Generating, cultivating, and ultimately converting leads is a vital part of your business bedrock. Without it your list of customers will decay and your sales will dry up.
Outsourcing frees up internal resource, allowing focus on your core offering. It removes the need to hire, train, and maintain a new department. But putting such an important process in another company’s hands can be daunting. Here are some questions to help narrow down your shortlist of B2B lead generation companies:
Do you have faith in their process?
You should feel confident that your investment is going to yield results. If you don’t, the relationship will be tainted from the outset.
Are they major account or small sale?
Major account companies work with larger sales, higher profile leads, and more complex processes. Small sale are more common, and work with smaller transactions. Ensure you’re familiar with the difference.
How much will it cost? What’s the ROI?
The metric to look at here is cost per customer acquisition rather than per lead generated. A high price isn’t necessarily a problem, but be sure you’re getting your money’s worth: in the pitch process, a prospective company should be able to demonstrate strong ROI on other projects.
Will they take a tailored approach?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation: be wary of a company who tells you there is.
What is the source of their leads?
Ask to see a sample of data, and sense check it: are they leads you would usually use? If not, can they provide a convincing reason for the discrepancy?
Will they outsource?
This isn’t automatically problematic, but it’s good to know. If they are planning to outsource, find out to whom and, if possible, run through this checklist with them.
Do others vouch for their performance?
Companies blow their own trumpet relatively well: make sure others - past clients, industry bodies - can corroborate.
What are their case studies like?
These give insight into what a company most prides itself on. Check their idea of success aligns with yours.
What are their reviews like?
This feedback is less curated and (hopefully) more honest. Look at the content of reviews and, where applicable, how they respond to negative ones.
Do they have certifications?
If they have certifications from industry bodies demonstrating their ability, this is a good sign.
Does their outcome align with yours?
They may have excellent systems and processes, but if the output doesn’t align with your business, it’s all for nothing.
How is success measured?
We mentioned cost per customer acquisition previously: check you’re happy with the metrics that will be used in their reporting, along with the frequency of reporting.
How are leads qualified?
Are leads marketing or sales qualified (MQLs or SQLs)? A narrow definition of a suitable lead is useful because it implies there will be a higher likelihood of conversion.
Will results integrate with your internal systems?
If not, it may be more hassle than it’s worth to effectively use leads.
Are you happy with their methods?
The most popular digital channels for lead generation and B2B marketing strategies are outlined below. It’s important to find out which combination your prospective company will use, and check this aligns with your expectations.
Search Engine Optimisation is the art of ensuring websites perform their best in search engines, appearing above competitors in results pages.
Cultivating a successful online presence is hard, but done well, it has enormous benefits.
Content & PR:
Creating and distributing quality content to sites and publications in relevant niches, to attract visitors and targeted traffic.
Paid advertising, designed to get you seen by the right people in the right online places. This can jump you above non-paid (or organic) results.
GDPR has affected this channel, but it can still yield success. A well crafted email campaign can keep customers interested in your business.
With the right lead generation company, you are putting infrastructure in place for the success of your business. The questions here should steer you in the right direction!