What has changed? I own a small outsourcing tech company and 2 years ago we used to get a lot of jobs outsourced. Last year we closed a government contract and 3 months ago, since the project ended, sales have been really slow.

The context here is insufficient since an appropriate answer would require a lot more time diving into your processes and the background of your company.

If I have to extrapolate the problem and generalize, there are two major areas you need to explore in order to figure out what happened:

  • Passive factors – Economical, political, geographical factors that come into play. Technological advancements. Popularity of different platforms, technical stacks, or processes that naturally evolve over time.
  • Active factors – Activities that you used to engage in 2 years ago (having been started 1–3 years earlier) leading to your success.

Again, there is really not enough context. The problem could be in restructuring your organization, the lack of marketing and sales activities over the past couple of years, a couple bad reviews on Glassdoor that clients care about or anything specific to your local area.

In terms of the passive factors, consider what was the process of receiving leads previously. This exercise aims to explore your former profitable channels – referrals, outsourcing portals, partnerships.

Go through your past 10, 20, 50 leads that you’ve received. Categorize them. Find out what source they came through. Then consider the possible reasons why those channels aren’t as effective nowadays.

If a single channel was responsible for 70%+ of your leads, see what factors contributed to the lack of leads nowadays.

  • If it’s a freelance network, changes in regulations or an increased amount of competitors may be a good reason.
  • If a partner stopped sending leads over, they may have focused on another industry (or even closed shop).

As for the active factors, it’s likely that you’ve decreased your time spent on certain outbound activities.

  • Were you able to close leads by attending industry events? If you were busy with the long contract, you likely passed on networking opportunities.
  • Did you reach out to customers in job portals previously?
  • Was blogging instrumental to finding new leads? Browse your Google Analytics and double check your conversion rates on your website.
  • Did your lead business developer quit last year? If so, this may have contributed to the problem.

It’s often a combination of both. Ignoring a passive factor would slowly reduce the number of incoming leads. Reducing your time spent on certain regular actions will “break the chain” and decrease your visibility as well.

If you were relying on a single mass channel bringing in leads, this is asingle point of failure” which could have crashed at any point in time.

But if you discover what worked previously, you still have a chance to push harder through the same channel or find a decent alternative. As long as you act soon enough, that is.

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