Agency Lead Generation: Inbound & Outbound Strategies for Turning Prospects into 5-Figure Clients

By: Jack Reamer |
 January 14, 2022 |

Have you fallen into a rut? Maybe using the same old marketing strategies to get qualified leads

Some agencies might have found a recipe that works for b2b lead generation and that’s great…(Mind you, it’s also not a bad idea to try out some new tactics 😉 

However, if you aren’t getting the high-quality leads that you would like, it might be time for some changes. 

Here are some new strategies, (and even some golden oldies that work well), for your agency to try out this year, turning prospects into 5 figure clients. 

1. Linkedin Lead Generation

If you are familiar with our articles, you will know that Salesbread mainly uses Linkedin for our lead generation campaigns. We also use various other channels, but Linkedin outreach has proven to be an effective way of generating quality leads.

So if you haven’t tried this platform out yet, you’re missing out on an entire pool of potential customers at the click of a few buttons. 

 LinkedIn Outreach is simply finding, connecting, and engaging with your prospects on LinkedIn.

FACT: There are nearly 800 million users currently on Linkedin… According to LinkedIn research, the average reply rate to Linkedin messages is 85%, which is 3 times higher than the response rate to traditional email.

In other words, LinkedIn is ROARING and every B2B sales team/agency should pay attention to this channel if you’re looking to drum up leads.

But the trick is knowing how to reach out to these leads the right way. 

Because as you can only imagine, there are thousands of agencies tapping into Linkedin’s treasure trove of prospects.

This is our lead generation process for Linkedin outreach..(Just to let you know, we manage to get 1 qualified lead per day for each of our clients using this strategy:)

Step 1: Build a list of prospects

Before we begin with our outreach campaigns, we always build a list of look-alike leads for our clients.

What does this mean?

Well, we look at who your current BUYING customers are (in fact we ask you who has purchased from you within the past 6 months.)

The reason for this is that it gives us an idea of who is buying from you currently. We look at various patterns between these buyers and see what their similarities are. This helps us figure out exactly who the right target audience is for your campaign. (Read here for our exact recipe)

Identify prospects using Linkedin Sales Navigator and filter the list through your second-degree network

Note: You can also use Linkedin’s filters to refine and build a list of prospects, but it’s important to know exactly how to use Linkedin in order to do this the right way. Read this article for more info on using Linkedin filters correctly. 

Step 2: Send personalized connection request messages

 

Personalization is much more than just using a prospect’s first name. As we mentioned earlier, new leads are bombarded daily with hundreds of Linkedin connection requests.

Your message has to stand out if you want a reply.

How do you do this?

You need to use our CCQ method. What is this you might ask?

Well, CCQ stands for: 

  • Compliments
  • Commonalities
  • Questions

If you want your messages to stand out, you have to research each prospect in order to write a message that would include either a compliment, a commonality, or a question. 

Here are some examples:

  1. Hi (Name), I’m looking to expand my network with fellow business owners and professionals. I would love to learn about what you do and see if there’s any way we can support each other. Cheers! 

 

  1. Hi (Name)  I’m looking to connect with like-minded professionals specifically who are on the revenue-generating side of things. Let’s connect!

 

  1. Hey (Name)  Came across your profile and saw you work in real estate. I’m reaching out to connect with other like-minded people. Would be happy to make your acquaintance. Have a good day!

 

  1.  Hi (Name) LinkedIn showed me your profile multiple times now, so I checked what you do.  I really like your work and as we are both in the creative industry – I thought I’ll reach out. It’s always great to be connected with like-minded individuals, isn’t it? (Your Name)

 

  1. Hey (Name) I hope your week is off to a great start, I noticed we both work in the HR/Employee Experience field together. I would love to connect with you.

 

  1. Listening to you now & subscribed! Just stumbled upon your podcast and wanted to say thank you for sharing your insights using them to help land a lead gen job. Thank you!

Step 3: Send personalized messages after they join your network and accept your invite.

Once you are accepted into a prospect’s network, you need to add more personalization to your messages. At Salesbread we never “sell” in our messages but rather just start conversations. 

