Don’t sell your clients leads - generate conversations for them

by Ayhan K. Isaacs in January 6th, 2021

Everyone wants leads. 

It makes sense. After all, more leads mean more sales, right? Sales organizations obsess over their lead generation, trying to get as many leads as possible into the top of the funnel, and then hope at least some of them make it all the way through. 

As a result, many sales agencies operate by selling leads to their clients. They’ll typically promise to generate a set number of leads each week, and will be judged purely on whether they hit that number or not. This is the old way of thinking. 

There’s a better way. 

Forget the meeting

For many sales organizations, SDRs are given the objective of booking as many meetings as possible. If you look through the cold emails in your inbox, most of them are trying to score a meeting: ‘Can you spare 15 minutes next Wednesday?’ ‘Click here to book a time that’s convenient for you.’ 

To stand out from all the other emails and cold calls they’ve received that day, you need more than a Calendly link. This is especially true when you’re dealing with big companies and large $20k+ deal sizes. Still, too many people ask for the meeting straight away and then seem surprised when their pipeline runs dry. 

That might have worked at one time, but it’s time for a change. In 2020, your objective should be generating relevant conversations for your clients. 

Generate relevant conversations

The reason so many agencies promise leads is that it’s a relatively straightforward, repeatable process. Once you have your playbook, you can hand it over to any new salesperson and expect them to start generating leads. 

Generating conversations, on the other hand, requires more effort and skill. It requires research; you have to know every last detail about your ideal customer profile (ICP), your buyer personas, and the product/service you’re selling. You need to have a deep understanding of your prospects, their pain points, and specific ways you can help and add value. And you need to know all this before you pick up the phone or write a single word of your email. 

Once you’re talking with a prospect, you then need to actually have a conversation. Ask open-ended questions, then actually listen to their answer. Ask for a reply, rather than spamming them with links to your calendar.

Measuring ROI

Unless they’re specifically offering it as a service, agencies should avoid calculating their ROI based on leads closed. Just as with booked meetings, too much of a focus on closed leads can inadvertently encourage pressure tactics in sales. Today, that’s more likely to get your number blocked and your email reported as spam. 

With the objective of generating relevant conversations, it becomes easier to consider quality, as well as quantity. Automation tools can then be used to reach out to more of your ideal prospects, the people you can actually help, and start genuine conversations. 

Rather than adopting a spray-and-pray approach, you can stop wasting time chasing down poor-fit leads. Instead, you can focus on starting more conversations, with the right people, and in turn have more opportunities that are likely to close and become happy customers. 

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