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Using Outbound While Still Being Human with Kevin Warner of Leadium

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Outbound is a traditional way of marketing where it is the company that starts the conversation. Outbound leads also called as interruption lead generation’ is when you send messages directly to prospects. Print advertisements, telemarketing, televisions, and radio advertisement are few of the examples that fall under the outbound marketing.

Today our guest is Kevin Warner. Kevin is the co-founder and CEO of Leadium.io, your premier partner for lead generation and sales acceleration.

In this episode, we’ll be talking about:

  • The difference between inbound and outbound leads

  • How to reach out to people

  • Challenges from selling services particularly coming from outbound leads

Outbound lead generation is focused on looking for new prospects and trying to interest them in our product. Under “inbound” signboard you will find all actions that will make your customers want to find you and learn more about you. In other words, while outbound is about finding customers, inbound is about being found.

Not everybody you’re selling to will be interested in your product, but I guarantee they’re always interested in themselves. Creating a vision of what will happen to them once they buy your product is a great way to create interest.

Challenges abound when it comes to sales prospecting. From targeting and using the right outreach methods to maintaining motivation and energy, there are plenty of ways to outbound prospect and fail. Working as a team helps you develop innovative solutions to obstacles and allows everyone to benefit from each other’s knowledge and experience.

Mentioned in this episode:

Inbound v. Outbound Marketing – How to Choose the Right Mix
Leadium.io
LinkedIn
Facebook
Predictable Revenue
kevin.warner@ledium.io

For more information on remote selling and a complete list of links mentioned in this podcast, visit this remote selling article on our website.


Using Outbound While Still Being Human with Kevin Warner of Leadium:

Full Transcript

Liston:
Welcome to modern sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and salespeople looking to have more and better conversations with your perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, and I’m pleased to welcome you to modern sales.

Liston:
Are you doing everything you could in order to start conversations with those difficult to reach, hard to talk to, hard to connect with people and accounts in your market? Well, my guest today knows something about how to do that. His name is Kevin Warner. He runs Leadium, he’s one of the co founders of that company and they are in outbound marketing and sales agency. They will find and contact the best prospects in the world for you and for your business. And one of the things that’s really interesting about what Kevin has done is he’s built a remote team. He scaled it up very fast from absolutely not existing in 2017 to now having over 100 full time employees on staff at Leadium.

Liston:
And he knows quite a bit about how to reach new people and start conversations with them and in today’s conversation I’ll ask him what he’s learned from some of his clients who have been both the most successful and the biggest failures, why that happened and what some of the challenges are with selling services, particularly coming from outbound leads. One thing I want to mention here is there is a significant difference between inbound and outbound lead generation. We talk about it briefly, but if you’re interested in learning more about that topic, I have a podcast that covers that. It’s episode 30 in this very feed. If you go back and listen to that, you will hear a little bit about the difference. If you want to explore that more in depth or if you just want to stay tuned here and move forward, you can check out my conversation with Kevin Warner.

Liston:
So Kevin, I’m curious. I know that outbound selling is becoming more crowded, which you alluded to in our pre-recording, which to me creates a signal that it’s going to be getting harder and harder and harder to execute on. So I’m curious, how do you see the space evolving given that you do this all the time and you’re having to adapt to a changing marketplace, and people who get annoyed by emails and phone calls?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, it’s definitely becoming more crowded and that’s good and bad. Hey, it’s good because it’s showing that the market is growing. The market’s partly growing because more and more businesses are seeing that there’s value in taking this out of house, not necessarily hiring SDRs and all of the costs that come with that. They obviously do see the benefit of outbound sales and pipeline and revenue growth and all of that kind of as a catalyst to more competition on the agency side. And I don’t think it’s unlike any other kind of agency line that we’ve seen in the past. I think marketing is probably the best example of it. I always compare Leadium as a marketing agency except for we alter things so we focus on outbound lead generation versus inbound lead generation activities, but we’re structured very much the same, so I think on a competitive landscape it’s going to come down to value propositions for each individual agency.

