When an average person hears the term “appointment setting”, the first thing they would think about is booking a meeting and inputting a schedule on a calendar. But in B2B, appointment setting is more complicated than it may seem to most people.

In the case of lead generation, appointment setting is the process of cold prospecting until a lead becomes warm enough to buy our product or service. It is the final step of cold prospecting where the appointment setter schedules a meeting between the lead and the closing representative.

That said, appointment setting is a vital part of the sales funnel. Having a team of SDRs for this exact purpose can significantly increase your conversion rate and sales performance. With that in mind, let’s talk about why appointment setting is crucial for B2B lead generation, how to set up more appointments, and how you can increase the efficiency of your prospecting and nurturing efforts.

Why is appointment setting so important for B2B lead generation?

At the first touch, leads aren’t going to buy right away, more so if they are cold. You have to warm them up by using a more empathic, personal approach. To better understand the importance of appointment setting, let’s take a look at how a lead generation funnel typically goes:

Lead research. This is the process of building lead lists using curated research. Some companies hire dedicated lead research teams, while others assign lead research to appointment setters.

Prospecting. In this step, SDRs verify potential clients using available information, such as the lead’s job title, company, email address, LinkedIn profile, etc.

Initial engagement. Also known as the first touch, this is the part where SDRs reach out to leads to try and start a relationship.

Lead qualification. SDRs qualify leads by comparing the leads against the ideal customer profile and seeing if there is a consistent interest in the product or service. In this step, SDRs suggest scheduling a call.

Appointment setting. After the call is scheduled, SDRs have to make sure that the lead attends a meeting. This is also the part where SDRs continue to reach out to leads until they re-schedule and attend.

Closing. After the meeting, SDRs pass the baton to closing representatives, who are then responsible for closing the deal and handling any roadblocks that may pop up.

Although it is only one step out of a handful, appointment setting plays a significant role in lead nurturing, particularly when it comes to prospecting, lead engagement, and qualification.

Essential components for a successful appointment setting strategy

Establishing a powerful appointment setting is an important key in increasing conversion and the number of leads in the sales funnel. To improve your appointment setting strategy, focus on these three components:


SDRs dedicate their time to generating leads and courting them until they make a purchase. In doing so, they allow closing representatives to focus on closing deals. SDRs may use different methods to find and contact leads, such as social media, email, phone calls, etc.

SDRs should have outstanding product knowledge, great active listening skills, and a dynamic sales methodology. They should also have powerful critical thinking skills, communication skills, as well as a good foundation of relevant technology.


Having a team of high-performing SDRs would mean little if you don’t have a robust appointment setting process. To establish one, here are key points you must remember:

  • Your process must be data-driven. Prospecting should be targeted in order to be efficient. That said, your appointment setting process must utilize these types of data before the first touch:
  • Personal data
  • Filmographic data (industry, location, company size)
  • Potential interest in the product or service
  • Timeliness of the offer
  • Affordability
  • Triggered actions (if applicable)
  • Preferred channels of communication (email, phone call, social media, etc.)
  • Improve your cold emailing technique. When reaching out to clients through email, SDRs must send out emails that are concise, personalized, and focused.
  • Enhance your cold calling strategy. Some prospects are too busy to check their inboxes (or your cold emails have not reached them at all). In this case, cold calling may still work. But for it to be effective, SDRs should prepare thoroughly for each call, warm up before contact, and be able to improvise their pitches on the go.


Utilizing the most suitable types of software can make a big difference in the efficiency of your appointment setting process, as well as the lead generation funnel altogether. Depending on your industry, budget, and sales goals, appointment setting software can include:

  • Prospecting. Having this feature can make it easier for your SDRs to match leads with your ICP.
  • Lead generation. Use software that comes with an integrated lead generation feature to take advantage of real-time data for lead nurturing.
  • Sales engagement. Tools that come with a sales engagement feature allow SDRs to reach out to leads within any kind of content.
  • Email automation. With email automation, SDRs can reach out to more leads with less effort, time, and money.
  • Scheduling. A robust scheduling feature is imperative for any appointment setting software. In any case, your tool of choice must facilitate appointment scheduling for both representatives and their clients and have the ability to integrate into any software, website, or tool.