This then allows us to ask for a meeting and because we took an interest in the prospect, very often they agree.  No sleazy sales pitches are needed. 

If they don’t reply initially, we follow up 3 times…

But once the prospect agrees to a meeting, all our client has to do is then show up for the meeting and close the deal. I

It’s that simple. 

Food for thought…

Yes, this process does take time. In fact, it usually takes us a week to onboard our clients.. The reason for this is that our lists are so ultra-targeted, so well researched, that when we do launch our campaigns, our clients are guaranteed a minimum of 1 lead a day.  

Here are some case studies of agencies that have partnered up with us: 

Case Study 1: Lower Street Media

Lower Street Media is an agency that offers podcast production services for companies and consultants. 

Harry wanted SalesBread to target lawyers and founders of law firms for their sales leads. 

Harry saw a clear advantage for those in the law firm “target market” to start podcasting for these two reasons:

Reason 1:

Some lawyers use podcasting for recruitment purposes.

Reason 2: 

Some lawyers use podcasting so that their practices can become better known, which, in turn, helps them win more cases. 

But there was a slight ditch in the road when it came to targeting lawyers. 

The problem is when you go after lawyers; outbound sales practitioners know that this is one of the tougher segments that you could possibly target. 

Why?

Well, lawyers are constantly getting hit with marketing and sales solicitations. 

The lawyers that we were targeting were used to seeing tons of cold emails and LinkedIn messages every day. Their inboxes are full of them. 

We needed to do tons of research to find the right prospects and develop the perfect list. Besides this, our messages had to be ultra-personalized so that we could stand out from the crowd. (Read the entire case study here)

And this is exactly what we did… Have a look at the stats below:

Prospects

Connected

Positive Replies

%

Connection Acceptance Rate

%

Reply Rate

Case Study 2: Buzzcube

Prospects

Positive Replies

%

Reply Rate

Case Study 3: MDxBlocks

MDxBlocks is an agency that provides blockchain development solutions. They came to us and told us that they work with a couple of really big IT consulting companies, and these companies refer work to them whenever they are helping a company out with blockchain.

Therefore what they wanted SalesBread to do was find more partners that would lead to repeat referrals for their business.  

SalesBread then set up a partnership campaign and went after the top 1000 consulting companies in the U.S. and Canada.

Our approach was simple:

  • First, find the correct companies.
  • Next, find the right people at those companies to connect with.
  • Then, send them connection requests on LinkedIn.
  • And finally, send them messages to set up appointments with them for MDxBlocks.

Have a look at the stats below

Prospects

Number of prospects who connected

Positive Replies

%

Connection rate

%

Reply Rate

Side note:

There are various ways to do Linkedin outreach, but we have found this method to be the most effective. 

I also recently listened to a podcast, where an agency would send helpful resources and articles from their website to their target audience via Linkedin. They also received a positive reply rate by doing this. 

So try a few different ways of reaching out to potential leads in your marketing efforts. There is nothing wrong with A/B testing to see which method works best for your agency. 

2. Cold calling

Does cold calling work? This is quite a big question because I’m sure there are many of you out there who actually despise it when telemarketers call you.

So you might be thinking, “no it doesn’t work.” 

You might have even read some horror stats that cold calling has a very low effectiveness rate, something like a 2% positivity rate…but some marketers still believe that it is still a valuable part of marketing. 

In a previous article, we shared how a client of ours from Australia uses cold calling and has found it to be very successful. 

If you do decide to try cold calling, make sure that:

  1. It is legal to call in the country that you are targeting
  2. That the prospects on your list have actually listed their cell phone number online. If you struggle to find their cell phone number, it probably means they don’t want to be contacted via phone; You could rather try contacting them via email.

Some strategic tips for getting a “yes” over the phone

Getting on the phone and chatting to a complete stranger can be really hard. It’s difficult to have your say before a person says “no”. 

Here are some tips from cold calling experts that will help you to get your foot in the door.

Tip 1: Use a pattern interrupt

People are so used to just saying “no” to telemarketers, that if you interrupt their usual thought pattern when confronted with a salesperson, they might just hear you out. If you sound like everyone else, you are not going to stand out. 

So if you say “Can I please have a minute of your time.” 

