I don’t know if you’ve heard, but automation is kind of a big deal. Like, the biggest possible deal. Now that we’ve accepted that AI and machine learning don’t mean that the robots are coming to take over the world, or even our livelihoods, we can lean into automated solutions that do make work more fulfilling, thanks to them picking up those monotonous and repetitive tasks that make our working lives much less fun. The kicker is that they also do these tasks much faster and with fewer errors than us pesky humans ever managed.
Little wonder then that the worlds of MarTech, CommsTech and SalesTech are overflowing with thousands of tools that have machine learning at their heart and promise to deliver better business processes and results.
With so many tools on offer, many explicitly focused on the B2B domain, companies are often paralyzed by choice. However, sticking to a few simple questions can help organizations of all sizes to decide if, what and how to automate:
What percentage of our workforce would benefit from this solution?
Would it make a tangible difference/improvement to their daily work?
Is it easy to integrate and deploy?
Does it have a clear ROI?
If you do ask yourself those questions, we’re pretty sure that scheduling tools are a no-brainer for almost all companies. For example, Doodle is straightforward to roll out into your organization and helps all employees, especially those essential revenue-generating client- and customer-facing employees, to be more productive and, ultimately, deliver more business. Let’s dive into the how.
1. Response time is critical but…
Since the oft-cited one-hour study was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2011, the most effective and efficient sales teams have become obsessed with lead response times. To the point where the one-hour rule has become the five-minute rule. Sales teams are 100 times more likely to reach and 21 times more likely to successfully qualify a new inbound lead within the first five minutes of the inbound arrival than if they delayed just half an hour. The reason for that rush to contact? Well, almost 80% of leads will wind up buying from the company that responded to their interest first.
However, a lightning-fast lead response time alone isn’t enough to secure the business. It takes an average of eight touches to turn leads into customers, so follow-up meetings need to be scheduled, meaning the entire sales cycle needs to be completed quickly and efficiently. Using an online scheduling tool ensures it’s quick and easy to find convenient times for all stakeholders and decision-makers for follow-ups, demos, quotes and training. No endless games of email tennis – sending availability back and forth over days and days of emails. Shortening the sales cycle allows the sales team to generate additional leads while increasing market share and growing the business.
2. No-shows and double-bookings have a cost
Leads who don’t turn up to meetings or cancel at the last minute due to a double-booking are heartbreaking for sales teams. Not only do they represent a lost or severely delayed opportunity, but they also mean that all the time and work that went into finding a convenient day, time and location for the meeting either amounts to nothing or has to be repeated. Bring in the robots!
Automated scheduling tools help avoid no-shows and double-booking because:
3. Postponements slip through the cracks
People are busy. Too busy for their own good. There are morning workouts to be done. Getting kids fed, dressed and into school and sometimes doing much the same for their significant others too. There are shopping lists, house chores, meals to prepare and then we’re expected to have a social life and be a good, supportive friend. We have businesses to grow, KPIs to hit, deadlines, skills to learn and employees to mentor. There are hundreds of emails per day, dozens of meetings per week. Oh, and don’t forget to take some time for yourself!
Phew, little wonder sometimes we over-commit and have to pull out of an appointment or two. Unfortunately, meetings that do get postponed often tend to fall through the cracks, as the whole email back-and-forth and calendar Tetris has to start again. After a couple of legitimate postponements on behalf of the lead, it can be easy for sales teams to walk away and focus their attention elsewhere.
Automated scheduling solutions eliminate lead-leak almost completely as tools like Doodle have rescheduling links right there in the meeting invitation. Should a lead not be able to make your appointment, it’s just as easy for them to reschedule the meeting and choose a convenient time as it is to send you an email.
4. More and better meetings
Scheduling meetings with an online scheduling tool is like using a laser-guided rifle compared to the “throwing a handful of stones” approach of the usual email shambles. Therefore, it takes a lot less time to get meetings with leads into the books, leaving more time to work on other new leads and prospects.
Some scheduling tools have features that allow the meeting organizer to ask participants questions before choosing a time or accepting an invite. Using these features, sales teams could discover a little extra information about the challenges facing their leads; or they could simply make sure that all participants have had time to review the agenda and any pre-reads to maximize the meeting time.
5. Having all the decision-makers present
Whoever coined the phrase “like herding cats” clearly had some experience trying to schedule a meeting with several senior executives at an external company. Finding an available time for a meeting with multiple people is always challenging; the more senior the people, the more the hard borders on the impossible. However, suppose you go ahead with the meeting with a couple of participants missing. You can bet your bottom dollar that a follow-up meeting with those not present will be necessary before a decision can be made.
A scheduling tool with polling functionality gets around that problem. Provide a range of date and time possibilities and allow participants to choose the most convenient options for them. As participants answer, other attendees can also see which options are most popular and move lower priority existing appointments accordingly. Finally, the meeting organizer has a snapshot of the times that work best and can send out the invite there and then. With all decision-makers in the room or on the call, the sales cycle becomes much shorter.
6. Leads can find you
What’s the dream scenario for B2B sales teams everywhere? That’s right — a sales funnel that fills itself. Using an online scheduling tool gets you a step or two closer to making that dream a reality. As we discussed earlier, the sooner contact is made and a meeting is scheduled, the more you dramatically increase the chance that a prospect turns to your company for the solution they need. So why not remove the middleman and get meetings booked while their interest is red hot?
With scheduling software, your sales team’s Bookable Calendars, or links to those calendars, can be embedded into all different types of media and platforms that your prospects are likely to stumble upon while conducting independent research.
Day or night, wherever they are in the world, prospects can check out your offering and book a meeting at the most convenient time for both you and them. Now it’s over to your B2B sales team to qualify and close them.
7. Great client experience equals unbeatable word of mouth
When it comes to garnering new leads for your B2B business, traditional marketing tactics, from conferences and events to emails, social and webinars, are imperative. However, don’t overlook the power of good, old-fashioned word of mouth. People trust other people, which is why platforms like Capterra, GetApp, G2 Crowd and Gartner Peer exist too.
Using an online scheduling tool to quickly and easily organize meetings, with invites that include automated Zoom meeting details and links to reschedule conveniently, followed by reminders of the time, location and any associated pre-reads, all of this adds up to create a winning client experience that makes your clients’ lives easier.
Deliver that experience consistently, and you can be sure that your clients will be singing your company’s praises to their networks in no time at all, which will, in turn, become new leads. Of course, sales teams can also be more proactive and ask contented clients for introductions to other companies who might find your solution useful. If your client experience is spot-on, they’ll have no problem providing referrals.
Deciding on which tools are transformational
Once again, when it comes to deciding where and how to introduce automation within your sales and marketing stack, the choice need not now be quite so overwhelming. A scheduling tool makes all your sales and marketing employees’ working hours more enjoyable, productive, and efficient. Scheduling tools are effortless to introduce to the organization, with almost no technical know-how or training required. And as for the ROI? Well, you now know that a scheduling tool is worth its weight in leads.
Are no-shows and double-bookings something that’s causing you problems? We’ve got some tips to help make them a thing of the past