Leaving The Lead Gen Hamster Wheel

I don't know any consulting firm whose true goal is to get new leads.

It's always sad to see consulting firms falling for the "lead generation hamster wheel". Constantly running after new leads without making meaningful progress. Wasting time, money, and energy.

You don't need to feel like this when marketing your practice. Time to rethink.

The Hamster Wheel Keeps You Busy

Here's a popular lead gen hamster wheel example you might have seen before:

  • Firm creates a piece of educational content;
  • Runs paid ads or mass marketing campaigns to promote it;
  • Collects emails and contact information from people who downloaded it.
  • Uses this information to pitch their services or convince people to chat.

By listening to the advice of B2B marketers who typically sell products, consultants forget about what they're really selling. They assume each one of those leads might give birth to an opportunity. That's a false assumption and one that will only artificially inflate your pipeline numbers.

The act of downloading an Ebook isn't by any means an indication that someone is interested in your services. Neither that they are a good fit and worth of your time and attention. So why market to them in the first place?

In practice, what you're really doing is overloading your calendar with very low-quality appointments or sales activities. Consulting partners already have a hard time balancing delivery and growth. Running that kind of lead gen campaign will only make things worse.

Defining Success

Lack of clarity is what leads you to get into the hamster wheel. Many consulting firms understand the need to create demand, but not its main goal. What does success look like for you?

For those in the hamster wheel, success is measured by the number of new leads. This is nonsense, especially for consulting firms who sell high-ticket and complex projects for a handful of clients every year. It's one of the best examples of what can happen when you optimize for the parts, not the system.

You can see that this is not about the type of lead. The debate on inbound vs outbound leads is mostly driven by martech vendors or digital agencies, who try to create a polarizing narrative to pitch their offerings. What we need is to clarify the true goal of your marketing efforts.

I don't know any consulting firm whose true goal is to get leads. What you really want, most of the time, is to increase revenue or profit. Win more and/or bigger projects. Or increase your hourly rate, so you can earn more while working less.

If you could only have 10 clients this year, who would they be?

Pick one of them. Market to them. Win them.

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