A Story from the Front Lines of B2B Lead Generation
Traditional lead generation methods, including cold calling and email blasts, are a great way to find the clients you’re looking for. But for your commercial HVAC sales strategy to really pay off, you need a combination of B2B appointment setting and inbound marketing services.
You can call a hundred prospects each day and get hung up on each time. But if one of those prospects then Googles a question related to commercial HVAC and your website pops up as the first result, that web search can turn into a closed sale.
For one of our long-term HVAC partners, that’s exactly what happened—an elusive prospect reappeared after three years because of a web search. Learn how we used strategic search engine optimization (SEO) and revamped our client’s website to transform it into a lead generation machine.
Adding Inbound Marketing Into the B2B Lead Generation Mix
Years ago, we started working with an HVAC client based out of the Midwest. They exclusively used B2B appointment setting to generate leads, and while it worked well, they weren’t getting as many leads as they wanted.
After a few years of relying on an outbound sales strategy to turn prospects into sales, our client realized that they were missing a crucial sales opportunity—a good website. Their prospects would look them up after receiving a cold call and land on a generic, bare-bones site that left them with little confidence in our partner’s services. Strategic websites can turn prospects into leads, but bad websites can actually reverse the progress that your sales reps already made.
In 2018, our client decided to add inbound marketing into their B2B lead generation strategy and enlist our website development team. They knew that their old website had zero SEO value and wasn’t generating any solid leads, and they needed a complete overhaul. Though they thought some of their old content was decent, our inbound marketing team knew that we needed to start from scratch if our client was going to rank in search results.
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Taking SEO to the Next Level
People who are looking for an HVAC provider usually have a few questions in mind that they turn to a web search to answer:
- Are they certified?
- Do they offer preventative services?
- Can they do emergency repairs?
- Do they operate in my area?
- What industries do they serve?
They’ll probably type a string of words into Google, like “certified HVAC provider near me” or “industrial HVAC preventative maintenance.” Google’s SEO bots then crawl through thousands of pages to find the ones that match each search. That’s the basic premise behind SEO, and it can have a massive impact on your sales strategy.
When our SEO strategists started coming up with a game plan for our client’s site, they researched common keywords in our client’s area and created a list for our copywriters to use. Each page was strategically written to bring in a particular type of prospect. Those in need of general services could type “commercial HVAC” into their search bar and find our client’s home page in the results. We knew that our client was looking for clients in specific industries, so we built entire pages around keywords like “industrial HVAC services” and “hospital HVAC service.”
Immediately after their site launched, our client noticed increased traffic and more interested prospects. They were hitting their sales goals more quickly and setting up appointments with more qualified leads.
Our SEO strategy didn’t end once we created our client’s site, even though the original site brought the results we wanted. SEO is a never-ending process. We constantly search for new keywords that rank in search results and use those new keywords to update headings on client site pages. We used this strategy for our HVAC client, and according to their virtual marketing manager, their website had a whopping 96 keywords on the first page of Google as of March 2021.
Refreshing pages with ranking keywords is essential in creating a cohesive outbound and inbound sales program. We might cold call a prospect one day and get screamed at and hung up on, but if that prospect Googles “commercial HVAC” a few weeks (or even years) later and sees your site pop up, they may change their mind.
Three Years Later—An Old Lead Reappears
If you’re in the commercial HVAC business, you know how hard it can be to stay in contact with prospects. One day, you think you’re on the brink of closing a six-figure deal with a data center, and the next day, the client leaves a 10-second voicemail letting you know that the deal’s off. They won’t pick up their phone, and after a few months, you feel like giving up.
But you can’t give up. Why? A key part of any good sales strategy is keeping up with every qualified lead, even if they change their phone number a dozen times or seem to completely disappear off the face of the earth. With a little persuasion and a lot of determination, your sales development representative can find the right time to make a deal with a previously uninterested prospect, even if it takes years.
In this case, we didn’t have to chase down our client’s prospect—they came to us. After our team refreshed our client’s website and updated their SEO keyword strategy, an old prospect in the healthcare industry landed on our site and liked what they saw. Our client had been calling this prospect repeatedly for years and recently lost touch with them completely, but the strategic healthcare-related SEO on their site brought the lead right back.
Sometimes, there’s no good reason why a prospect suddenly changes their mind after giving us the runaround year after year. Maybe the prospect’s company didn’t have the money to close a deal a year ago or they weren’t ready to leave their old commercial HVAC provider. What matters is that our website reeled them right back in when they were prepared to make the deal.
Setting an Appointment
Your website can act as an informative digital brochure or serve as a persuasive sales tool. In our client’s case, their healthcare prospect read through the industry page on their website and landed on a contact form at the bottom. All they had to do was enter their contact information and click submit. Our outbound team received the prospect’s information and immediately called to set up an appointment.
Because the prospect had already looked through our client’s website and knew what they offered, the appointment setting process was a breeze. The prospect immediately agreed to meet with our client to discuss deal terms.
Closing a $130,000 Deal
It’s not easy to make a sale. Even if all the stars align during the lead nurturing and appointment setting stages of the sales process, potential clients can get cold feet before a deal. Sometimes they realize how time-consuming it will be to install a new HVAC system and decide to put it off for just a few more years. In this case, after years of dragging their feet, our client’s lead was ready.
The new president of our client company reported back to let us know that they had wrapped up a $130,000 deal within 30 days of their appointment. That brought their 2021 sales total to over $160,000, with this single deal making up over 80% of that total.
What Made This Deal Successful?
Our HVAC client’s deal isn’t a classic success story; they spent years playing phone tag with this prospect. When the decision maker did answer, they were always on their way to a job or picking their kids up from school, so it was never a “good time.” Eventually, they fell completely off the radar. So, what made this deal successful? A combination of outbound and inbound B2B lead generation strategies, including:
- Cold calling: Though the cold call that introduced us to this prospect happened years back, it was the first step in closing the sale.
- Lead nurturing: We never stopped trying to get in touch with this prospect, even when they used every trick in the book to get rid of us.
- Website development: When we increased the quality of our client’s online presence, more leads started pouring in.
- SEO: Even though our prospect was evasive, we were one step ahead of them. We anticipated their Google search and made sure our client’s site would be a top result.
- B2B appointment setting: Once the prospect reached out, we immediately contacted them to set up an appointment, which turned into a deal.
- Persistence: If your lead isn’t responding to your calls, don’t give up. As this deal shows, persistence pays off, even if it feels like you’re getting nowhere.
Ready To Grow Your Commercial HVAC Business?
It takes time to nurture leads and close deals in the commercial HVAC industry, but B2B lead generation services pay off. Even if you have to call a prospect 20 times, those calls could lead to one deal that pays for your lead generation program for an entire year. Adding a search engine optimized website into the mix makes your sales strategy even more robust.
Abstrakt can transform your sales strategy with our HVAC B2B lead generation services. If you’re ready to grow your business, get in touch with us today.
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