In the highly competitive B2B industry, identifying the best and most-effective lead generation strategies is crucial. Most businesses are exploring ways how they will be able to reach their target audience, grab their attention, and convert them into paying customers.
One of these marketing strategies is B2B appointment setting where a dedicated sales department does cold calling or cold messaging to get leads and book meetings. Once a lead is qualiﬁed, the sales representative conducts a series of follow-up sequences with a more detailed sales pitch. This engages the potential buyer which will, later on, lead to a sale.
However, lead generation is not that easy. The marketing team, sales rep, and appointment setters must work together to implement an effective lead generation campaign.
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B (business to business) marketing refers to marketing and promoting your products and services to other businesses. Unlike B2C (business to consumer), where your customers are individuals, your customers in B2B are organizations, companies, and businesses.
B2B marketing is geared towards various key stakeholders and decision-makers. The marketing approach is straightforward and not too salesy and dramatic like B2C. Since you are speaking to business professionals, you need to position yourself as an industry expert and establish thought leadership to gain trust and credibility.
Building personal relationships with prospective customers is an essential initial step before persuading them to purchase your products and services. Business professionals do not buy impulsively. Instead, they take time to review your products and services and look for the value they can provide.
When marketing to key decision-makers, it is essential to target their interests, problems, and needs. You need to show them the beneﬁts of using your products and how they can be a great help to their company. Whether you are selling SAAS (software-as-a-service), management tools, or oﬃce supplies, the way you discuss your products can inﬂuence your customer’s buying decision.
Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes
Generating leads is not easy. With a lot of businesses competing for customer attention, you need to be creative and innovative to make your name stand out. Your lead generation strategy can make or break your business. Without a proper system to acquire quality leads, the business has the potential to collapse and cease operation. It is no wonder why about 70% of B2B businesses fail in their ﬁrst year.
It is vital to have a proper understanding of what a good sales funnel is. This will give you a clear view of how traﬃc comes to your website and what factors attract them to do so. A good sales funnel will also ﬁll your sales pipeline with quality leads which can increase conversion rate, leading to more business.
No matter how excellent and trained your sales reps are, if they are speaking to poor- quality leads, there is a higher probability that those will not convert. B2B lead generation requires careful planning, tailored strategy, and patience. To hit the right target, you need to aim strategically. It is diﬃcult to hit the bullseye with your eyes closed.
3 Factors Why Lead Generation is Challenging
a. It requires time and effort
There is no shortcut to success. If lead generation is so easy, then all businesses will be skyrocketing by now. The truth is, you need to invest tremendous time and effort in your lead generation strategy. It is impossible to hit your desired goals overnight. If you want to rush things and ignore the process, do not expect successful results. It takes time to set up a lead generation campaign.
Generating quality leads can take hours, days, weeks, and even months. The process involves researching a company, creating a personalized sales pitch, writing follow-up
messages, sending a bunch of emails, and numerous phone dials. If you are not willing to dedicate time and effort to ﬁnding quality leads and nurturing them, do not expect consistent sales and growth.
b. It requires advertising costs
Most B2B companies want to get leads and do more deals but are not willing to spend money on ads. While some organic marketing strategies may work, investing in lead generation campaigns provides consistent and better results.
To generate a good number of leads, you need to put money on the right marketing tools, content, visuals, and marketing professionals. As you may know, big companies pay for TV commercials to push their message to their target audience. The same applies to B2B, you need to invest in advertising campaigns such as Google Ads, social media ads, email marketing, and more.
c. It involves your emotion
Aside from time and money, emotions play a crucial role in lead generation. Many B2B professionals fail in lead generation because they cannot handle their emotions. When they call a lead and their offer gets rejected, they take it seriously. As a result, they lose motivation and become discouraged to make another phone call.
Every marketing professional should overcome the fear of getting rejected. Instead, take it as a challenge and learn the factors that make the leads refuse your product and service offerings. Being able to handle objections will help you become a better lead generator and sales closer.
