In a perfect B2B lead generation world, every prospect would pick up the phone, hear us out, and set an appointment for a few days later. Every appointment would turn into a deal, and our clients would have more projects than they knew what to do with.
In reality, turning prospects into leads is like pulling teeth. We can nurture a lead for years and never land an appointment. Some prospects respond to our calls, share their concerns, and eagerly schedule a meeting before ultimately going radio silent.
It’s tempting to write off every noncommittal lead and go back to the drawing board. However, to be a successful lead generator, you have to play the long game. That’s how we scored a game-changing deal for one of our LED clients. Learn how our persistence and B2B appointment setting strategy paid off.
Two years ago, a Midwest LED client turned to us for outbound marketing services. They didn’t have any experience finding qualified leads or building a sales pipeline, and they needed some outside help. They signed on as an LED lead generation program partner in May 2019, and we started making calls just one month later in June.
Our LED client started seeing a difference in their sales almost immediately. We were sending promising leads in our client’s target industries: manufacturing, education, automotive, and retail. But when the pandemic struck and tanked the economy in March of 2020, we had to start getting creative with our outbound sales strategy.
After it became clear that COVID-19 wasn’t going away anytime soon, it was almost impossible to set appointments. Many of our prospects slashed their budgets, sent their staff home, and started dodging calls. When we did make contact with a decision-maker and ask if they were interested in a new LED lighting strategy, their answer was always: “We don’t have the money right now, and we’re not sure when we will.”
That’s what happened when we called a prospect in the manufacturing industry in April 2020. They did want to overhaul their lighting strategy and install energy-efficient LEDs, but they weren’t selling very many products. Their company focused on making educational products for classrooms, but schools were shut down, and no one was sure when students would return.
Despite the uncertainty the pandemic caused for this prospect, our first call didn’t end with a firm “no.” We were told to call back later, and we did—10 more times.
For those unfamiliar with lead generation, “call back later” may seem like a euphemism for “I don’t want to be rude, but please don’t ever call me again.” However, it’s actually an encouraging thing to hear. When prospects tell you to call later, it means that they’re open to making a deal in the future, whether that’s a few months from now or years down the road. Though LED lighting prospects typically set an appointment after 82 days, there are always a few that seem intent on bringing up the average.
In B2B lead generation, persistence is vital. You can’t let a lead slip through the cracks because you might miss them when they’re finally ready to make a sale worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. A prospect that screamed at you on the phone a few years ago could answer a call today and agree to a meeting. Prospects’ needs are constantly changing, and being persistent helps us stay ahead of those needs and catch leads at the right time.
For the next nine months after our initial April call, we stayed vigilant. During that time, three different partner sales representatives (PSRs) kept in touch with our manufacturing prospect, listened to their concerns, and explained how our client’s LED lighting solutions would be the perfect fit for their facilities. Our lead was still struggling with the financial aftermath of the pandemic, but they liked the idea of saving money on their energy bills.
By the end of 2020, after nearly 10 calls, we could tell that our lead nurturing strategy was working and our prospect was on the verge of scheduling a meeting.
In early February 2021, our persistence finally paid off (or so we thought), and we scheduled a meeting between our manufacturing lead and our LED client. A few days later, the lead reached back out to us to let us know they needed to cancel the meeting.
Our contact’s canceled meeting could have marked the end of the deal—it seemed like they had cold feet and were trying to remove themselves from the sales pipeline. Despite having little faith that the lead was going to reschedule, we kept calling. To our surprise, the prospect agreed to a new meeting on Feb. 12, 2021.
Just because it takes almost a year to set an appointment with a prospect doesn’t mean that the deal won’t close quickly. Within one month of the February 12 sales meeting, our LED client signed a contract worth $300,000 to install LED lighting for four buildings with 2 million square feet of space.
Why did the deal close so quickly? These were the main factors:
- We made sure the prospect was qualified. This prospect was in one of our client’s target industries, and they needed services that our client specializes in.
- We nurtured the lead. During each of our PSRs’ calls, they listened to the prospect’s goals and concerns and explained how our client could help.
- We didn’t let a canceled appointment stop us. Canceled appointments often mean that the deal is off. However, we didn’t let that stop us—we kept calling until the prospect rescheduled.
- We knew the prospect was ready. Despite our prospect’s initial fear of commitment, we knew they were prepared to make a deal after almost a year of check-in calls.
After the deal closed, a team member at our client’s company called to express their gratitude, saying: “You guys are doing a great job, and you’re so professional. You really have helped our company.”
Ready to grow your LED lighting business?
When developing an effective LED lead generation program, you have to decide whether you want to focus on quantity or quality. Is your goal to bring in as many leads as possible and try to persuade them to buy? Or would you rather only meet with potential customers who are ready to take the next step? For this LED client partner, we focused our efforts on identifying qualified leads and nurturing them through the sales pipeline. Some leads were easy to reel in, but others took months of persuasion to get to the finish line.
Our client’s 10-month-long, $300,000 deal shows us that every qualified lead is worth chasing. If we had decided to put down the phone and focus on a new contact, our client would be missing out on a massive revenue-generating project. In the LED world, landing a deal like this requires being in the right place at the right time, and we made sure we were there.
Do you want to land more major deals for your LED lighting business? Don’t wait for prospects to come to you—partner with Abstrakt for outbound lead generation. Our expert sales team sends over as many qualified leads as possible, even if it takes months to get them through your doors. Contact us today to learn more about our B2B appointment setting services and how we can implement them into your LED sales strategy.