Kevin Warner:
How are you approaching the market, delivering the end product of appointments being set and those revenue generating opportunities for other businesses? And also what niche are you playing in? And I think both of those together will go hand in hand and kind of squaring out a section of the market for a couple of big hitters. Then in any industry you’re going to have kind of the rest of the fish filling in, sending prospecting emails, kind of disqualifying themselves with the way that they’re approaching prospective clients. I think it’s a win-win though, not only for the agencies getting into the market, but we’re also pushing new tactics as well. By more competition we’re trying to figure out how do we engage with prospective clients more effectively, more efficiently at a higher rate for other companies and we’re able to take on the cost of that testing, save that cost for a lot of businesses who then get the best product, which is opportunities or appointments without having to do all of that testing.

Kevin Warner:
But you’re right, phone calls, emails, LinkedIn is becoming overburdened with kind of outbound prospecting. I think that’s actually a good thing as well. All of that noise in the outbound world, it’s an amazing thing because if you do it relatively well, you stand out to a prospective buyer or a prospect, you just stand out. Your message stands out, it seems more personalized without you having to do anything. It’s just, you don’t sound like the crap that’s being sent at scale. So it’s kind of a win-win for the market for the agencies that are coming in. And I think like most industries, the guys who are doing it well will start to stand out and make a name for themselves and those who aren’t will kind of step aside, and I think more and more businesses will start to bring validity to an industry that was once kind of seen as a little sleazy.

Liston:
So this idea of standing out, right? So when I look around, and I’ve had lots of people on this podcast who talk about outbound and they basically give the same advice, I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus, but it’s sort of like have a personalized line in your email. Tell your client why you’re reaching out to them right now. Give a case study, build your credibility, and then have a call to action, something like that. Right? A very similar template.

Liston:
On the other hand, I hear advice like you need to do something outlandish and really use humor and ham it up in your email, which to me feels uncomfortable and completely gimmicky. I’m wondering, you talked about standing out in that. The more crowded it gets, if you’re good, it allows you to stand out. What do you do to approach standing out for your clients? And give away as many secrets as you want, by the way.

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, it’s really simple and this is what I try to tell our team and any prospective client, it’s all crap. Everything that you just covered, which is one way or the other, it’s all crap. So how do you stand out? You do exactly in the middle of those two things, right? You don’t do outlandish and you don’t try to become so personal that it’s clearly a canned message because that’s what people are expecting and outbound is actually incredibly simple, if you think about it. You have a product in a market. You should have demand, right? If there’s no demand in your market then your product has a problem to begin with. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing outbound or not, there’s no product market fit. But you have demand, you have a product. You’re reaching out to prospective buyers who apparently have this pain point that you’re dealing with and you have the product that solves that pain point.

Kevin Warner:
Outbound becomes a numbers game, theoretically. That’s all it is. That’s predictable revenue, the funnel, why you have to optimize it as much as possible. And if I reach out to you, if I just sound human, if I’m connecting with you, it’s all psychological as well. That’s why I say a lot of that’s crap, is it doesn’t work. That doesn’t sound human. If I see you on the street and I just pitch myself, I’m not going to be outlandish. I’m going to speak to you in kind of normal conversational speech and I’m just going to kind of pitch my product while bringing in that kind of psychological tone and speech, and in essence, if you have a problem and you’re dealing with it today, you’ll respond. You’re not good at your job if I’m presenting you a solution that can help you and help your business and you ignore it. If you do, that’s just bad on you.

Kevin Warner:
It all comes down to the prospect as well, right? I can put together a perfect email that solves the problem for you and you just don’t want to respond to email no matter what. Any prospecting email, no matter what you offer in it, what you position in it, whatever it is, I will ignore it. I’m a millennial. I’m the same way with phone calls, right? Anytime you phone call I will never answer it. If you prospect me via cold call, I will never answer it. It’s just my notion. If you send me an email, I’m much more likely to answer it. So now you’ve had to do multichannel for no other reason then some prospects will never answer anything no matter what you’re providing them or no matter what your positioning them. So it’s a lot of, just stop overthinking it, very simply and just put the point of the email. What are you trying to get me to do?

Liston:
So you talked about the psychology, you want to weave in some psychology. Can you give me an example of that?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah. Psychology for me is a simple one, and that’s sounding human. And a lot of outbound engagement platforms allow you to do this very easily. Right? Outreach is really good with conditional variables added into a sequence. So when you talk about personalized or whenever I’m talking to a prospective client about personalized, they think you need to add in, specifically, how you can help this business, or this person just changed the job so you need to chop that into a sentence. That’s bogus personalization.

