In a perfect world, new clients would be lined up round the corner desperate for you to fill their jobs without you so much as having to look them up on LinkedIn. In reality, you’re going to have to get perpetually smarter with how you approach new business leads for your agency. Here are my top tips on how to get outboundin’ like a boss:
Pick a short list
Make 10 contacts on 10 target accounts rather than 1 contact to 100. Ask for referrals and map through the account gathering information from various stakeholders to improve your targeting and pitch for the next prospect call.
Warm up cold calls
Send some targeted and relevant e-mails talking about the customers’ likely business issues and how to solve them. This is much more appealing than just your agencies services and reference results of your customers, who may be their peers or competitors. When you call you should be leading with discussing those issues not your services.
Make it easy on the prospect
Be brief and make it easy with your warm up e-mail; assume the e-mail will be read on a smartphone and keep it snappy. State quickly what you are after and ask for a referral if it is not relevant to them personally. Propose an easy next step such as a 10 minute talk about the business issue you propose to solve.
It can easily take a month to convert a prospect in to a lead. People are busy but keep at it, don't give up too soon. If it’s not the right time then use your CRM to schedule a follow up at the next review point and move on.
Use social intelligence
Stay on top of your social networks. If a prospect or a cold lead suddenly follows you on Twitter, likes you on Facebook and connects with you on LinkedIn, make sure you reciprocate the favour. If they’re sharing and liking your content too, then it opens a channel of communication that you can escalate to an email or a call when the time is right. Cold lead just got hot!
Set good goals
It can be a long game so you need daily successes to keep you focused. Set goals that focus on quality not quantity – there’s no point in having ten mince leads when you could get three smokin’ hot ones. You may want to set goals like source five new targets every day, make personalised initial contact or to complete all the follow up calls on your to-do list.
Use your CRM to track your goals and results and build call lists. Keep it updated with all your notes and progress against your targets, so you can stay motivated with each small success. And of course so you know when you’ve smashed those all-important targets.
Stay focused, stay motivated
Blocking dedicated time for lead generation is good, but you need to maximise the time within that period. Don't get distracted by your colleagues, boss, the window, Facebook or worse still retreat to Starbucks to cry in your coffee because you got too many no's. Outbound bosses will go through the short term pain of the no or no response to get to a yes. When you're doing outbound, no's are inevitable but don't take it personally.
Be polite, find out why and schedule appropriate follow up action. If they went with a competitor then find out when they will review their PSL and set follow ups in your CRM. If you can find out why they picked them then note this as it can be your opener when you follow up...''We spoke 6 months ago and you had just added ABC to your PSL because of their low fees and their new-fangled psychometric testing software, how is it going?"
Credit: Images from bplanet & Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net
Alan is an advisor here at Firefish with experience in both sales and marketing.