Appointment Setting Services vs. Lead Generation Services | Sales Outsourcing 101


There are some sales and outsourced service providers that offer dynamic solutions that include appointment setting and lead generation; however, this is far more the exception than the rule. Lead gen and appointment setting are two different things, and many companies offer them as two different services entirely. These two processes do have some similarities, but they also have some differences that you’ll want to know about. 

Appointment generation starts by getting in touch with qualified leads and scheduling an appointment for a sales meeting with a representative. Lead generation is about finding people who are potentially interested in your product or service. Once the lead has spoken with a salesperson or someone else with the company, they become a prospect and move further along the pipeline. 

Lead generation

Lead generation refers to business growth strategies designed to spark the interest of consumers. This type of marketing occurs through social media, search engines, email marketing, referrals, and even from buying qualified lead lists in a B2B market. This is essentially the beginning of the sales journey. It’s where companies find people who might have an interest in their product. 

When a lead submits information or asks to receive contact from your company, they become a prospect in the sales pipeline. This may or may not be a qualified lead yet, but the next step will be to ask the qualifying questions to determine whether a lead can move forward or not. If it’s determined that a lead is viable, they can be followed up with and offered an appointment for a sales pitch. 

Appointment setting services

Appointment setting services are going to gather a list of prospects and contacts to determine if their needs meet the criteria to become a customer of the company. If they do, they become a lead. Then, the leads are called and asked to schedule a time with a sales rep, and the appointment is scheduled. 

This prospect is further ahead in the sales pipeline than a lead. They are more likely to convert and may have already started making some decisions in their mind about doing business with your company. Outsourced appointment setting services may also be able to assist with lead generation and qualification, but not all companies provide multiple services. 

So, how else are these two services different? Here are some things to consider. 


The goals that you have with appointment setting will be different than those of lead generation. You’re attempting to build relationships and make sales with the former, while lead generation just involves networking, making cold calls, and building a list of clients in the first place. Once you have that list, they can move forward in the pipeline and be added to your appointment setting list. 


The two processes also have a different strategy behind them. Appointment setting locks it in and gives the potential client an exact meeting time so they can start a two-way conversation with the business. Lead generation, on the other hand, focuses more on finding clients and sharing the information with the business. Then, they can be moved to become prospects and added to the appointments, too. 


Some people want to say that one is better than the other here, but the fact of the matter is that they’re two separate processes. That means that they come with their own pros and cons and have benefits to consider. Lead generation helps create a stronger pipeline and generate new customers, while appointment setting focuses more on building relationships over the long term. Both services are a necessary part of any business. 


Speaking of process, the way that appointment setting and lead generation happen is quite different. Appointments are easy. They’re planned, on the calendar, and they are agreed upon by everyone. Lead generation is simple, too, but there’s less finality in the details. The open-ended nature of leads is what separates them from appointments. There’s more to do with leads than appointments. 

So, how do you choose?

If you’re in the market to outsource for professional assistance with lead generation and appointment setting, you may not have to. Some companies offer both services and all sales outreach in one to help you gather more qualified leads and move them further along down the sales pipeline. These solutions are often the best choice, but it also depends on what you need. Think about your own goals and what you’re trying to achieve so that you can pick the service(s) that work for you. 

Lead generation can happen without setting appointments. However, appointment setting cannot happen without the leads existing in the first place. Therefore, you’ll need to consider exactly which services you seek and whether you want to outsource them or keep them in-house. Internal lead generation can save time and resources, but it’s also something that might keep your team too chained to a desk for your liking. 

Ideally, you’ll outsource to a third-party solution that handles all of this, and everything else you need in the way of communications and sales. 

Speaking of outsourcing, consider a partnership with 

At, we have a dedicated team of agents that are capable of delivering 24/7 support for a variety of your needs, from lead intake and qualification to appointment scheduling, and even after-hours phone answering, live website chat, and outreach campaigns. We can also help you plan a strategy to manage it all in one place so that you never miss a beat. 

And did we mention we’re available 365 days a year? That’s right, even on holidays, weekends, and in the middle of the night, we’ll be there to answer the call (or chat, etc.) every single time. Your business can’t afford that kind of in-house support, but when you outsource, it's a part of the package. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at can do for your business sales, admin, and communication needs. You can also reach us at or (650) 727-6484. 

Business Education
Lead Generation
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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