Referrals are every agency’s dream. Do good work. Others take notice. Inbound, warm leads get referred.
What happens when those referrals aren’t coming in as much as they were in the past? Or, better yet…how do you get in front of the drought to ensure a steady flow of new leads that could convert into revenue-generating opportunities for your agency? A strong outbound sales process is a lot easier to set up today than it was even 5 years ago. The key is creating a consistent process for identifying prospects and using the right tools to automate the most time-consuming components of this strategy.
Before we jump into the framework for building the strategy, ask yourself whether you have the right team in place to generate new business. Do you have folks on your team responsible for searching for new business? Do they have experience generating leads or are they better suited for managing referrals and building relationships that could develop into new business?
This can be a tough exercise and possibly requires a shift in responsibilities or a new hire to execute the new strategy outlined below. The fastest-growing companies in the last 5 years all have one thing in common…a highly motivated, process-driven inside sales team tasked with making it rain. Their playbook isn’t rocketed science or proprietary. It follows a very simple methodology that I’ll share with you now.
1) Define your prospect segments. Your current clients are the single greatest asset you have to define new segments or reinforce that you need to focus on a specific niche. For example, if you primarily work with auto dealerships then you need to go and find other dealerships to contact.
If your work is not married to a specific industry, then consider building out multiple prospects personas. Open a Google Sheet (excel doc works too) and go to Linkedin to find your primary contact and/or decision-maker at your 10 most recent clients. Fill out the spreadsheet to include things like: Name, Title, Company, Company Size, Industry, Location, Keywords etc.
Look for patterns and look for anomalies. This data represents your (new) prospect segments and gives you a clear understanding of how to find more folks that share the same characteristics (metadata) of those who already pay you money.
2) Now, go back to Linkedin and run a new search using the most consistent metadata from the exercise above (ie – title, company size, industry, keywords). You’ll likely be staring at 100s of people who resemble your existing clients.
3) Time to get this data out of Linkedin so you can take action. Head over to SellHack.com and install the Chrome plugin. Use this to build a list from your search results and automatically get the email addresses.
4) Next, head over to Replyify.com and build out a cold email campaign. Your initial email should reference your experience working with companies similar to those your are reaching out t0. This is a great opportunity to highlight your work, case studies, or social proof like a Testimonial. Your goal with the email(s) is to get an intro meeting booked not to make the sale on the first email. You’re not sending spam if you follow the guidelines.
Your follow-up emails should support your initial email and if you’re struggling with what to write, here are some templates to get you started.
Even if you don’t like getting cold emails from others, don’t let your personal preference stand in the way of generating new business for your agency. There’s nothing to lose and only new business to gain.
5) Rinse and repeat.
This is such an easy sales process to implement but very few agencies that we work with actually had this implemented. You don’t need to be a Unicorn tech company to sell like one. You need to right tools supporting a consistent process of identifying prospects, finding their email address and automating the cold emails/follow-ups.
If you’re serious about getting started, we built a free Sales Crash Course help you get started. Feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected] and check out Dean and I talking about this on his podcast (link).