Then you will most probably get a: “No thank you, I’m busy.”

You will need to think of something that’s out of the ordinary to keep a listener on the call.  

Here are some examples from various cold calling agencies:

Example 1: From Refract.ai

“Hi Mr. Prospect, this is Rich. If I told you this was a cold call, would you want to hang up?”

…whilst asking the prospect for a peculiar amount of time which isn’t a normal rounded number, also makes you sound differentiated:

“Mr. Prospect, this is Rich. Can I have 27 seconds to explain why I’ve decided to call today?”

Example 2: From Exp-Recruitment

  • ‘This is a cold call, do you want to hang up?’
  • ‘Hi Claire, it’s John, how are you doing?’

 Example 3: Use shock to create a pattern interrupt.

Think about the worst possible scenario for a company that doesn’t use your agency yet. 

Use this to open your call, with a, ‘What would happen if…’ question. 

For example, a company that sells health and safety software could say: ‘What would happen if someone dies at your business?’ 

This immediately adds a shock factor. 

Tip 2: Write your script down

It can be very easy to forget what you want to say when a prospect answers the phone. So writing your script down is a great way to ensure that you feel prepared. 

Your script should include:

  • Who you are
  • Why you are calling
  • What is the benefit to the prospect
  • And what you are asking for. 

Try not to sell immediately in the call, but rather open the way for the prospect to agree to a booked meeting at a later date.

Tip 3: Research your prospects 

Interestingly, you don’t have to just do research for Linkedin outreach, but you can do it for cold calling too. 

A top telemarketing lead generation agency said that they have a “pre-call” ritual where they research each prospect and find interesting information about them.

This agency then uses this information in its scripts. 

Here are some examples that this company uses: 

  • “I saw your post about…”
  • “I noticed you manage…”
  • “Congratulations on…”
  • “Great insights on…”
  • “I’m inspired by the work you’ve done on …”

Tip 4: Don’t become too discouraged 

If your agency does decide to cold call, remember to choose salespeople who have a thick skin. In fact, Salesbread once interviewed Lucas Mikelinich from a company called Negotiatus, on building an effective sales team, and he mentioned how he likes to hire college athletes. 

Why?

 Because they are self-disciplined and have the sheer will to win, SDRs with a competitive spirit go a long way in the world of B2B sales. 

Here is the interview if you are interested:

Now that you have a few tips on cold calling lead generation strategies, give it a try. Who knows, your conversion rates might just improve with trying out some of the above hacks. 

3. Digital marketing Ads via social media platforms

Another outbound strategy that agencies are using to get more prospects in their sales pipeline is advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

For example, if you are interested in finding leads in the cryptocurrency space, publishing, or even in the influencer market, then give social media ads a go.

There is no need to find their email addresses because these leads already live in this space. 

These are the best platforms to reach out to them because they use these platforms more than email for example. 

USE the channels that these prospects are already on. You could make use of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram ads to get these prospects to come to you. (This is a helpful read when it comes to social media marketing https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-advertising/ )

When it comes to using Twitter, for example, you can check if someone is active in the space and then reply to their Tweet. You can filter by topic, and this can help you find new leads

Hubspot says: “Social media advertising is a powerful marketing tactic that has the power to drive leads, boost revenue, increase brand awareness, and more.

And this is true. Here are some stats about social media advertising:

Side note: 

This isn’t exactly a 100% true outbound lead generation process, but at Salesbread we do believe in thinking outside the box. Look for prospects where they are. 

Think about who your agency is targeting. Where is this audience spending most of their time? If it’s in the social media space, then use this to your advantage to gain new prospects.

The stat above shows how 92% of Instagram users followed a brand, clicked on their website, and purchased a product or service. 

It’s definitely worth a try. 

Most social media platforms also allow you to define your target list, so that the ad is shown to those in a specific demographic, location, or age group. 

But before reaching out to leads on these platforms, ask yourself:

  • Is the company I’m reaching out to, using these platforms for brand awareness?
  • Are they managing their own accounts?

If the answer is “yes” to these 2 questions, then, by all means, try reaching out to potential leads in these spaces. 

