The Definitive Guide to B2B Appointment Setting
Setting up an appointment in B2B sales isn’t as easy as getting a simple “yes.” Appointment setting is the first step to closing a major deal, and is about building up what will become a business relationship. It is common knowledge that making a good first impression is going to shape the nature of any relationship, whether that be in sales or in more casual settings.
According to Psychology Today, impressions snap into place in just seven seconds, and once we have made an impression it is very difficult to alter how we feel about someone or something. Particularly in sales, these impressions can make or break a deal, especially as we consider just how crucial a role relationships play in making a sale (relationships can sometimes be even more critical than the product that we are selling).
B2B appointment setting is the art of being the first face we think of when we consider a product. It is the first “yes” that will lead to a sale or a long term business relationship. This guide is meant to be a way of analyzing every aspect of the process to that “yes” from the ground up. I am breaking this into three categories of the B2B appointment setting process – preparation, approach, and hitting the target. Setting a B2B appointment is nearly impossible unless all three of these categories are hit.
A house is only as strong as its foundation. The same can be said of B2B appointment setting. Anyone can pick up the phone and dial a number, but it takes research, grit, persuasiveness, and a little luck to actually get the right person on the line, have a conversation, and make a deal.
Starting in B2B sales begins with making the right preparations before calling up a company. Scouring the internet (in particular looking at the company website and doing cursory research through LinkedIn) will yield you not only information about the products and image that they are selling, but the names of people within the company that you need to get in touch with. This process can be quite helpful, but conversely can be quite time consuming. Big Data has become a highly profitable commodity that can benefit your business, meaning more time on the phones and less time on the web, but this can come with a hefty price tag. Of the providers we have examined, we recommend using DiscoverOrg. This service will provide you with valuable insight, such as size, revenue, and industry.
Process is another essential step in making sure that your calls are as effective as possible. In the old days, people might use a pen and paper to track how often they are calling and when, but human error leaves a lot of room for mistakes. Having a good tech stack will put you ahead of the field. Using a CRM has become the new solution for companies to succeed in this business. By having an interface organize information about the people you are calling while structuring the call cadence, CRMs will allow you to call people at the right time, and can be customized to suit your individual business needs.
With the data and the process in motion, coming up with powerful messaging for a campaign will be the launching point from which you will begin setting appointments. LinkedIn can be a very helpful way to get in touch with the people you need to speak with, but has become saturated by thousands of companies looking to provide the same services. Make sure that your messaging is short, gets to the point, and has information in it that will allow your customers to reach out to you.
Finally, getting the right people to make these calls will allow you to take these disparate pieces and assemble them into a “yes.” We have found that the best sales people aren’t always the people with the most experience, but those who have a huge drive, can think on their toes, and have stellar emotional intelligence. The people that will be making these calls might not be the ones closing the deals, but they are the people who will be setting the initial impression of the product or service that you are providing them. Some companies feel that their best sales people are wasted trying to set appointments for companies – that’s why services like LeadJen exist. We provide outsourced B2B appointment setting knowing full well that the job of calling people and facing constant rejection is a tricky business that is not for the faint of heart.
Having all the resources in the world laid in front of you won’t help you set an appointment. Pick up your phone! Although many companies utilize the internet as their means of generating interest and gathering data, cold calling is not a dead form of making a deal, and having the guts to get someone on the line is going to be the thing that separates you from your peers.
When you call a company, you’re most likely going to encounter a gatekeeper. Whether this is a secretary or a general member of the office, this person is going to be the first obstacle in the way to getting to the person you need to speak with. Their job is to sort the important calls from the cold calls, but it is essential to remember that these people are also humans. Treating them with respect will often yield better results than trying to pass by them robotically. Asking for somebody in a specific department is going to be a much less successful approach than asking for somebody by name, as it creates a greater sense of urgency. You’ve done the research – use it to your advantage. You have to convince the gatekeeper that not only is your call important, but that you know who you need to speak to in order to achieve your desired goal (and help their company in the process.)
A top-down approach to sales is likely to provide you a much better chance of reaching the person you need to speak with. Pitch as high as you can departmentally – the people at the top often have a good perspective of the issues that are going on in their company, but likely do not know the specific details that are required to fix those problems. Once you have reached the top, they can transfer you to the person you need to speak with while also being sold on the services that you offer, meaning that the next call will be that much easier.
Hitting the Target
When done over the phone, the amount of information that we can control and cannot control is different than what we can do in person. First impressions are often determined by the way that we look and dress, the tone that we take, and the mannerisms by which we express ourselves. On a phone call, the way that you modulate your voice and phrase things is essential.
A good script is the groundwork by which you will be able to engage with your audience. Asking good questions, and phrasing your service in terms of achieving means to fix the company’s problems will allow your customer to engage with you meaningfully. If they don’t shut you down outright, their answers show interest and will allow you to pinpoint the ways in which your product or service can help them out.
Simply reading off a script, however, is insufficient. Use your script as a rubric that you can break away from. You’re not a robot, and you can use elements like affability and humor to make the customer more comfortable with you. These people also might be extremely busy at the time that you call them. Respect their time, and find a moment that works for them to talk about what you have to offer. Calling people during their business day is a disruptive action, and while you may know their industry, you don’t know their schedule, their problems, or their interests. Getting on the phone with them is ultimately about setting an appointment, but also about finding the answers to these things so that you can meet them where they are at.
The purpose of all messaging is first to make them aware of the service that you have to offer, and then to make them interested in what you have to say. You might not pique their interest right off the bat, but with a cadence that combines messaging through email, LinkedIn messaging, and calls, you will gain their trust and set an appointment with them.
LeadJen is a service that is dedicated to this industry. If you’re not sure where to begin with this process, reach out to us. We would be more than happy to help your company succeed by laying the groundwork for a major sale.