You’ve set up your lead generation agency, closed your first few clients, and now, you’re ready to start scaling your operations.

Even early on in the days of your business, it’s important to implement processes and best practices that set your lead generation agency up for success.

In this article, we’ll walk you through best practices to help you scale your lead generation agency, serve more clients, grow your team, and more.

  1. Best Practices for Agency Client Acquisition

  2. Best Practices for Agency Client Management

  3. Best Practices for Agency Team Management

Ready to read the best practices? Let’s dive straight in.

Best Practices for Client Acquisition

1. Have Strict Rules for the Type of Client You Work With

As your lead generation agency grows, you’ll have people approaching you asking about your services.

It’s tempting to say ‘yes’ to everyone who reaches out. But, if you want to grow your agency without feeling like you’re being pulled in too many directions or are diluting your expertise, it’s vital that you niche down and stick to one customer type.

There are no rules for what type of customer you should target.

It could be:

  • Based on your location (e.g., only work with companies in NYC)

  • Based on the type of business your clients have (e.g., only work with real estate companies)

  • A combination of both (e.g., only work with real estate companies in NYC)

The key is that you’re able to clearly express who your customer is. There are a few key benefits to this approach.

Firstly, it will make it easy to build your prospect list and identify potential customers to reach out to.

You can use an email finder like UpLead or Find That Email and add your specific criteria for a prospect and in seconds, have a list of people to reach out to.

The next major benefit is that it’ll help you build expertise and authority in your niche. If you have an introductory call with someone to explore working with their business, and they can see you’re an expert in their industry and market, working with you will be an easy decision.

Clients want to work with experts, so niching down and becoming the go-to lead generation expert in your industry will make your client acquisition efforts far more simple and effective.

2. Build Multiple Acquisition Channels

Most agencies follow a similar path to acquiring new clients when they first start. For example, you might publish an announcement on LinkedIn, or send an email to people you’ve engaged with in the past who might be interested in your services.

But if you want to scale faster, you need multiple acquisition channels that allow you to get in front of your ideal customers in a predictable way.

Here are some proven channels to find your first set of customers:

1. Reach Decision-Makers with Targeted Cold Email Campaigns

Cold email is a direct route to decision-makers’ inboxes. If you can write a highly personalized, relevant cold email with an offer or call-to-action that interests your prospect, there’s a strong chance you’ll get a reply and start a conversation.

You’ll first need to build a prospect list. Then, write out a customized cold email template, or use our tips on writing personalized opening lines if you don’t have time to personalize the entire email (although when you’re just starting out, the more personalized you can be, the better).

You can add as many automated follow-up emails as you need in your campaigns, and considering over half of replies come from follow-ups, it’s an essential step. 

If a prospect doesn’t reply, QuickMail will send your following email after the delay you’ve set, for example, three business days.

Cold email is an excellent channel for agencies to get in touch with prospects because your message will be seen by the key decision-maker that you’ve reached out to. There are no gatekeepers to get past, and if your pitch resonates, it won’t be long before you’re booking meetings on autopilot.

2. Ask Your Happy Clients for Referrals

Your happy clients can be a powerful source of new business. We’d recommend building a referral program to systematize the way you ask for referrals and incentivize them. 

The prerequisite is that you’re doing good work, consistently hitting the targets you tell clients you will, and have satisfied clients. Without that foundation in place, you’ll struggle to get referrals.

But assuming you do an excellent job for your clients, they’ll naturally start telling their friends and network about your agency.

You can also set a reminder or task in your client management tool to send an email to clients asking for a referral when you’ve worked with them for a certain amount of time, say, three to six months. You could also set this up automatically with a campaign in QuickMail targeted at your client email list.

However, it’s generally a good idea to do this manually. Sending an email isn’t time-consuming, and you can ensure you send your referral request email at a time that makes sense, such as after a recent client win.

3. Build Useful Tools to Encourage Inbound Inquiries

Another excellent way for agencies to engage with new prospects is to build tools as lead magnets.

For example:

  • A cost per lead calculator

  • A Google Ads revenue predictor

  • Ad copy analyzer

The free tool needs to be something your ideal customers would be willing to try. For example, HubSpot created an ROI calculator designed to help people matching their ideal customer profile predict the ROI from using HubSpot’s software.

It’ll help drive people to their product, and if people don’t convert, HubSpot can automatically reach out to them to follow up.

