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How to generate qualified leads for a software development agency?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by DigitalDope, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    I know this isn't directly related to a white hat SEO question but I have been wondering how I can generate more leads for my software development agency.

    As of right now, all of our leads have been generated through UpWork and repeat customers through UpWork.

    Our Agency is still getting 1-2 high ticket projects every month and we have a dedicated person who sends out around 100-120 proposals per week on UpWork. We have 5 Star reviews on every project and 100K+ in sales through UpWork so our competition is slim when it comes to bidding on high ticket projects.

    Our monthly revenue right now is between $50,000-80,000...
    I want to 10x that by next year.

    I want to start getting 6-7 figure projects coming in through our sales pipeline which is what needs to be developed.

    Some ideas currently being planned on how to expand our reach are:

    - LinkedIn growth hacking (targeting CEO's, CFO's, and Business Owners)
    - Having some organic SEO going (Blog Posts, Youtube Videos and some On-Site optimization)
    - Eventually going into advertising although software development keywords can be extremely costly (+$20 per click) so I might formulate some strategies for targeting indirect keywords

    I do not know how well PPC works for agencies that offer a service though since this isn't advertising a physical product and every service we create is different.

    I've looked into programs like:

    https://mailshake.com/ (email marketing)
    https://www.dux-soup.com/ (LinkedIn Outreach automation)
    https://close.com/ (CRM platform)


    If anyone has some advice on some strategies I can test out, I'm open to anything. What would be even better is advice that you may have tested with an agency before and had success with.

    cheers!
     
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  2. jadsn

    jadsn Senior Member

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    Quality email outreach (not spam) still works. You can scrape for potential clients and manually go through the list and reach out to them. Have a follow up funnel with case studies ready.

    You'll eventually need to take the convo from email to phone/video call/in-person meeting, but it seems like you have a good understanding already.
     
  3. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    By Case study, do you recommend a blog style post or a video? and how long for each one? Also for the emails do you recommend doing standard style emails with good copy or do like a visual display similar to how some sellers market their services in the marketplace section?

    I've been thinking I'll use dux-soup to get the emails, and feed those into mailshake and it'll be fairly automated from there. Still need a way to manage the CRM though... maybe through close.io? Currently using HubSpot...

    but also for HubSpot, at what point do you put a client in there whenever you get their contact info or after you qualify them?
     
  4. jadsn

    jadsn Senior Member

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    Video did well for me, but a combination of both would be perfect. Describe a problem one of your clients had and how you were able to solve for them. The more, the better.

    Standard style 100%. Anything else just looks like spam. I never link on the first email either. Just send a genuine, short email to get prospects to respond to you, and one the 2nd email offer your service (better if you do this on the 3rd email). If they don't respond, follow up. You can link to a case study, but don't try to get them to contact via your website. You already have their best email. Try to get them on the phone if they're interested, and keep following up for weeks, but don't spam them.

    Google "cold email outreach" and you'll find tons of blogs with great templates to use for your first email.

    You should only really automate your follow up emails, and semi automate your first email. You want them to know you took the time to write a personal email and not one of the other companies spamming their service. Mention something about their business, website, etc.

    "Hey, I saw {business name's} article on Forbes the other day and saw you're starting to get into blah blah. I was hoping to get in touch with someone on your marketing team regarding blah blah. Are you the best point of contact?"

    Don't use a generic subject line like "Need Web Design Services?". You don't even want them to know you're selling something just yet. Establish you're not some spammer and build some trust first.

    With a response like this you'll either get the right person, or they'll forward your email to someone in the right department, which will build even more trust.
     
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  5. dreadpixel

    dreadpixel Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I am interested in helping you as a case study. Already sent you a PM.
    The method I do is scrape targeted leads and automate contacting using different messaging methods. I focus on lead selection in order to select people or business I know might be interested.
    For example Yellowpages businesses without a website. Or other custom queries that you design in your personal experience.
     
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  6. cheva

    cheva Power Member

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    I found Yellowpages businesses mostly are very tight-fisted with their budgets when it comes to websites. Some don't even bother having a website considering yell itself offers pretty cheap websites. How do you find qualifying leads, if you don't mind sharing? and what is your conversion rate?
     
