December 30, 2022

MarTech Buying Guide for B2B SaaS: Calendar Schedulers

Disclaimer: These are our personal views. This information is based on our experience while working with Seed A to Seed C B2B SaaS companies .

Scheduling a call is simple, but only when speaking with your friend. You can simply say something like, “Please call me at 10” and be done with it. 

It isn’t as simple in B2B marketing.

Problem with forms

When working with clients, one of the first things we analyze and fix is the funnel. Many B2B SaaS companies use sales-assisted motion (via a simple contact form) to handle their leads. But this approach has 2 major issues:

  1. Response delay: There is a huge delay in the responses. (The average response time to a demo request is nearly 5 hours!)
  2. Lead drop-off: Lead drop-off is the difference between the total demo registrations and the prospects attending the call.

For example, if total demo registrations are 100 and if only 30 people appear for a call, 70 leads have dropped off. 

The Solution: Calendar Schedulers

Calendar schedulers automatically qualify, route, and schedule meetings. Rather than having prospects send a demo request randomly and wait for a response, they can schedule a call on their terms – immediately. 

Calendar schedulers eliminate the back-and-forth follow-ups, calendar coordination, and rep availability. They also provide a great user experience for the customers. 

Switching to a calendar scheduler can increase the Lead-to-SQL ratio by 20 to 40 percent. 

Problems with simple calendars

Calendar schedulers are awesome! But they too have their flaws. 

They may cause these 3 issues:

  1. Wasted Sales Bandwidth: For startups, an open calendar may prove beneficial. Since there usually are only a handful of call schedules, sorting the relevant from irrelevant ones is easy. But, as your business expands, your calendar gets filled with a long list of scheduled meetings, most of which are junk. Sending those junk leads to your sales team is neither worth their time nor a professional approach. It can further lead to problems like:
  2. Conversion rates suffering badly: Since many target companies may not be able to book calls owing to the non-availability of open slots in  your sales team’s calendar, they won’t be able to reach you.
  3. Lead routing becoming complicated for larger teams: When scheduling a call, if the prospects find the process frustrating, there  could be a huge drop-off.

So selecting the right software, and then setting it up properly, is vital!

Selecting the right calendar scheduler (for you)

Consider these factors when making this decision:

  1. User experience
  2. CRM integration
  3. Conversion tracking
  4. Lead Routing
  5. Multi-step form
  6. Ease of use
  7. Support
  8. Pricing
  9. Offers

Factor 1: User Experience

Calendar schedulers are the “gateway” to your sales team. Hence, an awful user experience will not only negatively impact the conversion rates, but can also set a bad first impression.

Note: Further in the blog, you will discover our picks of some amazing UX software that you can leverage to ensure a smooth experience for your potential customers. The UX of all the software is somewhat similar with minor  differences. You can test them yourself. 

Factor 2: CRM Integration

Once a call is scheduled, the data has to go to your CRM. That’s where your sales and marketing and support teams look at it, plan tasks and make decisions.

Now, sending this data to a CRM can be either easy or difficult. If it has a native integration, then usually, it’s not much of a hassle. A couple of clicks and you’re done. But if there isn’t a native integration, it could get very messy, and then you would also need someone to work on maintaining this integration.

In the list shared here, many calendars have integrations with the common CMS used by marketers. Hence, this won’t be an issue. However, if you are using an industry-specific calendar, remember to check out which CRMs it supports. 

Factor 3: Conversion Tracking

Call schedulers are usually iframes on the website. In non-technical terms, they’re a MarkOps nightmare! So, they become hard to track on any platform apart from your CRM. We’ve included limitations or workarounds for this for each of our recommendations.

Factor 4: Lead routing

In a sales call, scheduling a call for a team is very different from that for a single person. There are many factors to consider. Time zones, availability, expertise, and whatnot. As your team grows, the complexity grows and this becomes one of the primary deciding factors based on which software you decide to go with. 

Often, sales teams are annoyed with leads arriving at unpredictable times, low-quality or irrelevant leads. An effective lead routing allows your reps to shift their focus on lead conversions.

Factor 5: Multi-Step Form

Not every company needs a multi-step form. However,  based on what we’ve observed,  it works more often than it doesn’t. So a multi-step form is something that you want to have at least the ability to test out.

Here’s a sample flow to help you understand better:

Suppose you are working with companies having an employee strength of 1000+. Now, let’s study two cases to understand the importance of using a multi-step form. 