Ensure you ask anyone who uses your tool for their contact details so you can get in touch with them to see if they need help with the services you offer.

When building a tool like this for your agency’s website, you could either have it developed from scratch by a software development agency, or use no-code tools like Typeform to create quizzes. The best option depends on how much you’re willing to spend, and the ROI you’re forecasting from it.

3. Never Stop Prospecting, Even When Business is Good

Even if you’re happy with the current number of clients you’re serving and business is good, it’s still essential to keep prospecting.

Prospects that you talk to today — even if they’re not ready to become a client right away — will be the clients you close and start working with six months down the line.

To maintain your prospecting cadence even when it’s not your primary focus, there are two main channels worth using.

First, LinkedIn. If your prospects are on LinkedIn, it’s a powerful channel you can leverage. 

A simple but effective strategy is to connect with 5-10 (or more if you’re actively prospecting) prospects per day and send a friendly introductory note. It won’t be long before you’re having conversations. When your prospect sees that you offer services relevant to them, they’ll naturally be curious and you’ll quickly build your pipeline as they learn how you can help their business grow.

You can use LinkedIn automation tools like Zopto or Expandi to help you automate the process and save time on this. Like with a cold email campaign, these LinkedIn tools let you create a prospect list and will then automatically connect and message the people you choose.

The next is to regularly post updates about your industry, share case studies, and be someone that provides value to your connections.

Alongside your LinkedIn outreach, you can also continue to send low-volume cold email campaigns to people in your target market.

You can automate your outreach sequences using QuickMail, as we mentioned above.

All you need to do is upload your list of prospects, write out your email templates, including follow-ups, and schedule it.

Once your campaigns are running, your emails will be sent in the background while you can focus on high-priority client work. Then, when someone replies, all you need to do is continue the conversation in your inbox.

Best Practices for Client Management

1. Structure Your Pricing to Reward Performance and Loyalty

If your business model isn’t leaving you with enough profits, you’ll struggle to effectively grow your agency.

It’s worth exploring different business models to find which one works best for you, and your clients.

For example, a retainer model may work well at first. It’s predictable for clients and if you perform well and deliver more leads than expected, they’ll feel like they’re getting an excellent deal.

However, if you were working with a pay-per-lead model, charging a fixed rate (e.g., $400 per meeting booked) per meeting or appointment, your revenue would increase if you managed to book a client more meetings in a particular month.

There’s not necessarily a correct business model to use, but it’s always doing a regular audit of whether or not you’re charging enough for your agency’s services, as if you’re not, it’ll be a significant bottleneck to your growth.

2. Automate Repetitive Work with Software

As you grow your agency, time will become your most valuable asset. To win more of your time back, look for ways to automate your day-to-day activities.

A pain point that many agency owners struggle with is the inability to automate manual and repetitive tasks. Luckily, there’s a variety of powerful tools and software to help you automate these everyday tasks in your business.

Here are some of our favorites:

For example, one agency uses Zapier to save 32 hours per week by setting up Zaps to automatically email clients, update their CRM, and keep their team updated in Slack. If they had to do those tasks manually it would be unnecessarily time-consuming, and in some cases, might get forgotten about altogether.

Source: Zapier

There isn’t a single software stack that makes sense for every agency. Depending on your team size and the services you offer, you may need different or more specialized tools.

But, the tools don’t matter — the key is to ensure you don’t waste your days on manual work that you can automate with software. Even if you pay a monthly or annual fee, you’ll quickly see ROI as you free up your own time to focus on high-leverage, high-ROI tasks like closing new clients.

3. Over Communicate with Clients

A key part of client retention is communication. You need to make it a habit to keep your clients up to date on the status of your activity and their leads.

If you keep your clients in the know, they won’t be sitting, waiting, and wondering what you and your team are working on while they wait to receive their new batch of leads.

This doesn’t need to be complicated.

You can:

  • Set calendar reminders to email clients

  • Delegate the task to a team member or account manager

  • Build your communication strategy into your processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs)

  • Automate it using Zapier or a client management platform

Most clients won’t expect daily or even weekly updates, but making sure you don’t ignore them for weeks at a time is an excellent way to keep your agency on your clients’ minds and regularly reinforce the idea that you’re there to help them generate more sales.

