Contrary to popular belief, B2B appointment setting is far from simply putting dates in the diary. Successful appointment setting is an integral part of the sales process. It is vital for consistent opportunities to generate revenue. However, the process of finding prospects and maintaining a consistent pipeline of leads is not as easy as it looks.
Successful B2B appointment setting requires more than a cold call followed by a Google Calendar invite. The process involves persuasive conversation, a knowledgeable sales team, and tried-and-tested methods.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the definition of appointment setting, explain the importance of B2B appointments, and share eight tried-and-tested tricks to effectively set B2B appointments.
What is B2B appointment setting?
B2B appointment setting is the process of scheduling meetings between sales leads and a closer. This business-to-business interaction is used to nurture a relationship with a prospect and move them through a lead cycle. In this meeting, potential customers may be provided with detailed information about a product or service, contracts can be drawn up, and final sales secured. In short, it’s the bridge between initial prospecting and the final closing meeting of the lead generation process.
Here’s a description of each phase:
- Prospecting: this is the process of finding potential buyers. It’s typically done by conducting basic research, building contact lists, and making initial calls. The best lead management software on the market can help compile the initial contact lists with names, contact information, job titles, and companies of prospects.
- Appointment setting: during the B2B appointment setting process, sales reps may have multiple meetings with prospects to foster rapport with them. When ready, they’ll arrange an official appointment with a closing sales rep, who can work with them to draft and implement a final sales proposal.
- Closing the deal: during the closing appointment itself, the closing sales rep can work with the prospect to answer any last-minute questions and encourage them to sign the final contract.
Teams can complete B2B appointment setting themselves or outsource the work to an external agency. There are many dedicated agencies available that can represent a company to prospects and qualify leads. Use of the agencies has been more attractive than in previous years following the shift to remote selling.
Contrary to popular belief, those who moved away from in-person meetings are faring better. By doing so, sales representatives can spend more time interacting with the most interested buyers, spending their time, effort, and energy on closing a sale.
Why is B2B appointment setting important?
B2B appointment setting is important because it helps teams streamline and optimize the sales process. This can lead to an increase in conversions and an improvement in revenue for the business. Other benefits
- Enables specialization: by splitting up lead generation into phases and delegating tasks, you can enable sales specialization. Different team members will be better at different aspects of the process. One representative on your team may have creative sales prospecting techniques down to a tee. Another may have an unrivaled talent for closing deals. Let them work where they can excel.
- Provides better customer experience: by managing resources throughout prospecting, appointment setting, and closing, sales teams can make sure there’s always someone to answer every customer question. This can lead to high customer satisfaction and increased loyalty.
- Fosters a strong customer relationship: between prospecting and final sale, appointment setting is a key opportunity for sales reps to get to know customers, express the value and features of products and services, and form relationships. It’s essential that those in this phase can build powerful foundations so that closing sales reps can make sales easily, and customers may want to support companies in the future.
How to effectively set B2B appointments
We know what you’re thinking. How hard can it be to set an appointment with a prospect? Until you’ve tackled B2B appointment setting, it’s difficult to comprehend the struggle. A single successful phone call takes 18 dials on average to connect with a buyer. Finding products to sell online is one thing. Finding businesses to sell products to – that’s another.Successful B2B appointment setting requires more than cold calling, asking for a meeting and popping it in a shared calendar for teams. It’s coupled with persuasive conversation, a knowledgeable sales team, and tried-and-tested methods. These include:
1. Tracking information
With a number of stakeholders and numerous moving parts, it’s important to track information and monitor progress when B2B appointment setting. Effective resources management and tracking can allow teams to review the success of a lead generation cycle by assessing sales and other metrics.
It also ensures that when multiple individuals are working on a single prospect or account, there’s a documented process that determines which stage of conversion a prospect is at. Is it a cold contact? Is it the fourth touchpoint? Are we ready to close? Information is power and ensures potential customers are not left frustrated.
