It's really important that you have the process in place to guide your new customers, your prospective customers, through your marketing process. It isn't their job to dis to figure out how it works.
Hello, and welcome to this episode of Retain fm, the podcast for digital agencies and digital agency owners to build recurring revenue into their business. And today, well, today's episode is part two of a mega episode. That spans the previous episode, which was, uh, episode 1 53. Uh, and it's all about how to attract leads and what to do with leads when you get them.
So if you want to find out about attracting leads, please listen to episode one [email protected] slash 1 53, and then come straight back to this episode to find out what to do with those leads when you've got them. So essentially, look the, the last episode talked about the one ninth rule about marketing business and using that to attract leads.
So this episode picks up directly from, you've now got this marketing system in place. What happens next? So the first part of that is the initial lead capture. Now it's really important, and I've said this multiple times on the show before, it's really important that you have the process in place to guide your new customers, your perspective customers, through your marketing process.
It isn't their job to dis to figure out how it works. You know, you can have the best website in the world. You can have the best contact content in the world on that best website. But if the lead can't find the way to take the next action, they're not gonna go looking for it. So it's really important to have a structured lead capture process in place that could be as simple as a popup or some buttons or, you know, a, a good UX design on a landing page.
Or it could be a lot more complicated than that. However it is, it needs to be structured and it needs to be obvious to the customer how that works. And of course, once they then put their information into however you are capturing their information, You then need a process in place, ideally some software in place to then manage the process through.
That's where something like a C R M A customer relations management system comes in and it, you know, can be invaluable to this part of the process, particularly invaluable to automating this part of the process. And as we talk through the rest of the process, ensuring that someone somewhere in your organization has ownership of those leads so that.
Again, you are guiding and driving the sales process for your business, essentially, but you are guiding the, the prospective client through it. So it's, it's up to you whether you use a A C R M that embeds forms on your website or whether you have forms set up with automations that look, h how it works is kind of up to you.
It, I'd say that it, it, the main thing is it needs to be something that works reliably. We use, um, Click up, essentially a, a sheet and click up as our crm because we can map the stages out, which I'll talk through in, in a moment. But the, the forms are driven through a plugin called Convert Box. Um, we use Convert Box on a lot of websites.
It's light, it works, it hooks into a whole load of different things, um, and we know that we can trust it. So that's, that's how ours works. But hey, that's not to say that you need to, uh, you need to follow our exact model, so, The first thing that you need to do when you get the lead is make sure that that lead can convert and gets put into some kind of system is recorded somewhere so that you know it's happened and you know the communication that they've had.
It might be that you have multiple opt-ins on your website, so it's really handy to know which opt-in that they've opted in for. Those opt-ins might have chains of emails that go out. So, you know, maybe over three or four days they get a number of emails and it's really handy to know where, what communication they've received and how they've received it.
So as I say, how you track that is up to you. We manage it through click up. But then click up is ingrained into our agency process. So I wouldn't necessarily recommend you sign up for click up just for the sake of trying to use it as a C R M, but that is up to you. Um, I also know of agencies that use, uh, Airtable for it and produce their own, or, uh, also agencies that use the free version of HubSpot for it as well.
Um, and, and go through, go through that way. So once you have the lead, once you have that, That those person's details in your system. The second thing you need to make sure is that they get a prompt response and always have professional and informative communication with you. Quick responses, particularly if this is, uh, an inquiry about a project.
If this is an inquiry, if this is a referral that is to do with a, a lead magnet or something like that, then that those kind of communications, of course, they can be automated, but. Once you start going beyond that and start introducing other services, higher value services, and things that may be bespoke to that customer, then you need to make sure that you do create a prompt response and have good communication with them.
Um, email is by far still the industry standard when it comes to that. There's lots of different ways of communicating. Ultimately, you need to find the one that works for you and for your customer. Um, I dunno about you. I, I have particular communication apps on my phone, which I, uh, reserve for personal communications and WhatsApp is one of those.
Um, you know, I have friends on there. It's, it's the thing that I allow notifications to come through at evenings and weekends and that kind of thing. So, if a client jumps into WhatsApp, For me, it really feels like a crossing of a boundary. But then I also know agency owners that run their business communications through WhatsApp for business and absolutely love it.
So if that works for them and their customers, that that's, that's not a problem. But as I say, it's gotta be something that works for you and for your customer. And at the minute, I've certainly not come across anybody that's, that's worried about email, um, that said, Depending on the size of your agency, if you're a solopreneur and you are, you know, doing all of this on your own, then actually having some templated responses or, or templated sections of emails speeds the job up a bit.
And if you have bigger teams, having templated responses means that those communications can be kind of consistent. So there is a, a place in this for having some kind of templated responses or generic, generic or general. Sections that you put in to your emails and also GE guiding through the next part of the process.
So every response, every communication should say something along the lines of, you know, if this all sounds good, the next step is X and you do it by Y. And that obviously guides the lead through the process again, however you decide to, to manage that and how whatever technology you decide to, to use. Um, so when we get a lead in, It will have a status of MQL or marketing qualified lead i e.
