Should you include appointment setting in your lead generation strategy?

Michael Maximoff
Author
Michael Maximoff
Updated:2023-03-17
Reading time:14 m
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The success of your sales efforts hinges on how well you can engage prospects in the buyer journey and take them closer to a deal. 

This is where appointment setting can be a game-changer for B2B businesses. It allows sales reps to understand every prospect’s specific pain points, offer tailored solutions, and convince them to buy.

But do you need an appointment-setting strategy to achieve better ROI for lead generation? 

In this article, we’ll discuss the key difference between lead generation and appointment setting to answer this question. We’ll also share when to use these two methods and the results you can achieve. Stick with us until the end to find a step-by-step guide on creating your appointment-setting process.

Appointment setting vs. lead generation: 5 key differences

Let’s first look at how lead generation and appointment setting differ from each other in terms of: 

  1. Goals and scope
  2. Strategic overview
  3. Tactics involved
  4. Expected outcomes
  5. Implementation

Goals and scope

Lead generation aims to create new opportunities 

Lead generation aims to get potential customers inside your sales funnel and generate some interest in your brand. The goal is to build brand awareness and reach the right people to increase the number of prospects in your pipeline.

As the first step in the sales process, lead generation is all about creating opportunities. You have to think about attracting your ideal customers through several tactics like content marketing, cold outreach, advertising, referrals, and more channels. With so many channels and techniques involved, lead generation has a relatively wider scope of work.

Appointment setting aims to convert leads into customers 

On the flip side, appointment setting aims to qualify leads and nudge them toward a purchase. It’s the final step in the lead-gen process, where sales reps talk to prospects about your offering, answering their questions and encouraging them to sign a deal.

Appointment setting is smaller in scope since your reps reach out to already established leads, qualify them, and deliver a compelling sales pitch. Instead of finding leads, it focuses solely on building relationships and converting them into customers. 

📚 Related post: What Is B2B Appointment Setting and When To Use It 

Strategic overview

Lead generation broadly sources as many leads as possible 

A lead generation strategy aims to generate interest in a business and collect lead information to build a pipeline. These leads may or may not match your ideal customer profile — this isn’t the primary concern. The strategy focuses on sourcing as many leads as possible from various platforms. 

Appointment setting qualifies and nurtures individual prospects 

In contrast, an appointment-setting strategy aims to keep the conversation going with prospects and eventually secure a sale. It involves lead qualification and nurturing to keep interested buyers engaged throughout their journeys and organically push them toward a buying decision.

📚 Related post: Discover how to create a B2B sales funnel that helps you get the most of your lead generation efforts and boosts conversion rates from appointment to opportunity by 50%.

Tactics involved

Lead generation and appointment setting also differ in terms of the tactics involved. Let’s break down these different tactics here:

Lead generation tactics are diverse and cover multiple channels Appointment-setting tactics focus on audience research and segmentation

Produce intent-driven and search-focused content across multiple channels to boost brand awareness and attract leads organically

Leverage personalization to show prospects how well you know them and instill confidence that you can solve their pain points

Run cold outreach campaigns to connect with prospects who don’t know about your brand and reel them into your sales funnel

Conduct in-depth audience research and segmentation to categorize your leads into suitable personas before approaching them

Use platforms like LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find and source new leads strategically for cold outreach efforts

Use a sales intelligence solution to collect critical data about every lead before getting on calls with them

Leverage referral marketing to incentivize existing customers to spread the word about your business and refer high-quality leads

Automate scheduling and follow-ups to streamline the process for your reps and prospects 

📚 Related post: B2B lead generation strategy & best tactics for 2024 

Expected outcomes 

Lead generation brings prospects into the funnel and builds a database 

Because your goals differ for lead generation and appointment setting, the results are different too. Your lead generation efforts will produce a lead database with essential information about every lead. 

If most of your leads match the ideal customer profile, your lead-gen efforts are on the right track. Metrics like sales-qualified leads, marketing-qualified leads, and total leads in the pipeline are ideal for measuring your lead-gen efforts. 

