If your business has tried every method in the book to try and generate leads, you may want to go back to the drawing board. One of the most common B2B lead generation strategies is B2B appointment setting, an outbound lead generation strategy that involves prospecting, contacting decision-makers, and nurturing and qualifying leads to schedule an appointment. The goal is to speak with a decision-maker and eventually close a deal. Believe it or not, B2B appointment setting is a proven method for generating leads that work.
Have you given up on B2B appointment setting or are you convinced that it doesn’t work? Think again. Yes, it’s true that B2B appointment setting can take time, and it’s not likely that a prospect is going to buy your product or service the first time you contact them. However, persistence is key, and you never know which prospects are going to surprise you. This B2B lead generation success story about an HVAC client of ours at Abstrakt shows exactly that.
In October of 2017, Abstrakt attended the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)/Chicago Expo in downtown Chicago at Merchandise Mart. From there, we were able to get in touch with a prospect who we felt would be a good fit for our HVAC client. A few of our dedicated B2B sales reps worked hard to build a relationship with this prospect for about a year and a half.
This story is a true testament to how you can’t give up even when you think an account is no longer an opportunity. Our B2B sales reps, instead of writing this record off when they easily could have, decided to go back for round two and give the prospect another chance. Their persistence didn’t fail them, and our HVAC client definitely reaped the benefits. Read on to learn more about this incredible B2B appointment setting success story.
Client’s Industry: HVAC
Number of Calls to Prospect: Engineering
Prospect Qualifiers: 16 months after we thought an opportunity was dead, we closed a deal.
- The first time we attempted to contact this prospect on behalf of our HVAC client was on January 31st, 2018. Our B2B sales rep learned that the key decision-maker we were hoping to speak with was out for the week.
- On February 13th, our B2B sales rep was able to speak with the key decision-maker. He told our sales rep that the building was in a transition phase and that they were switching owners. At that time, he wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the current contract. Everything was up in the air, but our B2B sales rep looked at this as a good opportunity. New ownership meant the potential for new partnerships. The facility was 1.2 million square feet total (1 million of that being occupied by staff).
Our B2B sales rep was able to schedule an appointment for our HVAC client to go out and visit this facility on February 20th, 2018.
- THE APPOINTMENT: Our HVAC client was very excited about this appointment and the potential opportunity that came with it, but it, unfortunately, did not go the way they had planned. The only thing they learned at the appointment was that the building had been sold. The two contacts who we scheduled the appointment with turned out to not be the key decision-makers, as they were not the new property managers for the building.
Together, as partners, we decided that this opportunity was dead.
- Fast forward more than a year later to April of 2019. A new B2B sales rep is on the account and decided to re-cleanse the record. He knew from the notes in our CRM that ownership had recently changed, so he set out to identify the new key decision-makers and go from there. Essentially, he treated this company as a new prospect.
What exactly is “re-cleansing” and why is it an important part of B2B appointment setting? When a key decision-maker (KDM) changes, re-cleansing is the approach B2B sales reps take so that they don’t have to start all over. Sure, there are going to be things you have to learn about the new point of contact, but there is a right and wrong way to go about this process.
When you’re pursuing an opportunity and something changes, don’t just go after the new KDM like they’re a brand new prospect. Learn everything that you can about how and why the situation changed so that you can have an educated conversation with a prospect. It’s better to say “hey, I spoke with the old building manager. You might know them! He told me X, Y, Z about your facility. Is this still true?” Even if a lot has changed, going into an intro conversation knowing what you’re talking about gives you a lot of credibilities. It’ll help you gather even more information from the new KDM and engage them in a new way (maybe in a completely different way) than you did with your old point of contact.
So, take a step back, realize the situation has changed, and re-cleanse.
This is exactly what our B2B sales rep did in this situation.
- On April 22nd, 2019, our B2B sales rep was able to properly re-cleanse the record and speak with the new KDM. He was able to gather some great information, but he was not successful in setting up an appointment during that first conversation. But that’s okay! He made it a point to stay in touch with his new contact.
- Our B2B sales rep left a few voicemails over the course of the next two months.
On June 6th, 2019, our B2B sales rep spoke with the key decision-maker again (the Chief Engineer at the company). Our B2B sales rep explained how we had met with the previous building owners in the past and that they explained ownership was changing. He then asked how they were planning to handle HVAC for their 1 million square foot facility under this new ownership. After hearing about the services our HVAC client could offer, he asked if they could bring an updated proposal/bid by the office. We said of course and set up an appointment for June 13th.
BOOM. APPOINTMENT RESET!
- While our B2B sales rep was excited, our HVAC client had their hesitations at first. At the original meeting in February of 2018, our client felt that the prospect was pulling his chain and wasting his time. Our client even offered to come out several times, and still, no deal was closed.
- When we told our HVAC client about the appointment reset on June 13th, they were skeptical about going back out there, fearing that they would waste their time again. They decided to go anyway.
- At this appointment, our HVAC client brought a bid/proposal like the prospect requested on the call with our B2B sales rep. At the appointment, they told our HVAC client that they were not happy with their current provider. So, we closed a deal for a preventative maintenance contract and a construction project.
Revenue For Our Client From Two Deals: $12K preventative maintenance agreement and a $420K construction project.
Our process works and you can’t disqualify a lead just because of one attempt. This success story demonstrates why persistence is such an important aspect to sales.
Did the prospect say they weren’t interested? That could change.
Did the key decision-maker change? Find your new point of contact.
Did they just sign on with a new partner? They may find that they’re not happy with their new partner (maybe they will realize this six months from now, maybe it will take years; either way, you have to continue nurturing the prospect).
B2B sales is a never-ending process, and until you set an appointment and close a deal, there is never a good enough reason to give up. There is always a chance that things could change.
It’s very common for B2B sales reps to get blown off or for them to be told there just isn’t an opportunity right now. This story and many others just like it will show that. But giving up on a prospect (no matter what they tell you) is not a smart decision. Closing a deal could take time, but you never know when things are going to change. You must continue trying and stay in contact with all of your leads, even those that you may think are a waste of your time.
Are you struggling to set B2B sales appointments? Or, are you just burnt out feeling like B2B appointment setting is a waste of your time? It’s a long and tedious process, but we here at Abstrakt believe that the process works. If you’re interested in learning more about B2B lead generation, why it works, and what an HVAC appointment setting program would look like for your business, contact us today.