The Fractional Executive's Guide to Filling Your Sales Pipeline

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Ad-hoc efforts result in ad-hoc outcomes. If we want a robust pipeline for our fractional business, then we need a repeatable structure in place that delivers consistent results.

When I was consulting, I started out with random outreach efforts between my network and cold outreach. I had mixed success. But the game changed when I put in place a repeatable and consistent process to find new clients and build my $25k / month business.

We’re not only going to put a repeatable structure in place, but we’re also going to do it in <20 minutes per day.

The top 3 ways to find leads for our consulting business:

  1. Our network
  2. Curated outreach
  3. Thought leadership online (LinkedIn recommended)

The best thing about these 3 approaches is they compound on each other. E.g., as we build out our network and then share thought leadership on LinkedIn, we’re becoming more and more validating, and we’re top of mind for when a contact in our network has a need that meets our expertise.

With that in mind, let’s build out a process.

Process Intro

Every single closed consulting project started with a call. So, we’re going to optimize to get on the phone, video chat, or even better, a face-to-face meeting. Ideally we want these to be qualified leads who have the potential to be a paying client. But we’ll also benefit from talking to our network and getting referrals. So, we’re going to do both.

Process Step 1: Leverage our network

Contacts from your network are those who know you well and trust you. They know what you’re capable of and could hire you very easily. These are past managers, past colleagues, or friends from a professional environment. It could also be friends from a non-professional environment, but they likely don’t know what you’re capable of from a work perspective.

We’re going to 1. Make a list of these people and then 2. Ask them for a catch-up call.

When we reach out to these people, we’re just asking to catch up with them. Which is true - we are. Don't look at this like a sales call - this is a catch-up call to see what's going on in their lives and to ask about their company and their challenges. Maybe there's naturally an opportunity for you to help. Maybe there's not, and they refer you to a friend who might have a need. This is just opening the door to see if anything is there and get some reps in.

When you reach out via email / text / LinkedIn, give them a quick update on what's going on with you, and ask if they’re open to a short phone call to catch up. The more personalized you can make these messages, the better.

If an example helps, here’s a sample note:

Hi {{name}}!

It’s been a while and thought I’d reach out to catch up. How’s everything going? I see you’re at {{company}} and that things are going well. {{insert here a sentence from research you’ve done on the company on a new product / feature / launch / story you saw online}}.

As for me, {{a quick one-liner about you here. Sample: I’ve recently been laid off from Airbnb and am exploring different next steps}}. I’d love to catch up with you and hear how things are going at X.

Do you have time for a quick catch-up over the next few days? I have my availability in Calendly here, or you can let me know some times and the best email for you, and I'll send over an invite.

Look forward to catching up!



Your hit rate from note to call should be VERY high since these are people you know very well.

There should be only two outcomes of these calls:

  1. There’s an opportunity to work together (yay!)
  2. There’s no opportunity, and you ask for two introductions to people they think would be good for you to chat with (make sure you make this ask, and follow-up after)

We’re going to do this outreach to our network for 10 minutes, 2x per week. This shouldn’t take long: you know the people and the outreach notes are straightforward.

Weekly time commitment: 20 minutes.

Process Step 2: Curated outbound outreach

This is a bit more complex, but nothing we can’t handle. Our job is to fill our pipeline with qualified leads from companies that are a great fit for your niche, have budget, have gaps on their team, and are open to consultants.

The process looks like this:

  1. Generate a lead list of contacts at companies that interest us to reach out to
  2. Draft outreach notes
  3. Send the notes manually or via a campaign
  4. Have intro calls that legitimize our experience, understand their challenges, and scope out projects
  5. Start to close  through compelling proposals
  6. Close the deal through a thoughtful negotiation and a e-signed contract

Let’s break down the 5 steps above:

1. Make a lead list of qualified customers

Mylance Scale identifies leads that meet the following 4 criteria:

  1. Matches your niche / unique expertise
  2. Likely to have the budget
  3. Gaps on their team in your function
  4. Are consultant friendly

You can also try a tool like Apollo or Sales Navigator, but they won’t be specific to your consulting business needs. Either way, you need a list of contacts to reach out.

2. Draft outreach notes

Your outreach note should look something like this:

Subject line: Interested in [Company]

Hey [Name],

Hope you’re having a great day. My name is Daniel (link to your LinkedIn), and I’m a Fractional COO specializing in supporting early-stage logistics marketplaces. I assist founders in identifying areas for rapid growth within their companies, leveraging existing resources and team members to achieve remarkable results.

Are you currently facing the challenge of your hardworking team not seeing the desired metrics?

Having built CloudKitchens' Direct to Consumer business to $10M in revenue in under 9 months and successfully launching the Uber Freight app, I understand the importance of overcoming such hurdles.

