Appointment setting is a crucial element in landing B2B sales. Potential buyers are indecisive and need to conduct thorough research before a purchase. A high-paced business environment demands that sales teams go the extra mile to get leads on the phone, schedule intro calls, or schedule demos.
What is Appointment Setting?
An appointment setter is a skilled sales professional who works within the lead gen (marketing) and sales team. In-house and outsourced sales professionals can fill this role, which includes fulfilling the following:
- Obtaining and going through B2B contact lists
- Contacting potential buyers
- Pitching the lead on the product or service or simply answering questions
- Scheduling appointments with the sales team, usually an Account Executive.
Appoint setting is crucial because without following up on leads and reaching out cold to prospects, many B2B companies will not have enough in their sales pipeline.
Why Hire B2B Appointment Setting Companies?
Fortune 500 companies, tech startups and every industry in between hire these strategic sales team employees to improve sales. Hiring a company that handles the appointment setting process is often due to:
Faster Startup Time
Hiring a company to handle appointment setting allows for a faster startup time. Businesses that specialize in this crucial component of lead generation have processes and procedures in place to help you:
- Begin scheduling appointments today
- Refine the sales process
- Talent ready to start setting appointments
Access to Experience Appointment Setters
Appointment setters can specialize in different fields. A professional with a background in tech will have an easier time explaining the nuances of a product or service to potential leads. The ability to immediately access a wide, experienced talent pool is one of the leading reasons to work with a company offering appointment setting rather than hiring in-house.
An in-house appointment setter can also be brought in to:
- Weed through potential buyer lists
- Increase appointments
- Keep lead pipelines full
Improve Lead Experience
Sales professionals that specialize in one component of the sales process improve the experience for leads. Working alongside an experienced appointment setter allows a business to enjoy:
- Higher appointment scheduling rates
- Larger sales pipeline
- Better lead experience
- Higher sales conversions
Appointment setters are professionals who have a knack for enticing leads to schedule an appointment and be handed off to the sales team. Splitting the obligations of the sales team improves employee morale and can keep appointment pipelines full. Appointment setters may be called SDRs or BDRs in some cases.
The segregation of responsibilities in the sales department will improve the customer experience and improve lead generation.
It’s harder than ever to get in front of leads so it makes sense to work with an experienced appointment setter. Sales is a high-paced environment, and when no leads are biting, it often leads to low morale.
Low morale in a sales office leads to:
- Lower sales
- Stretches with few appointments
- Employee turnover
An appointment setter helps boost morale at these times by strategically going through lead lists to increase appointments set. Higher volumes mean that the odds of lead conversions rising improves and sales team morale follows.
Appointment setting has a steep learning curve. Custom solutions provide businesses with a frictionless solution that is customized to work with their existing processes. Companies can skip the “learning curve” and begin generating appointments faster thanks to these solutions.
Tech Stack Improvements
Companies that focus on appointment setting have their own preferred tech stacks in place that can help put:
- CRM expertise
- Automation into portions of the appointment setting
- Reporting in place to help the business improve its processes
- Various B2B sales tools for cold calling and cold emailing
Technology can help your sales team achieve better results. An appointment setter offers their years of experience to reduce friction in your processes that can lead to fewer calls and demos for your team.
What To Look for in B2B Outsourced Appointment Setting Companies
Appointment setting businesses are competing for your business. Deciphering which one is the best choice for your team will require you to take a tactical approach to weeding out companies that are not an ideal fit.
Most of these appointment setters will show their acumen by getting you to make an appointment.
Analyzing companies in the B2B space will require careful consideration of the following:
What is the track record of the company? The appointment setting company should be able to provide you with stats on its:
- Past ability to generate appointments
- Total appointments generated for businesses in your space
Experience, in terms of years and field, matters, too.
- How long has the company been in business?
- How long has the appointment setter been specializing?
You’ll need to judge the company’s track record and experience together to better understand if the company’s team can produce adequate results. New companies with a stellar track record may be better suited than their competitors with more years of experience.
Be careful of Twitter guru appointment setting agencies and any agency that spams clients.
A specialization or expertise in your industry is a major bonus. It’s important to understand their expertise and how they approach setting appointments. Look for a clear understanding of how they reach out to leads. Do they follow best practices for cold calling and cold emailing? Do they leverage social selling?
Are the Appointment Setters based in US or Overseas?
When comparing service providers, consider whether they are based in the United States or overseas. If your company is U.S.-based, you may prefer using a U.S.-based service provider to avoid language barriers or to ensure that appointment setters understand your B2B customers.
That’s not to say that overseas providers cannot deliver great service and results. Often, these providers have experienced professionals on their teams and may offer more cost savings. It can be a viable outbound lead generation strategy.
Overseas tends to be better for lower deal size appointment setting where volume is the name of the game. Whereas US based appointment setting is a better fit for medium to large deal sizes. The only thing that matters is choosing a provider that is a good fit for your organization.
How to Become an Appointment Setter
Appointment setters have an important job. They often serve as the first point of contact with a company, so they must have excellent communication skills and enthusiasm for the job.
To become an appointment setter, you don’t necessarily need formal training or a degree. But you do have to have knowledge of sales, specifically outbound sales, and how the process works.
In many cases, on-the-job training is offered, but if you already have experience in sales, that may give you an edge on the competition.
Most appointment setting jobs have simple qualifications:
- Excellent communication skills
- Determination and ability to handle rejection
- A track record of discipline and consistency
Depending on the organization, there may be industry-specific qualifications. However, many companies do not require any experience.
