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Pay-per-appointment lead generation for B2B: Pros, cons, and best companies

Kaashif Hajee
Kaashif Hajee
Michael Maximoff
Reviewed by
Michael Maximoff
Reading time:12 m

Picture this: you're steering your startup or SMB, eager to generate leads and drive sales. With only a small budget available for lead generation, you’re seeking a solution that allows for measured experimentation, ensuring your investment yields tangible results. 

Enter pay-per-appointment (PPA) lead generation — an agile alternative tailored to businesses like yours. 

At Belkins, we understand the pivotal role of the PPA model, especially for startups and SMBs on a tight budget. While the allure of retainer models like ours initially entices, it can be tough to get buy-in and budget for top-tier lead gen services. 

PPA offers an avenue for affordable, flexible, and scalable lead generation, ideal for driving sales without exceeding your budget constraints.

This article explores the ins and outs of PPA lead generation, and covers:

  • What PPA lead generation is and the different PPA models
  • The benefits of PPA models
  • How PPA stands up to other lead generation pricing models
  • When PPA makes the most sense for your business
  • Questions you should ask PPA lead generation providers before signing up
  • Recommended PPA lead generation providers

To succeed with lead generation for your business, you can hire a trusted partner like Belkins to handle your demand generation, cold email outreach, sales development, and appointment setting.

What is pay-per-appointment lead generation?

Pay-per-appointment (PPA) lead generation is a specific pricing and delivery model for outsourced services that create new opportunities within your business’s sales pipeline. Under this model, your business will pay an external service provider for individual appointments generated, rather than for emails sent or leads who never end up booking a call.

When looking at the appeal of PPA lead generation as compared to other models like pay-per-project or monthly retainers, PPA's leaner model offers cost savings more than any alternatives. As you might expect, the pay-per-appointment model appeals to smaller organizations with limited capital.

Essentially, the idea behind PPA is that you only pay for leads that book actual sales calls. This approach empowers you with greater budget control and the flexibility to reinvest your earnings into acquiring additional leads as your business grows.

The choice to focus on paying for appointments instead of leads — even if those leads are qualified — ensures that you never risk wasting your money on unproductive or non-converting leads.

Because results are key to this pricing model, some companies break the pricing down even further. These vendors recognize that the term "appointment" can be too broad, so they go a level deeper in specifying what type of appointment is worth paying for. 

Here are the three subtypes of PPA lead generation:

Pay per appointments scheduled

“Pay per appointments scheduled” is the most basic model implied by “pay per appointment.” 

You're only charged for scheduled appointments with leads. If your vendor books 3 sales calls, then you will pay for those 3 meetings. If they don’t book any meetings for a month – you don’t pay them anything. 

This approach emphasizes the importance of the initial step in your sales process — when a prospective customer simply agrees to have a conversation with you. 

The potential drawback of this model is that these leads might not be qualified by a sales team, so it can quickly stack calendars with potential dead-end or no-show calls. (Or worse, leads who don’t even match your target ICP!)

Pay per appointments held

“Pay per appointments held” model takes it one step further by only charging you for the appointments where the prospect shows up for the call.

Often this model makes sense for companies who are experiencing a high number of no-shows.

However, just because the prospect showed up doesn't mean they're a high-value or qualified lead.

Pay per qualified appointments held

“Pay per qualified appointments held” is the most stringent — and potentially most valuable — lead generation model for businesses focused on efficiency and quality. 

Here, you pay for appointments held with prospects that meet a predetermined definition of "qualified." Typically you would agree on these criteria when onboarding your new lead generation provider, and then you can refine the criteria as initial results begin to come in.

While this model is more likely to produce higher-quality leads than the previous two PPA models, it's also more likely to incur a higher cost per lead because each lead has a significantly higher likelihood of success.

Each of these models caters to different priorities and stages of the business cycle and involves differing pricing and potential for ROI. We encourage you to choose the model that best fits your sales strategy, goals, and budget, which we walk you through below.

