Wait—aren’t lead generation and appointment setting services the same thing? While they have similar principles, they have contrasting ideas in their goal, strategy, and process.
In this article, we’ll highlight the following topics:
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is a multi-channel business growth strategy that strives to spark consumer interest in a company’s product or service. Lead generation practices vary for every sales team; however, most B2B companies perform lead generation by:
- Posting social media ads
- Promoting Google ads
- Sending email marketing collateral
- Practicing website search engine optimization (SEO)
- Reaching out to employee and client referrals
Lead generation is only the beginning of the sales journey. In B2B lead generation, sales and marketing teams develop and distribute content that would interest a potential customer. If users are interested in learning more about a company’s products or services, they enter their information to receive more marketing materials.
Once a lead submits their information to receive more marketing materials, they’re guided into the sales pipeline. At this point, the sales and marketing team doesn’t know if the lead is qualified for their company’s product or service. This is when the sales and marketing teams jump in to make warm calls or send personal emails to the lead and ask qualifying questions. If the lead is qualified, a sales rep nurtures the relationship and builds trust over time. In this sales process, the goal is to close business with them when they’re ready to make a purchase.
What Is Appointment Setting?
Appointment setting is a business generating strategy that seeks to bring in qualified revenue opportunities through scheduled sales appointments. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong.
With B2B appointment setting services, a company’s sales team builds a list of prospects and contacts potential leads—whether it’s by cold calling or emailing. Once the sales rep gets in touch with the prospect, they’re tasked with determining if they’re the key decision-maker (KDM) and discovering if the business qualifies for their company’s product or service.
If a prospect meets their company’s ideal customer criteria, they turn into a lead. Over time, a sales rep continues to nurture the relationship, build value, and continuously qualify the lead until they’re toward the end of their buying cycle.
Once a lead is ready to make financial moves, the sales rep schedules a sales appointment between the prospect and the company’s business owner, account executive, or another team member responsible for sales and client management. During the sales meeting, the business owner or account executive presents the lead with a sales pitch, aiming to convert them from a lead into a customer.
How Do B2B Companies Approach Appointment Setting Services?
While some companies internalize their qualified appointment setting services, many B2B businesses decide to outsource. Outsourcing appointment setting services enables a company’s internal team to focus on more pressing internal sales tasks, like crafting the perfect sales presentation for a high-quality sales lead.
Since appointment setting companies are experts in all things sales-related, they ensure that each lead is qualified and meets the ideal customer criteria for the client. In addition, appointment setting companies acquire all the sales tools, technologies, and best practices to create and maintain a sustainable sales pipeline.
Appointment setting is the final step of an outbound lead generation process. Once a sales representative schedules an appointment with a qualified lead, it’s up to the internal sales team to attend the sales meeting, present the perfect sales pitch, and close business.
Qualities of a High-Performing Appointment Setter
Appointment setting can be a tough job for many sales development representatives (SDRs). As an appointment setter, sales reps must actively listen to prospects and pitch products and services that align with their wants, needs, and pain points.
To be a successful appointment setter, an SDR must be able to do the following:
- Identify key decision-makers
- Be flexible and quick on their feet if the pitch takes another direction
- Ask relevant questions that provide value
- Be willing to learn new skills and adjust their pitch
Want to learn how to build a cold calling strategy that yields long-term results? For more insight, read our blog here.
Most Significant Differences Between Lead Generation and Appointment Setting Services
Before diving into the differences between lead generation and appointment setting services, we must understand the difference between leads and prospects. While these two words are commonly used interchangeably, they have significant differences.
Leads are individuals or businesses that have shown interest in learning more about your company or the products and services you have to offer. However, it is unknown whether or not they’re qualified to receive your business’s offerings.
On the other hand, prospects are individuals or companies in the sales pipeline that have not actively shown interest in your company’s product or service. During the strategic prospecting process, sales reps build lists of pre-qualified leads and cold call or email them to pitch what your company has to offer.
OK, let’s circle back around and recap. Lead generation involves piquing the interest of potential customers and encouraging them to input their information to receive additional sales and marketing promotions. At this point, they are leads because they have an interest in your company, but it’s unclear if they meet your ideal customer criteria. Appointment setting involves qualifying prospects because they meet company qualifiers, but it’s unknown if they’re interested in what your business has to offer. The prospects stay in the sales funnel until they reach the end of their buyer’s journey and are ready to buy.
There are three significant differences between lead generation and appointment setting services: the overall goal, the strategy involved, and the process in place. Let’s jump into it.
Difference #1: Goal
The goal of lead generation is for your brand to get in front of potential customers and have them enter their contact information so you can integrate them into your sales pipeline. Individuals become leads in lead generation when they fill out a contact form or subscribe to a company newsletter. Even though you’re unsure if they meet your qualifications, you know they have an interest in what your company has to offer.
On the other hand, the goal of appointment setting is to turn prospects into leads. This process is known as sales prospecting. While the prospect may meet your ideal customer criteria, they may not be interested in your company or the products and services you have to offer. Over time, sales reps nurture relationships with the prospects until they’re ready to make a purchase.
Let’s put it this way—you can have lead generation without appointment setting. However, you cannot have appointment setting without lead generation.
Difference #2: Strategy
While both revenue-generating methods strive to build relationships with potential customers, the approach varies. A lead generation strategy focuses on engaging with prospects and finalizing a sale. However, an appointment setting strategy prioritizes scheduling sales appointments with qualified leads.
Lead generation focuses on reaching potential clients and gathering their information. From here, lead information is passed to the sales and marketing team to decide what they want to do with it.
Appointment setting services focus on generating leads with businesses that meet the company’s qualifications. A company’s sales team cold calls or emails the lead to provide relevant value and set them up with a sales appointment with your internal team.
The process of lead generation involves creating and distributing content that aligns with the persona of your target audience. Ideally, if your marketing strategy is strong enough, an individual will give you their information so you can integrate them into your sales pipeline.
With appointment setting, the process is more straightforward with little gray area. The appointment setting process consists of setting the appointment, attending the appointment, and making a final purchasing decision.
How To Determine Which Business Growth Solution Is Right for Your Company
As mentioned previously, lead generation can exist without appointment setting. However, appointment setting can’t exist without lead generation.
Appointment setting is proven to be an effective lead generation solution for B2B companies. When you group appointment setting, sales prospecting, and lead generation together, you increase the likelihood of converting leads and prospects into customers.
Lead generation and appointment setting services both require a considerable amount of time, money, and resources to be executed successfully. If you have the bandwidth to internalize your lead generation and appointment setting efforts, go for it! However, that’s not always feasible for small to medium-sized businesses. If you need an extra hand for your business growth efforts, consider reaching out to an outsourced lead generation and appointment setting provider.
While lead generation and appointment setting services are often used interchangeably, they differ significantly in their goal, strategy, and process. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we collaborate with B2B businesses across the nation to help them get the most out of their lead generation and appointment setting efforts. When you’re ready to optimize how you generate new business opportunities, contact the sales reps at Abstrakt!
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