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Appointment setting best practice for b2b sales

Appointment setting best practice for B2B sales

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What is appointment setting in sales? Why is it important? And how does it help with B2B lead generation? Here’s our quick and easy guide for appointment setting.


One of the most essential steps in closing a deal is landing that initial sales call. 

While many methods exist to secure this first contact, sales appointment setting is a crucial part of many B2B sales strategies.

Dedicated B2B appointment setting can make sales reps more efficient by allowing them to focus on pitching and closing. It also makes the sales process more efficient. This strategy can bridge the gap between top-of-funnel lead generation and converting prospects. 

This article will explore techniques for effective appointment setting and how it can help B2B lead generation and help your sales teams bag more meetings.

What is B2B appointment setting?

Appointment setting is a technique employed to arrange meetings between sales agents and prospective clients. Creating an excellent B2B appointment strategy is vital for outbound lead generation.

In practice, the process is often carried out by Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): scheduling meetings between sales reps and potential customers to explore opportunities and areas of collaboration. Effectively splitting your team into SDRs and closers gives you specialists in both areas, and frees up sales reps to focus on closing deals.

Sales development representatives

The goal of appointment setting is for SDRs to initiate and create an ongoing open channel of communication with prospects. It’s then up to the sales reps to nurture them through the sales funnel.

Successful B2B appointment setting requires more than just making calls or sending emails. It centres around a well-thought-out strategy and consistent effort. Doing prospect research, adding personalisation into outreach, and nurturing genuine relationships are essential parts of B2B appointment setting.

B2B appointment setting is a strategic approach to initiating meaningful conversations with potential clients, driving business growth. 

What’s the difference between appointment setting and lead generation?

Lead generation attracts potential customers and brings them into your marketing machine.

These people might have downloaded a resource on your site or signed up to your email list. Which is great, but just because they’ve shown interest doesn’t mean they’re close to buying. Sometimes, lead generation means playing a long game, contuinually moving prospects through the buyer journey, shifting them ever closer to conversion.

Instead, appointment setting directly engages and qualifies prospects with the idea of booking a sales meeting. 

Often, appointment setting is the final stage within the lead generation process. It takes contacts from your marketing efforts and helps them over the line. However, it’s an entirely separate process for some. 

Cold calling a list of contacts is an established method, but cold email outreach and LinkedIn prospecting are also common appointment setting methods.

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B2B lead generation 

While you can generate leads without appointment setting, and you can do appointment setting without other forms of lead generation, they complement each other perfectly.

As first stage of the sales funnel, here are some of the most common ways of generating B2B leads.

Email prospecting

Sopro was founded as an email prospecting company eight years ago. We always found that buyers prefer emails, and gets the best results. Over that time, we’ve sent over 80 million emails on behalf of our clients.

But the marketing landscape never stays still, so do catch up on the latest findings from our 2024 whitepaper. It outlines the latest trends of successful at prospecting, and (spoiler alert) harnessing multiple outreach channels is now the best way to connect with buyers.

LinkedIn outreach

With one billion users worldwide, LinkedIn is a great way to tap into your target market and reach potential clients. 

You can use Sales Navigator to find and connect with your audience. Just don’t be that person who pops up with a pitch 30 seconds after connecting. To get the full playbook, we’ve got a guide that covers all things LinkedIn lead generation.

Webinars

Hosting a webinar can drive brand awareness and pull relevant prospects in your database. It also helps position you as an authority in your space.

Here are our top tips for generating more leads from your webinars. Need some inspiration? Check out one of our most popular webinars. 👇

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Content

Regularly publishing targeted content makes you more visible to the right people. Your content should answer questions your target audience is searching for.

An informed content strategy can highlight your authority and expertise, and establish you as a thought leader in your industry.

Referral schemes

A referral from a satisfied customer has a lower cost, better chance of converting, and higher likelihood of remaining a customer for longer.

Make it easy for your customers to refer their contacts. A simple process with a reward will increase your referrals.

The 13 steps of cold B2B appointment setting

You may have dedicated business development representatives. You may outsource the job. Or the responsibility might be shared between the sales and marketing teams.

However you approach it, these 13 steps outline a quick how-to for your appointment setters. But remember, always refine your approach based on feedback and results.

An effective B2B appointment setting drives meetings from interested buyers, generating valuable opportunities for your business.

  1. Identify your target companies

Define your ideal customer profile and identify relevant businesses. This involves outlining industries, company sizes, and other relevant criteria. Work on defining who is most likely to benefit from your offering.

