Cantilever Sales Process

We regularly receive inquires via, which is connected to a shared Hubspot inbox which forwards to our lead

s and the
. Individual team members also get leads directly to them.

By default, the CEO will handle inbound requests and get them through Initial Qualification. By the time we have an Intro call, the CEO will try to hand off responsibility for the lead to a specific strategist based on their skills.

Initial Qualification

The first step in handling inbound leads is to make sure the lead is actually a potential fit for Cantilever. We get a lot of inbound messages that are just spam, from leads that don’t have the ability to make a significant investment in their digital technology, or are looking for things we don‘t offer.

Sometimes a client will reach out and it will be very obvious that they are a potential fit, such as when a current client refers a similar business to us. In those cases, we can dive straight into an Intro Call. In other cases we want to confirm that they are a potential fit before we waste either party’s time on a call, so the first step is to feel out whether the lead is a potential fit. This can take the form of casual back-and-forth to understand roughly what they are looking for, or we can use a survey, like this one, to gather initial information.

In either case, once it is clear that a lead is a potential fit and we are choosing to move forward with an Intro Call, the person in contact with the prospect should add a “Deal” to Hubspot as a record of the conversation around the lead.

Each deal is assigned to a team member. The person adding the deal should assign themselves to it unless there is a reason otherwise. Anyone on the team can lead a deal. If your name is on a deal, you have accountability for Cantilever successfully closing that deal, even though lots of people may be involved.

The full strategist group reviews the full Deals funnel weekly. If you are not a strategist but are responsible for a current deal, you may want to join this call. Ask a strategist to add you.

Intro Call

Once a prospect appears to be qualified, we set up an intro call. This should be 30 to 60 minutes depending on how complex the client’s needs appear to be. The person who leads the call should be the assigned person from the Hubspot deal. They may want to loop in one other person from the team who fills in an area of expertise they may not have, but the initial intro call should not have more than two people from our team or it is hard to get a good rhythm going and it becomes a risky amount of time to commit.

Our Model

One key thing to establish in the intro call is how we work. At Cantilever we don’t work on a project-by-project basis but rather on a client relationship basis. We have ongoing relationships with our clients that we expect to last for years, and we embark on various projects within those relationships to deliver value. It is important to communicate that when we discuss sales, we are never discussing “a project” in isolation – we are discussing a relationship. If the client is not interested in that, we are not the best fit for them.

Final Qualification

During the intro call it is important to align with the client on some sense that we are in the same ballpark on cost.

One easy thing to discuss is our Diagnostic processes. Our fees for them are between $5k and $20k. Typical client engagements are in the $50-$100k per year range. During the call it is important to confirm with the client that they feel they can get value from this range of cost. If we do but they don’t, sometimes it is worthwhile to continue the conversation to try and demonstrate this to them, but if we are completely not aligned, it’s fine to just confirm that we are not the right fit and move on.

Diagnostic Proposal

After the intro call, the person assigned to the Lead should typically get the client a proposal for a

. During the Intro call and while following up, we do try to establish a general vision for the relationship over the course of a year or two, but we don’t go into detail until we’re doing the Diagnostic itself. If we know we can solve the client’s problem, the focus is on setting up a Diagnostic so that we can start to solve it.

In some cases, the client may not need a diagnostic. For example, if they are asking for new branding work and don‘t know what’s next, it may make sense instead to jump right into a Core Retainer relationship. This is rare, though; most new clients should have a Diagnostic.

We have a standard deck format (WIP) for these proposals that we customize for each potential new client. For some clients it may make sense to set up a follow-up meeting to discuss the Diagnostic Proposal. For others, it may be fine to simply send via email, potentially including a Loom. This is at the discretion of the person assigned to the Lead.


For new clients, all Diagnostics are 100% satisfaction guaranteed and can be ended at any time. This allows new clients to see us in action before committing any funds, and we’ve never had a client not be satisfied with the outcomes of our diagnostic work, so we are fully confident that once people try us they will identify the value we bring to their business.


We require 50% of the Diagnostic fee paid upfront so we can begin. This is refundable within the Guarantee.


The cost of a Diagnostic varies according to the intended relationship size and how much work we anticipate putting in within the Diagnostic Process. Three standard sizes are:

  • Small: $5k, anticipated 20 hours of work
  • Medium: $10k, anticipated 40 hours of work
  • Large: $20k, anticipated 80 hours of work

After a client has reviewed the proposal and accepts, we will begin the Diagnostic process.