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Consulting Lead Generation: Finding Progress Early

Consulting Lead Generation: Finding Progress Early

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
2 min read

I’ve worked with a lot of tech and consulting clients in the last 7 years of my career. Here’s the big difference between tech and consulting lead generation:

  1. Tech companies typically deal with large numbers of leads and customers, and move lightning fast
  2. Consulting companies usually deal with small amounts of leads and clients, and move at the pace of a tortoise’s leisurely stroll

Because consulting is often a low-volume business, optimizing a consulting practice is hard in the sense that feedback is few and far between. To double lead flow at a typical consulting company, we’re talking about a handful or maybe a dozen more leads. To double sales at a consulting company, it may require only one client per month or less.

Then there’s the curse of averages: if your goal is to land an additional client every month, you may go two months with no new clients and land 3 in a single month. The good news is you’re right on track, but the bad news is that it felt like you traversed hell to get there.

What’s the solution?

I love Mark Butler’s concept of signs of life. In any consulting lead generation program, it’s critical to track your leading indicators because you can’t run short experiments focused exclusively on the ultimate outcome. For instance, if your goal is to land 3 new clients this year, and your sales cycle is 6 months, you can’t run a 1-month experiment with the goal of getting a new client. It’s impossible.

Consulting Lead Generation: How to Find Early Progress

Look for leading indicators. In other words, the purpose of your consulting lead generation program is to land clients. What do you need to do to land 3 new clients per year?

Let’s work backward, starting with the end goal in mind:

  1. Goal: 3 new clients in 12 months
  2. Opportunities needed to land a new client: 5, for a total of 3*5 = 15 opportunities
  3. Qualified leads needed to land a new opportunity: 4, for a total of 4*15 = 60 leads needed
  4. Contacts needed to land a new qualified lead: 5, for a total of 5*60 = 300 contacts needed
  5. Outreach attempts needed per week to hit goal by the end of 12 months = 300 contacts / 22 work weeks = 14 contacts/week

Now we’re talkin’. Your consulting lead generation program takes months, not weeks. So while you can’t land a new client for at least 6 months, you can reach out to 14 targeted contacts every single week, see how many qualified leads you get, and document the number of new opportunities you add to your pipeline.

Those are all signs of life, and the way for you to find progress early on in your experiments to grow your business.

Notes