Case 1: Using a Simple Form

Many websites use a simple form to book demos. Prospects willing to see the demo need to provide their basic info such as name, last name, email id, and other professional details. After submission, they usually get a response like:

‘Thank You! We will contact you in a few hours to schedule the demo.’

Now, this approach has a few issues.

1. Thousands of people visit your web page daily. Assuming 100 prospects fill the form, it would take 3 to 48 hours for your sales team to respond to each prospect. Imagine wasting 48 hours only to respond and schedule the call for each prospect. Needless to say, it isn’t a sane task, especially in a competitive market.

2. Let’s assume that 30 out of 100 prospects have your ICP (Ideal customer profile). This means that these people are almost ready to buy your product/service. 

However, you are wasting hours showing demos to the other 70 irrelevant prospects (unknowingly).  By the time you come to  speak with the relevant ones, they might already have switched to your competing software (Time is Money!). This negatively impacts your conversion rates. 

Further, your business starts losing a chunk of relevant prospects who might have turned into long-term customers. 

Case 2: Using a simple calendar 

Some websites move a step forward and use a calendar directly for prospects to schedule a call. This idea eliminates the cumbersome process of responding to the client ‘in a few hours to schedule a demo’. 

However, as your business grows, more people will be interested in watching your product/service demo. Hence, when they see the calendar, they will schedule a call for watching the demo. 

But, this approach has a problem. 

Suppose 20 people scheduled a call in a day. Your sales team has to attend all 20 calls. Here, the team seldom knows about the call’s relevance to your business. Hence, they may end up wasting time on some calls only to find their requirements are completely irrelevant to what your business is offering. After a certain time frame, this approach can demoralize your sales team completely, which in turn can lead to sales & marketing misalignment.

(Note that this method will prove beneficial if you are a startup and two or three calls are getting scheduled per week) 

So what’s the solution?

Case 3: Multi-step hybrid forms

In a lot of cases, using a multi-step form may be the best approach. 

A multi-step form allows your customers and leads to complete their information in smaller chunks. This leads to a positive user experience as well as an increase in conversion rates. 

In a multi-step form, prospects initially fill their basic details such as official email ids, the number of employees in the company, and their requirements. Based on this information, you can redirect the relevant prospects to a page where they can schedule a call. The irrelevant ones can be sent to a ‘Thank You’ page right away. This indirectly lets them know that they aren’t a good fit. 

Being able to create a funnel like this can increase overall enterprise conversion rates by 20 to 30%. 

Factor 6: Ease of use

This feature is often overlooked. 

A mainstream call scheduler does everything, but how easily can it perform the desired task?

Since it is supposed  to be your primary enterprise funnel, your software must be easy to use and reconfigure. This will decide your ability to test and optimize your funnel. 

Factor 7: Support

If you have a Markops team, having a responsive support team is crucial.

Factor 8: Pricing

Some of our tech stack (like your CRM) may have meeting scheduler abilities at no extra cost. Also, you should know that call schedulers typically cost anywhere between $20 per month to  $3000 per month. 

With such huge variations, choosing the right software becomes a little tricky. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of great calendar schedulers that you can directly make your pick from. We’ve included team size and use case considerations that will help you make the right decision when selecting the software. 

Factor 9: Offers

The companies we work with are all in high-growth phases in their business journey. They’re scaling their marketing initiatives rapidly. Consequently, they’re also scaling their marketing tech stack.

We focus on helping our clients make these decisions, and also get offers via agency partnerships. So companies that work with us get special offers on some of the software we feature in our MarTech buying guides.

We’ve mentioned what additional offers they get for each of the tech stack through us.

Let’s get started.

Calendar Schedulers: Our Recommendations

We’ve tried a few call schedulers and have listed the tool list based on basic, medium, and advanced levels. Also, we strongly recommend considering them when making a selection among the pool of tools available online. 

Basic: HubSpot

This is a great tool to start with! Most companies we work with use HubSpot as their CRM. It has an excellent calendar scheduler.

How HubSpot describe themselves

“Schedule meetings faster and forget the back-and-forth emails. Your calendar stays full, and you stay productive.”

Pros

  1. Price: If you’re using HubSpot as your CRM, their calendar software comes as part of the CRM’s cost. So it’s free for you.
  2. UX: Beautiful UI that just works seamlessly.
  3. CRM Integration: It’s built by HubSpot for HubSpot so the integration works brilliantly.
  4. Lead routing: Lead routing works well. It can be improved a little but its functioning is satisfactory.
  5. Customer support: They have REALLY good reps with great response times.

