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How to get more appointments with your sales team

Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Reading time:12 m

We’ve scheduled 201,658+ appointments for our customers within different industries. Analyzed thousands of outbound campaigns that led to $1 million+ deals. And put together key learnings to successful appointment-setting campaigns for B2B sales so you can hit the ground running.

Ready to supercharge your cold outreach?

What is required for an appointment-setting campaign to be successful? 

Below, you’ll find 4 simple and essential rules to get more appointments in sales. Skip one of them — and you will get low conversions. Let’s break it down.

1. Developing an ideal customer profile

Crafting a laser-focused ICP is crucial for successful B2B appointment setting, especially for C-suite selling. It ensures you target the right organizations, saving time and resources while maximizing conversion rates. To create an ICP for appointment setting, consider these 5 key aspects:

  • Revenue size (e.g., companies with over $50 million in annual revenue)
  • Employee count (e.g., at least 500 employees as verified on LinkedIn)
  • Organizational structure (e.g., a dedicated sales or marketing team)
  • Type of product or service (e.g., B2B SaaS providers)
  • Shared goals or values (e.g., companies that prioritize data security)

Once your ICP is defined, dig deeper into the specific roles and individuals within these organizations. Explore their professional motives, challenges, and how your product or service can help them achieve their goals.

Ideal customer profile template by Reply


This targeted approach lays a solid foundation for the next steps in your appointment setting campaign.

2. Creating and prioritizing buyer personas

These are fictional, yet data-driven representations of your ideal customers within the target organizations. Creating personas allows you to better understand their needs, motivations, and pain points, making your outreach more relevant and personalized.

Here’s what we consider when developing buyer personas:

  • Key roles: The positions or job titles of individuals most likely to be involved in the decision-making process (e.g., VP of Sales, Marketing Director, CTO).
  • Responsibilities: Understand their primary duties, challenges, and objectives in their role (e.g., generating leads, managing budgets, overseeing technical infrastructure).
  • Pain points: Recognize the problems they face in their daily work that your product or service can address (e.g., inefficient processes, lack of visibility, security concerns).
  • Goals and motivations: Determine their professional motives and what drives them to succeed (e.g., career advancement, improving team performance, achieving company objectives).
  • Decision-making process: Understand the steps they take when evaluating and selecting new products or services (e.g., research, product demonstrations, internal discussions, budget approvals).

By creating and prioritizing personas based on these criteria, your sales team can craft outreach campaigns that resonate with each prospect.

Buyer persona template



Check out how to personalize cold emails for buyer personas:

Hi {{First Name}},

Your recent blog post on software development bottlenecks resonated with our team at {{Your Company}}. We’ve built a platform that {{solves the pain point}} so your developers can focus on what they do best: coding.

Case to point: {{Your Customer Success Story}}

If you’re interested, I’d love to show you how our solution has transformed other software development teams.

By the way, want to know more industry-related advice? Check out appointment setting tips for software companies from our blog.

3. Automating most processes

Automate most of the laborious and mundane tasks of appointment setting to ensure frictionless campaigns and shorten the outreach cycle. With a massive variety of appointment-setting tools, you can delegate nearly anything:

  • Prospecting
  • Buying intent research
  • Copywriting
  • Contact scraping
  • Bulk personalization
  • Follow-ups
  • Booking appointments
  • Reporting

This helps increase appointment conversion rates and ultimately drives better results for your sales team. For example, Calendly helped Churchill Mortgage save $415K in labor costs and skyrocketed ROI by 1,037% with simple appointment scheduling automation and auto-reminders.

Furthermore, McKinsey reports that 31% of sales tasks are highly automatable with today’s software.

McKinsey reports that 31% of sales tasks are highly automatable with today’s software.

Belkins Tip: Lay out all the steps your sales reps carry out, from ICP ideation to scheduling a meeting with a salesperson. Find a solution to automate them with tools or outsourcing. Or simply ask ChatGPT to generate ideas on how to automate XYZ.

4. Campaign performance tracking

Integrating a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system into your outreach process is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Automatically create new deals and tasks upon receiving a lead request/response to timely contact a prospect. Drift discovered that the chances of closing a lead drop by 10x if the response takes longer than 5 minutes.
  2. Improve lead scoring and routing.
  3. Track campaign performance for revenue generated and ROI.

Note: Struggle to convert leads to opportunities and then to deals? Discover how to outsource appointment setting and get higher conversions along with improved ROI within the first 6 months.

