Every professional services company aspires to having a steady flow of leads coming into the business: an abundance of new opportunities to follow-up and explore.
No periods of panic. No pressure to scramble and close any and every type of business. Not being forced to take on risky clients, in risky sectors, for projects you're not particularly suited to.
The solution: develop your sales & marketing function.
The problem: most professional services companies don’t have a “typical” sales & marketing function...
... at least not compared to other business models. As a result, professional services companies often become reliant on repeat business from existing clients (with the occasional new lead).
This causes 3 major problems:
- Increasing over-dependence on existing accounts (which is risky)
- Increased pressure of high win ratios for new accounts
- Slow growth—often people say they “grow organically” which is a nice way of saying that their growth is slow and it just "happens" to them, rather than being actively pursued
However, if you get good at generating a steady stream of good leads with new prospects, you:
- Have a better chance of winning new clients and diluting your dependence
- Reduce the pressure of having to win every deal because you don’t have to win them all
- Speed up growth, as it comes under your control, and you can drive it at the pace you want
The benefits don't end there. If you’re consistently generating opportunities with and winning new clients, you can start to “retire” accounts that aren’t worthwhile e.g. accounts that aren’t profitable, that treat your people poorly, etc.
Being in a position to cease working with accounts that aren't fruitful is one of the most liberating feelings you can get.
Actively cultivating leads—rather than relying on those that fall onto your lap—means you can focus your sales efforts on the kinds of projects that are going to be worthwhile e.g. they open a new sector you want to break into, they stand a good chance of returning a strong margin, etc.
In short, you put yourself in a position where you're not fighting for any and every piece of work that comes your way. And you're less likely to win "bad" business, because you can be more picky.
If you’re currently relying on a handful of key accounts and only supplementing that with the occasional new client, you should make improving lead flow a top priority.
If you have plans to scale, you should make improving lead flow a top priority, as scaling requires the predictability that lead generation provides.
There are no circumstances in which improved lead flow will have anything but a positive effect on your business.
So, what to do about it?
In our upcoming eBook, "A blueprint for lead generation mastery in professional services", we'll guide you through how to build a first-class lead generation function, including:
- how to use value-based marketing to stand out, build trust and credibility, attract people to your site, and more
- how to define your ideal target client(s) and build your marketing strategy around them
- the types of content you can create and channels you can use to reach your audience
- how to take advantage of the traffic your drive to your website
- how to build a five-star contacts database you can leverage
- useful tools and technology to add to your tech stack
- how to implement "sales sequences" to (a) make business development "easier" and (b) take it to the next level
- how to get started—right now!
Keep your eyes peeled!