The benefits of PPA models for lead generation

PPA models are best suited for the following types of SMBs:

  1. Early-stage startups raising capital
  2. Small, boot-strapped companies
  3. Small businesses with 5–10 team members and some margin to give outbound a try

If you’re an SMB and fit within one of those categories, you might enjoy several unique advantages with PPA lead generation. Here are three key benefits that you could experience:

  1. Budget-friendliness: your small business likely won’t have a lot of disposable income for a pilot. But if you want to use your limited budget to generate appointments with leads, PPA allows you to get started without having to incur high costs, especially for an initially low volume of appointments.
  2. Scalability: As an SMB, it makes sense to pay for every appointment or lead gained, and subsequently scale up. You can close more clients to generate income, then redeploy that income for even more appointments. PPA models make it more comfortable to scale as they allow you to invest less upfront, check ROI, and keep investing as you grow. 
  3. Flexibility: PPA models offer your business month-to-month freedom to pivot and change direction based on growth (or lack thereof); you aren’t locked into a fixed fee for a service that doesn’t meet your needs. This is especially useful for SMBs where it’s nearly impossible to make long-term commitments and predict your future, sometimes even month-by-month.

Recognizing these benefits, Belkins is actually partnering with a sister agency called Revit, which specializes in PPA lead generation. We recognize the value of the PPA model, and want to provide it with Belkins’ quality assurance.

We spoke with the Co-Founder and CEO of Revit, Nick Maksymiv, to provide an in-depth understanding of PPA and its place in lead generation for this article!

How does PPA compare to retainer and other lead generation models?

In the landscape of client acquisition models, PPA offers a distinctive approach. Here are some of its most obvious benefits, compared to retainer and other conventional models:

  • Keeps costs low while potentially increasing income, especially while your small business is attempting to scale. 
  • Focuses on results, as you’re charged for leads only if they result in an actual meeting.
  • Allows for a trial period to evaluate processes, quality, and results without financial strain. It doesn’t require significant upfront investments.
  • Ensures alignment with business objectives, empowering you to test the waters and ensure alignment before committing resources. 
  • Easy to assess lead generation capabilities without extensive commitments.

Ultimately, PPA provides a more adaptable and cost-effective alternative to the retainer and other rigid lead generation models, offering businesses the flexibility to scale their client acquisition efforts efficiently while minimizing financial risk.

PPA Retainer and other models
✔ Low cost ✘ Higher fixed costs
✔ Flexible ✘ Rigid
✔ Qualified leads ✘ No guaranteed leads
✔ No commitment ✘ Minimum commitments
✔ No financial loss ✘ Potential financial loss
✔ Low-risk  ✘ Higher risk 

When does PPA make sense for your business?

Determining when PPA aligns with your business objectives involves recognizing specific scenarios where its benefits are most useful: 

1. Limited time for presales

If your business lacks the bandwidth to manage sales outreach efficiently, outsourcing through PPA can alleviate this burden, allowing you to focus on core operations. 

Suppose you’re a small software development firm with a team of skilled engineers, but you lack dedicated sales personnel. With numerous ongoing projects demanding your attention, you find it challenging to allocate time and resources to generate leads and schedule appointments. 

By engaging a PPA service provider, you can offload the presales workload and ensure a steady stream of qualified leads without diverting valuable internal resources from project delivery. This allows you to maintain productivity in core operations while still effectively pursuing new business opportunities.

2. Limited in-house resources and expertise

When internal resources are insufficient or acquiring specialized talent is impractical, PPA emerges as a viable solution. PPA proves beneficial when your business requires expertise and experience but is operating within budget constraints.

In that case, outsourcing PPA lead gen services provides access to high-quality services at a lower cost.

For instance, you have a startup in the healthcare industry focused on developing innovative medical devices. While your company boasts a talented team of engineers and researchers, you lack the expertise and manpower to effectively handle sales and marketing activities.

Hiring full-time sales professionals or investing in extensive marketing campaigns may not be feasible due to budget constraints or the specialized nature of the required skills.

In this scenario, partnering with a PPA service provider allows you to leverage the expertise of experienced sales professionals without the overhead costs associated with hiring and training in-house staff. 

By outsourcing appointment setting and lead generation tasks to a specialized PPA agency, you can efficiently allocate resources toward product development and innovation while still driving growth through strategic client acquisition efforts.

This allows you to focus on delivering exceptional service to clients while still effectively generating leads and expanding their customer base.

3. Limited budget

Due to its performance-based nature, PPA makes sense for your business when aiming to replicate premium appointment-setting standards for a low cost.

