6 Reasons HVAC Teams Don’t Make Their Sales Goals

The opportunity for HVAC sales teams is vast and growing. 

According to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the demand for energy-efficient HVAC solutions is rapidly growing and is projected to continue well into the future. The HVAC industry is rapidly increasing in value, with expectations to reach $35.8 billion by 2030.

In the growing world of HVAC sales, whether in the field or inside sales teams, success hinges on addressing key challenges head-on.

HVAC sales teams must be service-oriented. They must also navigate a number of obstacles with precision and grace. By understanding issues, teams can craft efficient solutions that foster trust, streamline operations, and prioritize customer needs. 

HVAC sales teams must begin by understanding why sales aren’t crossing the finish line. In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. Poor dependability and time management
  2. Unclear onboarding for new employees
  3. Challenges in hiring the right talent
  4. Inadequate sales processes
  5. Losing deals over unqualified leads
  6. Too much, too little, or simply the wrong tech

1. Poor dependability and time management

LinkedIn reports that only 32 percent of people describe sales as a “trustworthy” profession, and 88 percent buy only when they trust a salesperson.

Here’s a question—how can you expect prospects to trust you with managing their business if you can’t manage your own time? It makes a huge difference in your HVAC sales team outcomes. 

Poor time management equals a bad customer experience. Statista found 40 percent of customers stop doing business with a company based on poor customer service. If your sales team isn’t performing at peak efficiency, it shows, and both prospects and current customers notice. 

A lot of sales reps lose valuable time at the mercy of administrative tasks or time spent researching prospects without timely or quality follow-up action. Preparation is only effective if it lets you act on what you’re prepared for. Conversations with sales prospects don’t conduct themselves. 

When too much time is spent on mundane tasks that could take much less time to complete with better organization or automation, it’s a waste (but not just of time). Poor time management can lead to missed deadlines and lack of preparation—both of which result in lost revenue. 

The lack of organization, prompt communication, and accountability will cause would-be customers to walk away with a negative impression that will spread to others through poor reviews and uncontrollable word-of-mouth.

2. Unclear onboarding for new employees

It costs about $1,400 per person to onboard a new employee.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a five percent job growth rate for HVAC between 2023 and 2030, resulting in around 38,500 additional jobs. 

Now imagine having to eat the cost of onboarding for 38,500 people (or even just a few of them) at $1,400 each simply because of the challenges around new-hire onboarding and employee productivity. 

HVAC job opportunities are already increasing, but there’s still an industry labor shortage of people to take them. And the main culprits aren’t a lack of expertise or disinterest. It’s the challenges of new-hire onboarding—specifically a lack of learning structure or necessary (but quality) tech tools leading to loss of productivity.

Some companies use too much tech to manage employee onboarding and productivity. Others don’t use nearly enough. And some use outdated tech that hurts more than it helps. A lack of intuitive software and clear learning requirements for commercial service employees is a significant blocker for HVAC sales teams. 

3. Challenges in hiring the right talent

There’s a lot that goes into an HVAC career. You have to be a technical expert, skilled at social interaction, have empathy, and feel confident during negotiations. HVAC salespeople have to be able to spin these plates all at once—know what they’re selling and be competent at selling it.

It’s a tall order, which makes it challenging to find the right talent match. However, this doesn’t mean you should grab talent from anywhere possible. That could wind up costing more if things don’t turn out well because of rushing the hiring process.

Losing an employee costs a company one-half to two times the employee’s salary. Depending on someone’s seniority level and the churn volume, the financial burden can hit hard.

When hiring, HVAC sales teams should watch out for triggers from both sides.

Vague, generalized answers

A sales team prospect that isn’t able or willing to lend details to technical or problem-solving questions can result in expensive training, losing time and money from repeatedly fixing low-quality work, and a damaged company reputation.

Making the engagement too transactional

It’s important for sales teams to make a human connection.