Kevin Warner:
I think of personalization as just psychological. If I’m sending you an email and it’s Friday afternoon, I should probably start the email with, “Hey Liston, I know it’s late Friday, you’re probably about to head out for the weekend. I just wanted to shoot you a quick note on X, Y, Z.” Right? You immediately see that opening sentence and say, “Oh, this is pretty personal. This is just written. And as if he’s really quickly sending me an email, there’s no way that this can be mass produced,” because no one yet knows the complexity of if-then statement variables that platforms like Outreach can utilize. So that’s that psychological aspect, is it made it seem like I was actually emailing you directly.

Liston:
I just want to point out before we move any farther, the great irony of juxtaposing, sound human and conditional variables.

Kevin Warner:
Yes.

Liston:
So coming into this, I sent you a pre-interview survey like I sent to all of my guests and I asked you for a success story, and you are the first one to give me kind of a counter success story. Which is that you and your team were very successful in setting 200 plus appointments for one of your clients over a six month period. But they weren’t successful, they didn’t close a single one. So what learnings did you take from that and how do you apply those to some of your other clients?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, the learning is… I mean, the biggest takeaway as an agency owner is no matter how successful you are, clients are going to grade you on their own scale. And sometimes that scale makes no logical sense to you on a business perspective. And as an agency, your churn rate is abnormally large in comparison to SaaS industries and so forth because a, it’s a higher cost and there’s this odd grading scale that’s always put on you. It’s why a lot of agencies lock into longterm contracts, is they know the game. We want our margins and I’m going to lock you into a longterm contract to ensure that no matter if I perform or not, you’re going to pay me, which is kind of counterproductive. If I believe in what we’re doing, I shouldn’t have to put you into a longterm contract.

Kevin Warner:
In this instance in particular, it just kind of showed us the fact that yes can do everything right. We can deliver what we’re preaching, we can provide the analytics and the data, we can deliver the appointments that are being set, but some business owners just grade you to an odd scale and there’s nothing you can do to fight that. And in this instance in particular, it was their sales reps weren’t taking discovery calls, they weren’t following up with discovery calls, they weren’t pushing it to the next stage. They weren’t updating Salesforce.

Kevin Warner:
And for us it’s a hard… You have this expectation of delivering such a high amount of appointments, much higher than if you were an internal SDR. If you’re an external kind of lead generation company you’re given odd requirements around what you should be hitting in comparison to what a team member would have to hit if they were just working for the company. And for us to just show, yes we could do everything right, and there’s going to be some instances where we don’t do it all right and we lose the client because of it. And then we kind of have to learn from that. But when we do it all right, we can’t take it negatively, we have to just kind of continue to move on.

Kevin Warner:
So for us it’s a success story because we crushed it. For them, they had a weird measurement on ROI that we couldn’t kind of control. Their ROI was on closed one deals instead of appointment numbers, which is a strange predicament for any SDR who’s getting graded on the same scale. But we kind of continue to move on. And for us it is a success story because we can show each step of the way how we crushed it and how we still need to be kind of combined with your team and have those internal conversations to ensure that, hey, the entire funnel is being completed even from your internal kind of AEs. So it’s one of those weird ones where you lose a big customer, but it’s still a success.

Liston:
Well, so a lot of the people listening to this, including you, maybe, dear listener, are in the client services business in some capacity. They’re account managers, they’re project managers, they’re consultants, right? They’re providing services directly to clients, typically in a very high end environment, and maybe even complex delivery. They may not be familiar with the Legion business, not as familiar as you or me. Certainly you’re more familiar with it than I am.

Liston:
But I know that one of the misalignments and incentives in lead generation is that in order to make a lot of clients happy, you want to show big numbers. And one of the downsides of showing big numbers is, first of all, I don’t know about the client. You’re referencing here, but maybe 200 was too many for them, maybe they would have been better off with a hundred. And also, there’s an incentive to drive bigger numbers regardless of quality. It seems to me that there may have been obviously sales process issues. Maybe you can introduce me to these people afterwards and I can help them out. Maybe there were some sales process issues, but maybe also they could have disqualified some people maybe earlier on and sort of approached this in a more methodical way.

Liston:
I’m guessing this single client is not a complete anomaly. You’ve probably dealt with other people who have a hard time closing the appointments. What do you find those folks have in common?

