Interview: Dana Lindahl, Legendary LeadGen

Most businesses struggle with lead generation. We got a chance to chat with one of the pros in the field who helps B2B companies, specifically agencies, find the best leads for their business and convert them into paying customers.

How did you get your start with B2B leadgen?

It was sort of by accident. I used to be a copywriter and was always in search of new clients. A friend suggested to browse Crunchbase - a site where they publish funding info for startups, because in theory, these people have money burning a hole in their pocket and it needs to be spent on marketing. He suggested I find the emails of the founders and reach out with my value proposition. I started doing this and was booking a ton of calls, but I was freezing up on a lot of them. I was a decent copywriter, but didn't have experience working with companies who just took on millions in funding. Until one day someone responded that they didn't need my copywriting services, but the email I sent them was really well done, and they wanted me to do the same thing for them, as a service. We didn't end up working together in the end, but I tested this new offering on other businesses of people in my community. It went great, and served as validation for my new business model - an outbound lead generation agency.

How do you guys work? What types of businesses do you work with?

We mostly work with other agencies. We have clients where we run lead generation campaigns for them directly, but we also have a white label program where we license our system and fulfillment team to agencies who want to sell our system as a service to their clients.

What are some of your success stories, specifically?

We've connected our clients with some really big companies for sales meetings and even got one of our clients a direct invite to visit the office of his favorite author. These are the big and sexy success stories, but often times our clients will close deals within the first few months of working with us that more than cover our fee for over year. Outreach can have a really great ROI.

How have you seen the industry change since you’ve been involved? What are the latest trends you see working well?

The industry has changed a ton - cheap tools from databases to download contact emails in bulk and automation tools to send out thoughtless connections requests on LinkedIn have really changed things. The quality of most outreach being sent today is horrible and has affected the whole industry. On the one hand it makes it a bit easier to stand out from all the bad outreach, because you can do just a bit better than what most people are doing and your recipients will recognize that. At the same time, it also means people tend to tune out messages from people they dont' know much sooner - meaning it can be hard to harder to get them to recognize your extra effort too. We are seeing the most success with outreach that's focused primarily on being helpful and sharing valuable content, rather than going direct for the pitch. When you come out of the gate pitching, you often kill the chance for any conversation to happen. When you lead with something else, it an often lead to a great sales conversation.

Do you have any general tips for business owners to start generating leads with a new business with a small marketing budget?

Avoid the cheap automation tools that seem attractive because they'll handle your whole leadgen process for under $100 per month. Most people using those are just going to be paying $100 per month to damage their reputation in front of their prospects. My biggest recommendation to people who can't afford the help of an agency or expert to help them do this, is to hire a virtual assistant who can help you to identify your best customers and reach out in a thoughtful way. This is the best happy medium between hiring an expert agency and using cheap tools that will produce spammy results.

What do you like about LinkedIn? And specifically for agencies?

LinkedIn has incredible reach right now for content that gets posted through the newsfeed. LinkedIn is a content deficient platform unlike most other social media platforms, so the things you post get shown to so many more people and the reach is incredible. Agencies in particular can show off their expertise and really get in front of customers in their target market by regularly posting their thoughts about marketing, their industry and anything that excites them. Marketing materials and promotions don't perform well here, but thought lead style content goes really far on LinkedIn. I like to think of it in terms of SEO - it's a roundabout way of driving targeted traffic towards an optimized landing page. Except in this example the optimized landing page i your LinkedIn profile and the target traffic is the audience reading your posts. The goal is to pique their interest enough to want to learn more about who you are, and the LinkedIn profile is optimized to do the rest.