Cons (with workarounds)

  1. Multi-Step forms: Not available
  2. Conversion tracking: Itch on the lower back (Here’s the link to the guide on how to do it)
  3. The conditional form is a pain in the ass (Here’s the guide to different Thank You pages with some amount of custom code)
  4. You cannot exclude non-business events. With HubSpot forms you can, but for some reason, on Hubspot calendar, they don’t have this functionality.

Medium: Calendly + Custom HTML Form

(We sincerely thank Pritesh Vora at Sprinto for sharing his experience with us regarding Calendly).

How Calendly describe themselves:

“Schedule meetings faster and forget the back-and-forth emails. Your calendar stays full, and you stay productive.”

Here, the final customer experience looks like this:

  1. The user fills out a form that can have any number of fields that you want.
  2. They are then redirected to Calendar Calendar.
  3. They simply select the time, refill their email ID and the call gets scheduled with your rep. 

How this is done (The technical setup):

  1. You have to create a custom form and host it on the website.
  2. Once the form is filled, it pushes the form fields using Calendly’s API and redirects to the Calendly calendar. 
  3. You need to set it up the way you normally would. Here you select the form, the fields, the thank you page, and the call routing with your team. 

Pros

  1. The CRM integration is pretty decent. So there are two sets of inputs into the CRM – one from the form and the second separate one from the Calendly. Since both are tied to the email, you can capture everything seamlessly till your form is working properly. 
  2. Conversion tracking is pretty easy. Using a form style conversion you can also track the call since it was sent to a ‘Thank You’ page pretty easily. In case you want to track the entire path to see drop-offs, you can also track all the form visits, the calendar page visits, and then the thank you page visits
  3. They have introduced support for lead routing. We haven’t had time to play around with it enough, but it seems to be pretty robust. 
  4. All in all, you just have to pay for Calendly, which is still not as expensive as some of the other tools on the market.

Cons

  1. The user experience is a bit irksome. There is a redirect in the middle of the calendar schedule process, and also, the users need to fill out their email ID twice.
  2. The biggest issue with this is that it’s a little hard to set up and maintain. You would typically need developers to help you with this. 

Premium: Chili Piper

Chili Piper is an advanced and recommended scheduling tool for companies with a team of 10+ salespeople. And, weirdly, it has the only multi-step form implementation that we have seen working well on the internet!

How Chili Piper describe themselves

“B2B revenue teams use Chili Piper to book with prospects as soon as they express interest in a meeting.

This leads to more meetings booked, and more pipelines created.”

Pros

  • It just does everything well. On G2, ChiliPiper beats HubSpot’s scheduler in every single category (link)
  • It probably provides the best user experience and is extremely seamless. There are no redirects; it runs in a single iframe on your website. 
  • You can expect the highest conversion rates possible. Using its Clearbit integration, you can even reduce the number of form fields for certain companies when you have identified a visitor. 
  • They have a variety of ways through which you can integrate with the CRM, decide when to send a lead, and how to mark it. All these parameters work extremely well. 
  • Chili Piper has advanced lead routing for fair and accurate distribution. You have complete control over how you want to qualify leads before they get routed to the right rep.
  • It is extremely easy to use and has a very streamlined onboarding process. Within a couple of calls, their team sits with you and sets everything up. It’s a white glove service. 
  • We may be a little biased, but we are in love with their support team. Apart from just being responsive and helpful, there’s also a really fun group of people to work with. 

Cons

  • Expensive (But efficient if you have the right team size. It won’t be worth it if you have only 3 to 4 sales reps)

Offer:

Spear Growth Customers get a free consultation on their inbound conversion.

Conclusion

If you have a small team (less than 3 sales reps) and you are already using a good call scheduler, please continue with it. Don’t bother changing your stackunless you are not able to track everything you want to. 

Once you have over 5 or 6 sales reps and your scaling up with an increase in lead volumes, consider testing out a multi-step form set up.

Once you have more than 10 sales reps, consider moving to a more sophisticated tool like Chili Piper. With that, your sales team can gain more control over who’s booking the call. 

As an agency, we know our way around tech – be it calendar schedulers or anything else. This helps us have more levers to pull, and in return, get better results for our clients. Looking for help with performance marketing?


Check us out here or schedule a 30 min call.

Contributors

Ishaan Shakunt profile pic
Author
Ishaan Shakunt
Founder & Head of Marketing Strategy, SpearGrowth

Ishaan Shakunt is the founder of SpearGrowth, a B2B SaaS Marketing agency that helps high-growth companies with Ads and SEO

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