Starting a business and growing your organization take immense time and effort. Increasing your customer base is crucial and requires personalized customer engagement during each stage of the sales funnel. With many businesses working with limited staff and a finite amount of time, giving adequate attention to all your current and potential customers can be challenging.
Company owners and good managers know how critical it is to mine sales leads continuously. However, it’s not always possible to have an endless supply of leads waiting in the wings. In fact, many business owners find that the most challenging aspect of growing a business is finding an effective way to reach new prospects and potential clients.
To save time and effort, many businesses are outsourcing some of this work to appointment-setting services. Appointment-setting services act as personalized assistants that handle the basics of booking new appointments so your sales team can focus on closing deals.
We’ll explore how appointment-setting services can help a business grow and look at the features to consider when selecting this type of outsourced partner.
What is an appointment-setting service?
Setting appointments with new prospects can eat up an inordinate amount of time and resources. An appointment-setting service can help.
Appointment-setting services provide a way for your sales team to avoid sifting through marginal or dead leads and focus on closing promising leads in prescheduled calls or meetings. These services direct qualified leads to your sales staff by coordinating schedules and calendars to set up meetings.
The best appointment-setting services have trained sales reps who can make appointments on behalf of your sales team. They’ll have a level of knowledge about your products and services, and can competently answer questions, but their goal is to get prospects to trained sales representatives.
If you want an easy way for established customers to book service or consulting appointments with your staff, consider Microsoft Bookings.
What are the benefits of using an appointment-setting service?
With the right appointment-setting service, your management and sales teams can focus on their primary jobs and leave the sifting and scheduling to an outsourced partner.
“Managing your business by taking advantage of an appointment-setting service will help you run your company more efficiently in a variety of ways,” said Conor Febos, account manager at Lewis Communications.
These are some of the primary benefits of appointment-setting services:
- Keeping track of your schedule: An appointment-setting service can sync with your calendar platform to ensure all appointments are set and met. “An appointment-setting service can sync with your Google Calendar and keep track of all your new bookings and appointments,” Febos said. “It can help block time on your calendar, and everyone will be on the same page in reaching out to new prospects and prospective clients.”
- Managing your clients: Appointment-setting services make it easy to stay on top of your client communications. “With an appointment-setting service, you can keep track of your client’s history and upcoming bookings,” added Febos. “You can send automatic email reminders and professional invoices. In addition, you can also get notified each time you receive a new message.”
- Staying updated 24/7: With an appointment-setting service, you’re never in the dark about your bookings. “You will be able to find out when a prospect makes or cancels a booking, sends a message, or visits your website,” Febos said. “You will have the opportunity to send updates and respond to any special requests.”
The best shared calendar apps make it easier to collaborate with team members and schedule meetings. Top choices include Google Calendar, Asana, Calendly and Outlook.
How much does it cost to use an appointment-setting service?
The cost of appointment-setting services can range from 82 cents to $1.15 per minute, $15 to $100 by appointment, and $400 to $600 for setup fees, depending on the industry. When budgeting for a service, account for setup costs, annual fees and other related charges.
To find the right service for your business’s needs, shop around and get referrals from friends and business associates. Look online and research various appointment-setting companies in your area.
A larger, more established appointment-setting service may have more expensive fees. While these companies may have extensive features, don’t overlook newer services. Less established services may be less expensive, be willing to work with you to create a custom plan and still have industry experience with other companies.
Which features should you look for in an appointment-setting service?
While many appointment-setting companies offer similar services, look for these specialized features that may benefit your business.
- The knowledge to run an efficient campaign: Look for an appointment-setting service with experience running campaigns to bring you qualified leads.
- Creative scriptwriting assistance: The best appointment-setting services have teams of creative people on staff who can help create a customized script tailored to your company.
- Custom strategies based on your needs: An experienced appointment-setting service knows how to create customized strategies based on your company’s needs and requirements.
- Proven success: It’s essential to read reviews and see past work to gauge how creative solutions may help your business. While some past clients or case studies may include sensitive or proprietary information, the best appointment-setting companies offering software and solutions should be able to provide at least one to three past projects to prove their success.
- Industry experience: Industries are vastly different; the appointment-setting process in B2B automotive looks much different than it does in the medical industry. As such, choosing an appointment-setting company with tried-and-true industry experience sets your contract up for success.
- Accessible support team: Similar to having a good creative team at your back, you’ll want to ensure the company employs helpful and accessible developers to troubleshoot any technical problems that may arise with the appointment-scheduling software. After all, this software will be one of your company’s primary ways to collect leads.
Make a list of what you need and want from an appointment-setting solution so you’ll understand if the companies you demo suit your needs.
What are some of the top appointment-setting services?
If you’re considering using an appointment-setting service to help your company turn prospects into clients, do your research and find a business you’re comfortable with that shares your corporate culture and values.
Here are some excellent companies to consider.
- SalesRoads: SalesRoads brands itself as a B2B appointment-setting solution for the manufacturing and technology industries. Its appointment-setting services optimize pipeline management with prequalified meetings. By 2022, its client Bid Retriever has driven 1,157 demos with the help of SalesRoads.
- Martal Group: Based in Oakville, Canada, and San Francisco and founded in 2009, Martal Group mainly serves technology companies in the SaaS, enterprise software, and IT sectors. Clients hold its appointment-setting solutions in very high regard, with many giving a 4.9 rating out of 5 for willingness to refer and overall scheduling.
- VSA Prospecting: Primarily working with midmarket businesses, VSA Prospecting has an incredibly high rating for scheduling satisfaction. It works in varied industries, including medical, manufacturing, automotive, business service and e-commerce. The company was founded in 2001 and is currently headquartered in Haddonfield, New Jersey, with a satellite office in Philadelphia. Though it is more costly than other options, VSA Prospecting’s expertise and reviews make it a worthy choice.
- Ziff Davis Performance Marketing (ZDPM): ZDPM combines Salesify and DemandShore, which have collectively been in the B2B space since early 2004. The company’s primary goal is to “[leverage] technology and innovation to drive higher quality, productivity gains, and improved customer experience.”
- eCoast Marketing: eCoast Marketing started with five employees in 2000 as an outsourced demand-generation company. Over the years, it has grown into a team of experts dedicated to helping its clients succeed.
- Out2Bound: Out2Bound’s dedicated team of like-minded, driven people has international experience, diverse business backgrounds, and a passion for sales and technology.
- Leadium: Leadium includes a large group of sales and marketing professionals who use their talents to help your company meet its goals. The company works with startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.
John Riddle contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.