5 Proven tactics to secure more sales appointments from outbound campaigns

Now, let’s get practical. This chapter reveals our secret B2B appointment setting tips. But make sure you have your ICP and customer personas in place before putting our advice into action.

Tactic 1. Look for buying signals

Buying signals (or buying intent data) are subtle online indications that a prospect may be interested in purchasing your service at the moment. It can be anything from posting job ads to engagement on LinkedIn with specific content or company announcements.

By paying attention to these signals, you can better understand your prospect’s needs and craft laser-focused outreach sequences. 

Here is how you can implement hiring intent into your cold email.

Hi {{FirstName}},

I’m reaching out to you because I noticed that you are expanding your sales team at {{Company}}. I assume, as a {{ProspectTitle}}, you want your company’s sales to grow as well, so would you like an idea of boosting {{Company}}’s email outreach activities?

Reply is designed for sales teams and helps them to grow their pipeline by using our platform to double their number of conversations with right-fit accounts and contacts by automating sales communications with existing and prospective clients while keeping them warm and personal.

Are you available for a 10-minute call to see how we could help {{Company}}’s sales team?


To identify buying intent data, use tools like Apollo, Zoominfo, Phantombuster, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and manual research.

Apollo buying intent filters

Tactic 2. Use attention-grabbing subject lines

Captivating subject lines can significantly increase cold email open rates, as they encourage recipients to click and read your message. Likewise, spammy-looking and hackneyed subject lines can plummet your open and reply rates.

The worst words for subject lines that destroy open rates, according to a recent Reply study, are click, get, question, save, intro, improve, increase, scale, and more.

The worst words for subject lines according to Reply

The same study also suggests top-performing templates for subject lines across all Reply’s customers.

 top-performing templates for subject lines across all Reply’s customers

Likewise, Klenty analyzed 200K cold emails and found more jaw-dropping patterns:

  • Subject lines (SL) with numbers hit 20% open rate on average, compared to 12% without.
  • SL with a question mark displays the same results, 20% and 12%.
  • SL with the prospect’s name achieves a 39% open rate.
  • One-word subject lines hit a 34.47% reply rate.

At Belkins, top-performing subject lines reach as high as 80% open rate. Examples include:

  • F2F meetings invitations:
    • Heading to {{City}}, meet soon?
    • {{First_Name}}, coffee next week?
    • Just landed in {{City}}, {{First_Name}}
  • Referral approach:
    • You or {{Referral_Name}}
    • Should I contact you or {{Referral_Name}}
  • Value focus approach:
    • IT services cost cut at {{Company}}
    • Pending membership opportunity at {{Company}}
    • Cut {{Company}}’s electric bill to zero

But bear in mind, the secret lies in super-detailed prospect research. So first, do the legwork to understand your prospect’s pain points. And then use the insights to personalize subject lines.

Tactic 3. Follow up to increase conversions

There’s nothing bad in sales follow-ups. You neither annoy your prospects nor jeopardize your brand’s reputation. Your leads are humans just like you. They are often busy and might miss or forget about your initial email. Or — a hard pill to swallow — they didn’t like your first and even second emails. Even so, you can melt their hearts with the third one.

As such, the first follow-up can bring about a 40% higher reply rate compared to the initial email. Likewise, appointment-setting campaigns with 4 to 7 emails get 3 times higher reply rates.

Here’s a breakdown of our cold email sequence with 3 follow-ups for one of our clients. Had we not been persistent, we would have lost almost 250 replies!

Email 1

Subject line A: {{FirstName}}, up for coffee while I’m in {{City}}?

Subject line B: Personal meeting while I’m in {{City}}

Hi {{First Name}},

My name is {{SenderName}}. I supervise technical partnerships at {{Company}}. I’m heading out to {{City}} on the {{Date}}, and I thought I’d take the occasion to briefly introduce myself to {{Company}} over a cup of coffee.

{{Company 1}}, {{Company 2}}, {{Company 3}} and others take advantage of our services like software audit, QA & testing, cloud migration, UX & product design, and more to turn any idea into the actual product.

How about a quick meeting while I’m in {{City}}? Alternatively, we can schedule a quick talk on {{Date}} if that works better for you.

Let me know,

{{Your Name}}

Email 2

Subject line: Same thread

Hi {{FirstName}},

I am checking in to see if you have considered my suggestion to arrange a quick talk over coffee to discuss technical partnership possibilities.

Do you have any openings on the {{Date}}, or should we jump on a quick phone talk instead?