Appointment setting results in more appointments in the pipeline

The best way to measure the ROI of your appointment-setting process is in the number of qualified appointments you secure. We recommend using metrics like average open rate, click-through rate, reply rate, and the number of appointments booked as the right metrics to map the outcome of your efforts. 

📚 Related post: How to Track the ROI on Appointment Setting 

Implementation 

When to use lead generation

Lead generation is an essential part of the sales framework for any company — whether you’re a small- to mid-size company or a large enterprise. So, you should build a lead generation strategy to build brand awareness and collect enough sales intel about your ideal clients. 

A laser-focused strategy will also help attract quality leads and convert more leads into prospects. However, since lead-gen is time-consuming, companies should use this method when they have enough resources to implement end-to-end campaigns. 

When to use appointment setting

B2B businesses should use appointment setting to optimize lead generation, personalize pitches for every lead, and shorten sales cycles. When combined with your marketing strategy, appointment setting can also help build brand credibility. 

But setting appointments doesn’t make sense if the price of your offer can’t cover the resources spent on a scheduled meeting. So, companies selling enterprise-level products with higher prices should invest in this tactic. Our experience shows sales under $500 don’t need an appointment-setting campaign because the returns won’t justify the investment.

One thing is clear from this comparison: for B2B businesses, an appointment-setting framework can effectively optimize the lead-gen efforts and maximize the sales conversion rate

When used in tandem, these two concepts can skyrocket your sales and improve brand awareness, fill up your lead pipeline, and open new sales opportunities. This leads to a higher ROI, lower customer acquisition costs, and stronger customer loyalty.  

How to set up an airtight appointment-setting process in your company

B2B appointment setting is more than just a few dates on your calendar. It’s a nuanced process of approaching every prospect with a personalized pitch and cultivating a rapport with them. 

Follow these tried-and-tested tips to design an appointment-setting process and strengthen your lead-generation efforts:

Define the big picture with measurable goals 

The first step in planning your appointment-setting strategy is deciding why you’re doing it. Outlining your goals at the start clarifies your desired outcomes and streamlines the planning process to create a foolproof roadmap. 

Here are a few tips to determine meaningful and realistic goals:

  • Don’t establish goals in a vacuum; involve the entire team in the goal-setting efforts
  • Seek buy-in from leadership to ensure you’re aligned with their vision for the future
  • Consider constraints and challenges to set realistic timelines for each goal with relevant metrics
  • Adapt to different verticals and set specific goals for each industry depending on its market trends 

Build your team of appointment setters

Your appointment setters are the face of your business. They approach potential customers, identify their problems, nurture a relationship, and pass these qualified leads to sales reps.  

An ideal appointment setter is:

  • Enthusiastic about your business
  • Articulate and confident in communication
  • Aware of your target audience’s native language
  • Persistent and able to position themselves as experts
  • Well-versed with your primary offering and customer pain points

Keep these factors in mind when building your team of appointment setters. 

📌 Pro tip: If you don’t have enough time or talent to find and train your appointment setters, consider working with appointment-setting company like Belkins. We bring our collective expertise to the table and take complete ownership of delivering the desired results.  

Nail your ICP and messaging strategy

Once you have the right people on your team, it’s time to figure out your ideal customers and define messaging that would resonate with them. 

Invest time into researching the target market to understand the buyer journey and customers’ behavior. For example, Gartner’s research shows that buyers complete 57% of the purchase process before talking to a vendor. Identify similar traits to make your messaging fail-proof.

Gartner's Research Distribution of Buying Groups Time

Make sure your messaging stresses buyers’ biggest pain points and highlights the key differentiators for your brand. Remember to test, iterate, and optimize your outreach messages to resonate with prospects and increase the odds of getting responses. 

📌 Pro tip: Create ready-to-use templates reflecting your core value propositions to save time for your appointment setters and streamline all communication.

Here’s an appointment-setting email template we use:

Subject line: Fwd: {{ClientName}} + {{FirstName}}

{{FirstName}},

Our principal, {{ClientName}}, has asked me to reach out to you directly and schedule an appointment to explore potential partnership/collaboration opportunities.

