There are many stages of lead generation - five in particular.
When we are asked if we will bring company leads in exchange for a commission fee, our reply is to simply ask whether the company has completed the five stages of lead generation first.
This is a basic requirement for us to know which leads to research and to know if these leads will be converted into paying clients predictably.
Many consultancies and experts do not know the five stages of lead generation so I’ve outlined them here below:
First stage; this is common when you start as an independent consultant or freelancer. You can use your existing work [ex-clients, friends, colleagues] to generate new business. You do not need more than a LinkedIn profile and an email address and you can generate business via word of mouth. Many companies do not move beyond this stage.
Second stage: generally if you wish to expand beyond your existing network, you will move to cold outbound using LinkedIn and email. At this stage, you find similar people to your existing clients and offer them value. At this stage, you can also list yourself on industry sites such as consultant or freelancer directories. Many companies also focus on events, conferences, and other networking opportunities. To win business, you do not need much marketing infrastructure in place, just a basic landing page and a LinkedIn profile. It helps if you have some case studies or a brochure and a clear website explaining what you do.
Third stage: If you wish to scale your cold outbound beyond your ability to network or beyond your ability to personalize each outreach message, you will need to consider content. At this stage, you need to share your thought leadership and expertise with a growing audience and speak to their specific challenges addressing them with your unique insights. You can build an email newsletter, build a LinkedIn newsletter, [build a YouTube Channel, build a Twitter following]. Choose at least one channel to seriously build a tribe and message them regularly and don’t miss out on cold DMing engaged leads to set up calls. At this point, it’s best to have a more optimized website to share your content on via a regular blog. You can also invest in some SEO to make sure your content is being found via organic search and creating inbound leads.
Fourth Stage: once you have traction with cold outbound and content you can move to targeting your leads with paid ads. It’s natural to start with retargeting anyone who clicks on your website, landing pages, or social channels, but then you can move to cold outreach ads which put your message in front of the right audience to get them into your funnel. Because you have a content funnel, strong web presence, and online branding, a strong follow-up process you can be sure that your leads will not be lost and your ad spent wasted.
Fifth Stage: Finally, you can consider building an affiliate program. Now you have a strong offer, strong content, a strong nurture sequence, and a way of capturing and converting leads, you can offer others a fee for bringing you a lead. They know it will work and will put in the time and energy required to bring you the right prospects.
It’s possible to arrange a partnership with an external provider to generate leads for your company without first having gone through these five stages, however, as you can see a lot of work is first required to see success.
Many experts will ask for equity or salary instead of this ground work. Those who do not ask for anything and are willing to work on a commission-only basis would already exist in the specific sector of your existing clients and simply refer their own business to you at very little cost to them and for mutual benefit.
If you would like to help work through the five stages of lead generation and create your own affiliate program or generate leads on a commission basis, then comment below and we can set up a short call.