Kevin Warner:
We lose a lot of clients because we over-deliver appointment numbers, which is an odd thing to say, but you’re over. And if you’re dealing with a startup or you’re dealing with an SMB or you’re dealing with a mom and pop business that’s been around for 20 years, which we often are, that’s our number one client kind of sector are those three items, you deliver 15, 20, 30 perspective clients and their pipelines filled for the year. And for us, the approach we do to lead generation is we’re not going to put a cap on amount of appointments we’re going to be setting, we hope to set 100% of appointments for prospects we reach out to. Now you just know from outbound sales, you have open rates, conversion rates, call rates, and everything’s going to kind of funnel down from there. So you’re not going to have 100% but our goal is to convert on as many prospects that we reached out to as possible. And that does mean that we overdeliver times.

Kevin Warner:
We’re not going to change our model. What we do is we lose you as a customer, but in eight months you come back to us. But oftentimes we set those same appointments and you see it a lot in startups who are still having founders run on sales. You see it in a lot of SMBs who are having principals or business owners run their sales, is the sales process is taking longer than they expected. Not because a prospect is unqualified, but just the process is taking longer than expected. And because revenue is tight for agencies, you’re kind of running monthly revenue for SMBs, you’re running monthly revenue, you can’t continue to carry on lead generation costs while you’re trying to close business. That kind of pays for itself.

Kevin Warner:
So what you’d rather do is pause all of your lead generation business for whether it’s Facebook ads, whether it’s a lead generation agency, whatever it is, until you can close the pipeline that you now have in the door. And when you’re those kind of early stage or small businesses, you don’t know how long that’s going to be. A lot of feedback we receive is we just haven’t gotten a closed one deal yet, and it’s hard for us to sit back because that’s where we kind of wash our hands. We’re not the closing experts. For us, you told us we want to talk to fortune 1000 CMOs. That’s our market. Get us on the phone with them. We get you on the phone with them. Once we do that, we kind of have to have you take over your sales process, which kind of has to be aligned with the kind of pipeline generation.

Kevin Warner:
So it is a given a take and it’s really hard because those are the clients that you end up losing, that you ended up winning for. Oftentimes they’ve circled back and came back to us once their sales pipeline ended up closing a few of the deals. But yeah, it’s a hard market to be in and one that needs to be aligned, and it’s a hard answer.

Liston:
Well, I’d like your feedback on something. One thing I find is a lot of client services businesses are typically run in four different ways. I call them the archetypes, right? The owner archetypes. One is the employee, someone who worked at somewhere. Locally here we have Nike and Intel. Large company. They had some clients that they worked with while they were there. They’re like, “Oh, I could be a consultant,” and they leave and they have a built in customer base.

Liston:
The second type is the networked, so let’s say they worked at Google and they’re really closely intertwined into the Valley network, right? And so they can kind of poach their 50 closest friends and get their business that way.

Liston:
The third is sort of the charismatic founder, so these people are very rare. Let’s say 1 to 2% of the population don’t sleep very much. They’ll just do whatever it takes to succeed. They don’t need your help, they don’t need my help. And the other one is the marketer. Now, what I find is most people fit into buckets one and two. They’re the employee or they’re the networked.

Kevin Warner:
Right.

Liston:
Which means, all of their business 100% of the time, before they even met Kevin, they had deals coming to them where there was a high degree of trust and credibility built in. They didn’t have to establish that. When I do outbound, even juxtaposed, not just referrals but also to any inbound source, right? Someone coming to me and saying, “I want to talk to you.” They’ve overcome at least some part of that trust hurdle. If I do outbound, the trust is not built. And what I find is a lot of client services folks just have absolutely no experience or understanding of the fact that they’ve gone from a one to many trust building exercise to now it’s one to one and I have to spend a lot of time with this person before they really trust me. Is that something you find is an issue?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, so that makes up about 70% of our clients is right there is one [crosstalk 00:19:35]. Right? And that’s going to be the SMB and that startup phase company where you’ve never had a cold sell before. The other 30% of clients are enterprise clients. They already have SDR teams, they have outbound prospectors. They’re kind of bringing us to work on next to them. They’re amazing because they know the value of everything. They know the value of the data, of the analytics, the value of the appointment. They know what you should be running. You’re just another vehicle, another cog in their much larger wheel, and we love it because it’s just a matter of scaling and just day to day execution. That other 70% is exactly what you’re talking about. And that’s, we hear so much noise about outbound sales, about how it can generate so much revenue for me. I need business.