Suppose you run a small marketing agency looking to expand your client base but are constrained by a limited budget. Traditional methods of appointment setting, like hiring dedicated sales staff or investing in expensive marketing campaigns, may not be financially viable.

By opting for PPA services, you can access high-quality appointment setting solutions without incurring hefty upfront costs. This allows you to compete with larger competitors and secure valuable client meetings while staying within budget constraints.

4. Limited volume needs

If you don’t need the high-volume lead generation services offered by a company like Belkins, PPA and its tailored approach can better fit your needs.

Imagine you’re a small graphic design agency with a niche market and a modest team. Your focus is on delivering quality over quantity in client acquisition.

Rather than investing in a high-volume lead generation service like Belkins, which could overwhelm your capacity, you opt for PPA. 

With PPA, you receive qualified appointments aligned with your target audience, paying only for the leads you receive. This ensures a cost-effective approach to client acquisition, allowing you to maintain focus and allocate resources efficiently while still driving growth.

Recognizing these scenarios empowers SMBs to leverage PPA as a strategic tool for efficient client acquisition and resource optimization. Maksymiv saw the potential value proposition, which is why he founded Revit.

Questions to ask potential PPA service providers

Thorough questioning is essential when vetting potential PPA service providers, to ensure alignment with your business needs. To gain clarity on the provider's methodology and the roles involved, ask exploratory questions like: 

  • What is your lead generation process and methodology? How do you ensure lead quality?
  • What types of businesses have you helped in the past? What were the results? 
  • How will you tailor your services to understand my business goals and target audience?
  • What is your client onboarding process to properly set expectations?
  • How will you monitor performance and make adjustments to continuously improve results? 
  • What is your client retention rate and typical contract length?
  • Can you provide references I can speak to about their experience?

In the above set of questions, you begin by understanding the PPA service provider’s core activities, the intricacies of their processes, and the specific roles involved in appointment generation. The goal is to understand their methods for delivering appointments, focusing on whether they tailor their approach to your unique circumstances, including your target audience and value proposition. Inquire about their responsiveness throughout the engagement to ensure effective communication and timely adjustments.

A hallmark of premium PPA services is the provider's proactive questioning of your requirements and objectives. Reputable providers will seek comprehensive knowledge about your business to gauge their ability to deliver results effectively. Instead of fixating on average appointment numbers, prioritize discussions on their capacity to adapt strategies based on your deal size, value proposition, and past outbound efforts. 

Finally, delve into their research methodologies regarding the target audience, emphasizing the importance of data-driven insights in optimizing appointment quality. A provider's willingness to engage in transparent, long-term partnerships geared towards delivering tangible ROI is indicative of their commitment to client success.

Questions potential PPA service providers should ask you

As an SMB seeking a suitable PPA agency, you must pay attention to the questions they pose to gauge their understanding of your business needs and objectives. Here are some thoughtful questions you should expect a good PPA service provider to ask you:

  • Who is your target audience and ideal customer profile?
  • What is your value proposition? What problem does your business solve?
  • What are your average deal sizes and sales cycles?
  • Have you tried outbound sales/marketing before? What worked and didn't work in the past?
  • What is your monthly budget and commitment level?
  • How many salespeople do you have and what is their capacity?
  • What metrics are important to you and how will success be measured?

Rather than receiving a generic assurance of booking appointments, you should expect thoughtful inquiries aimed at comprehensively understanding your business landscape. Otherwise, you could end up in a situation like the one described by this LinkedIn user:

For instance, a reputable PPA service provider would inquire about your average deal sizes, sales cycles, and previous experiences with outbound sales/marketing. By delving into these aspects, they can tailor their approach to align with your goals and maximize outcomes effectively.

Furthermore, discussions regarding your monthly budget, commitment level, and the metrics that matter most to your business success are crucial. A thorough exploration of these topics ensures alignment between your expectations and the provider's capabilities.

The significance of personalized responses cannot be overstated, as each business situation is unique and deserves a bespoke approach.

Revit, for example, prioritizes building long-term partnerships over short-term transactions. The approach is rooted in understanding your unique challenges and collaborating closely to drive sustainable growth.

Ultimately, by partnering with a thoughtful PPA service provider like Revit, you can expect proactive engagement, attention to detail, and a commitment to delivering tangible results that propel your business forward.