This is somebody that has inquired about one of our services based on the marketing we have out in the real world. Now, that's not to say that they're a great fit yet, and if you followed the one ninth rule, they may only know one of the nine parts of the service that you, you offer. So part of the ne the next part, They come in as an mql.
The next part is to qualify that lead further, to actually make sure they're a good fit as a customer for you. And that's when the, they've become what's called an s, SQL L in our system, or a sales qualified lead. So this is when somebody that's organic, that is a real human being on our side of the table has.
Um, got in touch with the, with the potential lead, had a discussion with them, explained about our other products and services and how we may help them, and has then, um, you know, identified that there is a project opportunity there and that we may be a good fit to work together. So that happens largely through a, a, a conversation.
We do cover, you know, items about what their business is, what our business does, uh, you know, what key difficulties they're facing, what their budgets are, like, all of those, all of those kind of things. So who, who their market is, what their competition's like, uh, some of their business history. All of that kind of stuff.
Now that sounds like quite an in-depth discussion and we do touch on some major topics, but that said, with some practice, we do have this conversation down to around about 20 minutes or half an hour. So it's not like we're putting loads and loads and loads of effort into this. For a lead that comes in, we can.
Really quite quickly get them to, uh, get to a point of understanding whether they're a good, a good fit. We also do have some questionnaires and forms and extra stuff we can fill a ask them to fill in online, which, if I'm being honest, the an agency that's our size, we. Use those some of the time, we could automate it more and may, you know, ask every lead to go through it.
Absolutely. And again, if you were on your own, that might be a good, uh, a good thing to do. Cause it would, it expedite the process. You, you might not have the time to spend 20 minutes on every inquiry you're getting through your website. Um, but you know, that's, that's a, a use case that's specific to you.
We, and as I say, we also have a budget discussion now that's, Not to say that we instantly give them a quote. Uh, however, um, look, we, we didn't get a job, uh, a few weeks ago for a local music school. Um, So we didn't get a job. We didn't process progress, the lead, and it became very obvious within this discussion that we were having with this music school that everybody else they were talking to was a freelancer.
And we were an agency with agency pricing. And we said, look, our ballpark figure's gonna be around about this. If that's not. Something that's gonna accommodate you. Let's not waste anybody's time here. Um, and we'll, we'll move on. And sure enough, they went with a freelancer, which was exactly what we would've expected them to do.
But I'm not in, I'm not in the position to even want to compete with somebody with a budget like that. If they want to go for a freelancer, that's absolutely fine. Uh, we run an agency, we have agency services. We work on agency type processes. We have some overheads. We're not the most expensive agency in the world.
But on the same note, I have staff to pay and we need to make profit and we need to worry about taxes and all that kind of stuff. So I'm, I'm not gonna compete with a freelancer either. Um, and it is just not worth it. That person has my contact information. We left on very amicable terms. Ultimately, that was the best decision for them.
I don't know what financial strain I would've been putting on them if we'd forced a, a deal through. So it it just, the best thing for everybody. Is to leave amicably. They know where we are and who knows in the future we may or may not work for them, um, as, as their business succeeds. Uh, and I hope they get the best product that they can get for their budget from the freelancer that they've appointed.
Absolutely. But that was the point in qualifying the lead, the sales, that lead never became a sales qualified lead. They didn't have the budget for us. So once you've, once you've done all of that, uh, and you've then, or our process at least once we've done that and we have a sales qualified lead, the next point is to, uh, have some form of initial consultation or receive a project brief.
You could call this a discovery phase. Uh, we have a discovery process that we sell, so our, our discovery process isn't free. Um, but we actually will have a, a sort of project consultation, if you like, with, with the client before we get to that. So it is another call or another meeting if we can do it face-to-face.
But it's really getting to grips with what this, what this project could be and how we can, how you know which of our services are gonna be the best fit for the client, how we can help them, what's the return that we can, we can bring, they, the client will obviously come with, you know, their needs and wants and.
Uh, you know, their ideas and, and all of that kind of stuff. And we will bring our expertise to the table and. You know, ultimately find out what the client wants to achieve and how we could possibly achieve it. And that will then lead to an indicative quote. Now with our indicative quote, we will, that, that's where we offer our discovery sessions.
So we will give a ballpark figure of, hey, what we, what we, uh, can take from the discussions we've had is that the project. Cost will be somewhere between X and Y. And, but if you would like us to progress with this, then we can go through a full discovery process, and that is where we will, uh, outline the full, uh, design specification, technical specification, marketing strategy, whatever it might be, whichever parts of our service they're using, and then take it from there.
So that then becomes the next stage of the process. So sales qualified lead to consultation to then discovery. Um, At this point, we, uh, you know, we, we can then propose a solution that then has, uh, another document attached to it, which, uh, we don't call it a proposal, but it could be a proposal. Um, and, you know, that then gets sent to the client in a way that they can accept or not.
