest time into learning about your product or service. What’s in it for them? Give your B2B appointment setting efforts a boost by including marketing collateral in follow up emails. Brochures, sell sheets, and case studies can be an easy way for potential customers to learn about your products or services and they build credibility.
- Get confirmation—Teaching your appointment setters in a sales training how to get confirmation on the phone will help you improve your show rate. More appointments where the prospect actually shows means more opportunities to close deals. To improve your show rate, make a prospect accept the calendar invite while you’re on the phone with them. Also, follow up the day before or the morning of your scheduled appointment for confirmation. This will be a huge help to your B2B sales reps because it ensures their entire day is filled with appointments.
Remember, qualified sales appointments are great sales appointments. And if you have an appointment setter to perform this sales activity, you’ll be even more successful.
Do you currently have a single resource (outsourced or internal) that is solely focused on scheduling appointments for your sales team? If you don’t, getting the high-quality appointments that we previously talked about won’t be all that easy. You might think that one sales rep can handle every aspect of the sales process: prospecting, lead qualification, lead nurturing, scheduling appointments, pitching, and so on. But you’ll find out quickly that this approach doesn’t work very well in practice; plus, it exhausts your sales team.
When businesses are struggling to hit their sales goals, they often think that they need to hire another salesperson. But maybe you have the right amount of salespeople and what you’re really lacking is an appointment setter. For example, let’s say that you own a finance company that employs financial advisors. Each financial advisor has a goal to meet with X number of new clients per month. The owner of the company looks at revenue numbers and sees that his or her team is falling short of sales goals month after month. Right away, the owner thinks they have to hire another financial advisor to bring in more new clients for the company. Is the problem really that you don’t have enough people, or is it that your existing people don’t have enough new prospective clients to talk to? Maybe what you need is to look for a financial services lead generation company who can .
Ask yourself: Do you really need to hire more people? Or, do you have enough people, you just need more leads? If you just need more leads, an appointment setter is the answer.
The most successful sales organizations split their salespeople into two teams: one team that is responsible for setting appointments and another team that is responsible for taking sales meetings and pitching prospective clients. To take this a step further, great sales teams (the best of the best) also have a sales enablement division that supports these two teams with the content, training, and tools that they need to be successful.
Here’s how the job responsibilities for an appointment setter and a sales rep differ:
- B2B Sales Representative—In B2B sales and appointment setting ,a sales representative is the person responsible for delivering a detailed sales pitch about the company’s product or services. If appointment setting is done right, a sales rep should spend their entire day pitching qualified leads and trying to close deals, not performing appointment setting activities.
- B2B Appointment Setter—Appointment setters, also called sales development representatives, are sales reps who perform outbound sales activities like cold calling, emailing, lead qualification, and lead nurturing in order to manage a sales pipeline. By talking to prospects regularly and managing them throughout every stage of the buyer’s journey, appointment setters are ultimately able to schedule appointments for B2B sales representatives.
Since appointment setters are responsible for the early stages in the sales process (e.g. finding the decision maker, asking qualifying questions, etc.), appointment setters are needed if you want more qualified appointments. A sales rep simply does not have time to build relationships with hundreds of leads AND handle pitches. An appointment setter can handle all conversations prior to the sales meeting, so by the time they get to the B2B sales rep, the lead is completely ready to have a buying conversation. This, in turn, results in more closed deals.
By now, you should know that appointment setting and delivering pitches on sales meetings can not and should not be one person’s responsibility. Sales reps are good at pitching and talking about a company’s products or services. On the other hand, appointment setters are good at traditional sales activities (making cold calls, sending emails, developing relationships with each person in their pipeline, etc.).
If you want more qualified appointments, you absolutely need an appointment setter on your sales team. The key to a qualified appointment is to first qualify the lead. To qualify a lead, an appointment setter has to (1) figure out who the decision maker is and (2) uncover their needs and decide if the solution they’re selling can fulfill that need. Basically, the appointment setter needs to ask questions to determine if the partnership is a good fit.
Here are X strategies that an appointment setter typically uses to a set a qualified appointment with a decision maker:
- Ask who the decision maker is in an early conversation with someone from the company (even if it’s the gatekeeper)
- Make sure you have the correct contact information for the confirmed decision maker
- Nurture every qualified lead; even if the decision maker isn’t interested in your services right now, they may be in the future
- Try to learn as much as possible about the industries you’re calling on so that you understand your prospect’s key concerns
- Ask questions and learn about your prospect’s business; show that you care about their needs and offer solutions to their problems
Bottom line: appointment setting teams feed more qualified appointments to sales reps. But make sure your appointment setters receive sales training and know how to get qualified appointments. More qualified appointments means more closed deals and increased revenue for your business.
