In the Start Up phase of any business, bringing in revenue (through marketing and sales) needs to be the focus. So how do you do it?
I break my thinking down into Outbound (where I’m pushing the relationship) and Inbound (where the leads come to me).
Inbound is obviously ideal, but takes time to build – think regular content marketing, SEO and so on. It’s the easiest thing to stop doing when you’re busy, which means it never pays off. Thankfully, content creation is easy for me (experienced, and have some skills/training in writing and film) so I create loads – weekly videos at the moment, at least monthly blogs (was weekly before video took over), and some longform (2000 words+) articles. Now, after a few years, that feeds me almost 1 lead each week.
Referral sources are another great lead generation source that takes time. Make sure you’re asking clients for referrals, and if you have a niche target (industry, geography etc) learn who their influencers are and develop those relationships as well (eg, local business networking groups; master builders association).
In the early days though, Outbound sales activity is critical. Leave the house. Drink a lot of coffee with people. Talk, in person, to everyone you know about what you’re doing and who your ideal client is, and be OK asking them who they know that you should talk to.
Ideally, this all flows together. You build your personal network, add people to your database (Excel / MailChimp), and send them your articles/videos on a regular basis to nurture the relationship.
Then, get good at sales. How many leads turn into proposals? How many proposals turn into clients? Aim for 30% of each at least.