Most marketing agencies get leads through repeat business, word of mouth, business groups, and by creating award-winning work. This is how great agencies are built, but it’s also slow and some agencies want to grow faster.
Some of those agencies will engage in inbound marketing: using blog posts, SEO, social, podcasts, YouTube videos, and other inbound channels. Those work but unfortunately, you’re competing with plenty of other agencies who are doing the exact same thing. Getting leads from PPC can be super expensive, and crowding in many other marketing channels is intense, so some marketing agencies are trying a sales-centered approach of outbound prospecting to generate leads.
Making a list, checking it twice
The first step for many agencies will be to create a list of ideal prospects: prequalified companies that the agency could likely succeed with. Typically, you’ll be targeting organizations based on where you have a built-in advantage, such as:
- Clients in your own backyard/city
- Your connections on LinkedIn
- Clients in industries you know well
- Specializing in an industry
Lists can be built manually, taken off directory sites, or built from industry resource sites. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find a nicely curated list of companies in a target industry, sorted by employee count or revenue.
Building the Content, Channels, and Sequence
This is a part that many agencies already excel at because it’s standard agency work. For the buyer persona, determine which outbound prospecting channels you’re going to use (phone calls, emails, LinkedIn messages, etc). Determine what your SDRs are going to pitch. Then build out the sequence you’re going to use to pitch to those buyer personas.
Don’t forget to create sales sequences beyond just the first meeting. Your new client onboarding consistency will be better and your clients will be happier.
Scaling up Outbound Prospecting
To really scale-out this strategy, most agencies will use a small SDR team of 2-4 people to feed an AE team of 2-4 (depending on how many existing clients they manage). They’ll also use sales enablement software like FunnelFLARE. This type of platform manages the sale sequences, schedules the follow-ups, and enables SDRs to hit the high volume of calls and touchpoints needed to book meetings.
If your agency pitches website redevelopment, check out the FunnelFLARE article we wrote on that.
Most marketing agencies have solid sources for business growth. Through repeat business, word of mouth referrals, and inbound marketing, many agencies will see enough business to grow. But for agencies that want rapid business acceleration or want to hit an industry hard, you may want to use outbound prospecting to grow your agency.