To get more quality leads that ﬁt your buyer persona, let us look at the common mistakes that marketers make in B2B lead generation:
1. You are not using a dedicated landing page
If you are looking to attract leads, you need to drive them to the right place where you can talk more about your products and services. A well-designed landing page with
compelling content can guide your leads to their buying journey and encourage them to take your desired action. A landing page is critical to getting your prospects to complete a speciﬁc objective.
A common mistake that B2B companies make is they always link their ads and promotions to their website’s home page and contact pages. This kills the conversions because your website visitors feel lost and do not know the next steps.
To avoid losing them, do not drive them in a wide array of navigation and content. Create a landing page for speciﬁc campaigns and ads. This simpliﬁes the conversion process as leads will not get confused about what buttons to click. Doing this will reduce bounce rates and lead to more potential sales.
2. You are not delivering value with your content
It’s all about content. You may have a great product that solves organizations’ problems, but if your content is boring, no one will be interested in what you offer. Remember the 80-20 rule in content marketing. This means that 80% of your content should deliver value or provide relevant information to your audience. Only 20% of your content should consist of promotions and advertisements.
Overwhelming your prospects with too much promotional content will just drive them away. Instead of talking about how reputable your business is, or how great your products are, create content that resonates with the readers. It is also beneﬁcial to offer them something free before persuading them to take action.
You can offer a free demo, a step-by-step guide, a downloadable e-book, or provide valuable tips. Sharing interesting and helpful pieces of content will help you build more trust and make your prospects see that you are genuine about your products and not just after the sale.
3. You are using too many call-to-actions (CTAs)
Now that you have a good landing page and engaging content, the next step is to persuade prospects to take a speciﬁc action. This is where you need effective calls to action. Whether you want your prospects to book a call, schedule a demo, get free training, or buy your products, you want them to click the button.
The problem is, B2B professionals are putting a ton of CTA buttons all over the landing page which distracts prospects instead of converting them. The simpler your landing page looks, the better the conversion rate will be. Remove unnecessary header and navigation and use only at least 2 CTAs to maximize conversions.
4. Asking for too much personal information right away
Imagine if someone approaches you and suddenly asks for all your details, how would you feel? For sure, you’ll feel awkward and suspicious. The same happens when your lead gen forms ask for too much information about your prospects. As much as possible, you want your leads to be comfortable sharing information with you.
It is enough just to ask for your prospect’s ﬁrst name and email address. Going with a phone number, postal code, address, and other personal details can make your leads doubtful of your lead gen process.
5. You are not building enough credibility
No company or organization will quickly invest in a product or service. They take time to review your work and look for your credibility online. If you are selling a service, your prospects will likely be keen to read customer testimonials and reviews about your company.
If you have a limited track record and want to gain your customers’ trust, prioritize establishing business relationships. Add brand-building activities to your lead generation campaigns. Build a positive reputation by providing relevant content and caring with relevant companies in your industry.
Draw business owners and decision-makers by establishing an active online presence. Participate in discussions and build your reputation by sharing insights and showcasing your expertise in the subject matter.
6. Not following up
Don’t be easily discouraged when a prospect shows no interest in your sales pitch. Most B2B companies tend to focus more on acquiring new leads and ignore other cold leads that are already existing in their sales pipeline.
With a good follow-up approach, those prospective clients can be nurtured and will likely convert. Also, it is vital to be responsive when a lead gets in contact with you. Responding to a lead after 3 days or preparing a quote after a week will delay the conversion process. This leads to a massive loss of qualiﬁed leads and B2B companies are back prospecting again.
Whenever you have a lead, regardless if it is hot or cold, you need to keep in touch with them consistently. Use marketing and sales tools that will help you automate the follow- up process. Marketing CRMs can also allow you to track lead engagements, and send reminders based on their actions. Train your sales team to check your leads routinely and to keep communication always open.
7. You’re not using social media for lead generation
In this digital age, everyone is on social media. Platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are effective channels for lead generation. Your target clients are hanging out on these platforms and if your business is not present in these places, you are missing a lot of potential leads.
Implement a social media strategy for your lead generation campaigns. Share engaging posts that pique the interest of your audience. Provide value and offer amazing resources such as helpful tips, e-books, and industry news.