Now that you know how much appointment setting can help your business, do you have the people, tools, and technology to start a program? If not, outsourcing is a great alternative that will save you time and money. When you invest in sales appointment setting services, you’re not just investing in an appointment setter or a sales person, you’re investing in a process. Although this outsourced inside sales team is dedicated to scheduling qualified sales appointments on behalf of the sales team, an appointment setting service involves a lot more beyond just people.
When you invest in a B2B appointment setting service, you’re going to save time, money, and be less stressed. But choosing the right appointment setting company takes time and research. Here are things you should always think about or look for when outsourcing B2B appointment setting:
- Cost. Obviously, you should be concerned about the cost of a service and how it’s going to impact your bottom line. So, how much should you spend on B2B appointment setting services? Well, that’s the problem—there’s really no definitive answer. How much you spend on an appointment setting service depends entirely on your goals as a business. How many appointments do you want per month? How many zip codes do you want to target? Do you want added incentives like marketing collateral? The best thing to do is find a partner who will be flexible with your budget and build a program to fit your needs.
- Process. Beware of cold calling centers that label themselves as lead generation companies but are really just an outsourced call center. Make sure you choose a program where you are getting everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when evaluating providers; what is their process for scheduling a sales meeting? Do they have any success stories to share from past clients?
- Metrics. Always ask about metrics. What is the appointment setting company going to track for you? What deliverables are sent to your business at the end of each month? Basically, how much visibility do you have into the program? The more insight the better, and the best appointment setting companies will usually make a point to meet with you on a monthly basis to discuss results.
- Tools. You’ve probably already ruled out the idea of doing an appointment setting program yourself in-house. Not only do many B2B businesses lack expertise, but lead generation services cost a lot to replicate. The tools, overhead, and staff you’d have to hire would cost much more than an outsourced program. But that raises another question you should have, what tools does an outsourced partner use? Make sure the companies you’re evaluating aren’t just tacking on extra dollars for nothing; ask about the tools they use and how those tools help them with appointment setting.
Research a few companies and hear what they have to offer. This decision could really impact your businesses growth, so make sure you consider all factors before making a decision.
A B2B appointment setting company is a company that sets qualified appointments on behalf of other businesses. They offer the people, tools, and processes needed to execute appointment setting efficiently and effectively.
An appointment setting team typically involves the following people:
- Appointment Setter—An appointment setter is the person actually making calls on behalf of your business and setting the appointments. Every business has a different name for this position. Some will say Sales Development Representative (SDR), others will just call it an appointment setter. Regardless, they all mean the same thing—this is the rep who is making cold calls, emailing, and building your sales pipeline.
- Operations team members—When you sign up for an appointment setting service, you’re more than likely also getting access to a person who is responsible for pulling data and building lists of key decision makers in your target market. This will be the baseline that an SDR starts with when they start to build your pipeline.
- Creative team members—Some appointment setting companies offer creative deliverables with your program (custom email libraries, landing pages, marketing collateral, etc.). So you may have a point of contact in this department as well.
- Sales managers—Sometimes, you’ll have several contacts in the sales division. You may have an appointment setter who is making calls for your business, but a sales manager may be your main point of contact who discusses metrics with you each month.
Every appointment setting business is different and you may have more or less team members depending on their business model. Decide what is most important to you and choose the company who has a team setup that will work well with your team.
Appointment setting companies also typically use the following tools:
- A CRM such as Salesforce
- Databases and prospecting tools
- Virtual sales meeting tools like Zoom
- Marketing automation tools like Pardot (to build stronger relationships with prospects)
And the list doesn’t stop there. Make sure you work with a company that has the right set of tools to help your business.
Abstrakt Marketing Group is a B2B appointment setting company based in St. Louis, Missouri, but we’re helping businesses across the nation grow every single day. Not only that, but we practice what we preach. If you’re looking for a case study to prove that our business model works, just look at us. When we start working with a new client to grow their business, we use the exact same techniques as we do to grow our own business.
Using a proven and effective B2B appointment setting service and a killer SEO content strategy, we can drive leads for your business just like we do for ourselves. Let’s talk about your business growth goals → schedule a meeting.