  1. Build a list of prospects

To build a valuable prospecting list, you’ll need to find individuals and their contact details. Depending on how you are going to contact them, you can use social media, industry directories, or partner with data experts. But always beware of buying lists!

Check out our quick guide on building a prospecting list for more.

  1. Research prospects

Gather information to personalise your approach. Understand their industry, challenges, and any recent events related to their business. This will go a long way in crafting personalised outreach, too.

The level of research will depend on the size of your audience and the number of people you can contact. For smaller groups, you can research each individual. For larger audiences, group and segment different personas, and work out the pain points that unite them all.

  1. Craft compelling messaging

Develop email templates or cold call scripts that communicate the value proposition of your product or service. Tailor these messages to resonate with their specific needs or pain points.

  1. Initial outreach

Contact prospects via email, phone calls, or LinkedIn messages. Or, get ahead of the game and embrace multi-channel.

The goal is to introduce yourself and briefly explain how your offering can benefit their business, then request a meeting to discuss further.

  1. Follow-up 

If you are still awaiting a response after the initial outreach, follow up with additional touchpoints. A consistent outreach cadence is vital in B2B appointment setting. However, don’t spam them! Respect the prospect’s time and preferences.

  1. Qualify leads

As you engage with prospects, be sure to assess their level of interest and qualification. This is usually based on criteria such as budget, authority, need, and timeline (BANT). Focus your efforts on high-quality leads that have the potential to convert into customers. Have you ever tried lead scoring? 💡

  1. Schedule appointments

You have a qualified appointment once a prospect expresses interest in learning more. Schedule a meeting or demo. Offer flexibility in scheduling and provide clear instructions on how to join the appointment. Make sure the client journey is as smooth as possible.

  1. Confirmation and reminder

Send a confirmation email or calendar invitation with the meeting details. Follow up with a reminder closer to the scheduled time to ensure attendance.

  1. Prepare for the appointment

Even if your prospecting has not been 1:1 personalised, now is the time to dig deeper.

Research the prospect and company further, prepare relevant materials, and anticipate questions or objections they may have. Be ready to deliver a compelling pitch tailored to their needs, but don’t forget to be human! 

  1. Conduct the appointment

During the meeting, focus on building rapport and really understanding the prospect’s challenges. Then demonstrate how your solution can address their needs. Listen actively and adapt your approach based on their responses.

  1.  Follow-up after the appointment

Send a thank-you email summarising the key points discussed during the meeting. Address any additional questions or concerns the prospect raises and provide the next steps for further engagement.

  1. Track and analyse results

Keep track of your appointment setting efforts, including metrics like response rates, conversion rates, and sales pipeline progression. Analyse the data to identify areas for improvement and refine your strategy accordingly.

As you can see, the job of your appointment setters demands substantial effort.

5 steps to keep in mind for B2B appointment setting

Appointment setting and beyond

As a prospect gets further through the funnel, your preparation and personalisation needs to ramp up. 

Conduct thorough research to tailor your approach, allowing for targeted questions and enhanced engagement. Building rapport is important, but research trumps all. Increasingly, the modern buyer comes to a sales call having done their research on you. So make sure you can match them. 

Be knowledgeable about company or industry news, understand their pain points and possible use cases, and listen actively. Be sure to address objections with evidence and solutions. Focus on being a problem-solver rather than delivering a generic pitch. Position yourself as a trusted advisor who adds tangible value to prospects’ businesses.

This process requires a detailed and layered approach. This is why many companies outsource to an appointment setting service. It helps to leverage expertise, save time, and ensure consistent results. Meanwhile, internal resources are focused on core business activities.

B2B appointment setting companies

So, appointment setting can complement lead generation and impact your business development. Making the most of inbound and outbound strategies will boost your salespipeline. But before you pick up the phone, you may want to think about an alternative solution.

An image detailing the advantages of using a prospecting service like Sopro.

Sopro’s fully-managed B2B prospecting service drives new sales enquiries from your ideal customers. Your dedicated team are on hand every step of the way to ensure you smash your targets.

We build a unique database for your business, making sure you target only right people. We send engaging and on-brand outreach messages. We create touchpoints across multiple channels, ensuring your brand is seen. We use buyer intent signals to connect you with your prospects at the perfect moment.

Right person. Right message.
Right time. Right place.

Discover how our multi-channel outreach service helps hundreds of businesses sell more.

Multichannel prospecting