{{Your Name}}

Email 3

Subject line: Planning my schedule while in {{City}}

Hi {{First Name}},

I will be in {{City}} shortly and would like to meet with you for a cup of coffee. 

To give you a better idea of our expertise:

{{Value Proposition}}

Would you be able to meet in person to discuss partnership possibilities between {{Company}} and {{Company}}, or maybe a phone talk makes more sense?

Thank you,

{{Your Name}}

Email 4

Subject line: Same thread

Hi {{FirstName}},

I wanted to circle back one last time to see if you have time for a face-to-face meeting, or if you prefer to jump on a phone talk instead.

Many thanks for considering my request!


{{Your Name}}

Tactic 4: Collaborate with your marketing team

This advanced tactic can be a game-changer in the sales appointment setting and winning high-end clients. What’s in it exactly?

One fantastic example of sales and marketing alignment is Andy Crestodina’s approach to account-based content marketing. By working together, the sales and marketing teams created original research that directly addresses the needs of specific high-value accounts.

Next, OrbitMedia developed a list of top-tier prospects and invited them to a webinar to discuss fresh findings and solutions. The returns? The revenue impact made up $169,000 (2 projects won) and 8 qualified leads with the investment of 30 hours and $1,000 for paid ads.

So here’s the point: Don’t sell mere calls — show value first.

You can also utilize marketing materials like white papers, e-books, and case studies to pique prospects’ curiosity and drive more appointments.

Tactic 5. Enable social selling

Social selling lays the foundation before cold pitching and eases cold appointment setting. Here are some actionable tips to make it work for you:

  1. Choose the social media platform where your target audience hangs out the most (e.g., LinkedIn for B2B sales).
  2. Look for opportunities to interact with your ICP in the comments or industry-specific groups to establish your presence and credibility.
  3. Regularly share informative and engaging content that addresses the needs and pain points of your target audience. Share your accomplishments, challenges, and in-house tactics. Be authentic to get more eyeballs to your content.
  4. Reach out to prospects and start building relationships by offering insights, sharing valuable content in DMs, or initiating meaningful conversations. No direct sales. Just establish rapport.

Over time, create a list of warmed-up prospects and send personalized cold email campaigns with your offering.

Bonus Tactic: Incorporate the number of appointments and leads generated in your B2B sales KPIs to boost accountability for outbound lead generation. Check out other appointment setting goals.

How can salespeople turn more appointments into clients?

Appointment setting is just half the battle. Now, your sales team should devise tactics to advance leads down the pipeline and secure deals. Note, closing inbound and outbound leads comes with different techniques. 

Find 3 pieces of advice to increase your conversion rates and turn your appointments into long-term clients.

Advice 1. Display empathy and be authentic from the get-go

When you hop on a discovery call with an inbound lead, you start qualifying them. With outbound clients, avoid this tactic at all costs. Most times, they don’t recognize a need for your services and are just curious about you. Think of it like your first Tinder date.

Begin the conversation with some light-hearted small talk. Use icebreakers such as a recent industry event or a shared hobby, or ask about their day to find common ground and set a friendly tone. You can also pick up on your correspondence. 

Belkins Tip: Say something like this to cultivate trust right off the bat. 

“Hi Mike! How’s it going? Before diving into business, just wanted to say one thing. Look, I get it. I came to your inbox and somehow grabbed your attention. I’m not here to bombard you with a sales pitch or anything. Unless you ask me. Just thought we could have a friendly chat and see if our company might be able to help you out now or down the road. How do you feel about that?”

Also, open up about your own experiences and insights to create a deeper connection. Discuss similar business challenges you or your clients faced in the past and how you’ve overcome them. This will show your prospect you’re relatable.

Advice 2. Be prepared to handle objections

Even though you’ve cultivated trust and now your dialogue sounds like you’ve been friends for ages, concerns and objections are inevitable. Actually, this is a good sign. It means that the client is actively exploring how your solution could fit into their processes.

To virtuously handle the objections, follow these steps:

  • Act proactively and research common objections. Prepare sound responses that address these concerns and highlight the value of your offering.
  • Listen actively and acknowledge concerns. Understand their point of view. Show empathy and avoid getting defensive or dismissive.
  • Tailor your response to the prospect’s unique needs and circumstances.
  • Ask open-ended questions to understand the root cause. Sometimes, objections may be symptoms of deeper concerns or misunderstandings. Open-ended questions will help you diagnose it.

