Generating high-quality leads can be difficult for marketing agencies to get just right.
Cast a too-wide net, and you get an overabundance of prospects in your sales pipeline that don’t belong there — and never will. Cast a narrow one, and you might not have enough clients in your “good-fit” bucket to send to your sales team at all.
The problem with both these scenarios is that when your agency isn’t properly sorting clients early in the sales process on the front end, your sales team wastes an exorbitant amount of time chasing bad-fit leads.
And since time equals money, what we’re really saying here is that an inefficient lead generation process can cause a major blow to your bottom line.
Here at IMPACT, we’ve gone through a lot of trial and error when generating good-fit leads. We understand how discouraging it can be to onboard a new client and begin working together, only to realize the services we provide don’t fully align with the client’s needs. But ever since we’ve set a few processes into place that help us better analyze which clients are likely to convert and the type of client we want to work with, we no longer waste time figuring out which clients to pursue.
We know exactly how to recognize the “good” leads versus the “bad” — and our sales team has a considerably shorter sales cycle as a result.
With these tips, you too can tighten your lead-qualification process and have a strong indication of which prospects will convert.
In this article, we share:
How to get your agency in front of not just any audience, but the right audience.
How to recognize which leads to pursue and which to pass on.
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How to get your agency in front of not just any audience, but the right audience
To find the best leads for your marketing agency, you need to first get in front of the right audience at the right time.
It’s been our experience that while most agencies understand this concept and might even find it obvious, they still need a bit of direction when it comes to the how.
These three lead generation strategies we implement here at IMPACT will help you tap into your niche audience and narrow in on better leads by finding your right-fit audience from the start.
Publish high-quality content targeting your niche audience
As marketing agencies, we use the principles of inbound marketing to help our clients draw more and better-qualified business. But we sometimes forget that the “All businesses are media companies now” trope we tell our clients applies to our own businesses too.
If you want to attract a specific audience to your agency, your lead-generation efforts will require that you publish content that answers their questions and helps them solve their problems. It helps your agency build trust and establish itself as the No. 1 thought leader in your space.
To do this:
Publish content for your clients. Be sure you’re addressing the most burning questions and concerns your specific clients have when looking for an agency. We recommend starting with The Big 5 since these five core categories tend to generate more web traffic and revenue than other topics.
Create lots of videos, more specifically The Selling 7, to answer common questions and explain who you are (and even more importantly who you aren’t) a good fit for.
Every time you publish optimized content that solves your clients’ problems in a transparent and trustworthy way, you create another opportunity for someone to find your business through organic search.
Be clear about your marketing agency’s key differentiators from the start
When you create a clear set of differentiators for your business, it’s easier to weed out ill-fitting prospects — and even help clients disqualify themselves.
Not only do you need to create this differentiator list, but you need to make sure prospects see and understand it.
To do this:
Ensure your website accurately reflects your agency. Specifically its services, offerings, and pricing. This is where you can really put your stake in the ground and go “all-in.” Be very specific about what you do, with whom you work, your specializations, and the unique aspects of how you service clients.
Make this decision-making information easy to find on your website and services pages so bad-fit leads can disqualify themselves before they meet with your sales team.
Since this is a clear differentiator for us, when clients come to us looking for a marketing agency to strategize and implement a content marketing strategy, we know immediately to point them in another direction.
Discuss all of your client’s expectations upfront
Strong communication and follow-through are key to forming strong agency-client relationships. This is why it’s important to discuss what the expectations are for working with you.
To do this:
Ask your client if they’ve worked with an agency before. What went well? What didn’t? What are they expecting from you? Put it all out there so you can better determine if this partnership will work for both parties.
Make a list of “hard nos,” and stick to them. Maybe a prospect assumes your agency will be at their beck and call and available on weekends. Maybe they just want a traffic or sales conversion report once a month. Iron these requirements out from the start and determine if they align with how your agency works.
When your agency takes the time to be clear about the specifics surrounding all the services, pricing, and support you offer, it becomes easier for both your agency and prospects to gauge which clients are the best fit.
How to recognize which leads you should pursue and which to pass on
Now that you’re attracting better-fit leads with stronger messaging on your website and in your initial interactions, here’s how to know which leads to pursue once they have their foot in the door.
Zero in on right-fit leads with assignment selling
Assignment selling is the process of intentionally using educational content you have created about your products and services to resolve prospects’ major concerns prior to a sales appointment.
It helps your sales team further weed out bad-fit leads by educating prospects about what you do before they meet with your sales team.
To do this:
Brainstorm which content your sales team needs to attract qualified buyers.
Develop the content your sales team can use in their selling process to close deals faster.
Send the content to prospects in advance of their sales call, and let them know that if they can’t read it before the call then you need to reschedule your meeting. This shows your prospects how important it is to review this content.
Though the content will vary based on both your sales team and client needs, the goal should be the same: Send content to prospects that answers their questions in advance.
Content such as an 80% video is a great option. It saves your sales team time they would otherwise spend explaining the same questions get asked on 80% of their sales calls and helps prospects understand whether or not they want to do business with your agency.
Set up an effective lead-scoring system in your CRM
Lead scoring allows your team to quickly identify the highest quality leads with the best revenue potential. It takes a bit of time to set up initially (unique to your ideal customer’s journey).
But once it’s established, a well-constructed lead scoring process can save your sales team valuable time and energy.
To do this:
Look through your CRM’s available contact properties so you know which data points you can work with when setting up your lead-scoring formula.
Have sales define what success looks like for this lead-scoring initiative, including specifics (i.e. how many points should we award if a website visitor takes this action? How many points out of 100 dictates an MQL vs. SQL?) This article from HubSpot dives deeper into things your marketing and sales teams should align on.
Create a “rough draft” of what lead scoring could look like. Once you have an outline, circle back with sales to make sure they've bought into your approach and point allocations.
Manually set up lead-scoring criteria. In your HubSpot portal, go to the settings gear, navigate to “properties” in the left-side navigation, and within “contact properties,” search for “HubSpot score.” Next, click “add criteria.”
Once your lead scoring initiative gets started, be sure to continue refining it to accommodate for how well the high-scoring leads are converting. It can be a continual process, but each revision helps you get closer to vetting all those great-fit leads.
Stop churning leads and build a bigger, better client base
Like anything in life, finding perfect leads comes down to striking a balance between getting in front of the right audience and being able to phase out the bad fits.