B2B Appointment Setting Tips

Most new sales people go cold at the thought of appointment setting and picking up the telephone.

Here, Andy Dickens of Sussex based telemarketing agency Virtual Sales Limited, gives a few handy tips to take away the fear:

Image Source – Adrian Snood (CC Licence)

1. Before you start your appointment setting campaign you need to firstly document your value proposition and why the target audience will be interested. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone out there will be interested in what you have to sell – you will only be disappointed! List out all your key features and benefits and if you can do a competitive matrix to articulate your product/solution’s strengths and weaknesses.

2. OK so far so good! Next you need to decide who you want to sell your product or solution to. This might be based on similar customers to the one that have already bought your solution and you can reference these as part of your sales pitch. This is called building a repeatable solution. You may also decide to focus on a certain geographic area such as the South of England, Scotland etc etc and or a vertical market i.e. Finance.

3. So you now know what it is you are going to sell and your intended audience. The next step is to acquire a database of potential customers that matches your target audience. You may have already got your database but if not then don’t despair as you can source suitable databases by speaking to data brokers or even data owners. At the end of the day as a rule if you buy cheaply then you will find the results on average will be less successful. We abide by the rule that you get what you pay for!

4. Now you are almost ready to start your campaign and you need to brief the sales people who will be doing the calling. All the preparation work you have done so far will stand you in good stead and is a very good test. If the person making the calls can understand your “pitch” then the chances are your potential customers will do so too! At VSL we call this a knowledge transfer or Kick Off meeting and the more information the caller gets at this stage the better the results

5. If you are using an outsourced sales partner such as Virtual Sales then another useful tip is to give them a company email address that they can use to send and receive emails on behalf of your company. This not only looks like the caller actually works for your company but also helps to build your brand and make the campaign more joined up!

6. Be sure to agree on “What Success looks like” with the company or individual that is doing the calling. This might be looking at what you are selling now and what you would ideally like to be selling say in 3 months time. Try to be realistic – there is no point in setting unrealistic targets as these can have an adverse effect on the caller – success breeds success!

7. If you are doing an appointment setting campaign usually a good sales person can probably make around 60 calls a day, speak to around 15 people and make at least one appointment – everything else being equal – good data, good value proposition etc etc

8. If an outsourcer is making the appointments on your behalf then give them dates when you and your sales team are available or access to your calendar to make appointments directly for you.

9. If you cannot make the appointment for any reason please make sure you phone the potential customer – Don’t rely on just sending an email!

Good luck with your appointment setting campaign and if you would like to know more why not get in-touch?

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Andy Dickens

Andy Dickens is a veteran of IT Sales, used to leading by example. He is the CEO of Virtual Sales Limited (VSL) who offer telesales, telemarketing, lead generation and appointment setting services to B2b businesses. He previously was Sales Director EMEA for Red Hat and before that ran sales at Visio before it was acquired by Microsoft.