What to do and what not to do in appointment setting

In lead nurturing and appointment setting, many aspects can be highly contextual. There are a lot of variables depending on the lead’s industry, company, location, and many other characteristics. To help you streamline your appointment setting process, here are several do’s and dont’s to remember:

Do: Create a connection first

Don’t start your relationship with a pitch. It’s aggressive, annoying, and unlikely to hook a prospect. Instead, create a connection first to show genuine interest and capture the lead’s attention.

Do: Create value

In your cold email, identify their pain points. Then, show them how you can help resolve those pain points. You don’t want to come off as just trying to make a sale--you want clients to see you as someone that can solve their problems.

Do: Test out emails

There is no formula for the perfect cold email. Experiment with different subject lines, first sentences, and CTAs to determine which ones work best.

Do: Keep your emails short

Most leads do not have the time nor patience to read through a novella of an email. Keep your emails short, concise, and straight to the point. You can offer more information later.

Do: Be mindful of timing

Some clients are more likely to read emails on Sunday evenings as they get ready for the week ahead, others have more time to comb through their inboxes on Friday night. The right timing depends on many industries, but in general, SDRs should consider leads’ time zones and industries.

Do: Remind clients

Most prospects are too busy to remember scheduled appointments. Thus, you are responsible for making sure they attend the meeting. Sending one or two reminders should be enough, but more than that may be inappropriate.

Don’t: Use fluff

Emails should be kept short. With that, they should not contain any sort of fluff that doesn’t bring any value to the message. Examples include phrases like “I hope this email finds you well,” “I’m sure you are very busy but…” and “I hope you are doing well during this difficult time.”

Don’t: Use negative emotions

Do not use messages that denote negative emotions, such as shame or guilt. Phrases like “Company X is using this tool, so why aren’t you?” simply won’t fly well and will make you look tactless and insecure.

Don’t: Incorporate too much humor

Sometimes, incorporating humor into your email can be appropriate--but not always. To be safe, avoid using memes or funny GIFs in your messages. If the recipient doesn’t find it funny, it would only make your email look unprofessional.

Don’t: Keep flogging a dead horse

If a lead is unwinnable, know when to quit. There is no use in wasting time on a dead end.

When and how to outsource B2B appointment setting services

Every company’s lead generation funnel is unique, which means that there is no single way to tell if a company needs B2B appointment setting services. But in general, these signs suggest that there is a need for it:

  • The product or service is expensive;
  • The sales cycle is long, or;
  • There are not enough appointment setters to go around

If you don’t have enough in-house SDRs and can’t hire more, outsourcing is one of the best solutions. Before deciding to outsource, however, consider these factors first:

Expenses. Calculate the cost of hiring and training new SDRs, as well as the cost of subscription-based tools and some overhead. If the total comes out to be more expensive than outsourcing, you know your answer.

Flexibility. Choose a service that allows you to pick only the services that you need and modify them as you go along.

Pay Per Appointment (PPA). If you want to pay only for successful appointments, you may want to opt for the PPA model.

Experience. Choose an appointment setting company that has a good amount of experience in your specific sector. They should have first-hand knowledge of your industry and be able to prove it through case studies and feedback.

Transparency. Any good appointment setting company should have transparent metrics. Before you hire one, look into their strategy, technology, and infrastructure. Furthermore, see how transparent and rigorous they are with their metrics and reporting.

Cost. Ask about the cost of the service before going into a long-winded conversation with your target company. Doing so will save you a lot of time and put you into a better negotiating position.

Bottom line

A high-performing team of appointment setters can do wonders to your sales funnel, but building one may not be as easy as it seems. Use this guide to help you pick out the right people, curate your process, and leverage the right technology to keep your funnel teeming with leads.