Using a mix of digital marketing and outbound is a great way to find new leads.

Here are some examples of paid advertising in the social media space

Notice with the above ad that they offer the prospect a free PDF download on “Learn How SEO works.” Offering something free to prospects that will bring them value is always a great idea. This could bring them back for more. 

 (This is similar to what content marketing does, there are no hard sales, but rather trust is built up over time via helpful and informative content.)

4. Podcasting

Podcasting has become a fast-growing means of gaining new business. Not only is it informative, but some can be really entertaining. 

(Have a listen to the podcast below for an in-depth look at how you can use this avenue as a lead generation tool)

Stats from 2021 show that there were 116 million people who listen to podcasts. Other stats show that 41% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly.

When we talk about podcasts being a way of generating leads we don’t mean growing a giant podcast and hoping your ideal client listens to it and contacts you. 

But rather using the podcast as a direct outbound sales tool where you invite your ideal buyers and get a foot in the door, that will lead to a sale. ( We are talking about cut-throat podcasting that doesn’t care about traffic or metrics but just jumping in to get buyers.)

Does this work?

It does! We have spoken to a few agencies that are using this platform and they are closing 5 or 6 figure deals with clients. 1 out of 10 podcast guests become a sales qualified lead

So the question is how do you land this client? 

Pro Tip: It’s really important to qualify the people that you will be interviewing on your show. If you just interview anyone and everyone, you will definitely miss out on the 10% of those who would like to buy your product or service. 

Why?

Some people who are invited as guests might not be able to solve an actual problem that buyers are facing.

They might just enjoy being on podcasts, because, let’s face it, it can be quite flattering to be invited onto a podcast.

So always qualify your guests before jumping into an interview. Make sure that their product or service actually solves pain points that listeners might be having. 

Think of your target audience

What will resonate with your target audience? When planning your podcasting strategy, think about what problem will be solved. 

For example, if someone’s website isn’t converting into sales because it’s been badly designed, you could invite an expert in web design to discuss the key factors of excellent design. You could even delve into the psychology behind what makes people buy a product…

How to book great guest speakers

This can be quite easy. The best way to reach out to guest speakers is still probably via email. 

You could say: “(Name) I saw that you founded a few companies, would you be up for joining me on the podcast for startup growth because of your expertise? I think the conversation would be really interesting?”

If you feel a bit intimidated by going after high-profile decision makers, you could always interview your clients who were happy with your product or service. They would rave about the benefits. 

How to transition to your pitch during the show

If you do decide to give podcasting a go, how do you transition to your sales pitch? Ending the show with “Soooo buy my product,” will come across as sleazy. This is where many podcasts hosts find it awkward to end the show because they pitch at the end. 

How can you counteract this by getting that 10% of buyers to convert without breaking your own code of ethics?

One way to do this… If your hosting guest is your ideal buyer, you could always talk to them after the show about your service. You could go about saying:

  • “I’d love to pick your brain on XYZ.
  •  What works for you when it comes to lead generation
  • Have you tired outbound
  • Oh, you tried cold emailing but it didn’t work? What did you try?”  

These questions can guide the conversation. This isn’t selling a pitch but rather gaining the buyer’s insights, this conversation allows them to come to you if they are interested in what you are saying. 

If you share some truly valuable nuggets of knowledge with the listener then the more likely they will be to contact you. You could even offer a free trial of your product and see where it leads. (Listen to the podcast for a greater in-depth discussion.)

5. Cold Emailing

Cold email is not dead. You just have to know how to do it the right way. 

(We actually generated a 58% reply rate with one email marketing campaign in 2021. This is another generation service that we use to generate leads for our clients; especially if we can’t reach them via Linkedin. )

Cold email IS NOT about sending out thousands of “copy-paste” templates, but rather personalized messages to an ultra-targeted audience. 

This is our process for our email b2b marketing email campaigns:

  1. Build a list of prospects 
  2. Find their email addresses
  3. Research each prospect in order to add personalization to your messages
  4. Write your email copy – REMEMBER to add a value proposition (What’s in it for the prospect.)
  5. Send an immediate follow-up email
  6. Wait 3 days and send an official to follow up email
  7. Do some extra research to add even more personalization to the message
  8. Send a break-up email if you don’t get any replies. 