Advice 3. Follow up after a call 

Keep the momentum going and show your prospect that you’re attentive, reliable, and committed to helping them succeed. Follow-ups also provide an opportunity to clarify or expand on discussed points and set the stage for the next steps.

Example of a friendly follow-up email:

Subject line: Great chat today, {{Prospect’s Name}}!

Hey {{Prospect’s Name}},

It was awesome talking with you today! I just wanted to recap our conversation and make sure we’re on the same page.

Here’s a quick summary of what we discussed:

  • Your main challenge: {{Challenge}}
  • How our solution can help: {{Proposed Solution}}
  • Potential timeline for implementation: {{Timeline}}

As promised, I’ve attached the case study we talked about, as well as some additional resources that I think you’ll find helpful.

Moving forward, our next steps are:

  • Schedule a demo with our product expert
  • Discuss pricing and customization options
  • Begin the implementation process (if everything looks good!)

Please let me know when you’re available for that demo, and I’ll get it scheduled right away. If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to reach out anytime.

Looking forward to our next chat!


{{Your Name}}

Belkins Tip: Send follow-ups within the first 15-30 minutes to keep the conversation fresh in the client’s mind. Use templates to speed up this process.

Top appointment setting tools for salespeople

For the last chapter, we’ve prepared a list of our favorite appointment setting tools. Use them to automate your outreach efforts, from prospecting to reporting.

1. Calendly


Calendly makes appointment-scheduling emails a breeze for SDRs, juggling myriads of appointments every day. This user-friendly tool simplifies the scheduling process by syncing your calendars and CRMs.

With it, your prospects can easily select the most convenient time slot and book a meeting without back-and-forth emails.

What we also love about Calendly:

  • Time zone conversion: Scheduling appointments with international prospects? Calendly automatically converts time zones, ensuring there’s no confusion over meeting times.
  • Customizable meeting types: Tailor your scheduling link to match your needs by creating different meeting types with custom durations, buffers, and even custom questions for prospects to answer when booking.
  • Auto-reminders: Set up email reminders about your meeting the day before or any customizable time period.

Bottom line: Calendly is the best solution for B2B appointment setting service providers and any role dealing with booking meetings.

2. HubSpot appointment scheduling tool

HubSpot appointment scheduling tool

HubSpot’s appointment scheduling tool is an excellent choice for sales teams that are already using the HubSpot CRM or those looking for an all-in-one solution. This tool seamlessly integrates with your existing workflows and allows your prospect to book meetings like Calendly.

3. Microsoft Bookings for Outlook users

Microsoft Booking for Outlook

For those who rely on Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft Bookings is the go-to appointment scheduling tool. It integrates perfectly with Outlook and other Microsoft apps, providing a unified scheduling experience. You can also access and manage your meeting requests on the go with the Microsoft Bookings mobile app for iOS and Android.

4. Reply.io


Reply.io is a powerful platform for cold email outreach that comes with a suite of tools for sales teams looking to scale their outreach efforts.

Top reasons to use Reply.io:

  • Email automation: Automate your cold email campaigns, ensuring consistent outreach and saving you time.
  • Personalization: Personalize your emails at scale with custom variables and templates, making your outreach more effective and engaging.
  • Smart follow-ups: Set up automated follow-up sequences to maximize your chances of securing appointments.
  • A/B testing: Test different email templates and subject lines to optimize your outreach strategy and improve your response rates.

Reply.io also integrates with popular CRMs, appointment scheduling tools, and other sales apps for a seamless sales workflow.

5. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Unlock a world of B2B prospects with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. With granular search features and powerful insights, you can find, connect with, and engage your ideal prospects. Sales Navigator also suggests potential leads based on your search criteria, helping you discover new prospects you might have missed.

On top of that, the tool offers real-time insights about your prospects’ activities, job changes, and company news, giving you valuable context for your outreach efforts.

Boost your appointment setting success with this definitive guide

By implementing the tactics and tools we’ve discussed in this article, you’ll be well on your way to securing more appointments, building strong relationships, and closing deals.

Remember to have a well-defined ICP, create personalized outreach, automate processes when possible, and leverage the power of social selling. Now go out there and seize the opportunity — your next big deal could be just an appointment away!

Want to get more opportunities from your appointments? Contact Belkins today to analyze your project and discover sales lead opportunities.

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Michael Maximoff
Michael Maximoff
Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Michael is the Co-founder of Belkins, serial entrepreneur, and investor. With a decade of experience in B2B Sales and Marketing, he has a passion for building world-class teams and implementing efficient processes to drive the success of his ventures and clients.