What is B2B Appointment Setting?

5 minutes

What is B2B appointment setting?

B2B appointment setting involves dedicated sales reps typically known as sales development reps (SDRs) prospecting and reaching out to cold leads with the objective or setting up a sales meeting for another rep. The purpose of B2B appointment setting is to boost sales productivity and efficiency by delegating prospecting to one team and closing deals to another. This is particularly helpful for sales teams with a long sales cycle or large average sale price as they take longer to nurture and close.

Most companies choose to outsource the appointment setting to avoid the costs and effort of trying to fill this role internally.

What does an appointment setter actually do?

As the name suggests, appointment setters are tasked with setting appointments between qualified prospects and the sales team. They do this by reaching out to cold leads via a combination of email, cold calls and social media and may also be tasked with following up with warm leads. A big part of an appointment setter's duties is to also qualify leads by confirming that the lead is a fit for the solution on offer.

Appointment setters typically come in the form of sales development reps (SDRs) and are typically filled internally for software and tech companies. These reps focus purely on developing the top of the sales funnel via cold calling, lead qualification and early nurturing.

SDR skills

Because SDRs are a specialised role, they need a specific set of skills in order to be successful.

  1. Understand and deliver a company's unique value proposition succinctly
  2. Find and get in touch with the correct point of contact for a target account or company
  3. Handle objections via phone and email by understanding a prospect's needs and pain points
  4. Qualify leads by asking a series of qualification questions
  5. Navigate their company's chose CRM and sales engagement software
  6. Consistently accelerate outbound efforts including cold emailing and cold calling

When does a company need B2B appointment setting?

B2B appointment setting doesn't work for every business and is relevant to more companies than others. There are three signs that a company could benefit from B2B appointment setting:

Selling high-ticket B2B products/services

If you're B2B products and focusing on a large volume of deals, closing a sale involves multiple touchpoints, engaging multiple stakeholders and a long sales cycle. B2B appointment setters are able to address all these issues by first identify the relevant buyer personas and reaching out to each with a tailored message likely to resonate and generate an appointment. Because their role is focused purely on prospecting, they're able to engage and persistently follow up with prospect until they're ready for an appointment or meeting - something closing reps do not have time for.

Long sales cycle

By long, we mean at least a month. Long sales cycles require a large investment of time from the closing rep. Appointment setting allows you to shorten the cycle by ensuring that closing reps dedicate 100% of their time just on closing prospects that have already been qualified and are currently thinking of purchasing your product.

When should you outsource appointment setting?

The big reason for outsourcing B2B appointment setting is to save on expenses plus the costs of building and training an internal team. Specifically, money is saved on:

  1. Recruiting for a role associated with high-turnover
  2. Training and time ramping up a new SDR (average of 3 months)
  3. Hardware and software licenses
  4. Employee benefits and super
  5. Other overheads

How much does appointment setting cost?

Appointment setting is charged in one of two ways:

  1. A cost per appointment
  2. Monthly or annual contract

Depending on your business, solution and target customer, you can expect to pay $50 to $500 per appointment on average when you outsource your appointment setting efforts. For example, setting appointments with marketing managers of SMBs turning over less than $10M is easier and therefore cheaper than setting appointments with CMOs of $200M+ companies.

SDR team structure

SDRs should only be considered when a company has at least one person (e.g. an account executive (AE) or the CEO of a startup) dedicated to closing warm leads. The number you hire and structure of the team is going to depend on how many deals you expect to manage and close. Here are the three most common SDR structures.

  • 1:1 - this ratio of SDR to AE is the starting point for most companies and results in a close relationship between the salesperson closing deals and the SDR setting appointments.
  • 2:1 - this ratio involves two SDRs per closing rep and is great for businesses with a shorter sales cycle and small deal size. Each closing rep gets 2x as many deals as what they'd receive via the 1:1: structure.
  • 1:2+ - this structure involves two closing reps per SDR and is the model typically associated with enterprise sales teams where the pipeline is slow and the sales cycle is long with a high average deal size.

No matter the model, an SDR should be assigned to specific rep/s as it helps with performance tracking and consistent results.

The different types of SDRs

The SDRs we've discussed above are typically known as outbound SDRs as they initiate contact with a cold lead via outbound methods. Inbound SDRs are different in that they instead follow up with warm leads generated via marketing initiatives like content downloads, web form submissions or free trials.

Although some companies have both inbound and outbound SDRs, a simpler model for start ups and smaller sales teams is an all bound SDR team. This involves each SDR being responsible for both inbound and outbound leads. This allows the SDRs to have better visibility into the accounts interacting with the company and experience more productive inbound conversations that boost morale (as their easier to close) while still developing their skills when interacting with cold contacts.

The benefits of B2B appointment setting

At the end of the day, B2B appointment setting is an efficiency way for B2B businesses to ensure their sales team is spending their time on qualified leads. Appointment setters ensure leads receive proper discovery, follow-up and attention whilst shortening the sales cycle especially for big deals.

If you're interested in building your own SDR team, check out our Guide to B2B Appointment setting. Alternatively, get in touch with us today to see how Fide can help you with your B2B appointment setting.

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