B2B Appointment Generation: Everything You Need to Know

What Is B2B Appointment Setting

This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

The average salesperson faces four rejections from a company before they agree to invest in the solution. Translation? You need to perfect the art of appointment generation to grow your sales pipeline.

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about appointment generation, including:

  • What is sales appointment setting?
  • What is a sales development rep?
  • When to invest in B2B sales appointment setting
  • How much do appointment-setting services cost?

Let’s start by establishing what “appointment setting” means.

Ultimate Guide to B2B Appointment Setting

Download the Ultimate B2B Appointment Setting Guide

Learn what it takes to identify prospects, get in touch with decision-makers, and set more meetings for your sales reps.

What is sales appointment setting?

In sales, appointment setting is a sales development activity that involves cold calling and following up with top-of-funnel leads to schedule appointments for closing sales reps — who will deliver a detailed sales pitch to the leads. It is also known as appointment generation and sales development.

By adopting the SDR/AE model, you’ll be able to accelerate prospecting while allowing the salesperson to focus on closing deals. You’ll need to hire specialized appointment setters to benefit from appointment setting.

What is a sales development rep?

Also known as an appointment setter, a sales development rep (SDR) is primarily responsible for contacting a prospect and scheduling a sales meeting or product demo. They have four core job functions:

  • Reach out — primarily by phone — to cold leads and inbound leads
  • Follow up on warm leads
  • Qualify leads by confirming that the lead is a fit for the product and has purchase authority

For you to hire the best appointment setter for your organization, we recommend you look for candidates with the following skill sets:

We wrote an in-depth article on what to look for when hiring an SDR. We even dive into the entire interviewing process to set your team up for success.

When to invest in B2B sales appointment setting

Generally speaking, every company can benefit from a B2B sales appointment-setting team. That said, we recommend companies with the following traits to build a sales development department:

  • If the company’s average selling price (ASP) is relatively high
  • If the company’s sales cycle is relatively long

If either of those statements describes you, we recommend that you start account-based selling — which involves finding the right stakeholders within an organization and targeting them.

In other words, your SDRs need to identify key decision-makers effectively and persistently follow up with them until they’re ready for a sales conversation.

Investing in appointment generation reduces the time needed for a sales rep to nurture leads. This allows the sales rep to focus solely on the most qualified leads. 

This also reduces the sales cycle, as both your SDRs and sales rep can work together to make more touches in less time.

Should SDRs report to sales or marketing?

Studies show that 65% of SDR teams report to sales — especially since it’s best practice for SDRs to only set sales appointments for their assigned reps.

According to a 2018 Metrics and Compensation Research Report by the Bridge Group 53% of inbound sales reps and 90% of outbound sales reps report to sales.

However, this depends on whether your sales development team is inbound, outbound, or all-bound. For example, an SDR team might report to marketing if they’re just an inbound team.

However, we do not recommend siloing your SDR team. Otherwise, you can increase the chances of a miscommunication mishap between a rep and SDR. Learn more about the importance of adopting an all-bound approach here.

Should you outsource appointment setting?

The costs of hiring an internal SDR team can add up to $390,000 compared to the $120,000 it costs to hire a complete EBQ team.

Today, many companies choose to outsource their appointment generation team to reduce overhead costs and ensure productivity.

Outsourcing also allows you to save on:

  • Recruiting for the high-turnover SDR role
  • Training and ramping up new SDRs
  • Hardware and software licenses
  • Employee benefits
  • Other miscellaneous overhead

How much do appointment-setting services cost?

Typically, appointment-setting services have two pricing models: pay-per-lead and recurring retainer fee.

Generally speaking, you should expect to pay $50-250 per set appointment. We even see numbers as high as $500 per lead in a pay-per-lead model.

On the other hand, we’ve seen leads sold for as little as $10 per set appointment — but they’re often of questionable quality. The final cost ultimately depends on the quality of leads, your industry, and your solution’s complexity.

If you want to partner with our outsourced appointment-setting team, check out our Pricing Page. As part of our monthly retainer fee, we will even prospect and nurture your leads for you.

Ultimate Guide to B2B Appointment Setting

Download the Ultimate B2B Appointment Setting Guide

Learn what it takes to identify prospects, get in touch with decision-makers, and set more meetings for your sales reps.

The benefits of appointment setting: summarized

B2B appointment setting allows companies to accelerate their sales pipeline in a number of ways:

  • Ensures leads receive proper discovery, follow-up, and attention
  • SDRs help maintain a clean and up-to-date database of target accounts
  • Shortens sales cycles, especially for big deals with complex buying processes
  • Keeps account executives focused on prospects who are more likely to buy

With the right team of appointment setters, you’ll be able to grow your sales pipeline. Not only can you decrease your sales cycle, but you can even follow up on your prospects more effectively. Visit our appointment setting services page for more information.

Yes, I want to generate more appointments for my sales team.

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