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7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

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7 Ways Appointment Software Supports Sales and Marketing

You know online appointment software can help customer service teams up their efficiency. But believe it or not, it can also make life easier for your sales and marketing teams. 

If you’re already licking your chops at the thought of squeezing in more sales meetings, then keep reading. This article will outline some of the ways appointment software can help you attract leads, close sales, and chisel your brand:

Online Booking Is Enticing

The simple perk of being able to book an appointment online is music to most customers’ ears. No longer will they have to wait on hold to ask about your availability and to hopefully get the slot they want. With appointment software, all they have to do is log onto your website and complete the booking process with a few clicks.

Ask your marketing team to come up with a campaign alerting new and existing companies of your new system. Social media and email marketing costs are minimal. Then, they can add small details to bring appointment software to the forefront of your branding, such as adding a “Book Now” button to your homepage.

Not only are buttons helpful for customers, but they also bring in new business. In other words, everyone wins. 

Customer Relationships Improve

A huge part of the sales process is building a relationship with the customer. The stronger the relationship, the more likely a customer is to commit to a purchase. 

Online appointment software starts the relationship-building process early. It incentivizes loyalty and makes it easy for customers to commit due to its sheer convenience. The software also tracks customer information for sales representatives to use when they reach out to clients.

Data Delivers New Insights

Speaking of tracking information, nothing helps a marketing team more than cold, hard data. Otherwise, marketers are forced to guess at what sorts of tactics and talking points lead to conversions.

There are a variety of data points appointment software can track for you. Some examples include:

  • No-show and late appointment rate
  • Age and gender demographics
  • Booking link clickthrough rate
  • Proportion of bookings per service line
  • Average amount spent per customer

This data can help your marketing team spot gaps in your audiences and services. If only a few women book appointments in a given month, for example, maybe it’s time for a campaign targeted specifically at them. If late appointments are common, maybe you need to institute buffer periods. 

Budgeting Becomes Easier

If you don’t know how many appointments to expect in a given month, it can be difficult to budget. How much you spend on office upgrades should depend on how much traffic your office gets, for example.

The more money you save, the more you can reinvest in your sales and marketing operations. Marketing might want to throw a live event as soon as the pandemic is over. Sales may need a new video conferencing tool, or perhaps a year-end reward to work their tails off.

Bookings Get Made 24/7

Your online appointment software doesn’t take breaks or expect weekends off. This means that your customers can continue to book appointments even when there’s no one around to answer the phone. 

This constant flow of customers also takes work off your sales team’s shoulders. They can focus on chasing down high-quality leads, rather than pursuing those that would have booked anyway.

SEO Gets a Boost

How your website ranks for relevant keywords has a lot to do with how much business it brings in. A higher position not only produces more traffic but also improves your brand’s credibility. 

Google puts a premium on the user experience. Making it easy for customers to book online improves your site’s UX, which should also help it appear higher in search engine results pages.

Knowing the Workload Dictates the Day

When customers book through online appointment software, your sales and marketing team members get a better sense of their workload for the day. Even if they aren’t directly serving customers, they probably get roped in regularly.

For example, on days projected to have few appointments, your sales team can make cold calls in an attempt to fill more slots. Your marketing team can also jump on board, perhaps by developing new ads or discount offers.

Online appointment software can make a night-and-day difference for every role on every team. Nowhere is that more true than sales and marketing. 

Sales Meeting Hacks During COVID

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Has anyone ever been excited about attending a sales meeting? Probably very few. Now try convincing your sales team to get pumped about an upcoming meeting during a pandemic. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Thankfully, you can use the following hacks to ensure that your meetings will be fruitful and worth their time. And, they may actually have a little fun and look forward to these events during this strange and stressful time.

Sales Meetings 101

It’s a stressful and uncertain time right now. The last thing that you want to is to pile on even more stress onto your team member’s shoulders. That’s why you need to do a little planning and preparation in advance before scheduling a meeting.

If you don’t think that meetings have been stressing your team out, think again. Between getting pulled away from their work, the fear of public speaking, and experiencing technology problems (this accounts for 90% of meeting stress), it’s easy to understand why so many people dread meetings.

To relieve this stress, you need to make sure that all meetings aren’t just necessary — but also productive. You will assure a session is productive by:

  • Setting a single goal or objective for the meeting.
  • Designating a meeting leader, time, date, and location.
  • Setting a time limit and keeping it short — preferably around 30-minutes.
  • Inviting the right amount of people — ideally around seven attendees.
  • Addressing tech issues before the meeting.

