Aug 25, 2023 | Growth & Scale

I can’t afford a salesperson; how can I get new B2B leads?

Q. Dear Zenagos,
I sell services to ad agencies. I got some clients right away, but I need more leads now. I can’t afford a salesperson; what can I do to get more leads without spending a lot of money?
This is a common challenge: An entrepreneur gets off to a fast start based on personal relationships and existing network, but once those sources are tapped, business slows. You are right to be searching for a sustainable source of leads.

What are the Sustainable Sources of Leads?
The three main sustainable sources of leads are: paying for promotion, building partnerships, and developing a systematic strategy for expanding your network.

Pay for Promotion
If your business is well funded (and you have a viable customer acquisition cost), then you deploy capital to build a sustainable source of leads. There are a wide variety of options for generating leads, including traditional advertising, social media, B2B databases, appointment setters, and employees (salespeople) who are responsible for generating their own leads. If you can afford to throw money at the problem, this is the surest path to success, although it is not necessarily the fastest, as it takes time to test and bolster advertising channels.

Build Partnerships
If you do not have a lot of capital, the next best path for building a sustainable source of leads is to build partnerships with firms that offer complementary products and services to a similar audience. You leverage their proven success to acquire leads, and they improve their lifetime customer value, further monetizing their audience. It takes time to build partnerships, but once a partnership is developed, it can be a rapid and substantial source of leads.

Expand Your Network
Your initial success resulted from your network, so if you can systematically expand your network, then you can develop a sustainable source of new leads. This path does not demand capital, but it requires the most time and energy from you, the entrepreneur. As a side benefit, it will reap many follow-on rewards over time – when people know the company owner personally, they feel more connected and are more likely to find unexpected ways to help.

How do I expand my network?
There are many techniques for achieving the goal of expanding your network. You can attend networking events, join your local chamber of commerce and attend its events, and join relevant associations and patronize their activities. If you’re eager to get started right now, try this tip: Choose some companies that you would like to target, and attend their online presentations, such as webinars. This requires no travel, and you don’t need to wait for their next conference.

Before the webinar, look up the presenters on their company website or LinkedIn. Learn as much as you can about their role at the company and the firm’s offerings and strategy. Attend the webinar and take good notes. Try to find something specific that they said that you really like or that is relevant to your offering. If there is a Q&A session after the webinar, compliment the presenter and then try to ask a memorable question. If you can’t get your question in, that’s okay – it’s just a nice-to-have. After the webinar, go to the presenter’s LinkedIn profile and send a direct message. Talk about the comments that you enjoyed, and inquire whether they would be open to an introductory call. This strategy will not work every time, but it will work consistently over time and is a strong approach to expanding your network.

When you do get them on the phone, don’t blurt out your sales pitch. Take some time to listen and learn. Look for ways in which you could be helpful to their company. The way to get value is to give value.

Related Blog Posts
Finance Tip: How to Calculate Your Customer Acquisition Cost
Should I partner with other agencies to fill my pipeline?
Zenagos Expert Networking Tip: Prepare for the Conference
Zenagos Expert Networking Tip: How to Make an Ask
Zenagos Expert Sales Tip: How to State the Price


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