Kevin Warner:
Every business owner, whether it’s a one person consultancy, whether it’s a gig worker, no matter who it is, I need business otherwise I go out of business. And not everybody is naturally sales. You might be on the product side, you might be on the consulting client services side and you still need to grow this business of yours. So outbound becomes an easy vehicle to do it because you can get measurable results instantly. You’re going to see things, you’re going to see people open emails, you’re going to see people answer your calls, you’re to see people respond to emails. It’s instant. Facebook, it’s not as necessarily instant. And then it’s a matter of, well, how good is your online presence? Is it good? How good is your messaging online and your marketing? And all of that other subsequent items from Facebook. And are you measuring it properly? Do you even know how to technically measure it?

Kevin Warner:
So outbound becomes very easy to launch and scale and see immediate impact. Right? You’re going to set up conversations very quickly if you’re doing it half a degree good. So now the problem comes as, well, now we got the appointment book for you. On a leading agency perspective, we accomplished our job, we hand it over to you. And that’s kind of the drop-off in this middle ground we’re at now. Whereas 70% of our clients now have to take these appointments and look to close them. And you’re absolutely right when you’re getting referral [inaudible 00:21:40] business and when you hear network, it’s easy to close. You’re closing you. You’re just having people trust you and they’re giving your money because they trust you that you’re going to deliver what you’re preaching. When you’re doing outbound, you now have to develop that trust, but you might never develop that trust, which means you have to kind of position your service and your service has to stand on its own.

Kevin Warner:
And so now you need case studies and now you need a good web presence still, because if you’re pushing a $3,000 a month product as an agency and you don’t have a website or if your website’s very poor and you don’t have a team on LinkedIn and it’s just you, the sale becomes exponentially harder. The conversation is easy to start because you’re presenting them a value proposition to a pain point that they’re having in real time. Of course, they’re interested, but that’s just the kind of start of that pyramid, that journey you got to put them on and if you’re not a natural seller then it becomes exponentially hard as well. So now the appointments are being set but the close isn’t happening. In an agency world, especially on the lead generation side, the blame falls on the agency. You didn’t send me the right appointments. They weren’t ready to buy. They weren’t qualified. And this comes back to that successful client we had that we ended up losing that so much of it is on that sales side and an outbound is rather easy.

Kevin Warner:
The mechanics of outbound, the engaging with outbound, the measuring outbound, it’s rather easy. The most difficult part is kind of closing a deal and putting them into that closing pipeline. And I think that’s what a lot of people kind of underestimate, especially if you’re a small agency, a consultancy, a small business. You just think you can continue to sell you because that’s what you’ve been doing all of this time. But so quickly you become a product and now you’re trying to sell a product into a much larger market that has no clue who you are. And quite frankly, they don’t care who you are. They’re just trying to advance their business. And are you going to be able to do that or not?

Kevin Warner:
And can you preach it confidently? And that’s why so many preach, find your niche, find how you’re different in the market. Because if you understand those things on a sales call, you can speak to those with kind of validity. And when you’re on with a prospect, they start to see that and build trust in what you’re doing because of how much specificity you can speak to with that niche and with a specific market, and with a specific product and deliverable, et cetera.

Liston:
And dear listener, if you would like to learn more about how to build trust, I’ll be covering that in next week’s episode so make sure you hit subscribe. I teed that up for you Kevin, and you gave it sort of like an unofficial tie in. So yeah, if you want to learn about how to build trust in either an outbound or an inbound situation, I’ll be covering that on next week’s episode.

Liston:
Okay. So one thing that I am particularly curious about is you had kind of your three layers of how to do outbound. So you had find your niche. You also said, basically, how do you stack up against competition? So if you become part of that decision set, people need to know why would they choose you, more or less. And then last you said let your clients drive your message. Tell me about that.

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, this was one unique advantage to outbound because when you’re putting a value proposition, when you’re contacting your clients, your customers, you’re putting your message, whatever your go to market messages, you’re putting it in front of them where you want and when you want. It’s unique, right? Facebook, you can’t even do that if you’re kind of doing retargeting. Facebook’s going to do it according to its algorithm and if people have been to your site and if you had a Facebook chart or whatever it might be, but with outbound you uniquely get to put your go to message in front of your prospective customer on your time table through your desired method of communication, and inherently you’re going to get responses. Right? Whether you’re calling them, whether you’re on LinkedIn, whether you’re on email. It won’t be all good responses. You’re going to get a fraction of response that are negative.