Does this preparation seem like a tall glass to fill? Your preparation is not only possible but beneficial if your meeting contains the four elements of a successful meeting.

Use a standardized agenda.

An agenda lets participants know exactly what to expect. It’s the foundation of any productive meetings as it contains the following components:

  • A header that identifies who’s calling the meeting, assembling the body, type of meeting, date and time, start and end time, and location.
  • Key objective that answers two crucial questions. Why are we meeting? And, what do we hope to accomplish?
  • The topics that will be discussed — limit this to 5. If you want to get your team more involved, ask for their input on what they want to be covered. Milestones, pipeline updates, obstacles, monthly targets, noteworthy insights, and what your competitors are doing are solid topic ideas.
  • The meeting work plan. Also called the agenda body, this is everything that will be discussed and in what order. Always start with your most time-sensitive or urgent matters.
  • Allocate the right amount of time to each topic.
  • At the conclusion, make sure you follow-up with the attendees by distributing minutes and assigning responsibilities.

The agenda should always be sent to invitees a day or two in advance so that they have time to prepare.

Provide value.

You want your team to walk away with valuable information that they can use to close more deals. Examples would be training, customer feedback, or the latest news or trends influencing your business.

Team participation.

Don’t bore your team. Keep them engaged by adding some interactivity to it. Ideas would be answering questions, playing games, or breaking your team into groups and having them answer questions.

Also, include use data visualization. It’s more efficient, allows everyone to focus on what’s important, and helps attendees make faster decisions.

Be consistent.

More then ever, we’re striving for normalcy. And, routines and rituals can provide that since they give us certainty. Think of rituals as actions with meaning or emotion attached to them,” Tonya Dalton, a productivity expert, told Healthline. “Rituals keep our day moving along but are infused with joy, pleasure, or positive emotion.”

What does this have to do with meetings? Well, if they’re recurring, then make sure that they take place on the same day and time.

Super-special bonus element: Make your virtual meetings rock!

As of this writing, you have no other choice but for the location of your sales meeting to be remote. So, pass along the following tips so that your virtual meeting will be productive and professional.

  • Work from a quiet, carpeted room.
  • Use a neutral background and have good lighting. But, if it’s within reason, encourage attendees to have some fun and change their backgrounds digitally.
  • Have the meeting on a laptop and not your phone.
  • Test the technology before the meeting, as well as your mic and camera.
  • Raise your webcam to eye-level.
  • “Make the conference application as small as possible and position it adjacent to your computer’s camera,” suggests Joseph Liu on Forbes.
  • Always dress like you’re in a real, professional meeting.
  • Turn off all notifications during the meeting.
  • Look at your camera, not screen, when talking, and mute the mic when you’re not.
  • Avoid multitasking.
  • Learn videoconferencing tricks, such as these six tips about Zoom that Calendar Co-Founder shared on Entrepreneur. If you use Teams, here are 25 gems over at Medium.

Shake Up Your Sales Meetings

Even though you want to give your team consistency, you also don’t want them to get into a rut. That’s why you should occasionally switch things up. It will keep your team engaged, motivated, and will give them something to look forward to.

If you need some creative ideas, Salesforce has the following 6 suggestions:

  • Pump up the volume. “Ask a different team member before each meeting to share a track that gets them particularly motivated or energized before they begin their first outreach to customers in the day.”
  • In the news. Open the meeting “with a brief overview of the trends or stories that stand out, and discuss what they might mean for what the sales team needs to do in terms of approaching customers and prospects.”
  • We shall overcome. Your meeting is the perfect time to provide your reps with strategies and tactics. Or, “even additional information they can use to persuade customers to think differently about whatever’s stopping them from making a purchase.”
  • Sell me this pen. Close your meeting with a fun role-playing exercise where team members must pitch for something like, well, a pen.
  • Here’s what I noticed. When recognizing your reps, outstanding work “be specific about the behaviors and actions that demonstrate a real effort to provide value to customers or the organization.”

Need some other ideas? Well, you could have a meeting with colleagues from departments or experts to expand your rep’s knowledge and skillset.

Another idea would be to have goal-setting sessions. And, you can never go wrong with meetings helping your team overcome roadblocks, reviewing metrics, sharing prospect feedback, and sharing company information.

Because the word “meeting” is often associated with negativity, you could even call these events by a different name. Examples could be:

  • Calling your recurring meetings “team cadence,” “daily huddle,” or “weekly meetup.”
  • Instead of a status update, try “progress check.”
  • A one-on-one could be referred to as a “coaching session.”
  • You could use a “brainstorming session” when generating ideas.
  • For problem-solving, try “root-cause resolution.”
  • Training meetings could be titled “skills certification.”
  • When making an announcement, use “press briefing.”

