Appointment Best Practices - The Service Method

Appointment Best Practices

Appointment setting campaigns are a vital part of the business pipeline. It allows you to take advantage of marketing efforts, maintain opportunity momentum and move opportunities farther along in the pipeline.

Before the campaign can start however, preparation and a plan must be put into place to fully utilize each lead to the fullest. Making sure that the sales team is prepared for all aspects of the appointment campaign is a vital part of making sure that it is successful. 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.

Marketing and sales collaboration and buy-in are also an integral part of the success to any appointment campaign. Communication before, during and after a campaign is critical. Communication during will allow for any suggestions, adjustments or modifications which need to be made and wrap-up meetings will help you gauge the success of the program, as well as gain important feedback from the sales team.

Pre-requisites to consider before contacting lead appointments:

  • Is the target audience defined: include relevant title, industry, and vertical information?
  • Consider the benefit of the appointment from the contacts perspective.
  • There is a clear expectation around the goal of the appointment for the sales team.\There is an understanding and specific focus on products or solutions, as well as the process for handling needs outside of that area.
  • Defining qualified appointments, ie: “foot in door” meetings, “2 Legger” or 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”)?\
  • 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.
  • The lead time for the appointments, 1-2 weeks out or further?
  • Appointment duration for phone or face to face meetings.
  • 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.

Identifying the lead

You cannot start discussing lead appointment best practices without mentioning how important it is to get your lead identified and delivered to the sales team for assignment, immediately. Making sure that the lead is warm and qualified is a crucial step in the campaign process. Having a contact policy of 30 minutes or less will ensure that those leads are toasty and ready for your call.

Other good ideas for your campaign

  • Lead scoring: using technology to score the leads based on your “best client” criteria can filter leads to those which best fit your criteria.
  • Online Chat: using chat on your website can go a long way to helping the prospect find what they are looking for online and scheduling an appointment real-time.
  • Integrating your calendar: your calendar can be used to streamline the appointment setting process and allow the prospect to set an appointment that works best for them, vs going back and forth or waiting on a representative to tell them what is best.
  • Using Call to Action: call to action can be used as process loops during the human conversation with the prospect or actual call to action statements to trigger customer buy-in.

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