It’s also important to make sure your clients always know what’s going to happen next. For example, after you send them the list of leads or meetings you’ve booked for them, what can they expect? Will you reach out with an invoice? Do they need to reply back?

Make sure your clients always know what’s expected of them, and what to expect from you. It’ll make everything run smoothly and your customers will appreciate the transparency and clarity.

4. Use Service Add-Ons to Add Extra Value to Existing Clients

As you grow, your existing clients can become a key source of new revenue.

For example, if you’re working with a client on a deal to secure them 5 meetings a month, you have a chance to offer a complementary upsell.

This will boost your average contract value, meaning the ROI on your customer acquisition increases, and your total revenue increases, without needing to close any new clients.

But, what could this look like in practice? 

Well, let’s say you run a lead generation business focused on helping insurance brokers in a particular city generate leads from Google Ads. 

You could offer those clients an add-on to optimize all of their landing pages, based on the data you’ve collected in your campaigns.

If you’re generating results and ROI for your clients, most will be happy to trust you and use your extra services.

Best Practices for Team Management

1. Build Systems for Everything

One of the key barriers to growth at agencies is a lack of systems and processes.

It’s one of those things that we all know we should be doing, but it’s easy to forget about it when you’re busy with important client work. However, the sooner you do it, the sooner you can start understanding exactly how each task in your business works, how long it takes, and how easy it will be to delegate.

You can use tools like:

You can even use Google Docs, as long as the folder structure makes sense and the documents are all easily accessible.

The main reason for doing this is so that when you hire new team members or start outsourcing work, you can use your process documentation as a way to ensure your new hire gets up to speed fast, and doesn’t need to waste time re-inventing new processes or guessing what the best way to do something is.

All they need to do is follow the checklist or process you’ve created and you can be confident that your clients will receive consistent service every time.

2. Hire or Delegate Before Your Business Breaks

As your lead generation business grows and you’re seeing good results for your clients, it becomes more important than ever to consider hiring.

Some new agency owners struggle with this. You’ll need to take a cut in your profits to hire the right team member. But, if you hire the right person, they’ll help you grow more effectively and free up your time to focus on acquiring new clients.

There are two avenues you can take here.

The first is to hire full-time employees.

The benefits of this are:

  • The person will be fully committed to your business

  • There’s a possibility they can grow with the company

  • It’ll be a high-trust relationship

However, it can cost more, and not every business is ready to hire full-time team members early on.

The other option is to work with contractors and freelancers.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • Hire people as and when you need them

  • You can scale up or down as your agency demand changes

  • You can hire highly specialized freelancers for specific tasks

The downsides of this are relatively clear: it’s difficult to find freelancers with the skills you need, at an affordable rate, with availability that matches your needs.

If you use a platform like Upwork, make sure to review candidate profiles and look for glowing reviews.

If the freelancer has great reviews from multiple people, you can be relatively sure they’re going to put the same effort in for you.

The right option will depend on your goals for your agency, so there’s no right answer. But, you will need to hire at some point, so it’s worth thinking about early on.

3. Collaborate Rather Than Silo Individual Activities

As you grow and add new team members, it’s easy to end up with siloed information and team members without complete information.

To keep everyone on the same page, find ways to improve collaboration.

This means doing things like:

  • Using shared, cloud-based tools that everyone has access to

  • Building accountability through regular reporting and reviews

  • Assigning account managers to clients and having them hold other team members to account

For example, one feature we added to QuickMail to help lead generation agencies with their cold email campaign management is the ability to add multiple inboxes.

Simply add your new team members’ inboxes to your account, and then, you can view, manage, and send campaigns from any inbox of your choosing.

Every team member involved can see activity, check to make sure other people haven’t already emailed a prospect, and quickly get an overview of how your lead generation campaigns are performing as campaign results show up on your dashboard.

The more transparency you have into what’s working for your clients’ lead generation, the more effectively you can get results for them.

Wrapping Up

Growing your lead generation agency is going to take hard work. 

None of these best practices are going to be a silver bullet to high-growth and huge profits. But, they will help you stay on the right track towards building a profitable agency delivering excellent results for your clients.

If you can regularly prospect and engage with new prospects, have a process for turning those prospects into happy clients, and at the same time, hire new team members and delegate work, it’s a recipe for success.

If you’re ready to start acquiring new clients using cold email, make sure to start your free trial of QuickMail today.