We use Adobe sign for that and, and, and off we go. Um, So each of these, I, I've realized I've rattled through a lot of that. So each of these though does link to a stage within our c r M. So, uh, as I say, we've had a marketing qualified lead, a sales qualified lead sales consultation discovery proposal. Once we get to proposal, it's then obviously the ball is very much in the client's court now, you know, we want to think that every proposal we send out, they will fill in through, uh, Adobe sign and, uh, that's it.
Project confirmed. The reality is though, that the client may have some questions and you know, that's perfectly fine. The, at the end of the day, they are wanting to. Engage with a web agency that a, they may be speaking a language that they don't understand. They may be, we may be challenging them to think about things that they have never thought about before in their business.
So, Because of that, you know, it, it's only right that they have time to digest this, to think of anything that they may not have thought about in the heat of a meeting or whatever. We're not here to make pressurized sales, so we do have a, uh, a part of our process for objections and negotiation, and that could be.
Anything from, oh, sorry, I didn't think about this. Or, you know, what you asked me about which software we use? It's X, y, Z. Can I just check that That's still Okay. Um, all the way through to, oh, that, that's, that's more than I thought. Is there anything you can do on the price? This isn't a podcast about pricing, but the one comment I will say is that our prices are linked to briefs.
So if a client does want a reduction in price, that's not a problem as long as we can do less work. So, uh, you know, that might lead to a discussion about, well, okay, that's fine. Yeah, we can, we can certainly look at the budget for you. However, if we're doing that, which part of the functionality. Isn't going to be completed or which part go, can we push into a phase two in order to spread the costs for you, et cetera, et cetera.
So that's what the address, uh, the objections and negotiations stage is for. And then finally, we have a closed stage. And that closed stage is either closed one or. Closed, lost, and if it's closed, lost, we then do make notes as to why was it budget? Was it part of the process? Is the client open to having a bit of a debrief about why they decided to, to place the project with somebody else, or decided just not to go ahead.
Um, A whole load of discussions can happen around that, which we can learn from to improve this process. And that's ultimately part of what this process is about. When you get a lead, not only is it your job to guide them through your process, but it's it's also invaluable for you to start asking questions, particularly if things are going wrong.
Although you can ask them if things are going right, but particularly if things are going wrong. Um, About why, and some of the feedback you get might be customer specific and you know what? You can just leave it there. That's, that's their deal. That's something with their business. It isn't gonna affect you.
But if you are consistently getting things like you are too expensive or you're too cheap, or we found, we found the process a bit long-winded, or we, things like. Um, well actually we found that we didn't, we didn't really know you well enough to trust you with this. Well, actually, they're all pieces of the jigsaw that you can do something about and improve this process for the next lead and the next lead and the next lead.
So of course once the deal is closed and we've won it, then we're onto an onboarding process and the, the whole discovery process, et cetera, et cetera, and, and, and off we go. We have that part of our process done. And that's of, that's often the bit that people are most comfortable with. Cause right now we've got some work to get on with.
So the purpose of this podcast and was to, to outline what to do with a lead when you have it. Ultimately that is to guide it through some kind of process. Whether you use a C R M for it or just a database or something like that is up to you, but have a process. That process can be quite simple. You can expand it over time, but don't make it too complicated, but have a process that.
Make sure that you get to know the client and they get to know you so you can start to build a level of trust because ultimately that is the, that is the factor that is going to win You work. Particularly as the values of projects start to grow, what customers want is confidence that the person at the other end of the phone, i e u, is able to deliver what they say they are going to deliver.
And if they have any doubts at all, you know what, it's their money and they, they might just decide to, to be a bit more tentative with it. So this is really a process about building trust. So I hope that all makes sense. I hope that gives you an end-to-end process over these two episodes from actually finding leads, actually using, uh, a marketing strategy, the one ninth rule to.
To actually attract leads in either a niche or a location, but leads that should be of a reasonable quality to your business. And then once you get hold of that lead, then designing the process that's gonna work for you to take them from marketing qualified lead to sales, qualified lead to actual closed deal.
That is Nirvana. If you can iron out that process, then you have a good basis for consistent growth in your business. And when you get that, you can then figure out how you create more capacity in that, either through automation or through personnel. But ultimately, this is about. Getting that process signed out so that you can build trust and close deals.
I hope, as I say, I hope that's been useful for you. If you've found any value in this whatsoever, I'd love to know about it. Um, either drop me a DM or pop in or our Facebook group, or feel free to share this episode. Um, you know, I really hope that you engage with the process and of, of encouraging leads through a process.
And the, this starts to show dividends in your business. Um, the least you could do if you've got value out of this is make sure that you hit subscribe in your podcast pair of choice, because I do produce weekly episodes on retain fm. Some with guests, some are just me. But, uh, All of them are designed to help digital agencies grow recurring revenue in their businesses.
I hope to see you in the next episode.
In this episode, I share a comprehensive process that digital agency owners can follow when they receive a lead or enquiry. Tune in to learn how to convert more leads into clients by following these steps:
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