Let’s rewind to 2013. The Baltimore Ravens achieved victory at the Super Bowl, you couldn’t step foot in a store without hearing “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, and TV lovers across the nation collectively mourned as “Breaking Bad” came to an end. Meanwhile, Abstrakt was a relatively new company working to revolutionize the art of B2B lead generation and grow our clients’ businesses.
2013 may feel like a lifetime ago, but it’s where our story begins. As 2012 was coming to a close, one of our very first managed service provider (MSP) clients turned to us for sales support. They wanted to start 2013 off on the right foot by building a solid pipeline of leads instead of relying on referral business. We jumped at the opportunity to grow our skills in the IT market, and a B2B appointment setting partnership was born.
That same year, we first made contact with a qualified lead from a school district. Fast forward to July 2021, and that lead finally turned into a sale—eight years after the first phone call. Here’s the story of how years of patience led to one of the biggest projects our client has secured as an Abstrakt partner.
In late 2012, we got a call from a business owner hoping to expand their company’s reach in the Northwest United States. Eight years prior, they noticed a lack of true IT consultants in their area and opened their MSP company to address that gap. After years of steady growth, they had reached a sales plateau they couldn’t get past on their own. With a little outside help, our client knew they could grow their business into one of the largest MSPs in the area.
On Dec. 1, 2012, we started the shortest but perhaps most integral step of our partnership: implementation month. During these four weeks of preparation, we learned as much as possible about our client and began compiling a list of potential leads. Our most important takeaways were:
- Unlike many of our clients who restrict their lead generation efforts to a specific city or small radius, our MSP client could serve customers in a large area. Leads were fair game if they resided in one of five Northwestern states.
- Companies were only worth pursuing if they had at least 15 employees, one server, and no fewer than 10 desktops. Additionally, our client preferred leads in healthcare, manufacturing, legal services, and finance.
- Our client’s key differentiators were their 24/7 helpdesk and service level agreements (SLAs). At that time, most IT providers charged by the hour for their services in our client’s area. Our client never charged by the hour and offered affordable SLAs.
After learning the types of leads our client wanted, we got to work compiling a list of potential customers. In late 2012, it wasn’t as easy to track down information about prospects as it is today, but our team managed to put together a solid list of viable opportunities. From there, the calls began.
We didn’t waste any time getting our new MSP B2B appointment setting program started after the new year began. Our sales development representatives (SDRs) made their first sales calls in January 2013. We didn’t expect any immediate success; after all, the average key decision-maker (KDM) takes 90 days to set an appointment with our MSP clients. During our first few months, we focused on building relationships with as many leads as possible.
We left voicemails with two companies that would eventually turn into major deals in our first week. On our second day live, we left the first voicemail with a trucking parts company not far from our client’s office. The second voicemail occurred six days later when we reached a local credit union. Though we first made contact with both leads around the same time, they signed their contracts five years apart. The first deal came six months after we went live.
At Abstrakt, one of the most important elements of our outbound lead generation process is lead nurturing. Most leads need a few weeks or even months to warm up to the idea of setting an appointment with our clients. If we stopped trying to guide a lead toward an appointment after the first few weeks or phone calls, we wouldn’t be able to build a sales pipeline that generates consistent and predictable leads. By staying persistent and following up frequently, we ensure that the most qualified sales leads eventually sign a contract—even if it takes years.
To set this particular appointment for our MSP client, we had to call our credit union lead 19 times. We didn’t even reach the KDM until that last call, and we secured an appointment within a few minutes. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence at Abstrakt—it often takes months to get in touch with the right person, but things move quickly after that.
Those 19 calls paid off at the end of June. After attending a sales meeting at the beginning of the month, our client secured their first big contract for $10,800 a few weeks later. Little did they know, this contract was minor compared to the deals they would close in the future.
Toward the end of 2013, we cold called a local school district on our lead list. After leaving one voicemail, we called a second time and learned that they wouldn’t be making any IT purchases until the next school year. After taking notes in our customer relationship management (CRM) platform, we set a reminder to call back the next year.
The next few years of our MSP client’s B2B appointment setting program went as expected. We set frequent appointments with leads that spent a few weeks or months in our pipeline, and our client’s monthly recurring revenue increased substantially after a few closed deals. Our sales team could have dropped the school district lead from our list and still considered our program a success, but we never let go of qualified leads at Abstrakt.
Here’s what our appointment setting process looked like:
- October 2014: We left a voicemail with the KDM, only to learn months later that they had left the school district.
- March 2015: As the next school year came to a close, we checked back in and identified our new KDM. She informed us they had just received a bid from a different MSP. We were disappointed but not deterred.
- January 2016: We called and left a voicemail but didn’t hear back.
- July 2016: During the summer, we called to see if the district had IT plans for the upcoming school year. No one picked up.
- December 2016: We finally reached a real person nearly two years after our last conversation. Our last KDM was now gone, and the original KDM was back. We knew it wouldn’t be easy to get them on the phone, but after three years of effort, we weren’t going to stop there.
- May 2017: One of our SDRs learned that the school district was waiting for grant money to purchase new laptops, but the KDM was willing to attend an appointment. We scheduled the meeting for May 25 and waited to see what would happen.
With an appointment set, we were feeling pretty accomplished—that is, until we learned from our client in August that the school district was still waiting on their grant and didn’t know when, if ever, the money would arrive.
Remember the trucking parts company we originally called on Jan. 2, 2013? They stuck around in our pipeline for years. Every time we thought our client was about to make a deal, the lead went silent and then reappeared a few months later. We continued calling, emailing, and sending over relevant pieces of marketing collateral even though our attempts seemed futile.
Finally, on Nov. 8, 2018, our client secured two contracts—one for ongoing managed service worth $5,600 and another for a new cloud-based phone system worth $90,000. The more than 60 phone calls our SDRs made to secure this single deal were well worth it.
Want a sustainable pipeline that keeps producing after nearly a decade? It’s time to partner with Abstrakt.
By July 2021, we hadn’t thought about our school district lead for years. So, when we got a call from our client’s closing sales rep, we were ecstatic to learn that four years after our appointment and eight years after our first phone call, the school district signed a contract for $200,000 worth of laptops.
We’ve learned a lot in the eight years since we first partnered with our MSP client, but this deal was a testament to the fact that our process works. We develop long-term relationships with leads to ensure that our clients are their top choice when it’s time to make a deal, even if it takes nearly a decade for that deal to materialize.
If your DIY B2B lead generation program isn’t producing the results you’re looking for, it’s time to look outside your company and outsource appointment setting. Whether you’re an MSP, a commercial cleaning company, an HVAC business, or something in between, our B2B appointment setters can build a sales process that gets results.
Contact us today to see if we’re available in your market.