Kevin Warner:
But negative responses are good responses too because you’re going to learn, okay, well how are they being receptive? Is this a bad time? Is this a bad channel? There’s different types of negative responses as well. Some might just be negative responses to the messaging I’m using. Some might be to the product in general. Some might be to the channel on communicating to them in. So now you can start to analyze every single one of these responses back to your outbound funnel. If you’re cold calling, you can start to, if somebody says no, you might be able to get a question in right before they hang up, on just understanding the market a little better, understanding your positioning a little better, understanding… Well, what would have made it different for you? What are you looking for? Now you can start to adjust your own go to market messaging.

Kevin Warner:
You can start to refine your niche and understand, hey, this industry that I thought I was going to do exponentially well in is actually telling me that there’s not much of a need for it. So that’s kind of this ability, this unique ability for outbound and just the mechanics of outbound to drive what you’re doing on the corporate side and who you’re targeting and who you thought was going to be a good customer might not be a good customer, and it might be a different industry. And that’s just a matter of you have to go into outbound understanding that appointments are the end result that we’re hoping for. We need that revenue opportunity. But the analytics we’re going to get in the meantime is going to help define actual sellable opportunities.

Liston:
Well, and I would add, it’s not just analytics, it’s the information, right? So it’s like what story is that telling us? And so you mentioned that initially when you started doing some outreach for yourselves, or at least during your sales conversations, you kept hearing, “Oh, there’s a hundred of you already. We already know this. We’re not interested.” And eventually you landed on a value proposition that culminates in people saying, “Oh, that’s really unique. I haven’t heard that before.” Can you walk me through how did you come to that? What Was the process for you to arrive at a better proposition?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah. For us it was testing along kind of each phase of that outbound cycle and then the sale cycle. So now that we were trying to compare both outbound and then the conversations we were having with the appointments we were being set so… What is everybody here in the lead generation and the outbound sales side of things. I can set you appointments. I can give you sales appointments, guaranteed sales calls. All right? I’ll cold call and I’ll set you appointments. You don’t have to set appointments, you don’t have to hire SDRs. We’ll set you all the appointments in the world. You need appointments, appointments, appointments. That’s what the number one kind of call to action is. I’m sure everybody listening has gotten cold emails, cold calls from overseas, kind of, outbound lead generation agencies saying just that. And so what we decided was wow, this is actually a noisy market and we can tell it was a noisy market when lead generation services were kind of doing outbound to us.

Kevin Warner:
And we can start to read their messaging. And we’re like, “Wait a second, so now we need to start to analyze that.” And then we would start to join calls with people and we would slowly refine our value proposition. And we can start to say, “Look, we’re a team.” One term that we’ve started adopting more and more, and we’re trying to set the trend for, is we’re an outbound agency. We’re not a lead generation service. We’re not a BPO. We’re not an outsource service. We hate those terminology. We’re an agency and we defined ourselves as an agency. Why do we kind of see that as our value proposition? Because everybody’s okay with the idea of marketing agencies. There’s the reason there’s a billion of them because companies use them and they respect them and they understand the value they’re being driven. But two years ago, three years ago, the lead generation side is just still very sleazy.

Kevin Warner:
A lot of businesses use us, but they don’t want to say they do. And so what we said was, “Well, there has to be a better way.” We’re more of an agency model and that we’re going to assign a team of people working on your account. We’re all specialized in a different aspect of the outbound funnel, all working together to kind of drive the end result, which is a qualified appointment. Much the same as if you wanted a new website. I’m sure there’s somebody where you can hire one person who will do everything for you for a website, from strategy to design to development, but is it going to be as great as, well, what if I had a team who was just defining the strategy? Then I had individual copywriters just figuring out what the copy would be for the website. Then I had UX designers, then I had UI designers, then I had backend engineers and front end engineers.

