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B2B Appointment Setting
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For organizations across the world, B2B appointment setting has been nothing short of a fantastic way of getting more business. It would not be presumptuous to say that it is one of the lifelines of modern day sales teams. Thanks to technology, the customer’s tastes can today be easily predicted, which means that one just needs a contact number to get things started. However, there are many ways to recognize whether the call is going one way or the other. And if one is careful in looking out for these, they can easily get their way around things and achieve the desired target without any problems whatsoever.

Essentially, there are signs and there are red flags through which one can know which direction to pursue to know whether the person is genuinely interested, and if so, what to do next to swing things in their favor. The first thing to ensure one spots such signs is to obviously listen carefully and pick the signs of interest, like when the person starts asking relevant questions. However, just like there are trailers to a movie, or a teaser campaign being run before a product launch, one must not give all the answers away. Now this is a tricky proposition, because one can’t be too secretive about what how the company or its offerings can help the prospect, nor talk about everything so that meeting in person is obviated. So, B2B appointment setting needs a delicate balance of revealing and concealing information.

In fact, all that is needed is to give prospects just a peek of what they can expect. The rest, as they say, is a sales meeting! Next up, one must ask as many questions that are important for getting to know the prospect more, as possible. This is simply because everybody looks forward to customized solutions for their needs, so it’s necessary that all the vital information about the prospect is at hand. And when the time comes for the actual meeting, the proposition is made as lucrative as possible. And lastly, one must never delay the process of B2B appointment setting. The rule of thumb is to schedule a meeting within three days of the call being made. That is, of course, if the person shows interest. But any further delays can lead to the prospect losing interest and the lead going cold.

For many, B2B appointment setting is nothing more than a marketing process. Something that just needs to be done to get to the next level.A means to an end, so to speak.However, the fact of the matter is that it’s much more than that. One may even think of it as the stepping stone to achieving targets and taking business to the next level. However, it can also be used quite well to differentiate people who are genuinely interested in the brand offering and those who are just wandering about.

If one were to take reference of the role of B2B appointment setting, it would be that of a storyteller who is giving people the message about a priceless artifact, or a place they have never seen before, one that has nature’s bounty and unlimited gold! Not getting too carried away, one is either seen as the Ark of the Covenant or the Spear of Longinus.

Confused? Let’s elaborate a bit on this, shall we now! The Ark of the Covenant is a little box which is seen rather frequently in adventure movies and told about in stories. But if the prospect is seeing the organization like this after the conversation with a B2B appointment setting executive, there is substantial reason to believe that one is in touch with a show-off, i.e., someone who is not interested in the product or service at all. It’s really simple, isn’t it? Why would one want to own a box that does something unforeseen just for touching it! Something like this is definitely better off in the display case. And even though the efforts of the appointment setting person might be honest, there are times when one may get prospects that are interested in the brand for all the wrong reasons. One might be tempted to consider indulging the prospect in the faint hope that it might turn out worthwhile, but the sooner one lets go of a pursuit that won’t get anything, the better.

Alternately, if the prospect sees the company as the spear of Longinus (which is essentially used by the villains, but only for the purpose it’s meant to be used, and that’s what’s important), then that’s a much better lead to pursue, since the person knows how effective the brand offering is, and can make the best use of it. this also means that they will promote the product or service among their peers, multiplying the benefits of B2B appointment setting with word of mouth marketing.

There are many times when B2B appointment setting doesn’t quite go the way one plans it to. And it is precisely at such instances that it’s important to give clients reasons for the way things stand. However, one of the most common responses in such a scenario, i.e., saying that ‘technical difficulties’ came in the way of the procedures might be a bit too much for clients to accept. After all, they are the ones paying the company providing the services, and any kind of mistake is not looked upon lightly.So, one needs to be rather careful about using the ruse, so to speak, too frequently.

B2B appointment setting and technical difficulties actually share a long history. Most often, this term is used when something gets in the way of clear communication like a problem in the email filter that doesn’t let client (or prospect) messages pass. However, the fact is that there are only so many times one can use this to escape situations. To begin with, it’s a very embarrassing position to be in when one talks to clients. Nobody wants to talk about how they weren’t able to do their job properly because of an unseen error. However, once that inherent predicament has been passed, the first thing to understand is that technical difficulties are not everyday occurrences. They are rare instances, and they should stay that way. So, it may be a stroke of bad luck that one has disappearing internet connectivity, or faulty telephone lines. However, too much of that and the client would think that there are some serious infrastructure issues.

Secondly, while interacting with clients, B2B appointment setting executives need to understand that the former know about the kind of problems that arise. Long story short, problems are easily identifiable. Or rather, genuine problems are easily identifiable the fake ones aren’t exactly like needles in a haystack. They know that one can’t afford to lose business by letting things be, and that’s when one knows that there’s something fishy. This is linked to the last point, the element of how fixable the problem is.

If a problem has been around for some time and still not apparently fixed, then again it’s the company’s reputation at stake. So, it’s best for the B2B appointment setting process to be refined so that there are no further embarrassing situations, rather than going to search for unique excuses.

