A pipeline full of qualified leads is like a dream come true for a sales manager. But, you know quite well that although this is achievable, it’s easier said than done. It’s even harder when salespeople have to handle all lead generation activities by themselves, from prospecting, all the way to closing.
But, what if we told you that finding qualified leads doesn’t have to be something you worry about? That someone else can generate leads for you and fill your calendar with appointments from qualified opportunities?
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Why? Because that is what appointment setting services do. Appointment setting services focus on generating leads, allowing salespeople to focus on closing sales.
What Is Appointment Setting?
Appointment setting is, literally contacting a lead to set up a sales meeting. The process, however, doesn’t start there. Using their telemarketing, communication and customer management skills, they spend their time with potential buyers, gauging interest and answering questions.
Appointment setters ensure that your webinars, product demos, events and conferences are getting registrations and filling up with attendants.
Appointment setters use the following tactics to get appointments:
Respond to Inbound Calls
Some customers will call your company after viewing or reading your content. Appointment setters respond to such phone calls and set appointments.
This involves cold calling a list of prospects to determine their interest. Interested prospects are then nurtured some more to push them down the funnel.
Appointment setters can email clients with information about solving their pain point. For instance, an email with a link to the latest blog post addressing a problem, or an invitation to a webinar, can be very timely to a lead who is in search of a solution. Meeting reminders are also sent on email
You can have an appointment setting team inhouse or you can outsource to an agency.
Appointment setting teams should not work in silos. Integrating your CRM with the software used by appointment setting staff can streamline appointment setting as outsourced staff can have a full view of everything happening in an account.
Why B2B Appointment Leads?
Pipeline drought is never on most sales managers’ minds when a company is meeting its sales targets. However, it is possible for sales to deteriorate when lead generation is neglected. While it is important to continue maintaining relationships with your current customers, you should also make time to onboard new, high quality leads through appointment setting services.
The sales process involves a lot of prep work. By the time you set an appointment with a buyer, you have to place a couple of phone calls, send emails, set up ads, etcetera, to generate a lead. Finding leads should be a continual process and it involves a lot of work such as:
- Finding new customers
- Researching companies to identify decision makers
- Learning your target’s challenges
- Identifying ways that your product or service can solve your target’s challenges
- Educating and informing the client about your product or service
With all this work to do, it is almost impossible to both maintain your sales pipeline, while also closing ready leads.
When you take off these time consuming tasks from your team’s daily responsibilities, their job becomes to ensure they do everything in their power to convert the leads handed to them.
So, What Should You Expect From Appointment Leads?
To understand what you should expect from b2b appointment leads, we must first look at how such leads come to be.
Qualify Companies That Have Interacted With Your Brand
Appointment setters place outbound calls to drive engagement with leads. During those phone calls, they don’t drive the lead to close, but instead seek to uncover a company’s challenges. Although the appointment setter may suggest your offering as a way to solve that problem, they do not push the lead to close.
Appointment setters generate curiosity about your company. During future engagements, the lead will receive content to educate them further. As the lead moves down the funnel, the appointment setter can then set up a consultative meeting, schedule a demo or organize a face to face visit.
Uncover Necessary Details About Your Leads
Appointment setters find out about a company by finding answers to questions such as:
- What is the hierarchy in the company or target department?
- Who should be present in the initial appointment?
- Who is needed in a purchase decision?
- Who in the company is aware of the problem? Are the top executives in the company aware?
- Are there discussions to solve the problem?
- Has the company engaged other vendors?
Other important information may include recent acquisitions by the company, the company’s financial standing, etcetera.
Gauge Lead Temperature
Along the way, lead temperature can change. Information about lead temperature as at the time an appointment is being set is important because it helps the salesperson know what to expect.
Other Duties: Record Keeping
Appointment setters keep records of all the interactions they have had with clients. This information is available to sales and marketing teams through CRM integration with the agency’s software. Appointment setters also perform administrative duties to keep the sales machinery operating more efficiently. For instance, they keep documents organized, follow up on appointments and reschedule them, avail copies of sales material, etcetera.
That said, these should be your expectations when going to meet a b2b appointment lead:
1. Expect The Lead to Be Aware of Their Need
A high quality lead must know that they have a problem. Your job during your meeting, is to show them that you have a solution.
2. They Should Be a Decision Maker
Appointment setters should determine if they are dealing with a decision maker, or at the very least, a stakeholder who can convince decision makers.
3. The Lead Should Have Purchasing Power
Sales people also expect that by the time they get an appointment, the lead should be prepared with a budget. A company that is going through financial constraints for instance may not be a high quality lead, even though they have the intention to buy.
4. They Must Be Eager to Solve Their Problem
A b2b appointment lead should have a sense of urgency around finding a solution. A lead who has clearly stated that they want a solution in a week or month, should be treated more seriously than one who has a need but has an open-ended timeline.
5. The Lead Should Trust Your Organization
Your b2b appointment leads will be more willing to listen if they already trust your brand. Appointment setters should research a lead’s concerns ahead of time and address any perception issues way before they set an appointment.
6. Ready To Listen
Part of the readiness to listen has to do with trust. If a lead trusts a company or thins highly about a product, they are more likely to listen.
7. The B2B Lead Should Be Good For Your Future Profitability
Sometimes, a lead may possess all the qualities above, but they may not be profitable in the end. If you determine that you cannot service an account profitably in the end, you have to decide whether it makes sense to go after that account.
From what we have discussed above, we hope it’s clear that:
- Time is your sale’s person’s most important asset. To close more sales, they need to deal with leads who are ready to buy.
- Your salespeople don’t have time to nurture leads into ready buyers. You need appointment setters for this.
- What not to expect: Appointment leads are high quality leads. By the time you get an appointment with a lead, you should expect that they know enough about your company to sit with you and listen. This means that they are highly likely to buy. However, being high quality doesn’t mean that closing a lead will be automatic. There is no guarantee that your appointments will result in a sale. Once you are in the board room with a lead, you need to put in effort to convert the leads.
- Appointment setting leads to a higher performing sales team that:
- Is less stressed and is prepared to deal with lead closure
- Experiences a higher rate of successful engagement
- Has a low staff turnover