Cold calling is not something many people are comfortable doing. In this blog post, I’ll share the ways you can succeed in arranging B2B sales appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic fallout.
Arranging good B2B sales appointments is a tall task that most people despise, and it is particularly tricky when calling during the Covid-19 shutdown. You will hear responses like, “Don’t you know what is going on?” or “Now is not a good time to look at anything new.”
I will address this dilemma later on.
To do it right is to understand its basic principles and processes. First off, cold calling is not something many people are comfortable doing. Without proper training and the right mindset, an appointment setter can easily give up, and become frustrated. Being proficient at appointment setting requires far more than speaking on the phone and reciting a script. Below are some tips on how to arrange B2B sales appointments and build a pipeline for Q3 and Q4.
Tips, Tools, Structure, and Goals
1. Acquire the tools.
Carpenters need tools to perform their jobs, and the same holds for appointment setting.
You will need the following:
- Quiet work environment, especially if working from home
- Headsets are necessary for hands-free CRM recording and clear voice communication. Most decent headsets today offer a noise-canceling feature to lessen background sound.
- Well-written scripts are essential. Keep them short and to the point. After all, you are intruding on someone during their workdays. Always ask permission to take the prospects time, and if you say, “May I have three minutes?”, keep it to three minutes.
- CRM Systems for list management is necessary. Choose one with a click feature for easy and fast phone dialing.
- Acquire new data from a reputable B2B list provider; avoid getting ripped off. (Discover.org is my personal favorite.)
- Align with a VoIP Carrier and utilize a Softphone system. I recommend softphones for better integration with your PC. Softphones are a piece of software that allows the user to make telephone calls over the Internet via a computer. (Ring Central or Zoom offers this service.)
- Lastly, you need to dial 200 to 300 calls per day, with the primary goal of arranging two to four qualified leads per week. Most inside sales people never crack 80 calls in a day.
2. Create structure.
Formulating a mindset creates structure. Whether you work from home or the office, dress professionally for work, especially when working from home. Wearing your PJ’s all day does not put you in the same professional mindset as the people you are calling.
- Create a schedule and get to your desk on time.
- Open all of your programs, being sure to check your calendar and email first.
- Take five-minute breaks at least every 60-minutes, especially if you are sitting. Alternatively, utilize a standing desk, which allows you to take fewer breaks, with the bonus that you will feel less fatigued once you get used to using it.
- Don’t be a clock watcher. Come in early and stay late periodically. The goal is to speak to a prospect at a convenient time. Between 5:00 PM and 5:45 PM can be an excellent time to dial. Admins go home, and the prospect’s day is over. People tend to be more relaxed.
3. Set goals.
Without goals and structure, your foray into B2B appointment setting will not be successful.
- Track the gross number of phone calls and emails placed each day, including hangups and how many people you contacted. Use a recording device when possible, and review the phone calls that did not go well. Ask a colleague to critique the call or several calls to get a fresh perspective on your pitch and delivery.
- Set personal goals, such as the number of outbound phone calls and the number of emails sent. Track your time in and out of the office. Without goals and a substantial time commitment, you will fail.
- Lastly, arranging a qualified sales appointment is the goal. Strive for one meeting per day. People that average three to four qualified sales appointments each week are in an elite class. When you achieve numbers like this, you are bringing real value to your organization and management will take notice.
4. Calling During Covid-19
Calling into the enterprise during the Covid-19 shut down is awkward at best. Here are a few tips.
- As mentioned earlier, the script is critical to your success. Build in a request to speak with someone once you have told the prospect your name, company name, and why you are calling. Simply ask to continue the conversation and set a time limit. Two or three minutes should be sufficient. If you are going over the agreed upon time limit, ask permission to continue. By asking permission, you are showing respect to the prospect, and it goes a long way.
- Regarding Covid-19, you should mention that it is an awkward time to call, and simply acknowledge that many companies are not change-minded at the moment given the uncertainty of their future economic condition. Tell them that you want to lay a foundation for a future conversation in the next quarter and propose a short web meeting.
- Often prospects will still decline to meet now. It is essential to ask when it would be convenient to call them back, or try and secure that web meeting a few months out. Getting on the calendar is half the battle. In the callback scenario, send them an email thanking them for their time and put a reminder in your schedule. Save that email, and you can forward it as a reminder of your original conversation when the time is right.
In closing, cold calling is not for everyone and not for every organization. Corporate inside sales teams require management and a fixed budget for salaries, benefits, and office space/equipment, with no guarantee of success. When inside sales teams do not produce, it can be a complete waste of money and can also create friction between marketing and sales.
Alternatively, companies often consider outsourcing the inside sales functions to performance-based companies with a proven track record.
MoreMeetings.com, in business since 2001, is a virtual inside sales force trusted by the nation’s most respected hardware and software companies. Its core services are appointment setting, lead nurturing, trade show qualification, and sales training. Why trust MoreMeetings? 72% of their initial sales meetings become funnel opportunities with next steps. For a fixed price, MoreMeetings guarantees a certain number of qualified appointments. Companies enjoy the flexibility and avoid high fixed cost and management overhead.