When is the wrong time to outsource new business?

So you want to grow your agency. You’re thinking it might be time to invest in new business outreach? Let’s take a look at how you can tell when it’s the right time to outsource your agency’s lead generation, and when it’s not. 

Wait ‘till your second birthday 

Although it can be tempting to see outsourcing lead generation as a way of growing your fledgling agency, it’s unlikely to be the right move until at least two years in. Before then, time is scarce and budgets are tight, meaning your best bet is for new business to be looked after by the Founders. Look for low-hanging fruit within your network. Look to re-ignite conversations with past clients, contacts and colleagues. Look to develop and grow existing clients. Encourage referrals. That’s where you should expect to find the quickest and most cost effective sources of new business.


Want it, don’t need it 

If you’re desperate for new clients, like now, then it’s not the time to start outsourcing your new business. You need to have started on that road a year ago. Proper and effective lead generation takes time. In the same way you don’t buy an avocado on the day you want to eat it, you shouldn’t start lead generation on the day you want to onboard a new client. From garnering that initial interest to signing a deal, the entire new business cycle can often take six to eighteen months. So make sure you’re outsourcing new business generation before things get desperate. That’s never a winning look.


No team? Not time  

Without a dedicated team or person in charge of new business, your outreach won’t get the results you want. And what’s worse – you won’t know why. With different people picking up new business leads at different times, you won’t be able to identify what’s working and what’s not. Remember when it comes to new business, consistency is key. In an ideal world, all team members need to be singing from the same hymn sheet, tracking the same data and following the same process. 

Lead generation is just the first stage in a lengthy new business process. If someone isn’t nurturing that pipeline as a key part of their role, you won’t get the conversion you deserve from longer term opportunities.


Let ‘em settle in

Have you just hired a Head of New Business? Exciting! But immediately starting work with a new business agency isn’t the best idea. Your new starter needs time to get to grips with your goals, objectives and strategy before diving into lead generation. Outsourcing right away would just mean changing things down the line once the person has had time to discover where your current gaps are – which is not an efficient use of your budget. 


Nothing to say means nothing to sell

If your positioning has become murky in a crowded market, now’s not the time to start thinking about outsourcing your new business. Outreach without a defined, differentiated position will fall on deaf ears. Particularly if you’ve not got any fresh, relevant or exciting projects to shout about either.

Before you even consider outreach, turn your attention inward. Take the time to tighten your positioning in a way that clearly separates you from your competitors – whose emails are going to be landing right next to yours in your dream client’s inbox. If differentiating isn’t possible, then make sure you have plenty of juicy case studies to wax lyrical about.


Well, then when is the right time to outsource your agency’s new business?


When your website is looking good 

The first thing any prospect will do once they receive your email is Google you. So when your value proposition and website are up-to-date and doing the best possible job to impress, that’s the perfect time to start outreach. 


When business is going well

You’re ready to invest in lead generation when things are going well and growth is part of your long-term strategy, rather than an emergency solution. At this point, you’ll have the time and space to see out the full sales cycle without undue pressure. You can target dream clients rather than just anybody who might get out their chequebook. And your well-earned confidence will encourage prospects to put their trust in you. 

When there’s desire for growth

New business shouldn’t just be a tick box exercise. Following up on leads, attending meetings and preparing pitches is time-consuming, so it’s important that your team are engaged in the idea of growth before outsourcing your new business. 

Plus, your outreach will only be successful if there’s a positive and proactive attitude around it. Not only is this enthusiasm palpable to clients, but it also means you can be positive about the potential of building new relationships, rather than feeling deflated if a first meeting doesn’t lead to an immediate project. 


Ensuring your agency is in the right position for growth,  means that when you do outsource lead generation, you’ll get the end results you want. 


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