Let me guess... you know that you need appointment scheduling software.
But you have no idea what appointment scheduling software can do (besides schedule appointments).
How'd I do?
Well, this guide will explain the exact features that you should be looking out for, if you or your team are scheduling appointments at your B2B company.
If you're a service-based business (e.g. consultant, hair dresser), you're not going to find what you need in this article — sorry!
Let's dive in.
An appointment scheduler is a tool that allows you to book and manage meetings.
This can be:
With the right B2B appointment scheduling software, you'll be able to qualify, route, and schedule leads from:
They select a date and time that works for them and an appointment scheduler will then route that lead to the appropriate sales rep.
You can use custom rules to determine who the lead is sent to.
And round robin to your sales team, optimizing for availability and fair distribution.
From there, a rep will reach out to the lead at the agreed upon time and have a meeting that hopefully ends with a sale.
To see how OrderMyGear reduced no-shows by 50% with Chili Piper, check out their story (it's pretty rad).
Believe it or not, there are lots of free scheduling options available. Here are a few below:
But not many are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to truly deliver what customer-facing reps need (like automated rescheduling, reminders, and insights into how efficient their sales process is). That’s why we’re developing a scheduling appointment software that can help you book more meetings faster. Hop on our waitlist to be one of the first to try this out for yourself.
Now, let’s dive into what you’re really interested in — what to look for in an appointment scheduler:
A study by Velocify found that responding to lead within 1 minute results in a 391% conversion rate boost.
This is what the kids are calling "speed-to-lead".
But that number quickly declines the longer you wait.
For instance, waiting 2 minutes lowers that number to 160%, and waiting 3 minutes lowers it to 98%.
And if you wait an entire day, that number drops all the way down to just 17%.
When it comes to closing deals, you have to remember that 78% of deals go to the first vendor to respond.
So, above all else, you want a software for appointment scheduling that has automation built in.
That way you can always strike while the iron is sizzling hot and schedule meetings before a lead moves onto a competitor.
That’s absolutely essential.
Ideally, an appointment scheduler will automatically route leads without you having to step in and do it manually.
After all, you don’t want to have to flip through spreadsheets or have reps step on each other’s toes, so automated lead routing is the solution you’re looking for.
Like I mentioned before, you should have different routing choices. Here are some examples of lead routing rules you might use:
such as using custom rules to determine which rep gets what lead or round robin routing to distribute leads evenly.
It’s nice to have plenty of flexibility here so you can try out different options and make adjustments as you go.
So, when it’s all said and done, you can quickly get leads where they need to go and remove any kinks along the way.
The right software for appointment scheduling will offer calendar syncing that automatically adds a meeting to a rep’s calendar without any effort on their end.
Here’s an example of how this process would go down on Chili Piper.
Say a lead requests a demo.
Chili Piper qualifies the lead to make sure they're in your ICP. Then they route the lead to the right team based on your pre-set criteria.
After making the request, they select a date and time that works for them.
And Chili Piper adds the meeting to the appropriate rep’s calendar.
The rep can stay busy on their other sales work and watch their calendar fill up with qualified meetings.
I probably don’t need to tell you that no-shows are a massive pain.
You go to all of the trouble of scheduling a meeting and getting your rep prepared, only to have a lead flake out at the last moment.
A simple solution is to use an appointment scheduler with automated reminders.
With it, you can send one or more emails or texts at specific times to ensure a lead doesn’t forget about the meeting.
For instance, with Chili Piper, you can conveniently set up multiple email reminders at key intervals. At Chili Piper, we typically send 3 reminders before a prospect meeting:
You can also use premade templates to streamline things even more, where a lead will receive emails that look like these.
Here’s an email one day before the meeting.
And here’s an email one minute before the meeting.
This is a format that we’ve had major success with, and it’s helped us keep our no-show rate below 5%.
While you can’t always expect all appointment schedulers to have features this advanced, it should definitely have some type of built-in automated reminders.
Most no-shows are actually reschedules in disguise.
Let me explain.
Your prospect just got a high-priority meeting put on their calendar over your demo.
So they have to:
And if your availability doesn't align with their availability — the dreaded back-and-forth email ping pong begins.
Enter: One-click rescheduilng.
With Chili Piper, all meeting invites are automatically populated with rescheduling links. So if something comes up, your prospect can reschedule in 1 click.
I also talked earlier about giving a lead the option to book a meeting from different places like your website, social media pages, demo, etc.
That’s another integral feature to look for in appointment scheduling software.
Although you can probably expect for the bulk of inbound leads to book meetings through your website, you definitely want to give them other options to cast the widest net possible.
In fact, a 2022 study found that as many as 41% of all booking services are found through social media, with Instagram and Facebook being the most popular choices.
And in 2023 and beyond, that number is likely to keep increasing.
With Chili Piper, you can create smart booking links, which gives you ton of different options, including:
That way you give quality leads a simple path for getting in touch with your sales team, regardless of the channel they happen to find you through.
Having an appointment scheduler that “plays well with others” is also important.
While you can’t expect the same number of integrations that you would get with a more comprehensive, paid option, the software should still sync with other major platforms.
Chili Piper, for example, integrates with 100+ other tools — including Salesforce, HubSpot, gifting platforms (e.g. Reachdesk, Sendoso), sales enablement platforms (e.g. Salesloft, Outreach), product adoption platforms (e.g. Chameleon), and so many more. We're adding new integrations every quarter so check our integration hub for the latest info.
Next, there’s security.
A recent study found that “during the first quarter of 2023, more than six million data records were exposed worldwide through data breaches. Since the first quarter of 2020, the highest number of exposed data records was detected in the fourth quarter of 2020 - over 125 million data sets.
That’s why you need to take security seriously when choosing an appointment scheduling software and only use a platform that takes every possible precaution.
In terms of specifics, a software should be Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 compliant.
Developed by the American Institute of CPAs, SOC 2 is based on five “trust service principles,” including security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
A software should also be GDPR compliant, which ensures that it meets the guidelines of the General Data Protection Regulation — something you can learn all about here.
Besides that, there are some other key things to look for with security:
Finally, you’ll want to look for a platform that offers all of the support you need to:
For starters, it’s nice for an appointment scheduling software to have a comprehensive knowledge base on their website that you can quickly access.
On Chili Piper, for instance, you can search for a specific topic or browse through sections for both admins and users.
Next, you’ll want to have a means of making quick contact if you need further help than what’s provided in a knowledge base. It’s nice to be able to reach a support rep through other channels like email, phone, and in-app chat.
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The more options the better, and the more confident you’ll feel that you can swiftly have your questions answered without any drama.
An appointment scheduler is a tool that lets you book and manage meetings with inbound leads.
An online appointment scheduler will provide for the following:
Having an efficient and effective process for scheduling meetings with leads is an absolute must these days.
This is what allows companies to pounce on scorching hot leads and quickly move them through the sales cycle.
Using an appointment scheduler is one of the best, and I would argue the only, way to go about that, with 61% of companies who do so reporting “faster, easier and more accurate scheduling.”
It’s just a matter of finding the software that covers all of the bases you need.
Take a close-up look at how Chili Piper can make your scheduling smoother than you thought possible. Get your demo now.