Running the numbers: how many leads does your agency need to thrive?

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Running the numbers won’t be anything new to many agencies trying to grow. It’s one of the fundamental parts of running a successful business.

And yet some people approach sales with their hearts racing and fingers crossed. That shouldn’t be the case if you’ve taken some time to make a few calculations using established principles.

Some of the things they should be doing include setting revenue goals and targets for lead acquisition and conversion – and monitoring them religiously.

A business’s number of leads – prospective clients and customers – are an especially important variable. Leads turn into clients which turn into revenue, and that’s what keeps the lights on.

The truth is, however, the number of leads any creative agency is going to need to thrive is going to be different business to business.

Here’s our guide to how the numbers stack up to help you get to the bottom of that essential question: how many leads do I need to maintain growth?

Getting more leads

Let’s start by looking at some of the ways businesses can generate more leads.

Courting long term clients through direct engagement is a great place to start, especially as pandemic restrictions gradually lift, allowing a more traditional way of doing business to take place once again.

But any agency that is serious about getting more leads in this digital age will look online to attract clients. There’s social media, notably LinkedIn, which is especially effective for B2B marketing.

Targeted pay-per-click advertising is also an option but crafting a proper search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is a true investment to grow leads.

With good SEO, your clients should have a higher chance of finding your business when they use any search engine, like Google, to find a product or service that matches what you offer based on keywords in your page content, how useful and relevant it is, as well as various technical aspects of your website’s structure.

There is also guest blogging, a tactic that falls somewhere between content marketing and improving your SEO.

Setting targets for lead acquisition

The problem is being targeted and deliberate with your marketing strategy, rather than going in blind, so you’ll need to hone this plan too.

First, agencies need to ask themselves what it is exactly that they are measuring: quantity, quality, or both.

Typically, new businesses focus on getting a good quantity of leads until they hit something of a profit ceiling, at which point they switch to quality.

With a measurement in mind, businesses can then determine a goal that aligns with their overall goal for growth and how many clients they need to hit it.

Working out how many more clients you need really requires you to crunch the numbers, including knowledge of your average sale price and your average conversion rate (the proportion of leads that turn into customers).

With these figures, you can then calculate how much each lead itself is worth on average, giving you a picture of exactly how many you need to reach your goal.

Measuring progress

The process has just begun at this point, however, as any return-on-investment plan must be tracked and scrutinised continuously.

It also needs to be done accurately. No business plan should rely on guesswork, including one oriented to getting new leads.

The quickest and easiest way to access data and information is using Google Analytics, which is free, easy to use and effective.

By monitoring how many visitors are going to your website; how they are getting there; where they go on your site; and whether they are converting, you are then able to glean data and make it digestible.

Social media is a good source of data too and shouldn’t be overlooked. Followers, number of replies and shares of your content can further provide an indication of whether you are on your way to success.

Combining good revenue planning

All of this won’t be worth much without a solid overall business plan, however, which is the only way to accurately measure a lead acquisition plan.

First, you have to be realistic about what you are trying to achieve in your revenue goals (and your lead acquisition plan).

How businesses answer this question comes down to research they complete, concerning everything from pricing to the industry they are in.

There are different ways to set goals too. Some base it on their performance last year, for instance, while others base it on their capacity, which might be useful if they are accounting for the extra costs that any marketing or SEO strategy might involve.

No matter the goal, you need to track your performance, which can be done effectively by monitoring month-on-month.

With a strong, knowledgeable and properly incentivised sales team , you are then on your way to understanding not just your business’s future, but precisely how many more leads you need to generate to bring in the clients for your sales team to capture.

This blog post should have provided you with a general understanding of what you need to get started on generating more leads and grow your business.

The next step is all about running the numbers – but with so many factors to consider, you might find yourself running short on time to plan.

You don’t want to miss a detail that might cost you money down the road, so feel free to reach out to us for advice.

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