Successful appointment setters usually possess a certain set of skills, which include:
Naturally, appointment setters must have excellent communication skills. They spend most of their days contacting potential customers via phone, email or on social media. If they’re not communicating with leads, they’re communicating with sales reps.
A skilled appointment setter knows not only how to speak to leads, but how to listen. They actively listen to pick up on the person’s needs and ask follow-up questions to get as much information as possible to make the sales appointment a success.
Appointment setters are often the first contact for a lead or potential customers. For this reason, it’s important for them to have excellent customer service skills.
Appointment setters who are friendly, courteous, professional and respectful tend to have the most success in moving leads to the next stage. They can empathize with the contact’s frustrations or concerns, which helps increase the chances of converting them into customers.
Along with customer service and communication skills, appointment setters must have excellent technical skills.
Appointment setters use a number of tools and programs when researching, building lists, reaching out to potential customers and booking appointments. Being tech-savvy will make it easy to juggle all of these tools and maximize their efficiency.
Having excellent technical skills also allows appointment setters to quickly adapt to new advancements or programs in the workplace.
Appointment setters often have to juggle several things at once. Having excellent organizational skills is crucial.
Successful appointment setters know how to prioritize tasks and keep careful notes and track of each lead that they contact.
Determination, Consistency and Discipline
The role can be full of rejection and boring. The best appointment setters do not give up, put in the work, and don’t get distracted.
How Does Appointment Setting Work?
With the right planning and processes in place, B2B appointment setting is a simple and straightforward process.
Here’s how it works in most cases:
Start Building Lists
The first step is to conduct research on potential leads and start building lists which is the foundation for sales prospecting. This may include something like a cold call list or buying a b2b leads list. In order to do this, you must identify the company’s:
- Target audience
- Target market
It doesn’t make sense to waste time and resources on decision-makers who won’t be interested in what you have to offer. Understanding your market and audience is the key to building successful lists.
Each contact on your list should include:
- The person’s name
- Relevant information to help nurture the lead
- Contact info: phone number, email address
Once you’ve compiled a list of contacts, you can start researching each one individually online. You can find information about leads on:
- Company websites
- Social media
- Industry blogs
The more information you can gather on the lead, the better. Having all of this data will allow you to create custom sales approaches that are tailored to their individual needs.
Before moving on to the next step, it’s also important to ensure that the appointment setter has a good understanding of what the company offers and the value of the product or service, so they can convey this information to potential customers.
Make Initial Contact Via Cold Calls, Cold Emails and Social Selling
Once you have built a list of contacts, the next step is to start reaching out via:
- Cold calls
- Cold emails
- Social selling (DM’s on LinkedIn, Twitter and other social platforms)
The goal of this initial contact is to introduce the company and its offerings, so the appointment setter can start building and nurturing a relationship with the lead.
Regardless of your communication channel (call, email, social, etc.), it’s important to ensure that your message is personalized and relevant. During the initial research phase, appointment setters get to know each lead. They can use this information to craft messages that touch on the individual’s pain points.
Taking the time to create personalized and relevant messages will help make it more likely you book appointments.
With the initial contact out of the way, you can start qualifying leads. Screening, qualifying and grading prospects is a key part of the appointment setting process. It helps ensure that only the prospects who are truly interested will move through the pipeline.
During this stage, the goal is to connect with the right decision-makers and check to ensure that the company has the means and ability to purchase the product or service. If the prospect appears to be a good sales opportunity based on your company’s qualifying criteria, then they can move to the next stage: booking an appointment.
The final step and ultimate goal of this process is to schedule an appointment or meeting. Calendar the event with your salesperson.
Prior to the meeting, the appointment setter should convey all relevant information to the sales rep. This information will help the rep close the deal and build custom pitches that appeal to the prospect’s interests and needs.
Appointment setting is a multi-step process, and it can be a time-consuming one for an internal team. Many organizations believe that it’s worth the time- and cost-savings to work with a third-party appointment setting service.
Pros and Cons of Using an Appointment Setting Service
The right appointment setting service will save your business time, improve response rates and help increase your pipeline velocity. While there are many advantages to using a service provider, outsourcing may not be the right choice for everyone.
It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision.
There are many advantages to using an appointment setting service. Outsourcing can:
- Give you access to a bigger pool of prospects
- Save your business money, not have to worry about internal sales compensation or OTE.
- Give you access to expertise that may have otherwise been unavailable
- Save your team time, which can be focused on core tasks
- Give you the flexibility to handle demand fluctuations
- Help improve your efficiency and overall productivity
- Build pipeline
While there are many benefits to using an appointment setting service, there are some drawbacks that should also be considered.
- Your goals may not align with the service provider
- You lose some control over the customer experience
- Outsourcing may impact your brand identity and company culture
- Results can be inconsistent and hard to fix with an outside provider
- Anyone can become an appointment setter so quality is mixed
Many businesses find that the benefits of using an appointment setting service may outweigh the drawbacks but it’s very case by case. The right service provider will do their best to overcome any challenges but it’s not always easy. Some clients jump to hiring an appointment setter before they’re ready. If you’re not ready yet, you may want to talk to a B2B sales consultant or a sales process consultant who can help put your company in a position to hire a B2B appointment setter.
Appointment Setting Final Say
B2B appointment setting can be an important part of the sales process. It ensures that qualified leads move through the pipeline to sales reps who can close the deal, saving time and money in the process.
Many organizations choose to hire their appointment setters in-house, but many others will outsource this task to an experienced team of professionals. Using an appointment setting service will free up valuable time for your team and allow them to focus on converting qualified leads.
Regardless of whether you outsource this task or build an in-house team, it’s important to make appointment setting a part of your sales process.