Picture the scene; you are a salesperson on the sofa watching Dynasties, Strictly, X-Factor Results, Match of the Day 2 or the 1135th Harry Potter re-run on Film4 – take your pick. Eager for the start of another Monday to launch your assault on your quarterly target you glance at your calendar to see you have at least one face to face meeting with a potential buyer at a key company scheduled in for every day the following week – what a start.

Having these scheduled engagements is a key element of your sales funnel – but how do you actually run an appointment setting campaign? To be in a position where you are consistently attending well qualified meetings there must be some sort of strategy in place, whether you are setting up an internal appointment setting campaign or looking to outsource it to a company like ours there are a few integral components to make your campaign effective.

Data, Data, Data – this is one of the only ways to ramp up results and resource – be open to targeting a large data set. It is key that your database is of good quality, and if it isn’t, providing whoever is doing the calling with the resources to cleanse the data set is critical. Examples include sourcing relevant contacts through LinkedIn, profiling organisations before you call and seeking out referrals. If you want to read more on keeping your data in tip top condition, then have a look at this article that I wrote: He’s Checking His List, He’s Checking It Twice.

Open Communication Channels & Honest Feedback – Often the person booking the appointments isn’t the person attending, they may also not have a strong marketing background, or be a data expert. Clear and honest communication through all these channels, and arming the caller with feedback, great collateral and timely updates on any developments in your service or offering increases the probability of good meeting volume, and the appointments are more likely to result in pipeline.

Calendar Availability – A common theme in unsuccessful appointment setting campaigns is a lack of calendar availability. Ensuring that whoever will be attending the face to face engagement keeps multiple blocks of time available each week to conduct the meetings helps the preliminary conversation appear more professional as there isn’t ever a need to re-schedule. Furthermore, you are less likely to miss out as decision makers at blue chip companies likely have very busy diaries themselves.

Messaging – For a successful message you need; case-studies, impact statements, a strong set of business benefits and your objective of booking an appointment must run through all parts of the message. Some open, prompting questions also go a long way to keeping a prospect engaged, giving your representative a larger window of opportunity to express the value of your product or service.

Flexibility – On any sales call it is important to explore every avenue of opportunity. If for whatever reason a prospect is interested in an area slightly removed from your messaging there is value in probing for more intelligence, often there is some way your product or service will fit a portion of their requirements. It may be not what you called up about, but it is pipeline and an in for future projects. Trusting your calling team with this flexibility will result in a healthier looking funnel.

These hurdles are things that we come up against every day and work towards mitigating. For your campaign to be successful you need to ensure that multiple elements come together. If you are in an internal sales team what are the challenges that you face that stop your campaigns being successful?