B2B Appointment Setting

Tips to get b2b leads with insanely high ROI

Your company is built on processes. And appointment setting is the most important process in your company. When you get it right, you get predictable revenue and opportunities for growth.

But if you get appointment setting wrong… well that’s not good. You’ll waste money and miss out on potential opportunities. So let’s get it right!

In this article we’ll look at core principles to get as many qualified sales leads as possible. And help you maximize your ROI on b2b lead generation.

B2B Appointment Setting Example

It’ll help to see how b2b appointment setting should work. Let’s look at a recent example of how we sent qualified leads to a client’s sales team.

The client engaged us to build a list of companies that were likely to need their IT services. And then contact them for a meeting.

Our virtual sales assistants identified 13,000 preliminary opportunities. Which we further reduced to just 1800 of the best possible targets. We then contacted decision makers in the target organizations.

The client got dozens of interested, qualified sales opportunities. We sent those that expressed interest to their sales rep for immediate follow up. Here’s what the numbers looked like:

b2b appointment setting cost
cold calling comic

How Much Do Outsourced Appointment Setting Services Cost?

Companies need to decide whether they want to develop an in-house team. Or whether they should retain outsourced appointment setting services. Regardless of what you decide, weigh the financial and opportunity costs carefully.

Running an internal b2b lead generation program can get very expensive, quickly. The main costs are sales development tools, labour, and training. Depending on your labour costs, an in-house researcher can make your cost per lead unsustainable.

Also, it takes about 200 hundred hours to build an effective campaign; and train staff to execute it flawlessly. These hours are often better spent on client work and other high value tasks.

For this reason many small businesses work with a list building company. It just makes sense. Outsourced appointment setting services can reduce your cost per lead by up to 90% and do a better job in the process.

Choose (your b2b leads) Wisely

b2b appointment setting tactics

While there are many, many ways to develop b2b sales leads, there are two criteria that matter most to marketing departments.

First, the appointment setting method needs to scale. Building out a marketing channel that will consistently fill your sales pipeline is hard work. So there’s no point going small. Fortunately, plenty of marketing tactics meet this criteria – including content marketing, pay per click ads, and others.

Second, you want your lead generation channel to be targeted. It’s easy to spend the entire marketing budget getting appointments with prospects that don’t match your target client profile.

So it’s no surprise that b2b appointment setters consistently use one of three b2b appointment setting methods. As they are all TARGETED and can SCALE. Here’s a quick overview of each.

Email Outreach

Pros of Email Outreach: The past decade or so there has been massive improvements in personalized email technology. Now you can send super personalized emails to the exact person you want to work with. And since you are sending to their in-box, they’re going to see it and there’s plenty of space to share what’s relevant.

One of the best things about email responses is the prospect’s email signature includes all of their contact information, including telephone details. Which is perfect for later if your sales rep needs to give them a follow up call. Email outreach works well because it offers:

  • Deep personalization
  • Direct to their inbox
  • Low cost per appointment
  • Suitable space to share benefits
  • Easy follow up messages to improve conversion rates
  • Replies include the prospect’s email signature with ALL their contact info

Cons of Email Outreach: The biggest challenge with cold email is in the name – it’s cold. Fortunately this isn’t an issue if your targeting & messaging are highly focused. Cold emails that are highly relevant to your target niche can drive appointment setting rates above 5% (ie 5 meetings per 100 contacts).

Linkedin Messages

Pros of Linkedin: Linkedin has the best b2b data in the world available at a low cost. When combined with manual or automated connection invites you can reach your best targets directly. And you don’t have to worry about email bounces, either!

Cons of Linkedin Outreach: Linkedin doesn’t want to become a platform where users get hundreds of cold messages a day. So they deliberately impose limits on how sales teams can use their network. It’s also a bit difficult to do meaningful personalization with most automated tools. And it’s even more difficult to schedule automated follow ups. Also, if Linkedin notices you are using automated tools they’ll ban your account!

Cold Calling

Pros of Cold Calling: Cold calling isn’t as popular as it once was, but there are still many companies using it to set b2b appointments. The appeal is it’s easy to scale and you can directly contact the companies and people that fit your target profile.

