The Art of B2B Appointment Setting
Having a good understanding of B2B appointment setting allows you to generate quality leads, close deals faster and boost your ROI.
If you want to get the best results, you definitely want to make sure you’re taking the right approach. Corporate decision makers are busy and inundated with offers. It takes skill and expertise to reach them and convince them that your offer is the solution they need.
The basics of B2B appointment setting
In B2B appointment setting, salespeople will contact prospects in an attempt to set up a meeting. To do this, they use various channels like cold calls, emails, chat boxes, social media messaging etc. The process can be done in-house or outsourced to a B2B lead generation company.
Lead generation in B2B sales is quite different than in B2C. B2C focuses on individual customers while B2B focuses on buying committees. As a result, B2B sales tend to be a lengthier, more complex process. In B2C, every individual customer has the power to decide. In B2B, the purchasing power belongs to a selected few. This means seeking out and pitching to decision makers and influencers.
In B2B appointment setting, the sale is not the only goal. It’s more about getting in front of them and building a relationship of trust with the prospects.
Getting corporate decision makers to agree to an appointment takes time and effort. You have to speak their language, be persuasive and interact with them on a deeper level. This is why B2B appointment setting is often viewed as too demanding and not worth the effort. However, when implemented strategically, it results in much higher ROI within your sales budget.
Unlike other channels, B2B appointment setting relies on personal human interaction. In today’s digital world, this provides a personal touch that most decision makers respond to.
Given the complex nature of B2B appointment setting, here’s what you need to know before diving into it.
Do your research
Before you make the call, make sure you are prepared. Learn all you can about the company, their needs and pain points. No decision maker is going to agree to a meeting just because you sound nice and friendly on the phone. You have to get their attention and offer something of value. For B2B research, LinkedIn is a good place to start.
Keep in mind that every time you call a prospect, you put your company reputation on the line. People tend to associate bad sales calls with the companies they come from. Always make sure you call the right people and make sure they have a genuine need for your solutions.
Be prepared to address all their objections and questions. Don’t take it as a bad sign if the prospect expresses doubt that your product can solve their particular problem. It means they are interested in a finding a way to overcome an issue and are welcoming your input.
Make the first call count
The first call marks the start of your relationship with your future client. So, it’s extremely important that you play this part right. Take your time to mentally prepare for the task ahead. Clear your schedule so you won’t get distracted by other things.
When making a cold call, remember to always ask if you’re interrupting the person. Acknowledge their busy schedule and thank them for setting aside the time to talk to you.
It’s a fact that the purpose of your call is business, but it never hurts to keep the conversation friendly. Talk about things you have in common and don’t focus the talk strictly on your product.
Carefully measure your words. By being overly enthusiastic when asking for an appointment, you can easily come across as aggressive. In this case, the best you can hope to get is a polite “no”. Do your best to grab prospect’s attention and get your message across in the narrow time slot you have.
Put the prospect in the spotlight. Let them lead the conversation and subtly introduce your offer in the chat. The golden rule when trying to set an appointment is to not sell your product. Rather, the call should provoke enough interest for a face-to-face meeting. Be considerate of your prospect’s time and keep the call brief.
Build rapport with the prospect
Building rapport is key to successful lead generation in the B2B setting. Decision makers are human, after all, and creating a bond of trust can help your efforts. It comes more naturally to some salespeople than others, but it’s a skill you can learn and perfect over time.
Show genuine interest in your prospects. Listen attentively, don’t interrupt them and match their way of verbal expression. Try to guess how they want to receive information about your offer. Do they need a detailed explanation or just a general overview of what it entails? Be clear and concise, without redundant phrases. It shows you know your stuff and you appreciate their time.
Interaction with prospects also allows you to adjust your pitch based on their feedback. This way you can identify their needs and address their concerns better. By assuring them your solution is the best, you’ll bring the process one step closer to a sale. The key is to position yourself as a problem solver. Of course, this means you have to be able to explain what makes your product superior to the others on the market.
Build the right sales force
Successful B2B appointment setting demands a specific personality profile, coupled with experience and skill.
Your appointment setters have to be quick thinkers. Good B2B salespeople are insightful, able to identify prospect needs and suggest solutions. They are also flexible, able to improvise and deviate from the script when necessary.
Rejection is a routine occurrence in sales. Salespeople often hit the wall when trying to set an appointment. Logically enough, prospects aren’t always willing to talk. This is why persistence has to be your sales team’s key trait. Don’t give up after the first call. Do what it takes to set up that meeting.
You should already be doing regular training sessions where you teach your team about the best sales strategies. But be sure to also teach them the art of appointment setting.
Your training efforts can focus on the following:
- Acing that first call and identifying what prospects want
- Getting past gatekeepers and standing out from the competition in the interaction with prospects
- Managing prospect objections and convincing them the appointment is worth their time
Reaching corporate decision makers is a demanding task. If your sales team has the expertise to see the process through, go for it. Otherwise, it will just cost you time and resources, without any real benefit. In this case, it’s best to leave this aspect to a reputable demand generation company.
At DemandZEN, the task of generating quality leads is assigned to experts in the art of cold calls. We know how to get past gatekeepers and spark real interest for your offer. This way, we deliver a steady stream of hot leads to your sales teams.
Are you ready to exceed your sales targets and give your business a boost? Contact the experts at DemandZEN today.
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DemandZEN specializes in Account-Based Demand Generation and solving the challenges around finding, engaging and converting target accounts into real opportunities for B2B Technology and Services companies.