Use Sales Meetings to Boost Morale and Motivation

“Psychological experiments have shown that the way a meeting starts, sets the tone for the whole meeting,” says Alexandar Kjerulf, aka the Chief Happiness Officer. “Start the meeting with complaints, problems, and mutual blame, and that’s what you’ll get.”

However, if the meeting has a more positive vibe, they will be more engaging and fun. That’s why Kjerulf suggests that you kick-off each meeting by asking participants “to briefly (= less than 30 seconds) share something positive.” Examples would be sharing successful sales stories, asking what they’re grateful for, or telling an exciting or funny story.

You can also use sales meetings to boost your team’s morale by:

  • Recognizing your team’s hard work and dedication and thanking them for all that they do.
  • Let your team members show off their unique skills and help them enhance their existing skillsets.
  • Prioritize time with each team member so that you can find out their personality traits. Knowing this allows you to customize meetings and rewards.
  • Remind them of their purpose. Research from Dr. Valerie Good of Michigan State University shows that purpose is the primary source of motivation in sales. “Instead of focusing on financial payouts for sales personnel to perform better, concentrating on meeting the intrinsic needs of salespeople can lead to better objective performance outcomes.”
  • Always be honest and transparent with them — even if it’s not good news.

Harness the Power of AI

“Artificial intelligence, which consists of natural language processing, machine learning, and bots, is still in its early stages,” explains Calendar Co-Founder John Hall. “We’re already witnessing its influence in areas like scheduling. Take intelligent calendars as an example. By using machine learning, they can “suggest when and where a meeting should occur after reviewing past invites. You can also create a new event just by speaking into your smartphone.”

That can be a game-changer right now. Instead of going back-and-forth with the team, who currently are juggling not only their work but also home responsibilities, a smart calendar could determine that 1 p.m. is an ideal time.

We may not be there just yet, “but AI can record meetings and transcribe and email notes after they’ve concluded,” adds Hall. That information could be used for future reference and replace having someone keep minutes. “It can make smart suggestions on the invitees and documents needed” and “automatically assign tasks and meeting roles.” AI “may even be able to read the room so it can make suggestions on how to keep specific attendees engaged.”

How to Squeeze More Interviews Into Your Schedule

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Why You Should Always Verify Appointments (And 5 Ways to Do So)

“There aren’t enough hours in the day,” is a phrase everyone in business has thought, if not said aloud.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, recruiter, sales leader, or another role entirely, interviews likely make up a good portion of your day. If you’re looking to make more time in your schedule, why not start with one of your biggest time commitments?

Here are some helpful hacks for fitting more interviews into your busy schedule:

1. Dig deeply into your goals.

As with any new personal or professional project, it’s important to first identify your objectives. If you’re an entrepreneur trying to find the right candidate for an open role, how long are you willing to wait to fill it? How many candidates do you want to meet before you make a decision?

Take your time with this. Hiring is not something to rush. The more narrowly defined your criteria and assumptions, the more satisfied you’ll be with the end result. Ask yourself:

  • How many rounds of interviews are required throughout the entire interview process (depending on the job position)?
  • What is the maximum number of candidates that can move forward to next-round interviews?
  • How long should interviews run to properly evaluate candidates for the position?
  • Do other executives need to be present? If so, can they fit these interviews into their schedules?

2. Determine availability digitally.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of interviewing is all the back-and-forth communication required to coordinate and confirm an available time slot for two or more parties. For internal meetings and interviews, be sure you’re using a consolidated digital calendar so you can see one another’s availability?

What about interviews with people outside the organization? Tools like Calendar simplify this by letting users embed their availability into their email messages. Calendar automatically prevents double-booking, just in case the interviewee selects a time that’s been taken. 

3. Account for interstitial time. 

Although it’s tempting to stack interviews one on top of another in order to maximize your time, avoid doing so. Allow for at least 5 minutes, and ideally 15, between each interview.

Interviews are unpredictable. You never know who will show up late or which interviews will go long. You don’t know what else might come up during the workday. Those buffer zones are a great time to catch up on email, take a break, or prepare for the next meeting. 

4. Learn to say “no.”

If you’re trying to fit more interviews into your schedule, you have to get better at refusing unnecessary meetings. Even a few meeting-happy clients can eat up hours of a workday that you may need to spend speaking with employees, candidates, or investors.