B2B appointment setting isn’t the easiest of tasks, but one can improve the success rates drastically by following 3 simple guidelines.

There’s something about B2B appointment setting that makes it an imperative addition to all business plans of action. However, it’s one of the most difficult parts of business development as well, often serving as the Achilles’ heel of the overall marketing mix. As mentioned earlier, there’s no way around it as well, since one has to talk to the prospect before making a sale. If one can’t get on the phone, they can’t get in front of the client, and if that can’t happen, they certainly can’t be any chance of getting the message across. In other words, it’s not about presenting the proposal, but the build-up to the presentation stage that’s the roadblock.

However, there are some simple tactics that can be used to improve results from B2B lead generation campaigns, and the good news is that these are not exclusive to any particular industry. All kinds of organizations can utilize these guidelines just as easily. To begin with, the attitude of the caller should be far from the ‘please take this deal or else this is the end of the world for me’. Prospects across all kinds of industry verticals categorically despise this kind of attitude, since it reeks of fear. This, unfortunately, leads to the assumption that the product or service being offered is not a strong product. The caller needs to project confidence at all times, something like ‘I’m not perturbed if you choose to not take my deal. There are plenty others who’ll benefit from it’.

The next point with regards to effective B2B appointment setting is to talk to the prospect as if the deal is going to benefit them, and ‘also’ help the caller reach his business objective, and not the other way around. The moment a prospect thinks that the person he’s talking to is just in it for fulfilling his selfish interest, that sets the alarm bells ringing. Within the first few seconds, one needs to show the customer that this deal is a great proposition, without overdoing it of course.

And lastly, B2B appointment setting campaigns are often tremendous successes because the callers give references of how similar clients have benefited from their offerings. This might seem like overselling the product or service, but nothing makes the pitch stronger than a few names, even if they are not so famous. People love to hear case studies, and knowing how the offering can help them replicate the same in their line of business.

Summing it up, these three rules can help one get tremendous results with regards to appointment setting.

IT firms are one of the most frequent customers of the concept of B2B appointment setting. Quite obviously, it’s necessary for all kinds of businesses, but the reason why it has special significance for IT firms is because it’s the penultimate stage for their sales process and gives them the opportunity to showcase their products in a conducive environment that increase chances of making a sale.

These days, IT firms are hiring BPO organizations as well as specialist companies for B2B appointment setting, since the kind of manpower they have only specializes in technical stuff, and marketing or sales are domains that aren’t their forte in any manner whatsoever. That being said, firms that provide these services obviously have their hands full, and charge a substantial amount for such services. it is precisely because of this that many organizations have often opted to take the seemingly easy way out by setting up their own team. However, the problem comes in getting the newly hired team to deliver results. Since the core competency of the top management doesn’t lie in that domain, it’s a much better idea to outsource the entire process and focus only on what one’s core competencies are.

However, one of the most important requirements for the B2B appointment setting team, and the most imperative one as well, is that it must be well versed with the different terminologies of the IT industry. Just fluffing up the proposition with words like ’revolutionary’ and ‘unique’ is only going to help go so far in achieving the desired objective, i.e., making a sale. However, even if the people are not very fluent in IT lingo but have a proven track record in generating sales, the process must be a collaborative effort in association with the technical people who can ensure the  marketers know what they’re talking about. And then, it’s Christmas all year long!

Building rapport is one of the most important aspects of B2B appointment setting, and is also the secret to cracking leads. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that easy to gain the trust of prospects. Often, marketers lose out on the opportunity simply because they try too hard. Here’s a glimpse of how one can excel at getting the interested client on the same team.

B2B appointment setting is a skill, an art, or in some contexts, even a science. Long story short, it’s not something a person is born with, and can be learned. The first guideline in this regards is to ensure that one shows genuine interest in the prospect. The thing about genuine interest is that nobody can fake it. And neither should one try to do so. Doing it half-heartedly  for the sole intention of getting an appointment is not exactly going to get the desired result. Worse still, if the prospect gets even a hint of insincerity, it’s going to be quite the uphill climb! So, it’s better to be real and be keen towards getting the business.

Another important trait in B2B appointment setting is to listen carefully, looking for words and phrases that the prospect likes to use. These can be put to use quite effectively in future conversations to get on the same page, and also serve as a benchmark of the style of communication that would work. Also, different clients handle information in different styles. For instance, someone might want to create a brochure or white paper about the offering, or just make do with a summary. Another aspect is that some decision makers are very finicky about the fine details, while others are just about fine with anything. So, it’s important to note these aspects while dealing with clients to ensure that they give their business as well as faith – both of which are priceless assets.

Gatekeepers are often seen as the proverbial obstacles in the B2B appointment setting process. However, if one tackles them with tact, they can be great assets.

The process of B2B appointment setting requires a lot of tact and expertise, but there are still some elements that are constantly volatile and regardless of how much one plans ahead, they always seem to bother and serve as constant hindrances. One such aspect of the overall chain is the gatekeeper, the proverbial grumpy security guard who just won’t let you pass, and doesn’t seem to have any reason for his/her actions! However, since the roadblock is going to be there in any case, it’s better to know how to get past it.