I’m happy to share my learnings on a quick call. Are you struggling to hit your growth targets right now?

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

This note does 5 things well

  1. Quick intro and “why” I’m reaching out
  2. Share my niche and value add, and to whom I add that value to
  3. Asks you a question that makes you feel heard (ideally, if you have this challenge)
  4. Legitimizes myself through an accomplishment or two
  5. Has a “light” CTA that starts a conversation

The goal of this note is to start a conversation. If they say, “no” that’s okay, that means “right now” isn’t the right time. Ask if it’s okay to follow-up in 3 months.

3. Send the notes manually or via an automated campaign

You have two options to send out your notes:

  1. Use your email manually
  2. To personalize these, you can use a mail merge and send a number of these at once. While this is the cheapest option, it’s also the most time-consuming, because you’ll want to follow-up with these folks at least 3-4 times, and you’ll need to create these reminders for yourself
  3. Set up automated campaigns
  4. For as little as $59/mo, you can pay a service to send automated drips for you that automatically stop once you receive a response. We recommend the following platforms:
  5. Woodpecker for email only
  6. Expandi for LinkedIn only
  7. Lemlist for a combination of email and LinkedIn

We recommend you combine email and LinkedIn outreach. Why?

When you reach out to leads over multiple channels with multiple touchpoints, you give your customer the choice of when and how to reply. Perhaps they are more likely to check their email than other communication channels, or maybe they are active on LinkedIn but seldom answer phone calls. Further, maybe your first email got them at a time when they simply weren’t available to respond. The more channels you utilize and additional touchpoints, the more alternatives you provide for your leads to contact you.

If you opt for a single-channel approach, you must guess which one will deliver the best results.

What’s the ideal flow for a multi-channel outreach? We suggest:

  1. Personalized email
  2. Request LinkedIn connection
  3. If connect, send a follow-up message on LinkedIn
  4. Personalized email #2
  5. Personalized email #3
  6. Follow-up message on LinkedIn

We recommend 2-3 days in between each stage, so you’re giving the contact plenty of time to digest your message and get back to you.

Worried about being “annoying” with your emails? Maybe these stats will help:

  • A study by the Telfer School of Management found that it takes an average of six follow-up attempts to get a response.
  • 55% of replies to cold email campaigns come from a follow-up email
  • The first follow-up email is the most effective, bringing the highest reply rate, even about 40% higher compared to the initial email
  • Adding a second follow-up boosts your chances of getting a response by 25%

It can take an hour or two to get these set-up. But once you do, you’re reviewing the data, adding new leads monthly, and iterating as needed.

Time commitment

Time to set-up: 1-2 hours

Time per week to maintain: 30 minutes

Process step 3: Thought leadership on LinkedIn

As you build up your network, you can share your expertise in a more passive way than direct outreach that can actually generate inbounds for you.

Important note: at no point do you need to “sell” here or even mention that you’re consulting. You can mention you’re open to work, but if you do, do it in a very non-pushy way. If someone wants your help, they’ll ask for it whether you mention you’re available or not.

So, what should you write?

The best thing you can do online is share experiences with your community (we recommend LinkedIn) from your past.

This can look like wins, learnings, “mistakes,” failures, best practices, etc. E.g., our founder Bradley Jacobs wrote this post (screenshot below) on LinkedIn and got him inbound, including the message below:

How often should you write?

Honestly, the more the better. Every day if you can. If that feels like way too much, pick a schedule you can commit to. Maybe that’s once per week to start, and you can grow from there.

We recommend sitting down for 1 hour per week, outlining ideas, and writing a few posts. Then you can batch and schedule them to go out during the week so you’re not having to write every day.

Total time commitment: 1 hour per week

Bonus Process Step 4: Grow your network on autopilot

LinkedIn is one of the only social media networks where a “connection” = “follower” and you can request to connect with someone which means you can request for them to “follow” you.

I highly recommend you take advantage of this. We use Expandi to run on autopilot to add connections / followers while you’re sleeping.

Use Sales Navigator, search for people that match your ICP (aim for a list of 1k - 3.5k) and add that to a “Search.” You can use a “Connector” campaign that adds 20-30 connections per day, with an outreach note, and then up to you if you want to follow-up with them asking for a call.


Using the three strategies above in less than 2.5 hours per week, you will consistently create new opportunities each week, leading to proposals sent and clients closed.

Aim for 1 call per weekday (20 a month) if you’re looking to find new clients. If you can keep up this cadence, you’re almost guaranteed to have success.

Get your first batch of 20 personalized leads by signing up for Mylance Scale.

Written by:

Bradley Jacobs
Founder & CEO, Mylance

I help tech professionals refine your consulting niche so you can land 5-figure per month consulting deals.

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