How an architectural products and services firm built a resilient sales prospecting engine
Sales increase: Over $10M YTD||Website traffic: 22% year-over-year growth||Social media following: 368% increase||Search engine keywords: 500% growth
Our client, an architectural products and systems firm, had developed a robust sales pipeline outside the United States. Their services were in high demand in South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but hardly anyone in the U.S. knew they existed. Over the years, their marketing had neglected the American market – even though their headquarters are located here.
Their unique product-service combination is perfectly tailored to meet the needs of American architectural projects, which created an additional obstacle. Because no one else offers what they do, prospective clients didn’t even know to search for a supplier who could deliver those results. This meant the firm wasn’t getting any inbound leads from the United States, so the firm’s only salesperson had no choice but to cold call and send cold emails. These necessarily involved a substantial amount of customer education, since up until that initial contact, there was zero knowledge that something like the solution offered by the firm was even possible.
Additionally, all of the print and digital marketing assets, including the website, were geared toward non-U.S. audiences. Because the salesperson was spending the majority of his time trying to generate interest from cold leads, he had no time to create the supporting materials he needed. This added a new hurdle to his communications with prospective clients, who lacked confidence that the company’s processes would translate to American buildings.
The company needed to establish a presence in the U.S. market without undercutting its sales efforts in other parts of the world. We started by developing a new U.S.-focused website for the company, leaving the original site intact on a non-US domain. The content conveyed the kinds of results that could be achieved on American architectural projects, highlighting overseas projects that easily translated to the types of projects built in the U.S. We also identified problems that the company’s solutions solved, to help prospective clients understand that their needs would be met. Details like units of measurement, sentence structure, and spelling variations were all converted to be readable for American audiences. This, along with a solid plan for search engine optimization (SEO), made it possible for prospective clients to find the company and learn about its services without a cold call or email.
We followed the launch of the search engine-optimized website with a social media plan based around Instagram and Pinterest. These visual platforms are used by the firm’s target clients (architects, contractors, real estate developers, and building owners) and provide an immediate glimpse of what visual impact of the company’s work would be. We also created an organic (no paid advertising) lead generation campaign and developed new print and digital assets that the salesperson could mail or email to prospective clients.
Within one year, our work generated several million dollars in U.S. sales. By the following year, the firm was having difficulty keeping up with the leads that were coming in. Because all of the salesperson’s time was previously spent reaching out to cold leads, and then following up with qualified leads, no time had been spent implementing a CRM or repeatable processes to track and nurture contacts and leads. The firm’s pipeline was now so full that they could afford to be selective about the projects they took on, but they needed a system to prioritize and segment leads. Without any processes in place, the salesperson was trying to track leads from his email inbox, which meant no one could help him and opportunities were being missed.
The firm’s sales process is as unique as its products and services. There are multiple stages and levels of approval that happen throughout a project, and no existing CRM accounted for how the firm sold its services. So, we built a CRM that follows the firm’s sales process and empowers other staff members to assist the salesperson with lead qualification and follow-up. We also built an automated email response system for the salesperson, so that certain types of “routine” requests can be answered automatically without offending a prospective client.
The client uses Marketing Watt to track their progress and report on marketing successes to others in the company. For the sales team, Marketing Watt makes the connections between marketing efforts and sales goals clear and helps them understand what marketing efforts are most successful and most imperative.
The client has experienced explosive growth, which has continued despite the pandemic.
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