Appointments. They’re what every sales rep wants more of and few can get enough of.
Nowhere are sales appointments more valued than in B2B industrial sectors where what you’re selling is a highly considered, big-ticket purchase—a major capital expense, a property purchase, or a long-lasting vendor relationship.
Whether you manufacture heavy machinery or complex parts or offer commercial construction or financial services, improving the number of sales meetings you schedule with decision-makers—even at a marginal rate—can drastically improve your company’s growth trajectory.
Consider these eight creative ways to get appointments that have been shown to drastically improve sales pipelines:
With the average person spending roughly 2.5 hours per day on social networks, there is a huge opportunity to leverage social selling. Social selling involves researching, connecting, and interacting with potential prospects on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Don’t expect quick wins from social selling, however. It requires time and effort to engage prospects over time, earn their trust, and demonstrate your value through content that’s shared. Whether it turns into sales or not, it still shows prospects that you are a valuable resource they can tap into.
2. USE HELPFUL CALLS-TO-ACTION—EVERYWHERE
Many B2B companies have long sales cycles, and the time between an appointment and closing a deal can take months. The way to shorten that cycle is to spark your leads’ curiosity at every step of the process. Every advertisement, blog article, brochure, or event needs to focus on a helpful call-to-action intent on lead generation. Don’t place an ad with: “Give Us a Call!” Instead, create a helpful follow-up opportunity: “Download our FREE Buyer’s Guide!”
It’s important to have a variety of bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) offers. “Contact Us” is not a BOFU offer, although too many companies have this as their only option to make a first connection with the sales team. Consider offering assessments, consultations, demos, tours, and other touchpoints on your site to provide a variety of BOFU offers. You can reach out to prospects who raise their hand earlier in their journey if you have the right offer(s).
3. EARN A PRESENTATION SPOT AT A MAJOR INDUSTRY EVENT
Becoming a speaker in your industry is an important tactic for generating new appointments. Presentations — whether in-person or virtual — give your leads a preview of what a sales discussion might be like, and speaking publicly is the most straightforward way to position yourself as an expert and thought leader in your industry. If you can lead workshops, deliver entertaining presentations, and build speeches that offer actionable takeaways, you’ll almost certainly rake in more leads and appointments.
We can’t stress enough how effective this tool can be. We work with a company, Falcon Structures, which added the meetings tool to their website and saw the number of appointments increase significantly. Oh, it’s worth noting that they attributed more than a half-million dollars in sales directly to this one, simple step! Check out their case study:
Speaking of case studies, if there’s one website improvement every B2B company should make, it’s to offer case studies of your work. Whether you get 500 or 5,000 web visits per month, leads who are seriously evaluating vendors will almost certainly comb through your website to ensure your legitimacy.
Case studies appeal directly to what your prospects are looking for: proof of what you can do. A case study should focus on telling the story of a client’s challenges, how your company’s product or services overcame them, and the resulting improvements. As part of every case study, encourage prospects to connect with you so you can help them experience similar results.
6. START A VOICE OF THE CUSTOMER PROGRAM FOR EXISTING CUSTOMERS
One of the best ways to land more appointments is by referral. If you can inspire your existing customers to refer you to a friend or colleague, you’ll not only get more meetings; you’ll get better ones, too.
One approach is to delight existing customers with a simple Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. In VoC, you use surveys and interviews to periodically check in on how well you’re serving your customers. While VoC’s main purpose is to provide your company with insights for improvement, the implicit message to customers is that you value them.
HubSpot provides customer feedback tools and surveys as part of Service Hub, making it easy to follow up and gauge how you’re doing. Consider using your clients’ feedback as customer testimonials to further validate your value to prospects, with permission, of course.
7. AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE
We all want more qualified leads, and an effective inbound program can deliver them. But how do you keep track of them all and, just as importantly, nurture them in the sales process? It’s all too easy to drop the ball, let too much time pass, or miss important steps along the way.
Automation like HubSpot sequences can help a salesperson stay organized and focused on their sales activities, including notifications, automated workflows, and more. Automation can help prevent prospects from slipping through the cracks by providing follow-up tasks for each prospect. Automation is a huge timesaver and helps to supplement your in-person efforts.
The only caveat to automation is to still make sure these automated email sequences and outreach efforts are personalized and customized. Spam is still spam, so doing more of it or automating isn’t going to help you improve results. Quality over quantity wins every time, so make your main focus to be helpful and relevant.
A great way to show your human side and personality is to record 1:1 videos that are created specifically for each prospect. They garner better response rates in outreach emails than text alone, and HubSpot Sales makes creating videos easy.
Get Serious About Being Helpful
Today, appointments don't come from more cold calls or attending more happy hours; instead, you need to become a source of guidance and assistance to your prospects. Increasingly, B2B buyers self-navigate their decision-making journey. This self-guided approach demands a change in the ways we engage with our best customers and prospects. We need to focus less on “selling” and more on “helping.”
By publishing and presenting content, using helpful call-to-actions, and improving your relationships with current customers, you'll start to generate better appointments from leads that understand your value.
To help you get started with the social selling aspect of inbound sales, check out our guide below with tips on maximizing your LinkedIn sales profile. And let me know if I can help with any of the other HubSpot features or inbound tactics shared here.
Posted by Nicole Mertes As Weidert Group's lead salesperson and business development strategist, Nicole heads up the agency's new business strategy and provides sales consulting services to clients.
Prior to her role at the agency, Nicole was an advertising manager at Gannett, one of the nation's largest media companies. With 10+ years of experience in advertising sales, she understands the complex relationship between marketing and sales within organizations.