8. Lack of consistent testing
Lead generation is not a set-and-forget strategy. It requires consistent testing of content, visuals, and marketing approaches to ﬁnd out what methods are generating the best results. B2B professionals need to invest time in looking at their lead generation campaigns and sales funnel. If the image and brand message of your ads are not consistent with your landing pages, your customers will get confused and will not complete the buying process.
By consistently checking your data and content, you can identify what’s working and what’s not. It will help you learn how you acquire and lose prospects along the way, and make the necessary adjustments. Few improvements such as optimizing the landing page, tweaking the website copy, and creating better visuals can signiﬁcantly increase lead acquisition and conversion rate.
9. Stopping at lead generation
Perhaps, the biggest mistake in lead generation is to stop doing so. Just because your organization or company has a good number of clients, you will stop launching any ads or marketing funnels. If you want your B2B business to achieve consistent growth, lead generation should be your ongoing effort.
Once you stop bringing leads to your sales pipeline, and your existing clients opt-out and went to other business decisions, it will be diﬃcult for you to pivot again. Even if you cannot accommodate new clients in the meantime, continue to create a buzz about your brand. This will give you leads that you can later nurture. Being active in marketing and lead generation will provide you with consistent and measurable results than stopping prospecting and panicking during rainy days.
Why Use Appointment Setting in B2B lead generation?
Appointment setting is an essential marketing task that provides a ton of beneﬁts. It is a powerful lead generator that brings more customers and deals to the business.
However, appointment setting can be time-consuming. For busy business owners who do not have enough time to do the calling and meeting scheduling, it is an ideal choice to outsource the task.
If you do not have a dedicated in-house sales team, you can hire appointment setters (BPO and freelancers) to support your lead generation and sales process. Provide them with a detailed workﬂow and customer service procedure and they can free up your time so you can focus more on other important parts of your business.
For sure, there are many types of lead generation campaigns. You can use Google Ads, Facebook Ads, email marketing, and more. In this post, we will focus on appointment setting since most B2B professionals do not just click an ad and buy it. They value connections and relationships, which is why appointment setting and communicating with them via video conferencing or phone call is most suitable.
Below are the reasons why you should include appointment setting in your B2B lead generation:
• Identiﬁes pain points and qualiﬁes prospects
Appointment setting not only allows you to gather leads but also gain a better understanding of your audience’s behavior. With this, you will be able to determine what percentage of your leads are quality leads who ﬁt your customer proﬁle, and how many leads don’t ﬁll your criteria.
Professional appointment setters don’t force prospects to buy products or services. Instead, they ask pre-qualifying questions that identify if the prospects are serious to take action. This leads to increased eﬃciency and productivity. The more qualiﬁed customers you speak to, the higher the probability of sales.
• Saves time
We all know that in the business world, time lost is money lost. Instead of worrying too much about getting leads and spending countless hours over the phone, you can hire appointment setting services to save time. You only enter the scene when closing sales, speaking with key decision-makers, and strengthening your business partnerships.
• Increase brand awareness
The appointment setting process involves a series of sales scripts that introduce your business to a prospective client. Pushing your message on different platforms increases brand awareness. An excellent appointment setter knows how to position your business in the market and target the right people.
Even if the prospects did not reach the conversion stage, if they have a positive and interesting experience with your brand, they will likely recommend you to their colleagues and friends whom they know might need your product or service.
• Nurture your leads
Lead nurturing is a vital part of making a sale. This can be a tiring process because you need to look at various data and analyze the levels of engagement of your prospects. It is vital to learn the factors why a certain prospect does not proceed deeper on your sales funnel or why a qualiﬁed lead became hesitant after receiving your quote.
With appointment setting, you get a chance to establish better connections with your prospects. You can talk to them and ask what exactly their needs are and how you may be able to help solve their problems. Using the right sales team and CRMs, you can turn those cold and uninterested leads into paying customers. All you need is a strategic follow-up process and relationship-building skills to close more deals.
• Optimize for better results
By reviewing the data and metrics from your lead generation campaigns, you can see the gaps that you need to ﬁll in. Are all the systems and processes put in place? A good appointment setter team will help you organize your data to improve eﬃciency and increase conversions. They can set call and email sequences based on certain triggers and replies from your prospects. Then, they can categorize which leads are likely to purchase and which ones need nurturing.