Just because you’re saying “no,” though, doesn’t mean you need to be rude about it. Do your best to help the person whose meeting you can’t take over email. Could you introduce them to someone else on the team who can handle the situation? If the client is insistent, could you suggest a shorter time slot or a different meeting time?

5. Automate what you can.

Sometimes, to have more time, you need to make more time. Besides refining your scheduling processes, it’s still a good idea to audit other tasks to see what can be handled via a digital automation tool.

Even if it’s something as simple as sending an automatic payment reminder, every little increment of saved time adds up. Email marketing, social media posting, sales follow ups, and even first-round interviews can be automated.

Interviewing takes time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t streamline the process. Use these tips to get more done, hire faster, and have more conversations. 

5 Unique Follow-Ups for Preferred Customers

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Morning Routine Hacks

Closing a sale is just the start. If you don’t want to ruin a good relationship, following up and staying top of mind is essential.

Think about what’s at stake. Get the follow-up right, and the customer not only comes back but also spread the word to other potential customers. Do it poorly, and that customer will spread the bad news even further. 

Not all follow-ups are created equal. The secret to a great one? A personal touch. Here are six ways to provide it:

1. Write a thank-you note by hand.

In the digital age, a handwritten note goes a long way. More than eight in 10 American adults see handwritten messages as more meaningful than those sent by text or email.

What if you aren’t the best writer in the world? Don’t worry about it. Nobody is going to judge you for a misspelling or missed period when you’re writing to say “thank you.” Keep it conversational and concise. Be sure to add something personal you learned about the customer during the sales process.

This follow-up technique works even better if the note is written on a visually appealing postcard. Pick one that your customer will want to hang on his or her fridge to stay top of mind. If the customer spent an unusually large amount, toss in a gift card to your favorite restaurant. 

2. Check in over coffee. 

Your customers know you’re a busy person. When you reach out to schedule a conversation over coffee, you signal to them that they are a priority. 

People can be picky about coffee shops, so try to find out what your preferred customer likes. Is she a Starbucks person? Is that indie coffee shop on the corner more her style?

The best part of this tactic? It’s a chance to open up new business opportunities. But don’t spend the whole time talking about work Ask about her as a person: What does she like to do in her free time? Does she have kids? What causes does she care about? 

3. Give a thoughtful gift.

Your best customers have been generous with your business. Return the favor: Give them something that you know they’ll find valuable.

Choosing the right gift is important. It could be something sold by your business, a book you know they’ve been dying to read, or a floral arrangement. Aim for the $50-$200 range, depending on how close your relationship with the customer is.

It’s also important to present your gift well. Wrap it appealing paper or put it in a bag with a bow on it. If it’s a gift card, package it in a colorful card. 

4. Highlight them on social media. 

Everyone appreciates a public shout-out. Especially if you have a strong social media presence, say “thank you” by featuring your top customers in a post or image. 

If you’re a B2B company, reach out in advance to ask how the customer would like to be positioned. Help them cultivate that image, and you might even earn them some new business.

Encourage members of your team to engage with social posts that mention customers, but make clear that authenticity is key. A salesperson who worked directly with the customer might be able to make a meaningful comment on the post, but someone in an HR role probably cannot.

5. Invite them to a company party. 

Your holiday party, after-work happy hours, and company game nights are great opportunities to make your best customers feel like part of the team. Invite them, ideally by phone or in person, for a night of fun.

Give customers a chance to interact with each other, too. Not only do your best customers probably have a lot in common, but bringing multiple of them to a company event can minimize awkwardness. That way, they aren’t the only “outsiders” at a team event.

High-value customers don’t come along every day. Make them feel special — because they are — by spending some extra time on the follow-up. Get it right, and they might just spend some more with you, too. 

6 Follow-Ups Your Clients Won’t Forget

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Freelancer working

Follow-ups can make or break your customer relationships. Top customers, in particular, expect attention before, during, and after the sale.

How can you squeeze the most value out of those encounters? Be genuine, be generous, and be helpful. Here are six ways to do it:

1. With a thoughtful gift.

Giving a relevant, helpful gift shows that you see top customers as more than just numbers: You care about what they like, and you’re willing to go the extra mile for them.

Did a certain customer mention on an upsell call that she loves chocolate-covered strawberries? Send her a dozen of them a few days after that meeting to show your appreciation. 

2. By inviting them to a webinar.

Hosting events doesn’t just bring leads in the door; it can deepen your connection with existing customers. Add value by inviting them to a webinar.

Especially if you’re a B2B company, learn what continuing education your clients might want. If you’re a marketing firm, can you share some of your favorite tactics? Say you’re a health insurer: Could you put on a wellness event via videoconference?

