Here is what I want you to do today. I want you to log into your CRM and pull your total pipeline. Once you have the complete list of every opportunity you are currently working, I want you to note the method of prospecting that created that opportunity.
There isn’t much disagreement around the idea that a warm referral is the very best way to acquire a new client. Count all of the opportunities you are working on now that were referred to you by an existing client. This may, in fact, be the warmest lead ever, but my guess is that you don’t have any in your pipeline right now.
Count all the opportunities that came to you from the client researching your company and reaching out to ask for your help. It is unlikely you’ll have any. This will be true despite the consistent reminder that your clients are allegedly searching the internet and already through their buying process when they reach out to you, a fact that, if true, would be producing more opportunities.
Bundle together the opportunities that came from networking events, trade shows, and conferences. In some industries, this list will look pretty good. For most, however, it won’t amount to anything at all.
Next look to see how many of the opportunities in your existing pipeline came from an inbound lead. For many—if not most of you—that number will be small, and many of them will have small dollars attached to them. This is the nature or of lead generation now that quantity is valued more than quality, a downloaded white paper making one a qualified lead.
Now, count all the opportunities that you created through your own effort, splitting them into two categories. In the first category, count the opportunities that were created by you calling the client to ask them for a meeting. In the second category count the meetings you generated using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, or YouTube.
How many of your opportunities came to you without you having to make much of an effort? How many of them did you have to work to create and what work did you have to do to create those opportunities? I suspect you will find that most of your opportunities required you to do some form of outbound prospecting and that it took effort on your part—particularly for the larger, more valuable opportunities.
All of these methods of creating opportunities are good and valid, even if some industries do better in some categories than others. It is important to know where your opportunities come from and put your effort where it generates the most return. If something doesn’t work for you, you should not in any way rely on that method of creating new opportunities.