When there’s too much attention on commissions or bonuses, the company values get lost in the shuffle. It’s important to reward values that go beyond dollar signs. Look for people who genuinely enjoy making a difference in the lives of people they’re working with versus focusing too much on the numbers. 

A person who shows more interest in personal gain than the work itself or in customer satisfaction may not be a proper fit. 

Demanding perfection

No HVAC sales hire will be completely perfect. And given the HVAC labor shortage, you may not be able to afford to hold out for perfection. 

A successfully closed deal means that people hired for HVAC sales teams focus on solving pain points and actively listening to customer questions and concerns.

4. Inadequate sales processes

No matter what you’re selling, throwing a lot of sales jargon at the masses and seeing what sticks isn’t efficient.

Qualified leads become customers when sales teams target contact groups with relevant, strategic information using sensible communication methods. HVAC sales teams have to consider several obstacles when deciding who is qualified lead material.

Communication methods

People are sensitive to cold calling. It can feel awkward and unwelcome (and not just for the prospect). Plus, everyone has preferences between phone and email contact; preparation and consideration for both are important.

High-volume and low-quality contact

Each call, email, or face-to-face interaction should feel engaging and personalized. It’s hard to do that if you try to squish as many calls in as you can and neglect the communication quality.

The average salesperson makes about 33 calls per day. And these calls can amount to nothing if a salesperson has no formalized process.

5. Losing deals over unqualified leads

One of the critical challenges that HVAC sales teams face in reaching their sales goals is dealing with unqualified leads.

Without a reliable source of leads and a lack of lead magnets like free consultations, coupons, or valuable guides, sales teams struggle to attract high-quality prospects. This leads to inefficient use of resources, as sales representatives waste time contacting leads that are not a good fit for their services.

To address this issue, HVAC sales teams need to understand the distinction between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). By finding metrics about the percentage of MQLs that convert to SQLs, teams can identify the effectiveness of their lead generation efforts. Additionally, they must be vigilant about spam leads that can skew their data and waste valuable time.

To improve lead quality, a focus on audience targeting and understanding the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is paramount. The ICP of HVAC sales teams is determined by not only company and contact attributes, but also property attributes. By tailoring their outreach efforts to the right audience at the right building, HVAC sales teams can increase their chances of connecting with prospects who are genuinely interested in and a good fit for their services.

Addressing the challenge of unqualified leads is vital for HVAC sales teams looking to meet their sales goals. By implementing strategies to attract high-quality leads and refining their lead generation process with the right tools, they can increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

Ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and improved revenue generation.

6. Too much, too little, or simply the wrong tech

The right technology stack can be an asset to HVAC sales teams. However, 66 percent of sales teams say they are drowning in tech. Subsequently, it hurts quotas and morale.

The causes of this include:

  • Data housed in multiple tech systems may need to be updated or conflict with one another, thereby delaying a won deal (or losing it completely)
  • More time is spent juggling or troubleshooting different tools
  • Tools don’t help teams understand the market
  • There’s too much data entry involved
  • Systems don’t speak with each other

The most effective tech stack varies with each company and its industry. For an HVAC sales team, a CRM, some data management, and intelligent solutions to see your market are smart places to start.


The HVAC industry keeps trending upwards and presents lucrative opportunities for sales teams. To capitalize on these prospects, commercial HVAC sales teams must be aware of the common challenges they face.

By addressing issues related to onboarding, talent acquisition, lead generation, lead qualification, time management, and technology, HVAC sales teams can enhance their efficiency and effectiveness. By adapting and implementing effective strategies, they can secure their piece of the multi-billion dollar pie and thrive in this expanding market.

Success lies in understanding what doesn’t work and taking action to do what does, ensuring a successful journey toward meeting sales goals in the thriving HVAC sector.

Learn more about how HVAC sales teams can ramp up their revenue

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Originally published on September 11, 2023 Updated on September 22, 2023

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