Owning a business presents a plethora of challenges; you have to perfect your product or service, hire the right employees, and stay competitive in your line of work. It’s tough. One of the toughest parts of owning a business is generating leads and growing a healthy sales pipeline.
One of the most tried and true lead generation methods is B2B appointment setting, an outbound lead generation strategy that involves prospecting, contacting decision-makers, and nurturing and qualifying leads with the goal of scheduling an appointment and eventually closing a deal.
The tough part about B2B appointment setting? It’s a long and tedious process. If you’re looking for some insight and data on a real B2B lead generation success story, this story about one of our IT clients will show the time, hard work, and persistence that it takes to close a deal.
One of our very own dedicated B2B sales reps helped an IT client of ours close two huge deals within the short timespan of one month. The hard work that it took to close these two deals, however, spanned over a timeframe of almost five years. Here is a timeline that shows just how much B2B lead generation activity it took for this client to close two of their biggest deals ever.
Client’s Industry: IT/Managed Service Provider (MSP)
Number of Calls to Prospect: 97 over a 5-year period
Prospect Qualifiers: 300 devices and 180 active employees
- 6/29/15: This was the first time our B2B sales rep spoke with the prospect. She was able to gather a lot of useful information on this call. She learned who the President of the company was and that they had no IT Director. She also learned that this specific prospect contracted out for all IT project work and additional services. However, the key decision-maker (the President) was out of the office and unavailable until the beginning of July. Our B2B sales rep kept note of this in our CRM tool so that she could contact the prospect again in early July.
- In the beginning of July, our B2B sales rep reached back out like she had planned. Between July 2015 and August of 2018, she called the prospect a total of 19 times. For a few of these calls, she left voicemails for the key decision-maker or the receptionist. She decided to still keep a record of this prospect and maybe call on them in the future, but it definitely wasn’t one of her warmer leads. Still, she did not give up on this potential opportunity.
- Just over a year later, our B2B sales rep FINALLY spoke with the key decision-maker. After four years of attempting to get in touch with this company, she was able to speak with the President on September 18th, 2019.
On this call, she found out that he currently had an IT Manager and that they were using an outside company for IT services. However, he told our dedicated sales rep that he wanted her to speak with his IT Manager so they could review what they have with their current provider vs. us. If the IT Manager felt that we could offer IT services they weren’t getting from their current provider, there would be a potential opportunity to partner.
So, the President transferred our B2B sales rep to his IT Manager; there was no answer. She left a voicemail and kept his contact information on file to try back again later.
This is about the time where a lot of salespeople would be thinking, “are you freaking kidding me?!” While our B2B sales rep collected some valuable information, it took her four years just to get in contact with the prospect. After this many years of trying, you desperately hope that when you hear someone pick up that phone, you’re going to get better news. Best case scenario, you close a deal right then and there. But, you have to take a step back and be a little more realistic. This was the very first time our sales rep spoke with the prospect, and it’s not very likely that he would make a decision to work with a new IT company that exact day.
So, let’s continue on with the story…
- After that conversation in September of 2019, our B2B sales rep continued to follow up in hopes of getting in touch with the IT Manager whom she was referred to. For one month, she tried tirelessly to get in touch with him, calling the IT Director a total of 20 times, leaving one voicemail, and sending an email.
- Then, one day, our B2B sales rep decided to switch things up and call the President again. On October 7th, 2019, she spoke with him. He, again, told her that she really needed to speak with his IT Manager. Fortunately, he did tell her that his IT Manager is usually available between the hours of 5pm and 6pm; however, because we work in different time zones than many of our partners and prospects that we call on, that was 7pm to 8pm our time. This made the task of getting an appointment with the prospect that much more difficult for our B2B sales rep.
Nevertheless, she persisted… this dedicated B2B sales rep of ours was determined to close a deal for our IT client.
- Over a time period of more than three months, our B2B sales rep made 45 phone calls to this prospect, sometimes leaving voicemails, other times not.
- And then, finally, after five years of hard work, she SECURED AN APPOINTMENT for our IT client. The appointment was with the IT Manager of the engineering solutions company that she had been calling on for years. On January 20th, 2020, our sales rep finally spoke with the IT Manager who revealed to her that they had become very disappointed with the services that their current IT partner was providing them. They used to drop by their office and collaborate, but they grew to a size where they were no longer giving the prospect the type of service they deserved. Knowing this information, our B2B sales rep passed the appointment along to our IT client.
All of this B2B sales activity resulted in two MONSTER deals! Our dedicated B2B sales rep helped our IT client close a $300,000 IT project and an $18,000 monthly recurring revenue contract with an engineering company. This is now our client’s second-largest account and the partnership has made a huge impact on their business. This B2B appointment setting success story is all due to the hard work and persistence of our B2B sales rep while working on this account. Even after so many attempts and years of trying to get an appointment, she never gave up—a great example of how our process works and how follow up is such an important aspect to sales.
Now, do you believe how many calls, touches, and attempts it takes?
Now, do you see how much hard work can pay off for a B2B sales rep?
See what our hard-working B2B sales rep had to say about her work on this account:
“I was persistent in following up with this particular prospect because I knew it was a good fit and could be a good opportunity if I could make the connection. It’s always good to start off by identifying the C-level person and then find out if there is an internal person involved with their IT. This way, you can bounce back and forth between the two targets,” she said. “Speaking with a C-level person can have a significant impact on whether or not the IT person will be engaged. Name dropping a conversation with the President of a company can go a long way. This story is a great example of how being persistent in a respectful way can pay off. Things change and our efforts to get our client’s name out there resonate with the targets. When the targeted prospect finally picks up the phone, you must be ready to have a confident and passionate conversation.
Here’s what she had to say about why she loves working with this IT client as their dedicated B2B sales rep:
“What I love about my client is the fact that he truly buys into our processes and knows firsthand the success of nurturing leads,” she said. “He is an excellent salesperson and really brings it to the meetings. This client helps me help them in so many ways. They know I care about their success and he cares about our success. It’s a true partnership.”
The numbers alone show the hard work, persistence, and dedication that it took to close these two deals. The numbers also show that B2B lead generation does in fact work, but it takes time and can be a slow process—our B2B sales rep on this account knows that, and so does the client. Being rejected doesn’t mean a prospect isn’t interested, it could mean a number of things. Maybe they’re just having a bad day. At first, you may see no results, but you still keep trying. This is part of B2B sales. This is why we’ve been able to make such an impact for so many of our clients at Abstrakt Marketing Group.
Looking at this story and many others, you’ll see that it’s very common for B2B sales reps to get blown off. It’s not often that the prospect is interested in doing business at the first point of contact. There will be rejection. Closing a deal takes time and effort, but the result is worth it.
Not all B2B businesses realize the amount of activity it takes to close a deal. Sometimes, companies even feel like B2B appointment setting is a waste of time. We’re here to tell you that it’s not. If you’re interested in learning more about B2B lead generation, why it works, or you want to talk about what an MSP lead generation program would look like for your company, contact us today.