B2B Appointment Setting Tips and Techniques
In today's competitive marketplace, it's vital to make and keep appointments with B2B prospects in order to "cut through the noise." Having a prospect's undivided attention, even for a few minutes, is an invaluable asset - and may mean the difference between a big sale and a missed opportunity. The question is, how can you convince those B2B buyers to sit down for a meeting with your closer?
The key is to have a seamless appointment setting strategy in place (and to implement that strategy in the most effective way possible). Easier said than done? Of course! But it can be done, and it will make your lead nurturing efforts better than ever. In the information below, we'll discuss how the B2B appointment setting process works, and some key tips and tricks that will help you out.
What is B2B appointment setting?
In general, B2B appointment setting is a strategy that involves different members of your sales team taking on different responsibilities. You can divide this strategy into 3 distinct phases:
In this initial stage, a sales development rep engages with qualified leads to determine where each buyer currently is in their customer's journey. For example, it's great if a prospect has visited your website numerous times - but are they ready to purchase one of your products? If the rep identifies the prospect as a sales opportunity, they'll pass the lead on to the next phase, which is...
2. Appointment setting
An appointment setter on your team will reach out to the lead at this point and continue to nurture the budding relationship with your brand. Obviously, the primary goal at this point is to set up an appointment between the lead and one of your closing reps. Of course, your appointment setter should prioritize appointments with those leads that have the highest potential value to your business.
In this final stage of the appointment setting process, your closer will work with the lead to negotiate and finalize the deal. Your closer should be able to discuss and solidify the terms of the agreement efficiently, especially since they should be working with highly qualified leads that are either "warm" or "hot."
As you might have noticed, this appointment setting strategy can inject your overall workflow with the "specialist advantage." In other words, one of your reps can specialize in prospecting, another in appointment setting, and another in closing. You'll be able to leverage the strengths of each team member in the most effective way possible.
That being said, there are still several best practices you need to keep in mind when it comes to B2B appointment setting. Let's review a few of them.
B2B appointment setting tips and techniques
Always do your research
This is just sales 101. You need to have a clear understanding, not only of the features and benefits of your own product, but also of the needs and concerns that are on your prospect's mind.
Make sure you thoroughly research the industry your prospect is in. What tough questions or objections could they raise, and how could you overcome them? What would they expect to gain from your product or service? What are their key business goals and core values? Don't forget to also research the person you plan on speaking with, not just the company you're targeting.
Be professional, but not salesy
Believe it or not, the goal of an appointment setter is not to sell. That's the responsibility of the closer. If you're an appointment setter, your job is to build rapport with the prospect, build their trust in you, and ultimately convince them to agree to a meeting.
With that in mind, try to find common ground with the prospect. Ask about their career, their hobbies, their family life, and so forth. Of course, keep the conversation professional; but don't be afraid to keep things loose. You want to go into the call with the mindset that you're there to help them - not the other way around.
Not chasing after the sale may go against every instinct in your body... but at the end of the day your self-restraint, along with the personal interest you show, will be far more likely to win the prospect over than a detailed presentation on the merits of your product.
B2B Appointment Setting Tips and TechniquesUse good timing
Your prospect is a busy person, so be respectful of their time. Consider reaching out to them during "off hours" when they may not have as much on their plate. When you do call, always ask if they have a few minutes to talk. If they don't, pivot to asking them when they would be available, and try to reschedule your call for then. The last thing you want to do is alienate a good prospect by intruding on their time without so much as a warning.
Reach out to the right prospects through the right channels
No matter how skilled your salespeople are, they might as well talk to a brick wall if they're reaching out to the wrong prospects - i.e., B2B buyers who have zero interest in your product or service. With that in mind, it's vital that you clearly define your "ideal customers." You'll need to determine which types of business to target, how big they should be, and which decision-makers you should reach out to. (Hint: look at the prospects who have already interacted with your brand, and see if you can identify some key similarities in their characteristics and attributes.)
Besides reaching out to the right people, you also need to reach out through the right channels. Basically, you need to "go fishing where the fish are." That could mean reaching out to your audience via social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, sending out targeted emails, calling, texting, messaging over Google Maps... the list could go on and on! The point is, the only way you'll get your prospect's attention is by reaching out to them through the right channels (and often multiple channels at the same time).
Provide social proof
Most B2B prospects, even if they're interested in your product, are going to approach your brand with a certain level of skepticism. After all, they don't want to commit to something that will backfire in the end.
One excellent way to start building trust with your prospects is to share some social proof with them - in other words, clear evidence that your product has benefited other B2B buyers in similar situations. Social proof may include:
- Reviews (the more detailed the better)
- Customer testimonials
- In-depth case studies
Make sure you're able to refer prospects to a reputable review website or a landing page where they can see the social proof for themselves. If needed, provide them with links to case studies that demonstrate your expertise. The more social proof you can present to a prospect, the more confident they will feel about doing business with your brand.
Leverage the power of referrals
Speaking of social proof, perhaps the most powerful kind that you could offer comes in the form of referrals. A B2B prospect may not know your company from Adam - but if they have a respected colleague who refers your company to them, now they'll feel much more comfortable about beginning a conversation.
You can ask for referrals from your professional and personal networks. If you know someone inside an organization who has the trust of a key decision-maker, ask if they'd be willing to drop your name. In the final analysis, referrals are both powerful and free. Don't discount them!
Don't be afraid to script out your pitch
Not all of us can "wing it" on sales calls - and for those who can, not every impromptu pitch is going to come across well. That's why it's important to have a good script on hand that you can fall back on, if necessary. A professional prospecting script should include a branded introduction that gets to the point quickly (people want to know who you are and why you're calling them). Plus, with enough practice, the script won't sound rehearsed at all. In fact, it will become second nature to you!
Hold the course
The reality of sales is that you have to sift through a ton of dirt to find some gold. Don't expect to win every appointment, or even engage with every prospect. Be patient. Persevere. Set realistic goals for yourself. Above all, stay positive - because your next call could be the one that leads to a big sale!
Should you outsource your B2B appointment setting?
There's no right or wrong answer to this question. If you have sales reps on your in-house team with the skill set and experience to prospect, set appointments, and close deals, then you may not need to outsource any part of your process to a third-party agency.
On the other hand, your sales team may not specialize in one or more aspects of B2B appointment setting; or they may be swamped with work as it is. In that case, outsourcing appointment setting can save you a lot of time and effort, and help your reps stay focused on closing deals.
Contact us for help with your B2B appointment setting
If you're interested in learning more about the B2B appointment setting process, or want to outsource some of your efforts to a reputable third-party vendor, then reach out to our team of professionals at Leadium. We can help you to identify high-value prospects, nurture leads, set appointments, and ultimately close more deals. To learn more, reach out to us today.
You need to have a clear understanding, not only of the features and benefits of your own product, but also of the needs and concerns that are on your prospect's mind"