First of all, it’s essential to understand that while one sees the gatekeeper as an obstacle, he/she would obviously have other jobs at hand as well. So, being polite is the first most important step. It’s obvious that the other party would not be as courteous, but then again, if one has to get the job done, it’s important to make the extra effort. There’s only so much information that can be transmitted if one is being aggressive. The trick is to get the information across with tact, so that at least the other person sees that by letting the call through, he/she would not be reprimanded by the senior person, who is already very busy.

It’s also important to know where the person who is the gatekeeper, stands in the company structure. This helps in modifying the calling script and helping the other person do his/her own job. Quite obviously, if he/she is not in a position to help the firm make headways in the B2B appointment setting process, there’s not use knocking on the wrong doors. Instead, the person can be politely asked to redirect the call to someone who can take it to the next level. By employing such simple tactics, one can achieve greater success without having to struggle.

There are essentially two kinds of thought processes when it comes to B2B appointment setting. There are proponents of the theory who claim that it’s probably the most effective means of reaching out to the people who matter the most; and there are those who oppose the concept, saying that telephonic conversation as a means of getting new leads is obsolete. It is imperative that this difference of opinion is caused due to the kind of experiences both the parties have had.

Essentially, B2B lead generation, like many other business processes, is all about timing. One needs to be in the right place (or rather strike up the right conversation) at the right time to achieve the desired objective. There would be many individuals who can talk for hours about calls regarding business matter that were made when they were out for dinner with their family or enjoying a Saturday brunch with friends. Quite obviously, one would not respond to such a call in the most favorable manner. Believe it or now, such calls are basically intrusion of privacy, and the only way to ensure that this seemingly negative action bears positive results is to play the cards right. Obviously, one can’t always be right as there would be times when the person would be in a meeting or out of office, but those situations still give a second opportunity under the pretext of calling back later.

Another point of concern that is often raised against B2B appointment setting is that just because someone has agreed to meet does not make them a hot prospect. While that is certainly true, one can’t possible rule out the fact that a meeting is at least a start and would be much better than having no progress with a particular prospect at all.

Success in B2B appointment setting is not a very difficult task. All it takes is a few simple tactics, and one can get really phenomenal results.

For many enterprises, B2B appointment setting is one of the most important sources of generating revenues, which is why it’s all the more important that the executives responsible for getting hot leads via this method should be more proficient at their job.

The first point to consider in this regard is to understand the objection resolution technique. True, it’s a very old technique, but forms the basis of some of the most successful campaigns. Now, the way it works is, the client may have objections or points of concern regarding the product or service being offered. The first response should be ‘is that your only objection?’ There might be many more objections, and the next step is to assure the other person that he/she understands the point, and many other prospects have asked the same questions. However, they found that (followed by some interesting solution to the problem at hand).

Another great way to drive success with B2B appointment setting is to tackle the ‘send me more information’ clause. Frankly speaking, people want to be nicer to other people who call them, especially if the latter talk nicely. However, one can never tell whether the prospect is actually interested, or is he/she just stalling because they don’t want to seem rude. So, ‘please send me details at my email ID’ is a default response. However, one needs to have some trial closing statements; something like ‘if what I am going to send you looks good to you, would you be willing to meet up once to discuss the proposition in detail?’ This is more or less a very effective way of identifying whether the person would actually be considering the proposition or is it just a courtesy reply.

There are many more such tactics, and in the end, B2B appointment setting is all about placing oneself in the other person’s shoes. That way, success is virtually guaranteed!

There are some very basic B2B appointment setting mistakes that one needs to avoid in order to ensure a higher success rate with regards to getting more business.

There are many tactics of B2B appointment setting, with thousands of professionals trying every day to maximize revenues by getting in touch with clients and selling their products. However, in this process, there are also quite a lot of mistakes that take place, and avoiding them is of utmost importance to make the most of every opportunity.

The first mistake in this regard is to have an overtly positive mental outlook to things. Sure, one must keep hopes high while dealing with a prospect, but it’s also important to understand when making the effort is just not worth it. Since time is generally limited, it’s very important to realize when one needs to stop pursuing a lead and focus on other options. Another mistake to avoid is not to get the big picture of the prospect’s requirement. There are many times when due to the negligence of both the client as well as the salesperson, there are many disagreements at a later stage simply because the product or service offered does not solve the former’s problems.

B2B appointment setting is also often wrongly seen as a numbers game. That being said, salespersons try to make the maximum phone calls. Unfortunately, more calls don’t always translate into more closures or appointments. Hence, one needs to firstly ensure that the calling list being provided is of good quality. And if that’s the case, each and every contact must be considered a very important one. There are many salespersons who just make 10 calls a day, but get significantly higher appointments compared to those who make nearly 70-80 calls a day. The difference is not just in the approach, but also in the fact that the ones having a higher success rate do a more extensive research of their prospects. While this is more of a prerequisite than a mistake to avoid, it nevertheless is a very important part of successful appointment setting.