Have you ever woken up on the first day of a new month and thought, “Wait, how did we get here?” If you’re like most people, you had this experience at least once in the past year. A month always seems like a long time when you still have 30 days ahead of you, but it can fly by in the blink of an eye, especially in a fast-paced industry like sales.
In solar B2B lead generation, the only thing that typically takes a month or less to accomplish is our implementation period. Once we go live and start calling prospects, it usually takes two months just to set an appointment—let alone close a deal. However, we’re always trying to outdo ourselves at Abstrakt, and we’ll do anything we can to bring our average down.
When our Northeast solar client joined our ranks a mere two months ago, they didn’t expect to see instant success. They knew that creating a sustainable sales pipeline is a long-term endeavor and were willing to wait their turn to see results. To our client’s surprise, we managed to get their pipeline off the ground in just a few days and helped them close a six-figure deal in record time.
Learn how we beat our appointment setting average by 56 days and paid for our client’s solar lead generation program 30 times over—all in one month.
Every B2B lead generation program has its own timeline for success. You can’t expect one client to set their first deal in three months because a similar client did. There are countless factors at play that influence how long it might take for your sales efforts to pay off, including:
- Your industry: Some industries have it easier than others when it comes to lead generation. It takes 57 days on average for us to set appointments with solar leads, but our accounting clients often have to wait 10 times that amount to secure their first meeting. If people have something to gain by purchasing your services, such as a reduced carbon footprint and a more manageable energy bill, you have a better chance of reaching quick success.
- Your target audience: Being picky isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it often lengthens your B2B appointment setting timeline. If you only want jobs with a hefty price tag, you might have to pass up small-scale projects before finding what you’re looking for. Our solar client was relatively picky—they wanted to reach leads with over 10,000 square feet of facility space in one of three industries: manufacturing, food and beverage distributors, and real estate managers. Despite their specific criteria, we didn’t have any issues finding qualified leads.
- Your sales pitch prowess: We can set 100 appointments with the most qualified candidates, but you won’t achieve your desired results if you can’t sell them on your products or services. Your sales reps need an impeccable sales pitch that convinces a lead to drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on your solar services.
- Timing: If you thought the saying “timing is everything” only applies to relationships, think again. You never know when a potential customer will decide it’s the right time to install solar panels, and you might only have a few-day window to sell your company. No matter how excellent your cold calling skills are, you’re not going to get an appointment if your prospect already signed a solar contract three days ago.
Of course, you can’t always control the above factors. If your industry has a notoriously lengthy sales process, there’s nothing you can do to change that. However, you can take proven steps to increase your chances of success. At Abstrakt, our first step is lead cleansing.
One of the most important rules in lead generation is: Don’t waste your time on leads that won’t bite. Pitching to random contacts is like playing darts blindfolded—you might land on the board once or twice, but your chances of hitting the bullseye are slim to none. To increase our chances of hitting that bullseye at Abstrakt, we spend an entire month narrowing down our lead list and perfecting our sales call.
From May 1 to 30, our data cleansing team compiled a list of potential leads in our client’s target radius and began the meticulous process of collecting information about each. Some of this information came straight from our prospects; we found the rest through research. The internet is an excellent place to find information about companies, their facilities, and their key contacts—a quick search and some napkin math using Google Maps can get you all the data you need about a potential lead.
While our data team focused on lead cleansing, our sales development representatives (SDRs) spent the implementation month learning everything they could about our client. Unless you’re a bona fide expert in your client’s business and can act like you’ve been working there for years, leads won’t respond well to your sales pitch, which is why we never skip our research phase. To reach expert status, our sales team studied our client’s history, preferred messaging, and product portfolio.
Once we thoroughly cleansed our leads and our SDRs were ready to hit the phones, we prepared to go live on June 1, 2021.
Our first day live for a client is always exciting, but it’s rarely eventful. Typically, our SDRs spend their introductory phone calls learning about leads, gauging their interest in our client’s services, and deciding if they’re qualified—not setting appointments. But every once in a while, the stars align, and we catch a lead who’s already at the end of the buying process. All they need is someone to buy from.
On June 1, one of our SDRs happened to reach the CEO of a credit union who had already decided that solar energy was the right move for his business. After a few minutes spent discussing our client’s services and the CEO’s expectations, our SDR asked if they wanted to schedule an appointment. The lead agreed to meet three days later, and our first call—and first appointment—were history.
Your next six-figure solar contract could be right around the corner. We can find the person who’s ready to sign.
Three days after our go-live date, our client met with the credit union CEO to test their pitching skills. We sent them a few tips beforehand to ensure their presentation didn’t fall flat. Here’s what we told them:
Do Your Research
If you haven’t noticed yet, one of the recurring themes in this success story is research. We have to research your prospects to see if they’re a good fit. Then, our sales team studies your business before they start generating leads. Once our SDRs work their magic and set appointments, it’s the client’s turn to get analytical. You can’t deliver a powerful sales pitch if you don’t know your audience.
Mix in Some Collateral
Professionally crafted marketing collateral is always a welcome addition to a solar B2B lead generation strategy, especially during a sales presentation. If your lead starts to lose focus, you can reel them back in with a “Why Us?” video. If they want to know how you implemented a solar strategy for a similar business, you can hand them a case study instead of explaining yourself. Abstrakt outbound lead generation partners get one piece of custom sales collateral each month, so there’s no reason not to weave collateral into your pitch.
Define Next Steps
This third tip is crucial if you want your sales pitch to be successful. If you deliver the world’s greatest sales pitch but fail to define clear next steps, you might lose contact altogether. Your leads want you to take charge, and setting expectations will do the trick. Telling your potential customer, “I’ll email you our proposal on Thursday at 2 and call you an hour later to discuss questions,” is much better than saying, “We’ll be in touch.”
With our tips and a few sales tricks of their own, our client nailed their first pitch.
On June 23, while our client was steadily nudging their first lead toward a sale, an SDR spoke to another decision-maker who didn’t need any convincing to set an appointment. This lead was president of a local packaging company with 50,000 square feet of facility space—far more than our qualifier of 10,000 feet—and they had already received a bid from a solar industry competitor. However, the lead wasn’t happy with the rates offered, and they wanted our client to come to their facility and discuss a potential partnership two days later. Immediately after the appointment, our client moved into the proposal phase and will likely win a contract worth $170,000.
On July 1, exactly one month after we went live and set our first appointment, our client secured a contract with their first lead worth $190,000, which will pay for their lead generation investment for years to come.
In B2B lead generation, we can’t make any guarantees. No matter how hard we try, we can’t promise you’ll make your first deal in a month or even six. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve your odds. And if our client’s experience is any indication, one of the best ways to do so is research. Once you know your audience, master your cold call, and tailor your sales strategy to fit each lead, you increase your chances of bringing down the appointment setting average.
Want to implement a sales strategy built on research and backed by countless solar companies across the nation? Join forces with Abstrakt. We’ve spent over a decade perfecting our B2B appointment setting strategy, and we just keep getting better at what we do. Our SDRs send over a steady stream of qualified leads and give you the tools you need to get their signature.
Stop waiting around for leads to appear. Let us bring your ideal potential customers straight to you. Get in touch with us today to see if we’re available in your market.