Everything You Need to Know About B2B Appointment Setting


From conducting comprehensive research and creating customer profiles to launching outreach campaigns and tracking key KPIs, B2B outbound lead generation is an extensive yet important process.

As a B2B company, one of the most valuable parts of the entire process is B2B appointment setting, where your business contacts buyers in an attempt to schedule a meeting between them and your sales team to discuss your offerings.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the definition of B2B appointment setting, its benefits, and the best tools to use for booking appointments, and share tips on how to become a successful appointment setter.

What is B2B appointment setting?

B2B (business-to-business) appointment setting is a sales approach in which appointment setters or sales representatives get in touch with potential buyers, promote their company's products or services, and set up sales appointments between their company and the prospective client.

During the initial contact, the appointment setter or sales development representative’s job is to quality and nurture leads to fulfill their ultimate goal of setting an appointment, rather than closing a deal — that begins during the sales appointment itself.

During sales appointment calls, members of the sales team have the opportunity to speak with a key decision-maker personally and discuss how the product or service could be a good solution for any issues they may be facing.

Since B2B appointment scheduling consists of routinely connecting with prospects and building personal connections with potential leads, without it you risk having a business growth strategy that produces little to no results. 

the benefits of B2B appointment setting

Why does a business need to do appointment setting?

Whether you are a small, medium, or large corporation, every business can benefit from appointment setting. The following are indicators that your organization could profit from B2B appointment setting.

You have a long sales cycle

A high-involvement B2B purchase will inevitably result in an extended sales cycle. Especially if a demo or consultation occurs before a sale. Long sales cycles usually have a high payoff, but it can be frustrating when you are constantly vetting prospects rather than spending time with qualified leads. 

With B2B appointment setting, you can shorten the sales cycle, phone tag, and email back-and-forth by allowing your sales reps to focus their time on qualified prospects who are already considering buying your product or service. 

Sales team burnout

If you don’t have designated appointment setters or sales development reps (SDRs) that take on the lead qualification and appointment setting process, you run the risk of overburdening your entire sales team.

That’s why many companies choose to outsource B2B appointment setting. This way, they can still capture more leads and book appointments while saving valuable time and money from having to build and train an internal team.

The most efficient way to speed up and improve the sales process is to divide and conquer. This allows B2B appointment setters to take on the role of finding and scheduling appointments with interested buyers and promptly following up while your executive sales reps can focus solely on selling and closing deals.

how to know if your business needs B2B appointment setting

Top B2B appointment setting tips

Now that you have an idea of how B2B appointment setting works, check out some of these top tips to help you become a successful appointment setter. 

Do your research

Making a call without completing any research is one of the worst things you can do when making an appointment. In fact, 82% of B2B decision-makers believe sales representatives are unprepared.

The key to starting appointment setting is knowing your audience. For B2B appointment setting, your audience could be:

  • The company you are targeting
  • The head decision-maker of the company
  • The industry that your target company is in

Spend some time analyzing your ideal customer profiles (ICP) to determine who you should target. Each company and industry experiences different challenges and successes. 

Here are a few examples of questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What's going on at their company?
  • Are there any forthcoming challenges?
  • Have they celebrated any recent success?

You must be aware of all the specifics to comprehend the issues that your potential clients experience regularly.

Pro tip: You can find useful information about your target buyer and their company on LinkedIn, press release and media pages, Glassdoor, and recent news stories.

Use a multichannel strategy

One of the most effective and popular lead-generating tactics is multichannel outreach. Multichannel outreach uses all available channels such as phone, email, live chat, text, and social media to convert cold leads into warm leads. In fact, 51% of companies use at least eight channels to interact with their prospects.

For instance, a contact from Facebook warms up an outreach email, while an email warms up a cold call. It raises the likelihood that a lead would recognize your brand and set up an appointment to learn more.

Pro tip: Concentrate on two to three channels initially so you can devote more time to mastering them rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Reach out at the right time

When it comes to outreach, timing is crucial. You need to catch individuals at the proper time, especially when making a cold call or sending an email, so they'll be more willing to listen to you and give you their undivided attention.

The best days to cold call would be Wednesday and Thursday between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. 

Cold emails tend to have the best response rates if you send them earlier in the week on Monday or Tuesday between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

the best days and times for cold outreach

Pro tip: It’s a best practice to try out several time slots throughout the week to see which day and time works best for your team, your leads, your industry, and the season. For example, some attorneys are in court weekday mornings, and many restaurants are closed on Mondays.

Be personable

Another crucial aspect of the appointment setting process is to be as personable as possible. You want to capture a lead’s attention by showing them that you haven taken a genuine interest in them and their company. 

By using the information you obtained while doing your industry research, you can create better customized messages for decision-makers or decision-influencers. This will demonstrate to prospects that they are speaking with a real person who has taken the time to get to know them and their company.

Showing clients you did your research on them is flattering, but don’t forget that B2B clients receive these calls and emails all the time. Make sure you stand out from the rest by making your interaction personalized and catchy. 

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to add some humor or share a personal (yet applicable) story to get them to remember you.

Show your value

Once you’ve captured your prospect’s attention, you’ll want to perform a pitch that demonstrates the value you would bring to the company. Mention how your offerings can assist them as a company based on the insights you gained through your research.

However, they most likely won’t just take your word for it. It’s always best to have a few tricks up your sleeve, like presenting case studies or client testimonials showcasing your success and value. 

Case studies and client testimonials that show the challenges a company had, how your solution helped them, and the results they got can reassure a potential client that what you have to offer is the right fit for them.

Pro tip: Make sure the examples you show are applicable or relevant to your lead’s company or industry. 

Always follow up

In a perfect world, each prospective client would answer your calls or emails on the first go-around. Obviously, that’s not always the case. An effective sales cadence includes eight touches, meaning you contacted a lead at least eight times on various channels. 

Even with that said, 70% of sales representatives don’t follow up with their prospects after the first unanswered email. Remember, an unanswered email or call is not a no. You may have just caught them at a bad time.

Don't forget to follow up with prospects who look interested but object with the "it's not the right time" excuse. There could have been some changes within their company or industry that present an opportunity for your services.

After some time, send them another email asking them if it’s a better time to schedule an appointment to talk about your offerings. 

Pro tip: Always specify a particular meeting time when requesting an appointment, and follow up with a detailed appointment reminder.

Outsource your B2B appointment setting to Smith.ai

B2B appointment setting is a difficult activity that involves substantial research, communication, software, and personnel — and careful coordination among these elements. If your company is having trouble answering calls, following up with clients in a timely manner, or converting leads from calls to clients at the desired rate, you should consider outsourcing to Smith.ai for appointment setting services.

A virtual receptionist service, such as Smith.ai, can relieve pressure on your team by doing your sales outreach and providing your company with more time and budget flexibility without jeopardizing client experience

Our virtual receptionists can assist your callers by scheduling them quickly for a sales demo or consultation, and by providing them with regular check-ins while helping your team convert more leads without the hassle of conducting follow-ups and sending out reminders themselves.

To discover more about how we can help with your B2B appointment setting needs and more, schedule a free consultation.

Sources: Marketing Profs | The Pipeline | Yesware

Appointment Booking
Business Education
Sales Tips
Lead Generation
Written by Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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