  7. dreadpixel

    dreadpixel Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I used that as an example, I personally don't use that method myself. But I help people that experiment in their niches and some are having good results. You can always choose any other network. Like for example instagram and search for "influencer + fashion" And get profiles that share emails to contact. You can mass contact them offering something for a brand for example.
    Or Linkedin to import as contacts, there are many combinations depending on the Network and dynamics.
     
  8. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    Ok this sounds like some sound advice. I will take a look through some of our past projects and figure out which ones we can publicly disclose.

    I'll take a look at some templates and I'm going to craft some this week that I can use.

    You should check out Dux-Soup because i'm curious if I should be doing these cold email approaches towards contacts I can get through LinkedIn. That would be the easiest way I can think of right now and I'd love to hear any other platforms or methods you'd recommend on where I can find qualified leads.

    A qualified lead for us would be a company with 8-10 figures in revenue because we're looking to get those high ticket enterprise projects.

    I think once we get them on the hook, I can definitely try my best to close them.

    Just need to figure out a new sales pipeline outside of UpWork


    Well we don't quite do small stuff like web design. We build enterprise software for companies and typically a website can range anywhere from $1500-$25,000 some of the more expensive ones require very skilled niche developers but the market for those websites is also slim.

    We've completed over 30 projects, but only about 3 have the potential to bring in 6-7 figures in revenue.

    I'll take a look at your PM
     
  9. jadsn

    jadsn Senior Member

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    I've never used linkedin, but for the budget you're after, that would be perfect. Also look into builtwith.com , although if you have the time, you can scrape similar data on your own. You can use it to search websites on a specific platform/CMS (Wordpress, WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Wix, etc.), sort by alexa ranking (so you can target only medium - large size businesses) and get the email associated with those sites - or use it with linkedin scraping to find the best point of contact. I've only used them for market research, but it's a good alternative to scraping on your own.
     
  10. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    Ok for anyone still interested, I think i'm going to turn this into a journey most likely BUT i'll give everyone an update.

    Currently I'm exploring different CRM's I can use for our agency including...

    https://www.salesforce.com/

    https://www.hubspot.com/

    https://close.com/ (close.com also has an incredible blog with a ton of good content in there. )


    Regarding lead generation resources, I've found quite a few different approaches than what I outlined in my previous posts.

    Let's start with these...



    https://www.d7leadfinder.com/

    Allows you to search for certain keywords in a certain location


    https://www.leadfinder.pro/

    This is like VoilaNorbert.com but free

    https://hunter.io/

    Hunter.io allows you to find the email addresses of any professional one by one or in bulk using their Email Finder. Their Email Verifier then does a complete check of an email address, giving you complete confidence when sending emails.(pretty sure leadfinder.pro does this for free too)


    **I AM IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH ANY OF THE ABOVE SITES***


    I am currently forming a few different guides that I could post in the future on best cold emailing practices for anyone interested but honestly, it's just a rehashed version of this article which is incredible

    https://blog.close.com/sales-emails?utm_campaign=yt_description&utm_medium=video&utm_source=youtube#1


    Currently where i'm at is I am starting to understand how to structure my email sequences and the nuances of creating POWERFUL emails that don't seem spammy, but human.

    My current troubles though are how do I get ripe and ready email addresses to start targeting? Just get CEO emails from linkedIn or what? I really think our target audience is broad since we build automation software and really any kind of software for companies, (we're very diverse)

    if anyone can point me in the right direction on how I can find emails that actually have potentials to turn into leads I'd appreciate it. I don't want to just collect 400 CEO email addresses and get 1 response. I want 400 emails and get 25-40 responses. Of course this can be achieved through well written email sequences, but also having a good source of leads.

    cheers!
     
  11. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    I was wondering if someone could guide me in the right direction here... but I am confused on how I get my leads. Our agency can build automation software for enterprise companies. Our projects range from 20-40k on average but we are wanting 100k+ projects. We can work with any industry. How do I know which industry to get leads from? Should I just bounce from industry to industry and test each one out? Should I collect 50-100 lead emails from each industry and just keep experimenting?

    I hope I'm making sense with what I am having trouble with. For example if I built software for companies in the auto industry I could easily figure out where I need to get my leads from. Due to the various industries and versatility we have, I do not know a system I can use to collect qualified leads in general.

