If your B2B business needs more sales leads, you might want to hire a B2B appointment setting service. By outsourcing appointment setting to a professional firm, you can quickly connect with new prospects, get your name out there with a wider range of businesses, and keep your sales pipeline full. But it’s important to understand the cost of appointment setting services, so you can find the right level of service to fit your budget.
Sales managers and CEOs are often curious about the typical appointment setter cost and want to make sure it’s a good value for their business. Appointment setting prices depend on your specific business goals and the scope of your B2B lead generation program. There are a few ways to manage appointment setting companies’ pricing, such as hourly billing, monthly retainer, or pay per lead. But not every type of B2B appointment setting pricing model is the right fit.
Understanding the differences in B2B appointment setting cost structure will help you choose the right appointment setting services and get the right level of support.
Let’s take an inside look at the world of appointment setting costs, so you can feel confident that you’re getting a competitive price.
Appointment setting services’ average costs are not always easy to specify, and most companies are not able to be 100% transparent about their pricing. In fact: if an appointment setting service provider is listing their prices on a website or guaranteeing you a certain fixed cost upfront, that is often a red flag. Because if a firm is too fast to offer a price or a package of services, this shows that they’re not budgeting enough time to really learn your business and deliver a methodical process for best possible results.
An exact – or even ballpark – appointment setting service cost can be hard to predict, until the firm has had a chance to talk with you and learn more about your business, your target market, your ideal prospects, and your overall sales and marketing goals. This type of B2B lead generation work requires time, research, professionalism, and advanced planning. Every lead generation program is unique. Your company or industry might need extra support or specialized expertise.
But in general: there is a range of industry standard, competitive pricing for reputable, professional appointment setting firms. The typical hourly cost of appointment setting services is around $75-$150.
Appointment setting can be cheaper than $75 per hour, or even higher than $150 per hour, but it depends on the type of service, the target market, and other factors. Some appointment setters are more like corporate matchmakers who offer boutique services with highly-specific industry expertise for high-value corporate accounts, and they charge more per hour. Other lower-priced firms might use offshore talent that commands a lower hourly wage than U.S.-based appointment setters. (But beware of hiring what seems at first to be the “lowest-priced” firm…you might end up paying for it in other ways.)
The exact price depends on the type of service you need, your target market, and other factors. If that $75-$150 price range sounds high to you, keep in mind that appointment setting is a specialized professional service. Just like hiring a consultant, accountant, or attorney, it’s an investment in your business’s success. The best appointment setters aren’t “cheap,” but they deliver a strong ROI and make you glad to have hired them.
Different firms have different B2B appointment setting cost structures, and each has pros and cons. The most common pricing options are:
Hourly billing: With this model, you pay by the hour for the firm’s services, at a rate that’s negotiated in advance. You will also typically agree to a certain number of billable hours per week or per month, with the firm agreeing not to exceed that amount unless you give them permission.
Retainer: With the retainer model for appointment setting prices, the firm will typically build out a longer-term month-to-month program of B2B lead generation. You will agree to pay a fixed amount per month, and in exchange you will expect to have access to the firm for a certain number of billable hours per month, or a certain range of fixed project milestones (or both). A retainer is a mutual commitment between the client and the firm that says, “We will work together for a certain period in a spirit of partnership.”
Pay Per Lead: Another option for B2B appointment setting pricing is called “Pay Per Lead.” With this model, you only pay for each individual “new” sales lead or business opportunity that the appointment setters deliver to your business. No billable hours, no monthly retainer, just new leads. It’s like “Pay Per Click” for lead generation.
Appointment setter cost structure can be complicated. Sometimes when hiring B2B lead generation support, it’s useful to think about not just “what you pay” but “what you get” for the money. If you’re trying to decide which appointment setting firm to hire, it’s important to understand which firm is the best value – not just the lowest price.
Here are a few guidelines when choosing an appointment setting firm:
Experience: The best lead generation firms have been around for years, they’re not fly-by-night organizations. Ideally, you should want to work with appointment setting teams that really know their stuff in B2B lead generation, and have a proven track record of delivering results.
Reputation: Is your appointment setting firm willing and able to provide client testimonials, reviews, and referrals? Do they come highly recommended by colleagues you trust? Do you feel confident that they can deliver results for your specific situation, based on past experience? The answer to all these questions should be “yes”.
Industry Expertise: A great lead generation firm should know your industry. Appointment setters need to speak the language of your clients; they need to sound like credible experts in your field.
Quality of Talent: Some lower-priced appointment setting firms employ offshore talent. It’s great to create opportunities for people all over the world, but sometimes appointment setters in lower-wage countries are not proficient enough English speakers, or don’t have a high enough fluency in the cultural nuances of your industry, to make the right first impression on your prospects. Offshore talent can be the right fit for some projects. But if you want to sell to U.S.-based business executives, you are likely to have more success with U.S.-based appointment setters. For high-value major account lead generation, U.S.-based talent is often a better fit to navigate higher-level sales conversations and build credibility for your business.
Operations and Process: If a lead generation firm is talking fast, making lots of big promises, pushing you to sign a contract to start work immediately, and guaranteeing quick results, this is a bad sign. Reputable lead generation firms will want to start slow. They’ll meet with you and have detailed conversations to learn more about your business and your goals. They will also share their process and operational details – how they work, how they set up a lead generation program, what they need from you to onboard the appointment setters, what kind of training is needed, and what needs to happen next.
Value-added Services: The best lead generation firms do more than appointment setting – they provide strategic sales and marketing support to help your business grow and enhance your success. These premium services might include: developing sales call scripts, training your in-house team on how to follow up with new sales leads, clarifying your value proposition, managing inbound sales leads, ranking and nurturing your sales leads for the long-term, and more.
Think of it this way: if you’re hiring a contractor for a home renovation, do you want someone who just shows up with a hammer and starts hammering? Or do you want someone who shows you a blueprint, and who asks lots of questions upfront to understand your expectations, and who can adapt to suit your changing needs along the way? Good lead generation work happens in a spirit of partnership, with a shared vision and a collaborative process.
It’s important to get the best results from your appointment setting program. Many business leaders are intrigued by “Pay Per Lead” because they want to just pay for results, without wasting time or money. But the truth about Pay Per Lead is more complicated.
Here are a few reasons why Pay Per Lead is not the best fit for most situations:
Appointment setting firms need to be part of the solution to your sales challenges; they should never cause harm or give you extra hurdles to overcome with prospects. Getting the right appointment setters on your team is not always cheap, but it’s worth the money.
SSM is rarely going to be the lowest-priced lead generation firm, and we don’t want to be. Instead of low-priced appointment setting, we strive to deliver the best value and biggest ROI for your business.
When you hire us for your lead generation program, you get:
The best appointment setters are not the lowest-priced, but they deliver great ROI and are worth more than they cost. Instead of focusing so much on the cost of appointment setting services, it’s even more important to understand the value you get for your investment. Choose a team you trust, with expertise your industry and a proven track record of success. And you should usually avoid “Pay Per Lead” because it doesn’t guarantee the best results – and can even have unintended consequences for your brand reputation.
Contact us for a free consultation. We will develop a customized quote based on your business needs.