As anyone with experience in the world of B2B sales knows, the first step in getting a potential client to convert is getting them “on the hook.”
While getting prospects even remotely attracted to your brand is a good start to the process, what you’re really aiming to do is get them to make some kind of commitment as quickly as possible.
In an ideal world, this would mean getting them to make a purchase right off the bat. More realistically, you’d likely settle for a commitment to a scheduled meeting (at which point you can nudge them further along in their buyer’s journey).
Of course, even getting a prospective client to commit to a meeting has the potential to be a long, drawn-out process - if not approached methodically, that is. But, done strategically, you can essentially automate the process of setting and scheduling meetings with potential clients - allowing you to focus less on the logistics of the meeting, and more on “wowing” your new leads.
Best Practices for B2B Appointment Setting in 2018
You may have noticed our use of the word “automate” in the above paragraph; it wasn’t an accident.
Simply put, technology has made automating a large percentage of the appointment-setting process a reality for B2B companies of all sizes and capacities.
That being said, there certainly is a human side of the process that shouldn’t be ignored - no matter how streamlined your automated processes make the experience.
In this article, we’ll take a look at both the technological and human sides of B2B appointment-setting, and discuss some of the major trends to look out for in 2018.
Let’s get started.
Technology-Related Aspects of B2B Appointment Setting
As we alluded to earlier, automating certain processes not only allows your prospective customers to get what they want more quickly and easily, but it also frees up resources on your end - in turn allowing you to focus on the processes that require a hands-on approach.
With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the ways in which technology can make the process of setting appointments just that much easier.
Before you even begin thinking about setting meetings with potential clients, you need to actually find these prospects, right?
Not only that, but you also need to determine whether or not setting up a meeting with a given prospect will be worth your while.
Rather than spending excess time manually wading through a sea of potential clients, though, you can allow technology to do the “grunt work” for you. Lead generation and scoring tools such as LeadFuze aggregate potential leads from online databases, such as LinkedIn, then filter the list down to those who best fit your idea of the ideal client.
In turn, you’ll be presented with a list of leads and prospects that have a high probability of converting - meaning you won’t end up wasting time chasing leads that end up going nowhere.
For one thing, chatbots allow visitors to your website access to instant information and answers to frequently-asked questions, such as those dealing with your services and pricing. Chatbots can also point these individuals toward further resources on your website without their needing to wade through pages and pages of blog posts and other content.
Chatbots can also help with appointment setting in a more direct manner, as well. At the very least, chatbots can provide leads with an instant connection to your organization’s service reps, who can then manually schedule a meeting with
Along with the above-mentioned chatbots, you may also choose to utilize online calendar services to further streamline the appointment-setting process for your prospects.
These tools, such as Calendly, Hubspot, and Drift, allow potential clients to see times in which your representatives are available for a meeting - in turn enabling them to set up an appointment at a time that works best for them without having to go through any “back and forth” between parties.
Not only do these tools streamline the appointment-setting process, but they also allow your organization to present a “door is always open” policy to potential clients - offering a warm welcome to them from the onset of your relationship.
Human Aspects of B2B Appointment Setting
No matter how advanced technology gets, however, there will always be a need to engage with your prospects on a personal level to get them to convert.
Still, this personal outreach needs to be intentional and strategic to be successful.
With that in mind, let’s look at a couple of tactics that can help you get potential clients to commit to initial meetings as quickly as possible.
Though you likely segment your potential clients based on overarching characteristics, needs, and more, the fact remains that each prospect you work with is unique in at least one way or another.
Account-based marketing, then, is the process of being laser-focused on these individual and unique needs. In contrast to a more “wide net” approach to marketing, this allows you to focus your energy on marketing initiatives that will all but assuredly pay off for your company. In doing so, you show your prospects that you don’t just care about “clients just like them”; you care about them.
Used in conjunction with the aforementioned lead-scoring tools, account-based marketing can increase your chances of getting high-probability prospects to take further steps toward conversion - and allow you to do so with a fraction of the effort you’d typically put into the process.
Now, no matter how valuable you’ve proven your services to be
Which is why it’s incredibly important that you ask.
But it’s not as simple as requesting that a prospect take time out of their schedule to learn more; you need to bring them to see the value in doing so, above all else.
Along with front-loading an initial, informal meeting with much more value and information than they likely expected, you also want to create an open loop of sorts, which all but ensures they’ll want to learn more.
For instance, you might explain to them the overarching services your company provides, but leave more detailed information “in the air,” to be discovered during a follow-up meeting. You can then ask them point-blank when they would like to schedule this next meeting and explain precisely what said