Let’s fast forward our sales movie a bit: You are 1:1 with your perfect potential customer. This prospect is qualified, interested in your services, and impressed by your outreach. You totally match, and you land a deal. The sales funnel grows, and your company prospers. Bravo!
Wait, rewind to the beginning. We know how the sales lead generation process works, but who got us the appointment? Let’s dig deeper to find out what B2B appointment setters do and what skills they require to become Oscar-worthy salespeople.
Who Is an Appointment Setter?
An appointment setter is a person who works in sales (usually occupies a Sales Development Representative position) and conducts a series of steps to set a sales appointment between a company and a potential buyer.
These steps include receiving and preparing leads for the outreach, finding valuable information for personalization, and finally reaching out to the leads via social media, emails, or calls.
The part when the initial contact occurs and a conversation starts is the beginning of the appointment setting.
Is Appointment Setting Hard?
Setting appointments is a job with a high-level responsibility, for sure. That’s why so many companies choose to outsource these services. But is it too hard to even pursue it? No.
Appointment setting is a part of outbound lead generation, and as we already know, that is something worth doing. Plus, there are at least a few tricks you can master to make this process easier.
Pro tip: Use these outbound lead generation strategies to make your sales development more effective.
Appointment Setting Skills
We want all our workers to be disciplined, hard-working, and motivated. However, what skills define a successful appointment setter?
1. Has an agenda
An average SDR has a million things to do in a day: checking CRM tasks, sending out business emails, managing statistics, and conducting calls. The best thing to do is create a schedule with blocks of time dedicated to different activities. Make sure to consider various time zones of the leads when you set up your timetable.
If you don’t have a schedule in place, you can check our article on what our SDR does in a day.
2. Knows how to qualify B2B prospects
Before starting an appointment counterattack at the leads, an SDR has to determine if they can be qualified to go further down your sales funnel. There are plenty of lead qualification methodologies to choose from, like ChAMP, ANUM, BANT, or NOTE. At CIENCE, we prefer NOTE, but we’ve also created an article to help you decide.
3. Listens and builds rapport
Being able to carry out a conversation is an essential skill for an appointment setter. An SDR has to deliver the value of your services, ask appropriate questions to discover specific pain points and, most importantly, listen to what a lead has to say.
Sounding friendly and optimistic creates rapport and sometimes eliminates sales objections even before they arise.
4. Handles sales objections and rejections
Objections will arise during prospecting. Sometimes leads don’t have enough time or think your services aren’t vital for their business. That’s when a skilled appointment setter sees a chance to overturn an objection to an opportunity. Read our article to learn how to handle sales objections.
5. Reminds and follows-up
Just after an SDR sets a date for a B2B sales appointment, it doesn’t mean it will happen. Every company tracks the no-show rate, and one way to prevent it from happening is to send a reminder. One reminder sent a few hours prior to the appointment should be enough, though every outbound campaign is unique.
A skilled appointment setter also doesn’t give up easily. A good lead generation campaign usually has at least a few waves of follow-up emails after the first touch. However, a lot of sales reps do not answer negative or controversial messages. That’s a rookie mistake—every answer is an opportunity.
6. Pitches perfectly
To create a great sales pitch, an SDR should be fully aware of the value proposition and its impact on a potential customer’s business. Our advice is to put a human first, a “you” message instead of an egocentric “me” message.
Make your elevator pitch short yet full of value. Avoid pushing too hard; being “salesy” is not a trend you want to hop on.
Tips to Improve Your Appointment Setting Skills
1. Train. Ramp-up takes some time, but make sure to invest in training your SDRs. Provide ICPs and Buyer Personas, educate them on your services and the value proposition. Provide every detail that can be used for prospecting and insight them about the peculiar details of the sales process in your company.
2. Grow. Give your sales appointment setters room to grow. Analyze the progress and help them improve their performance. Let them know that there are seniors ready to help with any difficulties that may arise.3. Motivate. B2B appointment setting is a complicated process that takes a lot of time and effort. Make sure you acknowledge the work put into the success of your company. Celebrating your SDRs will motivate them to keep reaching new heights.
Super Salespeople to the Rescue
Appointment setting is a meticulous craft at the very heart of any sales development efforts. It includes multiple stages of preparation (scripts, messages, timing, rejection handling), and all of them have to be handled by the right person.
A highly professional appointment setter is organized, experienced, and open to experimentation, and is not easy to find. You can train your own SDRs to be skilled in appointment setting, but be prepared to invest a lot of time and money in it. Or you could entrust it to a vendor that's been successfully doing it for years.