Michael Maximoff
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Do lead generation and appointment setting processes seem similar to you? Well, you're not alone. From this article, you'll learn what leads appointment setting focuses on and what kind of potential customers the lead generation process brings. You'll understand the goals of each marketing approach and see how they differ. In short, the key distinctions are:

  • Results 
  • Processes
  • Marketing channels used. 

Defining B2B Sales Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of researching new business leads for your business and nurturing them until conversion. So, generating B2B sales leads isn't only about finding leads. And the final goal of these marketing efforts is to generate new customers. The same target applies to appointment setting, but the approaches to reaching it are different. For example, booking appointments is the outbound marketing method, while lead generation can belong to outbound and inbound techniques. 

Methods of Lead Generation 

The lead generation efforts include various activities that attract, engage, and nurture potential buyers. And here are only some of the trendy ones.

  1. Content marketing. This type of marketing is called inbound as driving leads with content doesn't assume that your sales or marketing team initiates communication. This category includes blog posts, information on websites and landing pages, ebooks, guest posting, podcasting, video content, lead magnets, webinars, etc. — pretty much everything that motivates users to click the CTA (Call To Action) and leave their contact details is the lead generation with content.  
  2. Social media marketing. Having a corporate profile on social media has become a vital part of every business marketing strategy. Meta, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and other networks generate leads even after your business hours. And sales teams can find and reach out to decision-makers as if they were their friends. And through ad campaigns, marketers can set parameters and effectively embrace any target market. 
  3. Email marketing. Outreach campaigns remain the most effective way of generating leads. That's because key decision-makers don't have to respond immediately to your sales representatives. In their turn, marketers can do their best to personalize every message and turn the first-time recipients into qualified leads. The more accurately your marketers approach email nurturing, the higher sales conversion rates are.  
  4. PPC (Pay Per Click) ads. Though most internet users have ad blindness, relevant PPC banners can still make your brand noticed. That's because we do pay attention to things that interest us. So do decision-makers. That's why almost every sales team has significant PPC and Google ad campaigns budgets. 

And now, let's see which categories of potential clients your lead generation efforts can bring. 

Types of Leads 

Even though you work in the B2B market and your customers are companies, every lead is a person. It's key decision-makers you contact. So the people who have shown interest in your products or services are leads. But, depending on the extent of this interest, you can classify leads into several groups: 

  • Cold leads. These users only enter your sales pipeline and don't know how your product can help them. They can give emails in exchange for a lead magnet or subscribe to your newsletter. Contacts that you collected due to lead generation efforts are also cold leads. So you only need to nurture leads like these to convert them into customers. 
  • Warm leads. These people aren't yet ready to buy, but you can confidently call them potential customers. A warm lead is somewhere in the middle of the buyer's journey and understands your value proposition. Moreover, these contacts trust your brand and have a strong rapport with your sales representative. These users are also called Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).
  • Hot leads. Leads of this type are ready to buy at any moment, so a professional appointment setting and one sales pitch can help you close the deal. So, with the proper sales process, hot leads will soon become your clients and loyal customers. You can also hear these contacts are referred to as Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).  

Who Are Qualified Leads?

The criteria for lead qualification can differ from company to company. Some sales teams use the BANT system. It says that an ideal B2B prospect has the budget, need, and authority to buy within a short time. So cold, warm, and hot leads are qualified leads because they are all the right fit for your offer. 

The difference between them is that cold leads will meet only 1-2 parameters, while the hot ones will fulfill all of them. Unqualified leads don't meet any criteria, and such users don't see how your product can solve their problems. 

Why B2B Sales Lead Generation Is Important 

Why do companies generate leads? Because no business can operate without revenues, and revenues directly depend on the number and quality of your potential clients. So, incorporating various lead generation activities is vital for keeping your sales funnel full and balanced and making your financial forecasts reliable.

Testing and trying various lead generation approaches also helps marketing managers see which methods are more effective. If Meta ads work better than Google ads, then there's a sense to reallocate the funds planned for advertising. This way, you can save on less effective campaigns and decrease CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

Optimized lead generation can be pretty cost-efficient, but once done professionally — by companies. But you need to look for agencies with positive reviews, published numbers, and high ratings.

For example, if you open Clutch, an online directory of leading business, IT, and marketing services in the US, you'll see that Belkins is the second top-rated lead generation company.  And our services drive results that are proven by positive reviews and multiple case studies. In addition to lead generation, we provide appointment setting services. And now, let's see what exactly they include. 

