Appointment Setters 101: The Key to a Thriving Sales Team
Appointment setters — the unsung heroes of sales.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, having a reliable appointment setting team can mean the difference between surviving and thriving. But exactly what does an appointment setter bring to the table?
In this no-nonsense article, we’ll explore why account executives aren’t the only ones wearing capes as we unpack how appointment setters free up 20 hours a week for the closers on your sales team.
What Is an Appointment Setter?
An appointment setter is an entry-level sales professional responsible for identifying, contacting, and scheduling appointments with potential clients for account executives. Their role is pivotal in the sales process as they help in generating leads and creating the initial rapport with potential customers, making them a significant first point of contact between a company and its potential clientele.
Appointment setters undergo specific training and onboarding processes to equip them with the necessary skills required to excel in their role. Professional appointment setters are adept at understanding the products and services they are promoting, allowing them to engage with prospective clients effectively.
What Do Appointment Setters Do?
Appointment setters play a crucial role in the sales process, acting as the initial point of contact between a company and potential clients. As their job title suggests, their primary responsibility is to set up meetings or calls between sales representatives and prospective customers. They do that through various channels, including phone (often referred to as cold calling), email, and social media.
Here’s a closer look at what appointment setters typically do in their day-to-day:
- Generating leads: Research and identify potential leads for the company’s products or services.
- Initiating Contact: Initiate contact with potential leads through calls, emails, or social media.
- Qualifying Leads: Assess if leads fit the ideal customer profile and interest level.
- Scheduling Appointments: Arrange meetings or calls between qualified leads and sales representatives.
- Managing Calendars: Manage sales representatives’ calendars to optimize their schedules.
- Follow-Up Communications: Follow up with leads to remind them of appointments and provide necessary information.
- Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records of lead interactions in CRM systems.
- Feedback Collection: Gather feedback from leads to help refine future sales strategies.
As you may have noticed from those duties, the modern appointment setter goes beyond mere smile-and-dial calling; they employ strategic approaches to ensure that the appointments set are with individuals who have a genuine interest in the offerings, thereby playing a crucial role in the sales pipeline.
The 7 Must-Have Appointment Setter Skills
While the role of an appointment setter is full of repetitive tasks, their effectiveness hinges on a set of core skills that enable them to navigate through the intricacies of initiating and nurturing client interactions.
As an agency that specializes in hiring top-performing appointment setters, here are the seven skills we look for in each candidate.
- Communication: Can the candidate convey information clearly and effectively? This skill is crucial for articulating the benefits of products or services and ensuring clients understand their value.
- Active Listening: Does the candidate excel in understanding prospects’ needs and responses? Active listening is key to tailoring conversations to address prospects’ pain points and interests.
- Persuasion: Is the candidate adept at persuading prospects to schedule appointments? Effective persuasion involves creating compelling arguments and gracefully handling objections.
- Time Management: Can the candidate manage multiple tasks efficiently? Being able to manage time efficiently is a must for balancing research, calls, and appointment setting to maintain productivity.
- Adaptability: How well does the candidate adapt to the dynamic sales environment? Quick adaptation to varying prospect responses and evolving product offerings is a non negotiable in any appointment setter you hire.
- Technical Proficiency: Does the candidate have a good grasp of CRM systems and digital tools? Technical proficiency is more than necessary for efficiently managing and documenting interactions in modern sales settings.
- Resilience: Can the candidate handle rejection and maintain a positive demeanor? The most successful appointment setters are those who can overcome setbacks and achieve success no matter how tough the situation is.
Each of these skills contributes to the effectiveness and productivity of appointment setters. They lay the foundation for a robust sales pipeline, which will eventually contribute to your company’s bottom line.
How to Become an Appointment Setter
If you’re aiming to secure a position as an appointment setter, it’s essential to prepare for this role strategically. Appointment setters are vital in the sales process as their job requires specific skills and a proactive approach when interacting with prospective buyers.
