Create sales momentum faster by correcting some widely held misconceptions about building a healthy pipeline.
Does any topic cause more consternation than lead generation? It’s the unending priority – even more so as year-end looms large and ‘hitting the ground running’ in Q1 returns as your annual mantra.
And everyone has their story of woe. From lead generation agencies that didn’t deliver, to internal teams’ reluctance to just pick up the bloody phone. Maybe for you, sales ‘just doesn’t work’ and inbound leads have become the holy grail.
Regardless of your backstory, one thing is constant – wherever you are on positioning, pitching and pricing (or delivery, client growth and talent retention), without a steady flow of quality leads, your bottom line will eventually suffer.
So whether you’re ready to unleash a shiny new proposition, you’re building an in-house team, or you’re considering which outsourced sales model to use, here are three rarely applied ideas that make all the difference.
1. Make lead generation glorious not grubby
Unlike other industries, agencies treat lead generation as grunt work – the hard graft on the bottom rung on the New-Business and Marketing ladder.
It’s seen as the earning-of-stripes before graduating to attending client meetings and then maybe – one day! – a shot at the big league of running pitches.
This makes lead generation thankless, lonely and laborious – the grubby ‘numbers game’ that rarely works. And with a chunky target but no influence on closing business, it’s a perfect example of responsibility without control – aka stress.
No wonder that once someone’s served their time in lead generation, it becomes very much someone else’s job.
So why don’t agencies celebrate and support their mission-critical need for leads? Because it’s disconnected from the wider agency strategy.
2. Get lead generation out of its silo
An isolated lead generator – or lead gen agency – is given very little direction. Without, for example, an ownable target audience (“go after any marketer with money”) they default to the inefficient and self-commoditising ‘spray and pray’ approach. Left to shout silently into the void, their rare good days bring a polite client rejection and an absence of stern words from you about ‘hitting their numbers’.
This happens when ‘lead generation’ is framed as a department not an outcome. That’s like Ferrari putting their wheel team in charge of ‘speed’ – they play a key role, for sure, but let’s not forget the engine.
Instead, the generation of leads should be framed as a deliverable of sales strategy – a natural consequence of intentional upstream actions.
Once your lead generators are informed by agency-wide clarity, they can receive guidance on tactics, as well as tailored operational support. Your goal of generating opportunities becomes an intelligently scoped plan, with clear roles, senior buy-in and a full suite of resources.
Now it’s a team effort. Conversations are started and followed up. Prospects are logged and nurtured. Leads are qualified properly and progressed. All by the right people with the right skills.
This gives you a far better chance of winning new clients.
3. Stop underselling your advantages
A third common mistake is not using what’s right under your nose. That’s like ignoring all manner of edible berries while foraging to survive in a forest.
From current clients and past relationships, to your senior leaders’ contacts, you know way more warm prospects than you think (although, remember these are only prospects; they’re not yet leads).
Likewise, your whole team is a rich source of creative ideas, energy and sales momentum. And you probably have a tonne of research, learnings and life experiences that can fuel your outbound activity.
Once your sales strategy defines how your whole agency can play a role in lead generation, then your outbound salesforce increases from one to everyone – and you can set priorities, see what’s getting done and track how well it’s working.
Create sales strategy in a day
The good news is that designing an impactful sales strategy can be done very quickly. And – surprise, surprise – Co:definery can help.
Applying our experience of creating dozens of agency strategies, our one-day Sales Strategy workshop builds on your unique strengths, resources and prior thinking.
Together we co-create a full set of strategic actions, in priority order, including what can be done in-house, alongside guidance on external support.
The workshop runs in three parts:
- Focus – Aligning everyone around what sales success looks like and the most important KPIs along the way e.g. lead size, volume and conversion rates
- Clarity – Agreeing your priority tactics for connecting with clients – like who to target, what to say and how to reach them
- Operations – Defining a model that maximises morale and momentum by supporting everyone involved – from timings, tools and governance, to processes, roles and responsibilities.
Everyone leaves with crystal clear actions, next steps and deadlines – tailored to where you can stand out, win more and excite your wider team.
To find out more about our Sales Strategy workshop, get in touch.