• It saves costs
Hiring an in-house sales team to call and prospect for leads requires a lot of planning and work. You may need to purchase an appointment setting software and conduct training for your staff. This is labor-intensive and for fast-paced companies where time is a valuable asset, you want your business operations to run smoothly.
Tapping into the power of appointment setting services will not only save you time but also reduce operational costs. You do not have to worry about paying for software, phone lines, PCs, and other additional expenses. Hiring trained and professional appointment setters is an innovative solution that will enable you to get measurable results with less effort and time involved.
How to be an Effective Appointment Setter
Now that you know the beneﬁts of appointment setting, let us learn the qualities that make a successful lead generator. The success of your outreach campaigns depends on your ability as an appointment setter. No matter how good your leads are, if you are inept at handling them, they will not convert.
This is why it is vital for the appointment setter to learn the proper prospecting and closing skills. Being able to face rejections professionally as well as handling negotiations wisely are some of the qualities that a B2B marketer should possess.
Qualities of a Successful B2B Appointment Setter
1. Conversational skills
Although there are sales scripts to guide you, an effective appointment setter does not entirely rely on messaging sequences. This is because different prospects have different replies and questions. Being able to listen to your prospects attentively and leading them to an engaging conversation builds trust and credibility.
You should be ﬂexible in calling, inquiring, and replying to your prospects. Be proactive and learn how to drive conversations. This will make your leads think that you know your stuff, unlike those other lead gen teams who sound robotic in their messaging.
2. Empathy and understanding
When selling a product or service, understand that the money that your prospects will spend on you should be worth it. Your leads should have a clear idea of what exactly you do and how you can solve their problems. Appointment setting is more about presenting a solution to a problem than just making a sale.
A B2B appointment setter should be able to feel the customers’ needs and be in their shoes. Being able to adapt to different scenarios and overcoming them by understanding the prospect’s buying stage, and building rapport are crucial to sales results. Empathy and understanding will tell you how to make assumptions and how to change your approach based on how the prospect talks.
3. Being able to handle rejections
It will take about 5 to 10 rejections, or even more before you make a sale. Lead generation specialists and appointment setters should know how to handle their emotions and accept rejections as a normal part of the lead generation process.
Most sales leads will say no and some may answer you in an unprofessional manner. Instead of taking their words at heart, it is best to move on to a new lead. Emotionally attaching yourself to rejections and objections will make you question your skills and eﬃciency. A good B2B sales rep knows that some leads take time to convert, some are unqualiﬁed, and some are terrible leads.
Take objections and rejections as a ﬁltering process for your leads and just keep on dialing the next number until you ﬁnd the right prospect. A potential sale could be waiting at the corner so there is no reason to feel discouraged.
B2B lead generation is a very demanding task. Staying motivated and positive is the key to success. Knowing that there’s a 70% chance of getting rejected while keeping your composure is a must-have trait that an appointment setter should possess. Once the sales reps lose focus on their tasks, it can massively affect the company’s revenue and sales goals.
Lead gen professionals should keep their morale high and be able to keep going despite any obstacles. The more resilient and determined your sales team is, the higher the probability to convert more leads and closing more deals.
No matter how good your products and services are, if you are not conﬁdent in presenting them to your prospect, it will be hard to make a sale. To be an effective sales professional, you need to be conﬁdent in your product and the way you sell it to your customer.
The sales rep should be able to answer diﬃcult questions and take control of the situation. The aim is to make a good impression and build more trust and credibility. The more knowledgeable you are about your customers’ needs, the more they will like and trust you. Speaking with conﬁdence also allows you to persuade your leads to take action, and eventually turn them into clients.
6. Analytical aptitude
To book more appointments, the sales reps should know how to read the customer’s emotions and decisions. It requires intuition and analytical skills to understand the mind of a prospect. Appointment setters should adjust and create a tailored approach to each call instead of sending a generic and egocentric message. Prospects don’t like hearing salesy and promotional messages. Avoid pushing too hard and ensure that your elevator pitch is short, concise, and full of value.