Here’s a step-by-step plan to help you land a job as an appointment setter:
1. Gain Practical Experience
Successful companies prefer candidates who have a proven track record in the job. So if you’re new to the field, you should consider roles that allow you to gain relevant sales experience and practice job-specific skills.
As a start, this could be a position in customer service, telemarketing, or any role involving direct client interaction. Volunteering or internships can also provide valuable experience before transitioning to a more focused role in a business setting. From there, you can always make your way up and apply for a job at your dream company a few years later.
2. Understand the Sales Process
Having a basic understanding of the sales process, especially B2B sales, is a no-brainer. You must familiarize yourself with sales terminologies, stages in the sales funnel, and the role of appointment setting within this framework before you even think of applying for a job.
The good news is that most hiring companies will specify exactly what they’re expecting from the new appointment setters they hire. So, you don’t have to worry about where to start. The job description will include a list of requirements, qualifications, and duties — which you can analyze and find ways to promote yourself as the best applicant they can hire.
3. Prepare a Compelling Resume
Now that you have the required skills and experience, it’s time to craft a job-winning resume that highlights your best skills and achievements. Emphasize any roles where you’ve successfully communicated with clients or managed schedules and appointments.
When crafting your resume, you must always express your willingness to learn more and adapt to different situations. The sales field is dynamic and ever-changing. Thus, showing that you’re open to training and continuous learning will be a significant plus.
Crafting a compelling resume is crucial once you have the necessary skills and experience. Ensure that your ATS resume highlights your best skills and achievements, with a particular focus on roles involving effective client communication and schedule management. Additionally, expressing a willingness to learn and adapt is vital in the dynamic sales field, making you stand out as someone open to training and continuous growth.
4. Network and Apply Strategically
There’s no shortage of appointment setters, with hundreds of refused job applicants who are still looking for a job to this day. What’s the reason for their failure? They’re applying for the wrong jobs through the wrong networks.
In the field of B2B sales and marketing, LinkedIn is the best way to connect with professionals who share your passion and interests. This platform is where most companies publish their job openings and study new applications. Also, target companies whose products or services align with your interests or expertise are most likely to be present at local events or industry meetups to promote their brands. This is where you can network effectively and put one foot in the door.
5. Practice for Interviews
Like any other job, you should prepare for common interview questions related to sales and customer interaction. You may, for example, be asked for a scenario role-play where you’d have to demonstrate how you handle a call or manage a difficult client.
How Much Do Appointment Setters Make?
The financial compensation for appointment setters can vary broadly based on experience, geographic location, and the specific industry they work in. Here’s a breakdown of the salary ranges and payment structures:
The average salary for an appointment setter in the USA is around $39,000 per year, with entry-level positions starting at $29,250 per year and experienced workers making up to $70,000 per year.
The hourly rate for this role averages $18.75.
Like most jobs, salaries can vary significantly by region. For instance, appointment setters in West Virginia and Idaho earn an average of $60,000 annually, while those in Alabama earn around $31,688 annually, according to Talent.com.
Salary: A fixed amount paid to appointment setters, no matter the number of appointments they set.
Salary + Bonus: A fixed salary plus additional bonuses, which could be based on performance metrics such as the number of appointments set or other sales targets achieved.
Commissions: Some appointment setters work on commission, receiving a predetermined percentage of the sales revenue from the appointments they set that result in closed sales.
Pay-Per-Lead: Those compensated on a pay-per-lead basis receive a predetermined amount for each appointment they generate, regardless of whether these leads convert to sales.
Hourly Wage: Especially relevant for part-time appointment setters, hourly wages are based on the amount of work performed, in contrast to salaries that represent a set yearly compensation.
How to Hire an Appointment Setter: Choosing the Best-of-the-Best
Hiring the right appointment setter is a critical decision for any business, as it can significantly impact growth opportunities. Choosing the wrong candidate can lead to missed opportunities and, in the long run, may even hinder the company’s ability to attract new business.
