Your sales teams may work in different ways to achieve results. Most salespeople have their own unique identity and, even if working from scripts or templates, will deliver pitches in their own way. While it may be tempting, especially with successful sales teams, to let them ‘roam free’, there should be some centralized strategy that can help guide them when they – inevitably – struggle to maintain their form.
Sales strategies can vary greatly according to your business model and according to your demographic base and targets. However, if any part of that model involves B2B sales, then B2B appointment setting should be an integral part of any such strategy. Just what is B2B appointment setting, what benefits does it bring, and how best can you integrate it into your sales strategy?
What is B2B appointment setting?
B2B appointment setting is a tactic that should be part of an overall B2B sales strategy. It involves having members of your sales team do the prospecting stage and setting up meetings (or calls) with potential customers who have expressed an interest in your product. Depending on the size of your teams, the prospector may pass on the meeting to a more experienced closer to finalize any deal.
It places more active focus on the prospecting stage and the prospectors should be looking at businesses they believe will be a good fit for your brand and/or products. Identifying high quality (and often high value too) customers is the main goal of B2B appointment setting. For companies who have a high percentage of B2B sales, it should be a main part of your sales strategy.
What are the benefits of B2B appointment setting?
If you are not already doing B2B appointment setting, then you will obviously want to know what benefits it will bring. It should play a role in any conversion roadmaps you have created too.
1. Reaching decision makers and the right targets
It’s not just a case of picking random names and numbers; just like good SEO evaluation practices, high-quality B2B appointment setting involves research. In fact, the best salespeople spend around six hours every week just researching potential targets. You want quality prospects so that your closers can then contact the person who makes the actual buying decision.
2. Increased volume and quality
With a well thought out B2B appointment setting strategy, your sales teams should see an increase in the volume of qualified appointments and an improvement in the quality of those appointments. You want your salespeople and closers to have the best chance possible of turning a potential customer into a new customer, whether they’re buying domain names or sales software.
3. Makes it easier to nurture leads
You want customers who are not only quality customers but who will enter a long term relationship with you. B2B appointment setting means that relationships are built on a solid foundation and the prospectors and other members of the sales team can nurture qualified leads through your sales funnel.
4. Improved efficiency
A solid B2B appointment setting strategy means that your prospectors are focusing more on quality rather than quantity and giving your closers better opportunities to make deals. This makes your entire sales team more efficient and can deliver a higher ROI, especially as they develop, fine tune their approach and learn from any mistakes. Investigating small business phone system options can help you maximize this efficiency.
5. Higher revenue figures
Of course, any good business owner will always have an eye on the bottom line. If your sales teams have better focus and are targeting high value customers who are a better fit, then obviously you will see an increase in your revenue. This can be especially valid if you provide high ticket items to your customers. Your sales team will be spending less time on unqualified leads and more time on qualified ones that are more likely to lead to sales.
Tips for creating an efficient B2B appointment setting strategy
So, you have realized that B2B appointment setting makes good sense for your business and will bring a number of benefits. How do you go about creating such a strategy and integrating it into how you currently work?
You don’t want your best salespeople to waste time on businesses who will never buy from you. Just as they should know everything there is to know about your products, they should also know how to identify a good potential customer.
Is the target business using or selling the type of product/service you provide? Can you offer a better product, better customer service, or lower price points than existing suppliers? Identifying businesses that are likely to buy is a crucial foundation.
2. Build relationships
As with any sales relationship, it needs to be built on trust and it needs to be nurtured. That relationship starts with the first contact with the potential customer. Your appointment setter’s role is not to pitch or sell your products, it’s to establish the target’s needs and wants. They want to be sure that the target is a good fit and they should be personable and not pushy in any way. Making good connections and relationships with clients is something that will help your business succeed.
3. Develop a good script
As already mentioned, the role of appointment setters is to identify the customer’s needs and to be sure they are a good fit. You should develop a script that asks relevant and thoughtful questions, though your team should be prepared to go off script. Your appointment setters want to collect as much information as possible to make your closers’ job easier.
Make sure your team knows your product inside out – if customers ask a question like “what is a hybrid integration platform?” then they expect to be talking to an expert who can tell them exactly how such a platform could benefit their business.
For some businesses, you may not have enough staff to have dedicated appointment setters and, with limited staff, you may feel that using good closers to also set appointments is a waste of resources. If this is the case, you may want to outsource your B2B appointment setting to an external agency that specializes in this type of work. There are agencies that specialize in every sector who are able to supply you with a list of qualified leads as soon as you sign up.
5. Use an efficient scheduling/calendar tool
It may be the case that your appointment setters work remotely or are in a different location. Even when based in the same office, your closers may be frequently on the road and contacting them constantly to set up appointments can be a lot of hassle. With a calendar tool like a meeting scheduler, appointment setters can see closers’ availability with a simple click and can set up an appointment without having to call the closer or the potential customer back.
You could also encourage your closers to download remote desktop connection tools, to allow them to access their own devices when they’re out of the office.
Different stages of B2B appointment setting
When creating your new strategy, you should be aware that there are three main stages to B2B appointment setting that should form the template your sales team works from.
This may come before your appointment setter steps in to arrange a meeting with a closer. Prospecting involves identifying that the target business is a potential customer and where they are in the decision-making process. For example, there is little point in putting a lot of effort into a target who has already said they will make a decision next financial year. They can still be nurtured, and you can even pursue a letter of intent, but this is a potential future sale.
2. Appointment setting
When a lead is qualified and you are sure that they have intent to buy, then you can think about starting to move towards actually setting an appointment. The appointment setter should be communicating closely with the lead so that the closer has all the information they need to actually close the deal successfully. You may want to explore the best VoIP app for business to facilitate collaboration.
3. Closing the deal
When your closers have all the information they think they need, then that (hopefully) final appointment can be set. That appointment may take place in person or via audio or video call. It’s worth learning how to do a 3 way call in case there’s more than one stakeholder keen to be part of the process.
To be successful, you need to find the sales and marketing strategies that best suit you and your customer base. That can cover everything from a good email marketing strategy to a highly efficient sales team. By including B2B appointment setting in your overall sales strategy, you can help improve the efficiency of your sales team.
At the end of the day, sales means revenue means profit. By focusing on qualified leads that are more likely to buy from you, you help your salespeople to be more productive and close deals that offer your business more value and a better ROI.