Demand Generation
Do You Need a Lead Generation Company? How Do You Find the Right One?

Do You Need a Lead Generation Company? How Do You Find the Right One?

May 30, 2019
6 min read

It’s a given that one of the best ways to fuel business growth is through lead generation: the generation of new sales leads though marketing activities. Marketing teams spend all their time and effort to find the best sales leads for their company.

Without leads, there wouldn’t be any sales, and without sales, companies would not achieve revenue goals. Branding would be a futile exercise. Studies have shown – if it isn’t already, lead generation should be a top priority for sales and marketing teams.

According to this report on lead generation, 61% of B2B marketers think generating high-quality leads is one of their biggest challenges.

But even the best marketing teams can struggle with identifying and pursing high value leads. While the nature of business has evolved, one thing that hasn’t is the complexity of generating traffic and cultivating prime leads.

Quick Takeaways:

  • In unfamiliar markets, it’s easier to nurture qualified leads than to generate new ones.
  • Outsourcing lead generation to a specialized company saves a lot of time for sales and marketing departments.
  • Your strategy to convert leads at different stages of the funnel will vary according to the challenges.

Outsourcing Marketing Qualified Lead Generation (MQL)

Marketing professionals know that not all leads are the same. Medium and enterprise level businesses have a lot of supporting departments. The pressure is on for the marketing and sales departments to turn over gross profit.

The sales and marketing departments have to produce far more in sales than what’s needed to pay for their salaries and commission. The marketing team gathers a high volume of sales qualified leads, it then becomes the sales department responsibility to close the deal. The marketing teams nurture MQLs into Bottom Funnel or Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). Allowing, the sales team to spend all its time doing what it does best, selling.

Outsourcing middle funnel lead generation to lead generation companies saves the marketing team a lot of time and effort.  They can concentrate on nurturing those leads to bottom funnel leads. It’s always an option to switch vendors if their leads are not converting as advertised. Knowing what leads to purchase improves the data for further analysis and budgeting.

Expanding to new unfamiliar markets is a challenging venture for businesses. Establishing a footprint in new territories is not easy even for big name brands. Going directly to lead nurturing is targeted and cost-effective. Having the marketing team concentrate their efforts on potential clients is better than trying to get the general public into top-funnel leads.

Benefits of Outsourcing Lead Generation

Medium and Enterprise level organizations spend a lot on lead generation. The faster leads turn into sales, the faster expenditures are converted into profit. The company and more specifically the sales team preform at a higher standard with larger numbers of qualified leads.

The sales team can find leads on their own. Having them nurture leads through the entire funnel is fine for companies that offer large commissions such as real estate, automotive, and the defense industry. Sales teams spending a majority of their time nurturing leads instead of closing reduces sales production. It’s not a problem for big-ticket items, but for general consumption businesses, it’s an inefficient use of their sales force.

In the Information Technology space, competition is fierce. Tech giants to start-ups are all going after the same target market. It’s necessary the sales team concentrates only on SQL and the marketing team focuses on nurturing.

Launching sales campaigns to un-nurtured leads leaves a hard sell impression. Its important to nurture leads into middle funnel – going straight to sales when prospects are not ready to purchase will return in negative results.

Jumping directly from top-funnel to bottom funnel also needs a staggering amount of leads. A poor process can jeopardize the company by establishing negative perceptions in your target market.

Outsourcing generation and investing time nurturing leads is a more efficient move for smart marketing teams. Finding a vendor that can provide quality bottom funnel leads at reasonable price makes for a viable option. Running them with middle funnel leads on a different funnel will provide a good A/B testing scenario.

Funnel Analysis and Improving Conversion Rates

Each lead has the potential to be a sale. In reality, only a small minority of leads converts right away. There are several reasons, the first is the lead source. The quality of leads converting from different sources greatly varies. It’s smart to have a separate funnel for analysis purposes for each source.

Industry benchmarks are a good starting KPI, but your good marketing teams do what they can to beat their own numbers month to month.

The reasons why mid-Funnel leads are not converting to bottom funnel leads differs per company. However, the most common reasons are:

  • Current Product / Service not a good fit
  • Marketing and Sales have different Lead Scoring System
  • Value Proposition vs Pricing
  • Untrained Sales Staff
  • Complicated Sales Closing Procedure

The first three reasons indicate that the leads can be recycled after further nurturing. The last two common reasons indicate a problem with the sales team. Having the marketing team analyze funnel data can save money by increasing conversion rates and resolving issues by recycling nurtured leads. Sophisticated technology is needed to keep track of all the data. Third-party lead generation vendors usually provide this technology as part of their service.

That brings us to the question…

How to Select the Right Lead Generation Company

The marketing team has three major tasks, lead generation, nurturing them to sales qualified leads, and funnel analysis. Outsourcing lead generation activities will allow marketers to manage marketing funnel efficiency and increase conversion rates.

Finding niche lead providers that can deliver on promises requires careful consideration. The fact of the matter is; there are plenty of lead generation firms in the market and most – if not all of these –  promise big results in exchange for your marketing investment.

What Kind of Lead Generation Provider Do You Need?

Having a good understanding of the types of leads you require, and your target demographic allows you to be more insightful when selecting the right partner. Depending on your industry, it is important to know if a vendor operates within your industry. For example, Pure B2B is a data-drive lead generation partner that focuses on the technology buyer audience. Its global technology buyer audience includes IT, sales, marketing, finance, business and human resources.

Plenty of companies boast about having the most updated and expansive database listing, and key decision makers across multiple industries. On the other hand, there are more niche lead providers that offer databases relevant to specific industries.

It’s also important to look at the programs lead generation providers run; there are different methods to lead generation including top-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel, programs sift through prospects to identify viable sales leads to be nurtured. Other programs include lead discovery, account-based marketing, database cleaning and program/ process optimization. Knowing the type of program a vendor utilizes will give you a better idea of how they operate and the pros and cons of the data you will be receiving.

What is the Firm’s Track Record?

Without sales leads, a company could be dead in the water in terms of business growth. When outsourcing your lead generation process to an external provider, there needs to be due diligence in reviewing the track record and experience of firms before settling into a decision.

When comparing account lead generation companies, some key characteristics to consider include their track record for providing quality leads. This can be seen based on their returning customer base and respective feedback. What is their target audience, their experience in the field and what are people saying about their services?

Working with providers that have veteran sales and project management teams will enable your company to tap the provider’s expertise. Pure B2B clients work with dedicated customer experience campaign managers who closely manage campaign performance with key emphasis on the systematic conduct of monitoring and optimization.

What is the Price, and Does it Fit Your Budget?

Lastly, your comparative review of lead generation companies needs to consider the price and overall cost of this marketing investment. Keeping in mind the extent of the services being provided, customer and administrative support available, size and relevance of the database, and overall company experience. Choose the company that will be able to provide you with all the service you need within your budget.

Business growth is the fundamental goal of lead generation. Through new business opportunities, companies can expand its customer base and scale up operations. Understanding your agency objectives, targets, and identifying key services being offered by providers will allow you to know if your business matches the expertise of a generation firm. Discover the benefits of having lead generation services that result in high-quality, engaged leads that are accurate and likely to convert into sales.

Thinking it’s time for your company to start working with a lead generation partner? Working with a lead generation partner will fill your marketing funnel with engaged leads that are squarely in your target market. Learn more about the best practices you need to launch an effective lead generation campaign with a partner.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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