Case Study: Palmetto

Developing an Inbound Pipeline to Scale Qualified Leads for a B2B Partner

 How we helped Palmetto go from generating low-quality leads to winning customers with a creative testing framework, lead flow optimization, and paid media optimization.

The Partner

Palmetto is a nationally known and respected consumer solar provider. Palmetto installs residential solar via their “Sales Partner” network – sales organizations that manage their own sales pipelines via door-to-door, outbound sales, event marketing, and other tactics. Palmetto identified that to unlock the next stage of organizational growth, their team needed to double down on inbound tactics to scale their lead generation and customer acquisition efforts.

Tuff Services

A Quick Look

up arrow 110%

Increase in New Customers

up arrow 76%

Increase in Paid Sales Accepted Leads

up arrow 54%

Increase in Total Leads Generated

TL;DR: We implemented a holistic growth strategy aimed at cultivating a pipeline of highly qualified leads for Palmetto. Our approach focused on improving lead quality through targeted demand generation and lead capture strategies, improving CAC through creative testing and improvements, and establishing a reporting system that delved deeper into measuring outcomes beyond mere lead generation. As a result of our efforts, total new customers (i.e., Sales Partners) increased by 110% in just four months.

The Challenge

Optimize funnel for scalable growth: revamp existing inbound strategies to reach more qualified leads while maximizing operational efficiencies.

Palmetto recognized that in order to scale their business, they needed to develop a consistent and predictable inbound pipeline of qualified solar Sales Partners.

Their existing business development team had an outbound strategy and was bringing in new partners monthly. However, the human resources, time, and energy required to identify, nurture, and onboard the lead onto the Palmetto platform was inefficient and not scalable without significant investment into more human capital.

Enter Tuff ↓

The Strategy

Establishing clear and agile feedback loops between creative, data, and marketing strategies, developing a scaleable inbound lead funnel, and ultimately expediting growth.

We started working with Palmetto in March 2023. To get started, we conducted extensive research to pinpoint their target audience and determine the right mix of demand generation and capture tactics that would enable us to successfully generate the desired results.

Once we deeply understood their target audience (i.e., experienced solar sales representatives), we created value propositions to serve as the foundation for our strategic testing framework – applying this messaging to paid social ad creative and landing page copy.

In tandem, we worked to identify the right growth channels to reach this audience.  We zeroed in on interests and behaviors within Meta’s ad platform, as well as contextual videos and channels that closely matched their ideal customer profile to reach new audiences on YouTube.

We then turned to Google Search. Our PPC team built a small but mighty list of ideal keywords that only the target audience would search for. While it didn’t have a large monthly search volume, we were confident that a smaller list of highly relevant terms would be more impactful than a longer list of broad, less relevant keywords with more volume.

Lastly, we used the Salesforce Data Connector to blend pipeline data with ad campaign data to rely less on paid attribution models and create our own view of the paid and non-paid customer pipeline generated.

Within three weeks, we had a new user flow, measurement system, creative, and ads live on four different channels: Search, Meta, YouTube, and Display.

We used the initial results from paid tactic performance, website testing via Google Optimize, and creative performance to develop a creative optimization framework to scale results by isolating key variables of a creative asset to identify winning and losing strategies.

  1. Identify the target audience, their pain points, and motivations.
  2. Develop hyper-specific, sticky messaging strategies to attract and convert leads.
  3. Assemble a tactical and agile media plan to validate multiple channels quickly.
  4. Implement channel-specific creative with multiple demand-generating and demand-capturing tactics and aligned user flows.
  5. Analyze the data to extract key performance indicators beyond platform data
  6. Optimize the tactics, keywords, and creative that drove conversions, not just leads.

After four months of testing, here’s what we found ↓

The Results

Consistent, scaleable growth: a 54% increase in total leads and a 110% increase in new customers – all with static ad budgets.

In the first four months, we saw consistent and scalable growth in new customers, driven by a creative testing framework and continued messaging optimizations, which drove a total of 110% growth in monthly signed Sales Partners without increasing ad budgets.

We scaled effective strategies by pinpointing successful creative tactics and messages across ad tactics and funnel stages while deprioritizing underperforming ad placements and creative. Shifting budgets from underperforming tactics to scalable, high-performance creative resulted in a 54% surge in total leads and a 76% increase in sales accepted leads.

Ad Creative Samples and Results by Channel

YouTube: we A/B tested two message variations in a split test and then iterated upon the winning message in a new creative format.

This UGC-specific variation of our winning message allowed us to reduce cost per lead by 40% while maintaining the same sales accepted lead rate – all while scaling spend by 103% in a single month.

Meta: we split-tested three assets in a message test to identify the most effective messaging.

After identifying the winning creative, we were able to increase spend by 125% in 30 days and keep CAC stable with a 140% total increase in signed solar partners.

Display: We consolidated our creative into messaging buckets for Display Prospecting and optimized towards our top-performing message group.

This tactic allowed us to optimize to a better-performing group of creative messages and bring down blended CPL by 36% and counting.

By analyzing creative performance in relation to pipeline generation, we pinpointed the impact of creative decisions on down-funnel results.

This measurement tactic enabled us to refine our strategy, resulting in a significant increase in the total number of new customers generated, surpassing the growth rate of leads.

Key Takeaways

Optimizing for customer generation instead of lead generation is scalable: putting resources behind your most effective messaging, creative, and strategies can scale your customers generated at a higher rate than leads generated.

Build scalable frameworks for growth: knowing what campaigns and creative assets generate results can help you best determine how to deploy your budget. If it works, then maximize your potential resources behind that effort. If it doesn’t work, explore why and mitigate the damage by shifting the budget away from it.

You can reach a B2B Audience without fancy targeting tools: by leaning on highly relevant creative that speaks directly to your audience, you can have creative do the targeting for you with broader persona targeting.

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