Appointment setting campaigns are an excellent marketing strategy that allows you to increase market awareness while simultaneously adding momentum to the process of moving opportunities further along into the sales pipeline. They are very beneficial for sales teams, allowing them to target and get their foot in the door at select accounts. In order to reap the greatest benefits of an appointment setting campaign, make sure you leverage the best practices outlined below:
Pre-launch – Need to know criteria:
- A defined target audience, including relevant titles, industries, and verticals.
- The benefit of setting an appointment from the contacts perspective.
- Clear expectations around the goal of the appointment for the sales team.
- Understanding specific focus products or solutions, as well as the process for handling needs outside of that area.
- Defining qualified appointments, ie: “foot in door” meetings vs. qualified lead opportunities. If both are acceptable, is there a preference for what types of appointments are suitable for each (ie: face to face for lead appointments and phone appointments for “foot in door”)?
Gaining buy-in from sales:
Communication before, during, and after the campaign is critical for a successful campaign. Before campaign launch: Outline the appointment setting process, set expectations, and gain a clear understanding of the desires and expectations of the sales team. Adjustments can be made prior to launch based on feedback from sales team. Communication during TM appointment setting will allow for minor adjustments or modifications throughout the campaign. A campaign wrap-up meeting is invaluable as it allows you to gauge the success of the campaign from the sales team’s perspective, as well as modify and establish best practices based on the feedback received.
Other Factors to consider:
- Size of sales team: The strategy will vary depending on the number of sales representatives that appointments are being set for. More customization is possible for smaller teams (customization of appointment type dependant on geography and calendar sharing are more feasible) compared to larger numbers of sales representatives where establishing standards (standard ranges of time blocked off for appointments, standardizations of appointment type and how far out meetings are to be scheduled) is critical.
- Mobility/geographical considerations: Mobility of the sales team, as well as the geography they cover should factor in to understanding which appointments are best suited for the team involved. An inside sales team or a team of field reps that covers an expansive geographical area may prefer the initial appointment set be via phone, while a field rep with more localized accounts is better suited for face to face meetings.
- Scheduling appointments: The type of appointment and geography of the accounts the field reps are responsible for are important to consider as you set guidelines for the time frame between initial conversation and potential appointment dates. For phone appointments a 1-2 week notice is usually sufficient as this fosters impetus by not allowing too much time to elapse, particularly when a lead opportunity is detected. For face to face appointments additional time should be allotted to facilitate coordination of travel arrangements, 2 weeks to a month is a standard model.
- Appointment Duration: This will vary depending on the goal of the appointment, but a typical phone appointment should be set for a minimum of 15-30 minutes and a face to face would customarily take between 30 minutes to an hour.
- Built-in flexibility: While setting appointments, it is important to detect 2-3 potential options, preferably on distinct dates and varying times of the day. This provides flexibility for the sales representative, as they can select the alternative that best fits their availability.
- Next Steps: Delineating expectations once the appointment has been set including the hand-off process and the party responsible for sending the meeting invite and/or rescheduling. This framework should be in place prior to outbound telemarketing, as the contact needs to have a clear understanding of next steps once the appointment is set.