Scheduling sales appointments, whether it is for a discovery meeting or a product demo can be looked at as a simple technique. Improving this process within your organization may be the last thing on your mind. However, it is important to realize how scheduling qualified sales appointments is of utmost importance to your revenue growth goals.
Here is why.
The back and forth emails with a prospect to find a convenient time to speak wastes a LOT of time.
There is a reason that the best practice emerged of having SDR’s (Sales Development Representatives) own the lead until a meeting actually occurs. Not only does your reps’ time get compromised, but there is also a good amount of no-shows. It is not uncommon to see one out of four scheduled meetings not happen.
Why You Must Care About Improving Your Sales Appointment Setting:
- Appointment Setting is defined as a hand-off from your lead generation team to your sales closers.
- The time is taken to arrange a meeting has a direct impact on conversion.
Point #2 is particularly relevant when you’re selling a B2B technology product or service tied to an immediate pain point. According to data from Vorsight, 70% of meetings occur when scheduled within 9 days versus only 47% when scheduled more than 30 days out. Time is money for the prospective buyer. Effective follow-up is the key to securing a successful meeting
Fortunately, technology can help. Let’s explore several tools that can help make B2B sales appointment scheduling a lot easier for you and your prospects.
1) Add appointment setting tools to your Sales Stack.
Calendly is one of the first tools in the appointment automation space. When Tope Awotana, founder of Calendly, was a sales representative, the most frustrating part of his position was scheduling meetings. He figured there would be a software solution to service this problem. He looked at the existing solutions that were out in the marketplace but they proved difficult to integrate.
Being a computer science major, he set on a mission to build a product that will make integrations a snap! This means that the prospect could see the rep’s availability with a URL inserted in an email or a website. The prospect can then easily schedule a meeting among the available options.
The best part is that the free version of this tool does the job at hand — speed up and simplify the appointment setting process.
2) Integrate Appointment Scheduling into your Automation Workflow
Any marketer knows that user engagement is improved when you reduce the number of clicks or scrolls it takes to get to the desired action. The key to integrating tools that help with appointment scheduling is to enable the prospect to take action within the message without having to leave to an external link.
There are several sales engagement vendors that have added this capability to their platform. MixMax takes it one step further.
They are able to fuze the scheduling for all parties involved and make double booking a thing in the past. A prospect can easily schedule and reschedule if needed and get reminded when the time for the appointment gets closer. You can now avoid leaving your account executive to wait for a no-show.
3) Automate Appointment Setting with AI
There are several tools out there with x.ai being one of the first tools to do this. Amy, the homosapien-masked machine entity, serves as your personal assistant. You can
simply cc Amy on an email and she takes the reigns finding the best time for you and your prospect to meet based on your calendars. When a conference or annual meetings start approaching the thousands, Amy will save you a lot of time…and money.
Some organizations want a personalized appointment scheduling experience because it’s the first step in a relationship. Others want to automate and optimize their own appointment setting process down to a single click. Drift Profiles has found a way to combine both into a more natural conversation. It is basically a profile page + scheduling bot + live chat all wrapped into one. The AI functionality grabs data from the user’s device and any data that is linked to your CRM to create a more personal approach.
There are a lot of tools that help the sales engagement process. They are designed to make the critical hand-off from marketing to sales to improve overall conversion rates. Before you should consider any of these tools, you need to identify your most ideal appointment scheduling process. This will help you assess where you need to improve to and enhance the productivity of your Sales Development Representative team.
If you currently do not have a Sales Development team and the leads from the marketing department are clogging up your Account Executive’s calendar, consider outsourcing lead follow up or demand generation to an external resource. Reminder, these tools are not a substitute for the prospecting that is still needed to book qualified appointments with the right decision maker, at the right time.