2. Acknowledge concerns
How many times do you think a salesperson hears “I’m not interested” or “I don’t have time” in a single day? Unfortunately, probably a lot. Objections are an inevitable part of the sales process. Learning how to respond to them can be a game-changer.
If a potential customer has displayed hesitancy, it’s important to acknowledge their concern. This can be done by asking questions to find out what they’re worried about or if there are specific aspects of their own process or business that need improvement. This allows you to answer in a way that can solve a problem for them. Use patience, persistence, and knowledge about their company needs to overcome any hesitation or initial disinterest in your offer.
42% of B2B buyers value active listening in salespeople, followed closely by problem-solving and confidence. Each of these can be conveyed by tackling objections and hesitation head-on.
3. Ask probing questions
Asking probing questions is an integral part of successful sales calls. It’s the most efficient way to determine the problem, potential solution, and decision of your prospects. Not only will it help you get valuable information from a prospect, but it’ll also make the conversation more engaging for both parties.
4. Use different mediums
Most businesses continue to rely on old-school methods, such as cold calls or sending emails, to reach prospects. If you’re honest with yourself, when was the last time you picked up the phone to a cold caller?
Try using other ways of contacting the prospect when approaching B2B appointment setting. Have you considered:
- Sending a video message?
- Making use of social media, such as LinkedIn or Twitter?
- Using online video call software?
- Literally, anything else that can help avoid the monotony of cold calling?
Think outside the box. If they aren’t answering the phone, consider where else they are present. Send an air freshener. Create a GIF. There’s no assurance it’ll work, but take every chance to use modern approaches. How about trying telepresence and video conferencing to adapt to the progressing industry? It’s estimated that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales will take place in digital channels. Why would B2B appointment setting be any different?
5. Share social proof
A value statement helps during initial outreach as it is most commonly used as an ice breaker or introduction when setting an appointment. Unfortunately, most prospects probably won’t believe what you’re telling them.
However, 88% of prospects do trust customer reviews and personal recommendations, with 44% of marketers citing social proof as one of the top three most influential characteristics when selling a product.
Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tools to persuade your potential customers about how they can significantly benefit from using your product or service.
6. Leverage referrals
Once you’ve closed a deal and established your brand as trustworthy, you can then utilize customer referrals to get more sales. Not only can you reach out to the new prospects, but this can also serve as social proof that your existing customers are so delighted with your product or service that they decided to make referrals.
7. Consider outsourcing to an appointment setting service
Investing in an agency can be a no-brainer for B2B appointment setting for many businesses. Do you want your best sales representatives working on video appointment scheduling? No, probably not. You want their expertise where it belongs: closing deals and generating revenue.
Professionals at these agencies may have experience with your type of industry and customer base and are typically highly trained in generating and nurturing leads and sending qualified candidates to closing sales reps. This ensures salespeople can focus their time, energy, and efforts on building lasting relationships with buyers who are actually interested in the business’s product or service.
8. Don’t put too much pressure on prospects
It’s your job to make the prospect comfortable. Nobody likes to be pressured. The best way to tackle B2B appointment setting is by being courteous and considerate.
Talk to your prospects with a positive attitude. If you use positive language and customer stories – without pressure tactics – then the YES is more likely. Not only does this help put a prospect at ease, but it can also create an overall positive impression of how your company operates.
Salespeople who use inclusive and collaborative terms are significantly more successful than those who don’t. For example, use the word “We” rather than “I.”
Why should you perfect B2B appointment setting?
I think we can all now agree that successful B2B appointment setting requires more than a cold call and a calendar invite. The process involves persuasive conversation, a knowledgeable sales team, and tried-and-tested methods.
Once mastered, however, effective B2B appointment setting ensures you have a consistent sales pipeline filled with qualified leads and an opportunity to generate income.
About the author
Jessica Day is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Jessica has written for domains such as 2CheckOut and Recruitee. Here is her LinkedIn.