Cons of Cold Calling: The challenges of cold calling are well known. It’s very expensive to set up because you need a database and someone to make calls all day long. This drives up the cost per lead. And callers run into the age-old problem of making lots of calls but only speaking with gate-keepers. Or they call when prospects are away from their desk and end up leaving numerous messages.

Tips to Skyrocket ROI On B2B Appointment Setting

Regardless of the platform (ie email) you use to generate b2b sales leads, best practices remain universal. The better you apply them to your own situation, the better your lead generation efforts will turn out.

Here are 4 tips to help you increase response rates and boost the overall ROI on your b2b appointment setting program.

Prospect Targeting

The first thing an appointment setting service is going to ask you about is what you do, and how you add value.

Next, they’re going to ask about the decision makers you want to target. Why those people or industries in particular? You want to focus your answer on how you add meaningful value. Not how they can help you.

To illustrate, here’s a real conversation we had with a client:

Sales Higher: Who do you want to target?

Client: HR managers at large multinational corporations.

Sales Higher: Why such large companies?

Client: Our solution is horribly overpriced and no one else could possibly afford it.

Obviously, this isn’t a good way to approach prospect targeting. Your targeting should be based on the value you think you can add to the other party. NOT how you think they can help you. Here’s a better response to the same question:

Sales Higher: Why such large companies?

Client: HR staff collectively waste hours a day on manual input. Any size company can use our solution, but larger firms waste the most number of hours so our impact is more significant. Last month we helped a manufacturing company save over 3 man hours a day. The CFO was pretty happy to say the least!

Prospect Research

Before starting your preliminary contact research take some time to really understand them. Try to identify commonalities that can be found across most, or all of your prospects. These common identifiers can simultaneously make your research efforts easier. And potentially expand your universe of potential sales leads.

For example, if you know your best clients all use a certain software then that’s a starting point for search. Your appointment setters can search for companies using that install base.

Similarly, you may discover your best opportunities are all members of an organization. In which case it would help to acquire a membership list. You may discover other opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have known about.

The point is, the more you know about prospects, the easier they are to find and replicate. So treat the research process seriously.

Value Oriented Communications

Targeting and messaging go hand in hand. The better your communications fit your niche, the more success you’ll have at setting b2b appointments.

For example, a web designer is probably happy to work across a wide range of industries. But broad value statements don’t make for very good copy, do they?
Messaging needs to be specific to the prospect.

Consider a web designer that wants to work with architects. Which of these two statements is more likely to result in an appointment?

We can help you improve your website so you get more leads.


We specialize in helping architects showcase their beautiful work online. Our clients see an average 263% more leads after updating their website.

The second sentence is stronger because it describes a very specific outcome that an architect can expect from these services. By keeping your communications focused on how the recipient benefits your appointment setters will find it much easier to fill your sales pipeline.

Hiring For B2B Appointment Setting

​If you are considering hiring for in-house appointment setting, be certain you understand the personality characteristics that are best suited for each respective role. For your in-house team to succeed you’ve got to assign people tasks that match their personal strengths.

Researchers & data cleaners need to be both analytical and super detail-oriented. It’s difficult to find people who fit both criteria so you may need to split these roles.

Also, when hiring look for people for whom the role fits well with other areas of their life. For example, if you only need someone part time then a mother working from home could be a perfect fit. The role enables them to grow professionally, while still allowing them enough time for non-work responsibilities.

There’s a lot that can go wrong when setting appointments so hire carefully. It takes over a hundred hours of training to develop a strong researcher and data cleaner. And that’s not a process you want to repeat if you don’t have to.

B2B Appointment Setting Is A Process​

There’s nothing especially difficult about b2b lead generation. However, it’s important to remember that it’s a sales development process. And all processes can be broken down into their component activities.

To get the best results possible, carefully document each stage of the appointment setting process. Then decide on metrics to measure and analyze your efficacy in each area. For example, you can measure your copy by A/B testing different copy elements like the subject line or call to action.

The more you focus on improving each element of your appointment setting process the better you’ll fill your sales pipeline.

If you’d like to discuss Sales Higher’s b2b appointment setting services, just give us a shout and we’ll get back to you right away.

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray

Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.

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