The Idea of Appointment Setting and Appointment Setting Service

In general, the appointment setting is one of the forms of lead generation. This sales strategy focuses on securing appointments using emails or phone calls. And, during such meetings, sales reps try to convert a lead into a customer and close the deal asap. While lead generation specialists work with cold and warm business leads, B2B appointment setters contact only qualified MQLs or SQLs. That's because cold calling is pretty ineffective and outdated.

Since decision-makers are always busy, professionals usually start your appointment setting after proper lead generation. That's because they tend to spend their time and efforts effectively. So, first, an appointment setter needs to let a decision-maker know your brand and understand its value in an email. That's why your subject line and message preview should be engaging and catchy.

An appointment setter needs to explore your buyer persona and find out all stages of a buyer's journey. Then lead researchers collect the first contacts and send out cold emails. They should be written in plain text and include 2-3 short and informative paragraphs. In such a message, a sales representative needs to make an introduction, briefly explain the value proposition, and try appointment setting. 

How Appointment Setting Service Can Help Businesses

Whether your sales team is loaded with tasks or your sales reps need assistance, there's always a possibility to delegate tasks to seasoned appointment setters. However, hiring a professional appointment setting company doesn't mean that your sales team isn't involved. In contrast, your sellers are the best experts who can help generate leads and craft engaging messages for the right decision-makers. 

Otherwise, their marketing effort can be less effective. So, to make the appointment setting campaign successful, both teams need to cooperate. And the work of hired specialists is done when they secure appointments in prospects' calendars. You, for example, can agree on the target number of such meetings beforehand. 

Appointment Setting vs. Lead Generation 

Do we need to oppose appointment setting and lead generation? Definitely not, as each process is critical for keeping the company profitable. They have the same goal — making sales, and here are the differences between them:

  1. Results. An appointment set in the calendar vs. list of generated leads, texts of personalized emails, created social media posts, updated website copies, and bright ad banners — these are the outcomes.  
  2. Processes. Scheduling an appointment requires crafting and sending a couple of emails and making one or two calls. The other approach assumes researching, communicating, and nurturing leads.  
  3. Marketing channels used. For appointment setting purposes, marketers use emails and calls, and they additionally use social media, paid ads, content, and other ways for generating new leads.  

Benefits of Telemarketing Lead Generation and Appointment Setting 

Telemarketing lead generation is giving cold calls to contacts from the database collected by marketers. And let's see how your business can benefit from calls to sales leads who hear your appointment setting rep for the first time. So, you can:

  • Establish a rapport nearly immediately. When you hear a person’s intonations and emotions, it's possible to adapt to these reactions, gaining trust and building a connection. So such appointment setting through calling can be effective. 
  • Respond to objections in real-time. With calls, you don't have to spend days to get a response, analyze objections and try to convince the lead that the appointment setting still makes sense. 
  • Explain the technical details of your product. Were you lucky to contact the person interested in your product during the first conversation? Now you can move to the next stage and start talking about the technical aspects of your software. And initiate appointment setting.  

However, telemarketing lead generation has disadvantages too. You should never buy lead emails to keep your contact lists healthy. And the same applies to your phone database, for once it's incorrect, old, or fake, you risk to:

  • Damage your brand image. Your appointment setting campaign can irritate potential buyers with unexpected, unsolicited, late, or unwanted calls. And for your company's reputation, this can result in a lack of new leads, an unbalanced pipeline, or a significant drop in sales. 
  • Break the law. Since people often get annoyed by cold calls, they can add their numbers to official lists to never be bothered by sellers. Once done, they hope never to hear someone aiming at securing appointments or closing sales. So never buy business leads. 

Final Words 

Lead generation and appointment setting aim at generating qualified leads and converting them into customers. And the main difference is that appointment setters use email and telemarketing lead generation, while other marketers leverage multiple alternative channels for generating leads. So, different processes, results, and methods are focused on one goal — growing revenues.

Are you looking for business lead generation professionals? Do you need B2B appointment setting services? Top specialists from Belkins are ready to help!  

Michael Maximoff

Co-founder and Managing Partner at Belkins
Mike has more than 10 years of experience in the digital marketing and technology sector selling to SMB internationally. Michael leads Belkins' sales force and is responsible for biz development and new partnerships.
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