    I've been testing out leadfuze.com which is awesome. The pricing is a bit hefty though. Thinking I'm going to just use leadFuze to get some ideas and go over to linkedIn in try to scrape the rest..

    Not sure but please SHARE YOUR IDEAS
     
  12. cynic

    cynic Regular Member

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    You need a master strategist to 10x that revenue. Think of a mix of a sale engineer
    who essentially knows (how to prospect and pitch while understanding the techy jargon)
    and a marketer who knows how to position your company in such a way that sets
    you apart from the competition.


    It's a long process since the sales cycle is also long - and the people who do this
    aren't cheap or available to non-vc startups.
     
  13. cynic

    cynic Regular Member

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    You need a master strategist to 10x that revenue. Think of a mix of a sale engineer
    who essentially knows (how to prospect and pitch while understanding the techy jargon)
    and a marketer who knows how to position your company in such a way that sets
    you apart from the competition.


    It's a long process since the sales cycle is also long - and the people who do this
    aren't cheap or available to non-vc startups.
     
  14. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    I agree with you a sales engineer/marketer would be optimal.... through trial and error I can get to a point where I can at least bring in an extra 20-30% of our current rev implementing some basic strategy fairly quick and slowly work towards that 10x

    I know some marketing(learning more every day) and the techy jargon. I need to put together a solid strategy and execute on it.

    I'm currently working on creating some lead magnets and putting together our value proposition.

    I might even rebuild our current website(raw html) into wordpress so I can start posting case studies and articles on our blog section to get some content on the site and maybe get some inbound traffic in the future.

    Been reading this today: http://connect.ironpaper.com/hubfs/files/2016/Ironpaper-CMO-Guide-To-Lead-Generation.pdf?utm_campaign=eBook&utm_medium=email&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9enzv4_V_pVEjqp6Tm4Ek7OrU8IWd-Hn9dRf1Y-r7kMkleUeyT7dTt_1p17HJVHRwwwahRjimpovuDIqjJRNB_-iDi0g&_hsmi=42966954&utm_content=42966954&utm_source=hs_automation&hsCtaTracking=ca7c15bf-eccf-4a8c-a93a-642569797f4f%7Ccda9c612-0777-44a1-b8ee-ab2872f58cd6
     
  15. cynic

    cynic Regular Member

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    Yes but in order to achieve exponential growth you might want to consider
    adding some outbound strategies to supplement your inbound efforts ( like direct mail and cold calling )

    It gets a bad rap from marketers ( I know ) but knowing how to schedule demos with decision makers
    /getting a live connection is an essential part of business development. One which NOT only helps
    develops thick skin but helps deal with objections and stalls.

    The two used together can skyrocket your business.
     
  16. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    Absolutely. In fact, this entire week I've been researching outbound strategies and realized our inbound appearance is not up to par. Our value proposition is not clear on our current website and could use some work. I'm not so much concerned with developing outstanding SEO at the moment, but I would like for our site to have a blog with case studies. The entire copy on the site can be revamped and the general flow of content can be improved enormously.

    Typically, our outbound efforts would try to get any potential leads to turn into prospects. Still trying to figure out our email sequence and when we should qualify, if it should be through email or through a video call. My gut says just get them on a video call and we can qualify them down the line.

    I've also decided to focus on a few niche industries that we've developed software before. I'll focus on those industries and keep some basic metrics on responses etc. If I see an industry not responding after 100 emails sent, I'll switch.

    Over the course of these emails being sent out, I will make slight changes in our emails and potentially circle back to the industries I started targeting first with higher quality emails.

    I will post some template emails tonight.
     
  17. cynic

    cynic Regular Member

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    Bryan Kreuzberger has some excellent stuff on cold emailing but it's a process not a single event.
     
  18. jafooly

    jafooly Newbie

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    Bro, how do you close $80K worth of leads with such a shitty website.

    Or is it because the client doesn't even look at the website, its all based on Upwork, your profile and how you communicate.
     
  19. DigitalDope

    DigitalDope Newbie

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    By sending out over 100 proposals a week with some good search filters. Get them on a video call and the rest is pretty much dependent on how well you can close.
     
  20. jafooly

    jafooly Newbie

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    After reading your post I've done more work in the last 2 days than I have in ages.

    Fair play to you and your hustle.