3. By surprising them with a meal out.

Who doesn’t love going out to eat? There’s no better way than breaking bread together to turn a high-value business relationship into a personal one. Structure your day so you can make time for client meals without shortchanging family.

No one likes to make a decision on a hungry stomach. In a follow-up email, ask your potential clients where their favorite place to eat at is, and then schedule a meeting with them at that restaurant. 

4. By sharing relevant content.

You know how marvelous it feels when someone sends you exactly what you need right when you need it. If you know a client is struggling with a decision or unsure about how to do something, give that feeling to them.

Did your company just publish a whitepaper on the efficacy of social media advertisements? If you know a small business you’re pitching has a slim or non-existent social presence, send it to them!

Sharing relevant content shows potential clients that you care about what matters to them. When they see you’re tuned in to their needs, they’ll be that much more likely to do business together.

5. By taking a personal interest in them.

When you’re sincerely interested in someone, it shows. And thanks to the reciprocity principle, the customer or prospect you’re targeting will be tempted to return the favor of your genuine follow-up.

Don’t do this via email. Either in person or by phone, have a real conversation with them: Ask them how their day is going. What are their hobbies? What are their favorite books, movies, or songs?

6. By volunteering together.

Research shows that volunteering makes you happier. Not only does it provide a sense of purpose, but it promotes physical activity and social interaction. Inviting prospects or customers to a volunteer event with you spreads those warm, fuzzy feelings. When the conversation turns back to business, they’ll associate those same sensations with you.

Casually ask preferred customers about the causes they support. Schedule an hour or two to support one organization involved in those areas, and invite your prospect along. They may be busy, but at the very least, they’ll appreciate your sense of social responsibility.

What if your prospects don’t have any volunteer activities in mind? Bring a little cheer to a retirement home, take care of animals at a local shelter, serve meals at a soup kitchen, shelve books at a library, or pick up trash at a local park. The possibilities are as broad as your client base. 

All it takes to win over and keep top clients is some personal attention. Treat them as more than a sale, and you’ll see the payoff sooner than you think.

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Sales Schedule

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4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Sales Schedule

Sales is a juggling act of meetings, demonstrations, paperwork, cold calls, and emails. The more balls you can keep in the air, the more revenue you’ll pull in — and the larger your commission checks will be.

Like it or not, though, you can’t work leads around the clock. Instead, improve your efficiency with the following tips:

1. Single-task wisely.

Although multitasking creates more problems than it solves, that doesn’t mean you can’t make more of your time.

Start by applying the 80/20 rule: Identify the 20% of your activities that account for 80% of your desired results. For example, you might focus on landing five larger clients that are worth 50 smaller ones because it’s easier to get five people to say “yes” than 50.

Arrive at the office knowing which are your “20%” projects for the day. If you commute by train, subway, or some other means that doesn’t require you to keep your attention on the road, use that time to comb through your task list. 

2. Batch your work.

Instead of doing tasks in the order that they pop up, organize them by type and tackle them in batches. Batching increases your efficiency by minimizing how frequently your brain needs to change gears.

Writing creative sales emails and updating your sales CRM take very different thought processes, for instance. Jumping back and forth between them forces you to be creative one moment and analytical the next. It’s much easier on your mind to shift gears only once. 

3. Own your calendar.

Stay in control of your calendar, or it will control you. Rather than let leads and co-workers choose any slot in your schedule, block off office hours when you are free to talk.

Go ahead and schedule your entire day. Include not just work priorities, but also personal ones like lunches with friends and doctor’s appointments. That way, neither you nor your boss needs to ask what you’re supposed to be doing.

Remember, too, that today’s calendars can do more than just organize meetings. Choose an online calendar that doubles as a project management tool. Sharing key deadlines and priorities with your team allows everyone to work more efficiently. 

4. Improve the way you email.

Email isn’t new, but there are new email tools to boost your efficiency. Boomerang, a Google Chrome plugin, lets you schedule emails in advance so you can make sure your emails get to their recipients at the most effective times. Rather than push out sales emails on Friday at 4 p.m., you could schedule them to be delivered Monday morning instead. 

Get in the habit of creating scripted email templates, especially for cold pitching and answering frequently asked questions. As long as you remember to customize the greeting and other details, they shouldn’t sound like canned responses. Double-check autofill fields so you don’t accidentally send Client X something that refers to Client Y.

No matter how busy your sales schedule is, you can always squeeze another task into it. Use technology and workflow optimization to get more done, and your sales quota won’t stand a chance.

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