Have a look at the following template:(Funnily enough, it’s about getting someone on a podcasting show:)

These were the stats we received for this email campaign by using the strategy we mentioned:

Verified Prospects

%

Deliverability

%

Reply Rate

We had no negative replies, and this makes sense because of the “value proposition.” 

Pro tip: Check out Good Sales Emails. This is a great company website that offers cold email templates that you can check out for some ideas, but it also lists the email addresses of hundreds of businesses that you can download. In addition, this site shares cold email campaigns from some of the best companies out there. 

(But if you would like to find out a bit more about  Salesbreads pricing for email outreach please feel free to contact us)

6. Trade shows – In-person & Online

With Covid causing havoc all over the world, many in-person trade shows have sadly come to a halt (for now). But did you know that there are also online trade shows?  

Tips for in-person trade shows

If you are lucky enough to be in a country where in-person trade shows are still a thing, then there are a few things that your agency can do to gain prospects who will convert into buyers. 

 Tip 1: Promote the trade show

Before the big event make sure that you promote the trade show to as many people as possible.

 You could send out emails promoting the show, do a blog post or even update the landing page of your website to direct the visitor to a section about the event.

If your agency has a social media page, promote the show there and remind followers of when the event is taking place. 

Tip 2: Use salespeople at the show

A tradeshow is a great opportunity to showcase your product or brand. On the day make sure to hire or use the right people for the job. In this way, they will be able to talk about your agency in-depth to those who might be interested in buying. 

Don’t send interns, or admin assistants, but rather those who know the ins and outs of your agency, and who can pitch it the right way. 

 Tip 3: Work it, Work it

This is where great salespeople come in handy. You need an extroverted person to work the booth. 

Continuum CRM suggests the following trade show process: 

  • Greet your visitor.
  • Politely ask to scan the visitor’s badge.
  • Ask qualifying questions.
  • Politely disengage from unqualified suspects.
  • Demonstrate your product to qualified prospects.
  • Get a commitment to take an appointment, call, or other follow-up communication. 

Build rapport with a friendly question or two before moving to the qualifying questions. For example, ask what brought them to the show. 

Maximizing the number of good leads you capture after the show will go a long way toward achieving a positive return on investment in the trade show.

But getting a lot of good leads into your pipeline is just one of your goals. 

What happens after you get back is what determines whether attending the show was a success or not. So don’t drop the ball. Keep working on your process. 

 

Online Trade Shows

You might wonder how online trade shows actually work for b2b companies, and if they are effective.. They have become quite popular since the pandemic because literally, anyone from anywhere in the world can join. 

It is usually hosted online for a limited period of time, therefore you might need to buy a ticket to book your seat. These online tradeshows facilitate direct interactions between exhibitors and attendees with interactive features, such as live chat, chat rooms, 1 to 1 or group video calls, Q&A, Live webinars, or on-demand webinars, webcasts, lucky draws, and more.

How does it work?

 Wikipedia says the following: “The structure of a typical virtual tradeshow often includes a virtual exhibition hall which users enter with specific permissions and capabilities.

Exhibitors can build virtual booths to exhibit information related to their products or services, just as they would at a trade fair in a convention center; visitors view these virtual trade show displays in the exhibition hall. 

Users – both exhibitors and visitors – within the environment often create avatars as a visual representation of themselves.

Like their physical counterparts, virtual trade shows may have other components such as a web conference, webcast, web seminar (‘webinar’), or other educational presentations. 

The virtual trade fair thus provides live interaction between users on several levels (one-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many and many-to-many) and simultaneously.”

Below is an example of what you could expect to see during an online trade show from a company called Vfair.

If you are interested in giving virtual trade shows a go, have a look at this site 

https://10times.com/online/tradeshows . It shows which are the up-and-coming shows for 2022. 

Remember to get creative…And if creativity isn’t your thing…

Book a free 15 min consultation at Salesbread if you would like 1 guaranteed lead per day.

Sometimes all an agency has to do is explore different outbound strategies to land that 5 figure client. 

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