How Much Do B2B Appointment Setting Services Cost?

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 Cost

Understanding the Typical Appointment Setting Services’ Cost

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.

How to Evaluate Appointment Setting Companies’ Pricing

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.

  • Advantages: With hourly billing, you can commit to just a small amount of appointment setting services, if you’re not sure how much you need. This price model also lets you experiment, test a few different firms, and see what results you can get for a fixed, limited investment.
  • Disadvantages: Your pricing is not always “fixed.” Unless you set clear limits and expectations with the firm, your appointment setters might have a misaligned incentive to just “run the clock” and drive up your costs, even if it doesn’t generate better results for your business.

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.”

  • Advantages: Instead of hourly billing where the clock is always running, the retainer model is often a better value for the client. Some firms might offer you a “bulk discount” on their billable hourly rate if you commit to an ongoing retainer. The retainer model also helps build a team of experienced appointment setters and gets more brain power focused on your business. It helps the firm think long-term and be more strategic about how to support your business, because they’re less rushed and they know you’re committed to the process. You’ll often get access to a wider range of talent when you invest in retaining a firm, not just hiring an appointment setter for a few billable hours of work.
  • Disadvantages: The retainer model is more of a financial commitment than just a few billable hours, and not every firm delivers great results. Make sure you’re working with a reputable firm so you can get the best value for your investment.

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.

  • Advantages: Lots of business owners get nervous about paying for too many billable hours or getting over-extended by monthly commitments; Pay Per Lead means that you only pay for results.
  • Disadvantages: It can be hard to determine fair pricing for Pay Per Lead, and the results might not be what you expected.

How to Get Good Value for the Cost of Appointment Setting Services

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.

Which B2B Appointment Setting Pricing Model is the “Worst” Deal?

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:

  • Complex pricing: Do you know how much is a “fair” price to pay for a new business lead or a new sales appointment? Even if you know the approximate value of a new prospect, based on your sales funnel conversion rates, the appointment setting firm might want to charge more “per lead” than their results can justify. Or what if an appointment setting firm tries to claim credit for a lead that wasn’t the result of their work, but actually originated from other channels? Sometimes Pay Per Lead can cause confusion and drive up your costs in unexpected ways.
  • Misaligned incentives: When appointment setters are getting paid “per lead,” this gives them an incentive to work as fast as possible. But too often, haste makes waste. What if you don’t get truly “qualified” sales leads from the appointment setting firm? If your appointment setters are just rushing to get as many names on a list as they can, sometimes the leads end up being weak – sometimes the prospects haven’t truly agreed to meet with you.
  • Reputational harm: B2B marketing, for many industries, is a small community that depends on trust, reputation, and credibility. If you hire a Pay Per Lead appointment setting firm, they might move too fast and push too hard, putting sales pressure on your prospects and driving people away. Is this really the first impression that you want to make with your prospects?

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.

How Strategic Sales and Marketing (SSM) Compares to Other Appointment Setting Firms?

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:

  • Experience: We have more than 30 years of experience in the B2B lead generation field; in fact, our founder helped create this industry. No one’s been doing what we do longer than SSM.
  • Reputation: We can offer you testimonials from many happy clients.
  • Industry Expertise: We know your industry – including tech, SaaS, insurance, and other B2B solutions.
  • U.S.-based Appointment Setters: We speak your prospects’ language and make positive first impressions that build trust from the first phone call.
  • Methodical Process: We have a time-tested approach for appointment setting that helps us get your foot in the door with prospects.
  • Premium Services: Whether you need script development, sales coaching, or any other supplemental support to drive your sales results, we can make it happen. Yes, we’ll give you a list of new qualified sales leads and sales appointments. But we can also help you take those conversations to the next level.

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.

Want to Know How Much B2B Appointment Setting Services Cost?

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