Tips and Tactics to set more B2B appointments
1. Know your leads
As much as possible, you don’t want to waste time convincing unqualiﬁed leads to buy your products and services. Before your sales reps start looking for prospects, it is important to outline your target client avatar. Messaging and calling leads who are not aligned with your business objectives are intrusive and awkward.
Having your ideal client proﬁle (ICP) will help your sales team ﬁnd the right prospects, target their pain points, and position your solution and offer. The more criteria that your prospect falls into, the higher the chances of you closing the deal.
2. Respect time zone
The best way to disappoint a prospect is to invade his time. Calling your prospects during dinner is surely a turn-off. This is why you should never initiate a call without your prospects expecting it. Always check your prospect’s time zone and call only during optimal times.
You don’t want to call your leads during their family time or disturb their sleep. Before dialing their number, send an email or text message ﬁrst so that they will be advised about the incoming call. Do your research and ﬁnd out the typical business hours that your prospects are in the oﬃce. This is true, especially if you are booking a product demo or want to talk to key decision-makers.
3. Get straight to the point
You need to capture your prospects’ attention in the ﬁrst 10 seconds of the call or the ﬁrst 2 sentences of your sales email. Whomever you are speaking to, put in mind that their time is valuable. Prepare notes, required documents, and necessary information beforehand. Prospects view an organized salesperson as reliable and trustworthy.
• Do your research
Your leads know if you are using generic sales scripts as other companies do. Take time to gather a few details about the prospect’s company and mention something relevant during the call. For example, you can visit their website and see they have a ton of amazing testimonials from other businesses. You can say something like, “I see you specialize in and have worked with . , etc.” Saying something that can pique the prospect’s interest will make them listen to you longer.
• Craft an opener
Business owners and decision-makers don’t want to be bombarded with ”buy me” scripts. You, probably are one of the many sales reps calling them every day, trying to sell a product or service.
90% of leads will automatically reject you if you immediately sell a product in the ﬁrst 10 seconds. Craft a good opener that sparks engagement. Brieﬂy introduce you and your company and give reasons for calling.
You do not want to stutter during a sales call or presentation. It is important to practice what to say and prepare answers for the possible questions the prospects may ask. Practice how you present the beneﬁts of your services including various options tailored according to the customer’s budgets, needs, and preferences. Preparedness is key!
4. Be a problem-solver
Excellent B2B salespersons do not focus on talking about the products and services that the company is offering. Instead, their message highlights how their products can solve a problem. For example, you are selling bookkeeping software to ﬁnancial institutions. It is best to talk about how the software can automate their bookkeeping process and save time, instead of bragging about the award-winning software developers who created the product.
When speaking to leads, position yourself as an industry expert or a consultant and not a pushy salesperson. Prospects are more likely to convert when they learn that you have a strong knowledge of their needs and problems.
5. Share social proof
Businesses buy from businesses that have a strong reputation. Although sharing customer reviews in a sales call may not seem convincing, it can be used as an icebreaker. Make sure you are using a testimonial from the same industry. You can share social proofs via email before or after the sales call. This can boost your brand’s reputation and inﬂuence your prospects’ buying decisions.
6. Be persistent
How many leads does it take to make a sale? According to recent studies, around 10- 15% of B2B leads turn into sales. This means that to acquire more clients, you need a ton of leads coming to your sales pipeline. There is also a huge percentage of the leads you’ve talked to that will become stagnant and not take further action. That is normal in a B2B setting.
However, it is not enough just to have an appointment setting process. You also need to have a nurturing strategy in place. The “no” response you receive today can turn to a “yes” within a few weeks or months. It may take multiple calls and a series of emails before a prospect shows interest. Be persistent and consistent!
7. Don’t reconﬁrm the meeting
A common mistake that most B2B sales reps make is they reconﬁrm the appointment as the date approaches. This is bad because the prospect might reschedule and you will be in a waiting game again. Instead of asking the prospect if the meeting is still on, it is best to send a reminder about the upcoming meeting. Send a follow-up message a day before the agreed-upon date to prevent any no-shows.
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