Salespeople make their living by understanding the unique problems and challenges faced by their clients and effectively presenting the features and benefits of their product in a way that promises to solve the pains of the prospect.
Most sales professionals wish they could spend more of their time pitching to prospects, but the reality is that outbound sales start with lead generation — the tedious and ongoing process of identifying, qualifying, and booking sales appointments with qualified leads.
The creators of Salesforce realized that lead generation and product consultation could be split into two separate roles – specialized lead generators often lacked the coolness-under-pressure of seasoned salespeople and sales staff that require the temperament to sift through lists of names and phone numbers each day, simply trying to make a cold call to book an appointment.
Still, for salespeople that must generate their own leads and appointments each day, integrated appointment scheduling has become a tool that reduces the closing time for new sales, increases conversion rates, boosts appointment “show” ratios and leads to increased revenue and profits.
Keep reading to learn more about how professional salespeople are leveraging an integrated appointment schedule to enhance their sales performance.
How does appointment scheduling work?
Any sales professional dreams that the prospect will call in and book the sales appointment on their own – it’s the equivalent of skipping the tuna casserole and heading straight for the chocolate cake. Integrated appointment scheduling allows companies to engage directly with potential buyers across many digital platforms, offering them the option to book a sales appointment or consultation quickly and on their schedule.
Whether the prospect is viewing your company website, reading through a landing page for one of your products or services, or viewing Google search results for your business, integrated appointment scheduling allows the prospect to book a sales appointment directly into your calendar. The prospect starts off at a later stage of the sales funnel and meets with the best resource available providing improved customer experience.
Optimize the sales conversion process with appointment scheduling
The sales conversion process for any sales professional requires moving the prospect through a sales funnel – a set of steps that lead to a sale. The more steps in the sales funnel, the longer it can take to close a deal, and the more likely a prospect could lose touch or lose interest along the way.
Also, sales that take a long time to close are subject to more random effects. What if your main contact at the prospect company changes jobs after six months of nurturing the relationship? Active sales managers can mitigate against this by designing sales funnels with fewer steps and more passive methods of capturing leads.
When a prospect takes the initiative to book an appointment on their own using your company’s appointment scheduler, that means they’ve looked at your availability, checked their calendar, and carved out time in their schedule for a serious conversation about your services — that’s a high-quality lead!
What makes it better is that the lead enters the sales funnel at a late stage. This isn’t a cold discovery call where you’ll struggle to book a follow-up – this person has already seen your website and understands what you have to offer, and they’re reaching out to talk business. Adding integrated appointment scheduling across platforms where your company is present will optimize your sales process by feeding high-quality leads into a late stage of your sales funnel and directly into a sales pitch with your superstar closers.
Save time and close faster with automated appointment scheduling
For sales professionals, there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. If you spend your day in sales appointments, your funnel will run dry, and you’ll have to do more prospecting. If you run out of appointments, you’ll spend a day tediously prospecting through lists of potential prospects, cold-calling them to drum up some sales meetings.
An automated appointment schedule gives prospects the flexibility and power to proactively book themselves into your appointment calendar according to their scheduled availability. Think of all the work you’ve saved: a list of 20 prospects might get you six interested call-backs that lead to one quality appointment and a sales opportunity, but that appointment scheduling application is working around the clock to fill your calendar with quality opportunities. You can say goodbye to long days of tedious cold-calling and hello to warm meetings and sales success.
A steady flow of inbound sales keeps momentum high throughout your week, month, and the quarter. When things just aren’t working out, an incoming appointment booked through appointment scheduling software represents an opportunity to provide exceptional service, create a sale, generate referrals, and get yourself and your team back on track.
IBM Watson employs Artificial Intelligence in appointment scheduling
IBM is using its artificial intelligence platform, Watson, to track website visitor behavior, offering highly targeted appointment opportunities to shoppers that it believes are getting ready for a purchasing decision. The AI platform understands that users getting ready to purchase are reading the technical information and comparing specifications, and it uses this understanding to offer the prospect an opportunity to speak with a subject expert on the product of interest.
If the prospect accepts the appointment, it’s booked immediately in the prospect’s web browser. A conversation can be arranged with one or more people, either as an in-person meeting or a phone call. This application allows IBM to connect the most qualified internal experts with high-value prospects.
Whether replacing the contact form on your company website, on a Google search, or across your brand’s social media platforms, appointment scheduling functionality gives your potential buyers the best experience by enabling them to book time with your sales team when it’s convenient for them.
These quality inbound appointments close faster and more often, saving time for your sales team and even producing valuable referrals. Even artificial intelligence is being used to help connect buyers with the internal expertise at your business that can turn their product interest into a purchase. Appointment scheduling is an asset to any sales team.
Comment below, would you use appointment scheduling in hopes of capturing more leads? Let us know!