{{ClientName}} is a certified and highly experienced advisor in corporate finance, venture capital, corporate development, P&L responsibility, turnarounds, and restructurings — holding accreditations and degrees in the same.

If you encounter a situation where you need to take over the management of troubled venture capital and private equity funds — {{ClientName}} would be glad to help as part of your team. It is also helpful to them to learn more about your practice for possible referral opportunities.

Can I connect you and {{ClientName}} next Tuesday at 1 pm?

Best,

Streamline cross-functional workflows

An appointment-setting strategy has many moving parts. Without solid coordination between your sales and marketing teams, you’re compromising the efficiency of your strategy. 

Create workflows to align the lead generation efforts from your sales and marketing teams. Integrate these workflows with your appointment-setting plan to make the process more seamless and structured. 

Make it easy for your prospects to book an appointment with your team using scheduling tools and call management platforms like Calendly and Keap. Automate the entire system to show prospects real-time updates on your availability and automatically assign every new appointment to a salesperson. 

How Belkins streamlined communication for GTI Telecom

When we started working as an outsourced partner for GTI Telecom, it was clear that their in-house sales reps were competing among themselves. This created gaps in the process and hampered the overall operational efficiency. 

We tackled this challenge by encouraging more communication between AM and SDRs for the technical specifications of the process. This offered each SDR ample information about a prospect and pre-call research.

5 months of focused lead generation results in 24 appointments booked for a global telecom company

Read the case study

Consider outsourcing appointment setting 

You created a team of appointment setters, designed workflows, and started implementing your strategy. But even after months of dedicated effort, the results don’t justify the costs. You’re scrambling to find a way out. 

An appointment-setting company can tackle these challenges and turn the tables in your favor. Partnering with a team of experts like Belkins can help you:

  • Save costs on recruiting and training appointment setters
  • Accelerate the results from your appointment-setting process
  • Align your strategy to the goals and produce the desired outputs

Remember to thoroughly research appointment-setting companies you want to work with. Look at their success stories to understand their approach and finalize your decision based on the budget, expertise, and needs. 

 📚 Related post: B2B Appointment Setting Tips and Techniques

Results to expect from a successful appointment-setting campaign 

A solid appointment-setting framework can level up your sales strategy and set you up for more conversions in the long haul. The campaign can produce:

  • More targeted outreach: When you collect crucial sales intel about every prospect, you can segment them into the right groups of decision-makers and personalize your outreach. Our work for AMI Global proves that targeted email outreach can boost open rates and increase appointments. We achieved a phenomenal 81% open rate for their cold email campaigns and booked 100 appointments in 18 months.
  • Stronger relationship building: A successful appointment-setting framework prepares the foundation for a strong and healthy business relationship. When you’re more connected to your prospects, you can earn their trust and give them the confidence to solve all problems.
  • More efficient sales: Appointment-setting campaigns aim to minimize time-to-sale by reducing the time between the consideration and purchase stages of the sales funnel. This can create a fast-paced sales cycle to significantly increase your conversions.
  • Stronger brand identity: At its core, lead appointment setting is about building more credibility for your business. A good strategy will generate more interest in your brand and add credibility to your name. It also enhances your lead generation efforts by turning your business into a more reputable name in the industry. 

In essence, an airtight appointment-setting strategy can give a major facelift to your sales numbers with better outreach and more bookings. 

📚 Related post: Complete Guide to Email Marketing Lead Generation for B2B

Let experts take over your appointment-setting efforts

We’ve proved how appointment setting can change the game for your sales team. But here’s the catch: strategizing and executing a good appointment-setting campaign can be daunting, to say the least. You need technical expertise and deep market understanding to get your strategy spot-on. 

That’s why 996 companies have handed off this crucial part of their sales strategy to the experts at Belkins. We work with the utmost precision and systematic processes to understand your target markets and chalk out a customized game plan to approach your audience. 

With over 200,000 appointments scheduled for clients from multiple industries, our in-house specialists pay close attention to your current systems and build new strategies based on experimentation and testing. Book a call with our team to see how we can help you.

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Michael Maximoff
Author
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.