Generating leads is tough in any industry, but engineering firms have to contend with a unique hurdle—your leads may not understand what you do. Unless you’re in the field, it’s challenging to translate the work you do every day into concepts non-engineers can grasp. If your leads don’t know what you do, they can’t see value in your services, which can prevent them from signing a contract.
B2B lead generation may be a bumpy process for engineering firms, but it’s in no way impossible. Once you find ways to communicate value, reach the right target audience, and position your firm as a standout service provider, you can transform your unstructured sales strategy into a stable lead generator.
Building an engineering sales pipeline isn’t that different from your latest mechanical or civil engineering project—it takes a team of dedicated professionals, ample resources, and months of hard work to accomplish. But once that new building graces your city’s skyline or the revolutionary product you helped design hits the market, every minute of effort becomes worth it.
Here are three ways you can generate more leads for your engineering firm and turn your sales pipeline into a well-oiled machine.
Finding leads for your engineering business isn’t a straightforward process. Leads typically search for engineers on a per-project basis, which means you have to catch them at the right time. Additionally, unlike solar and LED lighting companies, you can’t convince someone they need engineering services—they either need them or they don’t.
There’s no way for you to know when your ideal lead is about to embark on a new project. However, you can increase your chances of catching them at the right time by using B2B appointment setting services. The goal of B2B appointment setting is to get in contact with as many qualified leads as possible and stay on their radar until they’re ready to hire a new engineering partner. Depending on your firm’s specialty, the appointment setting process can be pretty lengthy, but it can also land you once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Successful B2B appointment setting programs use established sales strategies and follow clearly defined steps, which include:
- Lead cleansing: In some industries, you can call a list of random numbers and eventually find someone who needs your services. Engineering isn’t one of those industries. Finding viable leads requires extensive research. Before making your first cold call, you have to identify your target audience, compile a list of possible prospects, gather information about them, and then adjust your list accordingly.
- Introductions: You might spend months (or years) building a relationship with a lead before they turn into a client. If you want that relationship to start off on the right foot, your first impression needs to be stellar. Introductory phone calls also allow your sales team to determine if and when the prospect might need assistance from your team of industrial, electrical, or chemical engineers.
- Lead nurturing: The longer leads stay in your pipeline, the more advanced your lead nurturing skills should be. You might spend months waiting for a company to start accepting bids from potential partners, which gives you an opportunity to start selling your services before the decision-making process begins. After months spent communicating the value of your services, you might end up first in the running for the project of a lifetime.
- Appointment setting: Once a lead decides to open up the bidding process, you have a short window of time to submit your proposal. If you master the first three steps of appointment setting, securing a meeting after your lead sends out a request for proposal (RFP) will be a breeze.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t get every potential engineering lead into your B2B appointment setting pipeline. Some leads will appear out of nowhere and come straight to you, but only if your inbound marketing methods are top tier. The best way to capture prospects that elude your outbound marketing attempts is to craft a website that search engines love.
Potential engineering customers often want to gather as many bids as possible before making a decision. With so much money on the line, companies want to make sure they’re getting the best services, the top engineers, and the most reasonable rates. As a result, many leads search for local engineering firms and use their websites to determine if they might be a good fit for their needs. Additionally, smaller jobs might not even go through a formal bidding process, and you could land a job based on your website alone.
Before your website can turn into a persuasive sales tool, however, leads have to find it in their search results. To climb the search engine ranks, you need to incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) features into your site. These include:
- Strategically placed keywords: Your leads use specific keywords when they search for engineering firms. With a bit of research, you can discover what those keywords are and plant them in your page titles.
- Internal links: Google’s search engine spiders move through your site the way a user would. If you don’t link to any of your other site pages on any given page, it shows Google that your site navigation isn’t intuitive, and your content gets pushed down the search engine ranks accordingly. Putting strategic internal links in your content increases usability and helps your content rank better.
- External links: Linking to a reputable source is like citing a well-known scholar in an academic journal. It adds credibility to your content, and search engines reward sites they deem trustworthy.
- High-quality content: You can’t game search engine rankings by dumping poorly written, keyword-heavy content onto your website. Google judges your content based on its readability, usefulness, and relevance, not just keyword value.
- User-friendly site navigation: If your website is difficult to navigate or doesn’t work well on mobile, it won’t rank well. By altering your site navigation and making your pages more user-friendly, you can increase your ranking and get your site in front of more engineering leads.
Once you fine-tune your website and incorporate SEO features into every page, you can add content that directly addresses your target leads’ needs. For example, if you’re trying to attract construction companies that build commercial buildings, you can add an industry page that explains the structural engineering services you provide. Then, you can add targeted blogs that answer questions such as: “How do I choose an engineer for my construction project?” or “When do I need a structural engineer in commercial construction?”
A professional website is both an independent lead generation source and a helpful supporting tool in B2B appointment setting. Your appointment setters can direct leads to your website if they have questions or want to see examples of your work.
If designing a sales strategy is outside of your wheelhouse, let Abstrakt handle lead generation for your engineering firm.
Companies in the professional services industry need clear differentiators if they want to win a lead’s business. Other businesses can use their products as differentiators—if you carry a lead’s desired product and another company doesn’t, you’ll most likely win their business. However, as an engineer, you don’t offer products; you offer intangible services.
Marketing collateral can often showcase your differentiators better than your sales team can. Instead of attempting to boil down a complex concept and explain your company’s history during a rushed phone call, your SDRs can email a sell sheet, company brochure, highlight video, or case study. Because professional copywriters and design experts create these collateral pieces, they turn your complex industry jargon into easily understandable and compelling terms. Plus, marketing collateral uses images and videos to showcase your work, which can be far more impactful than words.
You can create a piece of marketing collateral for practically every point in the sales funnel. Company brochures and overview videos work well during the early stages of the buying process because they give leads a quick rundown of your company. Sell sheets and infographics help nurture leads through the pipeline by showcasing specific services. Additionally, they can turn abstract differentiators into concrete terms, such as: “Our electrical designs save clients 50% in energy costs each year.” Case studies show prospects that you can solve problems similar to theirs and help them envision a future partnership.
Regardless of how you use marketing collateral, it can add some much-needed context to your sales strategy and convince leads you’re the engineer for their project.
As an engineering firm owner, you know a thing or two about effective design. Your team can design a bridge that stays secure with little reinforcement, a food product that stays fresh for weeks, a motor that runs for years, and a drug that combats the most complex medical conditions. At Abstrakt, we create lead generation services that yield predictable results. Our sales and marketing experts find ways to enhance traditional sales strategies and build sturdy pipelines that produce steady leads for years.
Tackling an engineering lead generation program is a challenging feat, but our team has the resources and expertise to get the results you need. We offer B2B appointment setting, custom marketing collateral design, website development, social media marketing, and professional SEO services to clients across the country. If lead generation is as foreign to you as engineering is to many of your leads, Abstrakt can help grow your business.