Therefore, the hiring process must be thorough and well-considered to ensure the selection of a candidate who not only possesses the necessary skills but also aligns with the company’s values and objectives.
Here are 9 essential steps to hiring a reliable appointment setter for your company:
- Craft a Magnetic Job Description: Pen a job description that not only lists the qualifications but also portrays the pivotal role of an appointment setter in driving revenue growth.
- Strategically Post Your Job Opening: Advertise on platforms frequented by sales professionals, emphasizing the opportunity to make a significant impact.
- Selective Resume Screening: Shortlist candidates with proven industry knowledge and technological aptitude to hit the ground running.
- Administer Behavioral Interviews: Discover how candidates have navigated sales challenges in the past, and their potential to contribute to your team.
- Conduct Real-World Mock Calling Sessions: Gauge candidates’ real-time sales skills, objection handling, and ability to build rapport.
- Analyze Performance Metrics: Dive into their past performance metrics to predict their potential success in your organization.
- Perform Revenue-Impact Reference Checks: Ask for references about the candidate’s tangible impact on lead generation and revenue growth.
- Extend an Engaging Job Offer: Offer a compelling package that emphasizes the strategic importance of their role.
- Deploy a Robust Onboarding and Training Program: Equip your new hires with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to thrive and contribute to your revenue goals.
Now, let’s face it…
While this traditional approach for handling appointment setting allows for a tailored fit to the company’s specific needs, it can also be time-consuming and costly. The risk that the candidate, despite seeming perfect on paper, may not perform as expected in the actual role is always there. This could lead to a cycle of continuous hiring and training, draining resources and diverting focus from core business activities.
A more strategic solution — which all successful companies have adopted in this day and age — is to let an external agency handle that risk. Outsourcing appointment setting offers a more efficient and cost-effective approach, eliminating the need for an extensive in-house hiring process. By partnering with a specialized agency, businesses can gain access to experienced and skilled sales agents without the associated risks and overheads of traditional hiring. This approach not only saves time and money but also reduces the financial risks involved in hiring and training new employees.
The 4-Week Appointment Setter Onboarding and Training Program
This program mirrors the successful appointment setter onboarding and training methodology employed at Martal Group. At the core of our approach is a blend of industry-specific knowledge, technological adeptness, strategy mastery, and continuous development, all aimed at fostering excellence in the art of appointment setting.
Week 1: Unveiling the Industry Landscape
Day 1-3 | Industry Orientation: Dive into the heart of your industry, exploring the key players, market dynamics, and the language of the realm. Equipping your appointment setters with industry acumen right from the start will empower them to converse confidently with prospects.
Day 4-5 | Product/Service Training: Transition into an exploration of your offerings. Engage them in interactive sessions where they can experience your product or service just like a customer would. Knowledge is power, and understanding the value proposition inside out is crucial.
Week 2: Merging Tech and Talk
Day 1-2 | Technology Onboarding: Introduce the tech stack that will be their best friend in the days to come. From CRM systems to communication tools, ensure they’re comfortable and proficient.
Day 3-5 | Communication Skills Enhancement: Communication is the key to success in appointment setting. Host workshops that refine their articulation, listening, and persuasion skills. Real-life role-play scenarios can make these sessions engaging and highly effective.
Week 3: Mastering the Art of Engagement
Day 1-3 | Lead Generation Techniques: Dive into the strategies that spell success in lead generation. Discuss the importance of personalized outreach and share tips on identifying promising leads.
Day 4-5 | Mock Calls and Role Plays: It’s time for action! Arrange mock calls to practice and refine their appointment setting skills, providing constructive feedback to nurture their growth.
Week 4: Setting the Stage for Success
Day 1-2 | Performance Metrics and Goals Setting: Establish clear metrics and goals to create a roadmap for success. Make sure they understand how their performance impacts the business.