Recommended PPA lead generation providers

When exploring PPA lead generation providers, you want to find one that can seamlessly transition you toward a retainer model-style service when you’re ready for it.

Here are three B2B appointment-setting agencies, with a focus on those who provide PPA lead gen services. Each company has earned its spot on this list. We chose them based on the quality of leads generated, affordability, and customer satisfaction.

Think of it as wanting a high-quality Austrian cake, but being limited to bite-sized pieces — PPA offers a taste of what's possible within your budget constraints.

While PPA may not sustainably handle a high volume of leads, it serves as an invaluable tool for getting your foot in the door or kickstarting your scaling efforts. It's the ideal solution for businesses in the early stages of growth or those looking to expand their client base gradually. 

Revit — pay-per-appointment agency

Revit emerges as a pioneering pay-per-appointment agency, breaking ground in the industry just a month ago. The genesis of Revit dates back to late 2023 when, after scrutinizing various SMBs, we at Belkins recognized a significant gap in the market.

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While we catered excellently to mid-sized and larger enterprises, numerous SMBs lacking the financial bandwidth for prolonged commitments were left underserved. With over 2,000 interested but financially constrained companies turned away by Belkins in 2023 alone, the need for a tailored solution became more and more evident.

We hope that Revit fills this void by offering flexibility that SMBs crave, accommodating their budget constraints without compromising on quality. Unlike Belkins, whose model suits medium to large enterprises seeking operational support and long-term growth strategies, Revit targets SMBs seeking a more adaptable approach to appointment setting. 

With Revit's packages and pricing structure, SMBs gain access to quality appointment-setting services without the burden of hefty upfront investments, making it a compelling option for businesses navigating the complexities of client acquisition.

ViB Appointments

ViB Appointments is a demand generation and appointment setting firm that’s worked with more than 500 technology companies, including Cloudera and Google. Its pay-per-qualified-meeting model allows you to only pay for leads who meet your targeting criteria and result in successful appointments.

ViB Appointments

ViB focuses on B2B tech buyers, with a particular emphasis on reaching leads that are manager-level or above.

One strength of ViB's approach is its community network of tech professionals. Through the community portal, prospects can explore providers in their own time, potentially reaching out and initiating engagements themselves.

Its key benefits include:

  • Time savings through a vendor community
  • Higher quality of available vendors
  • Combination of automation and people-centered processes
  • Contact data enrichment and regular audits

However, because ViB focuses on its existing buyer community, their services won’t help you reach leads outside of it or target specific people who did not volunteer to reach out to you. So, you have to decide whether the benefits of ViB pre-vetted community leads outweigh their reach limitations.

When to choose Belkins

When considering appointment-setting services, we’d like to think that Belkins emerges as one of the best providers in the field. But while this article focuses on PPA lead generation, Belkins works on a different pricing model — requiring a higher upfront investment in return for full-service appointment setting support. 

So, when your company is ready to leap into top-tier lead generation, Belkins is the partner you need. We will help you generate substantial quantities of qualified leads. 

Our offering stands out as the best overall solution, particularly suited for mid-to-enterprise level companies. With Belkins, businesses can expect top-tier appointment setting services that cater to their specific needs and goals. 

Whether it's securing meetings with high-value prospects or expanding market reach, Belkins provides a comprehensive approach that delivers tangible results. 

Our expertise and track record make us a trusted partner for companies seeking to maximize their sales efforts and drive business growth. Here are several options and free resources that will help you get started on your outbound sales journey:

  • Hire Belkins: If you want to discuss your current business goals and how we can potentially help you achieve them, contact us.
  • Belkins’ case studies: Gain insights on how we’ve generated 4,760,850 leads and millions of dollars for businesses of all sizes. Read their stories.
  • Belkins Growth Podcast: Get to know our co-founder Michael Maximoff as he interviews professionals on market challenges, effective sales practices, and business perspectives in various industries. Listen to the Belkins Growth Podcast.
  • Belkins’ webinars: Become a member of our community. Subscribe to unlock access to exclusive insights.

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Kaashif Hajee
Kaashif Hajee
Content writer at Kalyna Marketing agency
Kaashif is a freelance writer and researcher based in London. He has been working for Kalyna Marketing, writing for various B2B SaaS, marketing, and finance companies. Kaashif likes to write about complex topics in simple words.
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.