Kevin Warner:
The end result is a very complex website that, yes, does the same thing as a much cheaper website. It has your web presence online, but two very different deliverables in the end result. So that’s kind of our approach on, hey, what we’re hearing, what we’re seeing, how it’s aligning with the sales conversations we’re having, now let’s redefine all of that messaging to kind of be unique in that same regard. So now we have a niche proposition. We’ve learned about which markets are resonating well with. As we’re servicing clients, we’re also learning which clients are we being more successful with than others. So now we can start to leverage that success by kind of pressing that market with the new messaging we have as well as the new case studies. So you see it’s more of a cyclical process by being able to understand the feedback from the outbound kind of funnel.

Liston:
I think you’re hitting on something, which I totally agree with in that is a lot of people think a business is about having a great idea. And anybody listening to this podcast knows that that’s not it at all. It’s about a system of things operating together in tandem to produce this output. In this case, appointments for you and something that resonates, but there’s all of these different pillars that need to be in place. So it’s not a singular process at all.

Kevin Warner:
A good argument to that is I say it’s counter. You can have just a bad product, a bad service, nothing original at all. And if you have good lead generation programs, you will drive revenue 100%. Your service can be awful. Your client examples could be awful. And if you have good go to market messaging, if you know your niche and you know your value proposition, you will get revenue. You don’t even need a good idea or a good product anymore to be successful. Now, it all depends on what success means to you, right? If you’re trying to do $1 billion business, then yes, a product matters. If you’re just trying to make a good living, then no. It doesn’t always necessarily mean that.

Liston:
Yeah, I agree. I think having the best idea is quite overrated in general. But if you do a crappy job, you miss out on all the word of mouth and branding opportunities that could come with doing a good job. Right? So we don’t want to do that. All right, so you have been very open with sharing about your business and your experience and what you’re doing with your clients. A few quick questions to wrap up here. What is one book that you recommend and why?

Kevin Warner:
One book? Well, it was the basis of most outbound agencies which is Predictable Revenue, which is an Aaron Ross book, which is one of our competitors as well, in the space. Even though Aaron Ross kind of went against Predictable Revenue in a second book, we won’t get into that, but the idea of kind of a funnel and scalable kind of outbound lead generation, and it’s less about outbound and more about the principles he’s kind of explaining, which is understanding your funnel. Understanding the conversion metrics that go into it. Understanding what drives those conversion metrics and optimizing any lead generation funnel that you’re running. He focuses on outbound, but it kind of plays true to every source of lead gen that you’re running, and that’s one of the number one books where if you’re an agency owner, if you’re an SMB, it’s kind of pivotal to understand, hey, how can I grow this thing without exponential capital?

Liston:
Tell me, what’s one habit, system or routine that you couldn’t live without?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, I’m not the best of habits, systems and routines. I am the worst of them all. And I know that’s not a good sign of a successful founder. If you believe a lot of billion dollar company founders.

Liston:
There’s no formula, my friend.

Kevin Warner:
Yeah. One that we stand by, which is my co-founder and I, my co-founder is located in Kiev, Ukraine, so half the world away, and one habit we have is an hour, probably an hour a day just talking non-business. Right? If you’re starting a business without a cofounder, I say you’re at a definite disadvantage. There’s definite advantages to having somebody kind of in the weeds with you, in the trenches with you, so to speak. And you’re so business all the time running different ends of your company that you have to have that, hey, we’re just people as well. We’re close friends. If we can stay that way, the business, even through the stressful times, even through the down revenue times, we’re going to have this time where, hey, there’s something bigger than running a business. Right?

Kevin Warner:
We still have life, we still have family, we still have houses, we still have eventual kids and we need to maintain that so the company doesn’t kind of, through the stressful, through the low revenue, through the down sales month, that it doesn’t crush us. We just see it as a blip and we continue to move on. So our habit, which keeps us sane, is every day you have to have casual kind of conversation.

Liston:
And if anybody listening to this wanted to follow up with you, learn more about you or your company, what should they do?

Kevin Warner:
Yeah, you can visit us at leadium.io or email me directly at Kevin.Warner@leadium.io. Happy to talk to anybody who has a good outbound message.

Liston:
Excellent. And you mentioned an article also in the pre-interview about the value of outsourcing versus in-house lead gen. So I’ll link to that in the show notes if you want to check that out, listener. It’s just leadium.io. It’s a direct link and you can click that in the show notes right now and it’ll take you there. Kevin, thank you so much for being here.

Kevin Warner:
Thank you for having me. Always a pleasure.

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