Day 3-5 | Initial Feedback and Adjustments: Collect and share feedback, celebrating the wins and adjusting strategies as needed to keep them on the path to success.
Continuous Training: Evolving Towards Excellence
Monthly | Continuous Feedback and Coaching: A culture of continuous improvement drives excellence. Regular feedback sessions will help them grow and adapt to the evolving market dynamics.
Quarterly | Advanced Sales Training: As they mature in their role, introduce advanced training modules to broaden their sales acumen and prepare them for the next level.
Job Titles and Career Progression
Typically, appointment setters spend anywhere from 6 months to 2 years in their role before advancing to positions like sales development representative (SDR) or account executive (AE).
The progression can be quicker for high performers or in companies with rapid growth and ample opportunities for upward mobility. Continuous learning, achieving set targets, and displaying a thorough understanding of the sales process can significantly accelerate the transition to more advanced roles within the sales or marketing domain.
The Hidden Cost of Training In-House Appointment Setters
Training in-house appointment setters, while seemingly beneficial, often carries hidden costs and risks that can significantly impact businesses.
The process requires a time-intensive commitment from company leaders, as they need to closely monitor the progress of new hires through a period of on-the-job learning and adjustment. Additionally, there’s always the uncertainty of how well new hires will adapt to the specific demands of the role — a risk that most thriving companies should be hesitant to take.
This uncertainty, coupled with the substantial investment of time and resources, makes in-house training a challenging endeavor for businesses aiming for efficiency and effectiveness in their sales operations. That’s when outsourced appointment setting services emerge as the ideal solution.
💡If you’d like to discover just how much you could save by outsourcing appointment setting, check out our interactive ROI calculator for a personalized estimate.
How to Hire Outsourced Appointment Setters
The first and most important step when outsourcing appointment setters is to clearly define your business needs and expectations. You must identify the specific goals you aim to achieve, such as increasing sales leads, targeting a new market segment, or enhancing customer engagement. Clarifying your objectives from the get-go will guide you in finding the most suitable outsourcing partner and help you evaluate their performance later on.
When selecting an outsourcing partner for appointment setting, it’s crucial to weigh several key factors to ensure a successful collaboration. These include:
Relevant Experience: Look for a partner with a proven track record in your specific industry or with projects similar to yours. This experience ensures they understand your market and can hit the ground running.
Reputation: Investigate the agency’s reputation and what the market thinks of them. Read client testimonials, review case studies, and check for any industry awards or recognitions. A reputable partner is likely to deliver consistent, high-quality results.
Communication Style: Effective communication is vital for a thriving partnership. Ensure the agency’s communication style and frequency align with your expectations. Regular updates and transparent dialogue are essential for a smooth partnership.
Technological Capabilities: Consider their proficiency with the latest tools and AI technologies, especially CRM systems and communication platforms. This ensures efficiency and integration with your existing systems.
Pricing: Understand their pricing structure before you agree on any terms in the contract. The cost should be transparent, competitive, and offer good value for money. Ensure it aligns with your budget and the ROI you expect from the appointment setting services.
At Martal, we have a team of skilled appointment setters who have experience in a variety of industries and niches. We understand the importance of building strong relationships with potential clients and are committed to providing our clients with high-quality leads that have the potential to convert into sales.
As the marketplace grows more competitive, effectively connecting with potential clients and setting meaningful appointments is a skill in high demand. This surge in interest towards appointment setting jobs reflects a broader recognition of their critical role in driving business growth. By hiring the right appointment setters for your company, you’ll turn more potential leads into valuable opportunities and significantly enhance the sales pipeline significantly.
Given the importance of this role, outsourced appointment setting becomes more of an excellent option for companies looking to leverage expertise without the overheads of in-house hiring. Hiring a reliable sales partner offers your business the advantage of tapping into a pool of experienced and skilled professionals who are adept at navigating the nuances of any industry.