It’s that time of the year again, when we all sit down and review the year we’ve had and begin to plan for the year ahead. The number one item on my holiday list for Santa is an ample supply of high quality executive leads. High quality leads are what makes the B2B world go around. Without them, your sales team is stuck in prospecting mode instead of speaking with qualified and interested targets.
The next best thing to the sound of sleigh bells on your roof, is finding a Lead Generation consulting firm to deliver your leads for the new year. But, how do you distinguish the right one for you to deal with? This white paper will help you narrow down the field by asking the right questions and to navigate securing right partner.
Why Go with an Outside Service?
When it comes to lead generation you basically have three options:
- Require your inhouse sales team to prospect their own leads
- Create an inhouse lead generation team to support your sales group
- Employ the services of an outside service vendor
Let’s look at each of them.
Requiring your inhouse sales team to prospect their own leads is the old school method of generating leads. This would have your sales people pounding the pavement and/or smiling and dialing day in and day out. The problem with this tactic is would you rather have your team searching for leads or selling your products. 90% of their time is spent as lead hunters rather than salespeople.
Creating an inhouse department is a better option. It frees your salespeople to develop customer relationships, do demos, and qualify leads provided to them by your inhouse leadgen team. However, this means recruiting experienced, productive lead generators, providing them with tools to work with, space to work in, as well as pay and benefits. Experienced lead generators are not cheap, at least the good ones. Beside the cost involved, you have one more team to manage, adding to your responsibilities.
Employing the services of an outside service may be your best option. It requires the involvement of just one of your employees to interface with them. There are no costs of infrastructure expenses. They already employ qualified lead generators, so that lightens your management and HR loads.
Know What You Are Looking For
Before contacting a lead gen firm, it is best to know exactly what you are looking for. The lead gen contractor will need this data. Prepare a profile of synopsis of who your target market is, answering questions such as:
- What industries are your core markets?
- What industries are your fringe markets?
- What are the titles of the contacts involved in the decision-making process?
- What is your geographic market – US, North America, Global?
- What problems do your products solve for the target and how?
- What is the sizzle that sells your products?
Put Together a List of Lead Generators
Search engines are an amazing resource for sourcing new vendors and contractors. Put together a list of prospects using the following criteria:
- Does the vendor have experience in sourcing your core markets?
- Is the vendor in your time zone, or at least no more than one zone away?
- Does the vendor’s website contain case studies from your competitors?
- Does the vendor’s website impress you?
It’s great to know that the vendor has experience working in your market. It’s even better if your competition raves about them, as you know they are successful in finding leads that could benefit your firm.
The time zone they are based in is important because if you are in the East and the contractor is in the west, it is noon before they get rolling. It just makes it harder to communicate functionally.
Finally, a website is often a snapshot that represents the business you are dealing with. It is a representation of how approach the business world. If they don’t impress you, will they impress the prospects you are seeking.
Key Questions to Ask
- Have you found prospects in my core market previously?
- How much experience do you have working in my core market?
- Do you or have you worked for my competitors? If so, how do you handle juggling two similar campaigns at once?
- How many contact names do you have in my target market that are in the roles involved in the decision-making process?
- Will you be contacting employees of the core market firms that are in non-decision-making roles? (Hoping they will forward the email to the right person.)
- How long has the firm been in the lead generation business?
- How long has their current staff of lead generators been employed there and how long have they been in the industry in that role?
- What type of technical enhancements do they enjoy from in the lead gen process?
- How does the provider verify/confirm the leads before submitting them to you?
- How is the provider compensated for their service (ie. Cost per Lead, Retainer, Per Project Basis, etc.)?
Interview a few different lead generation firms to determine which is the best fit for you. Which is the best fit with your company’s culture, target market and sales style. After all, they will serve as a seamless extension of your sales team with all the competence, savvy and professionalism expected from your own employees.
Famous Last Words
“Stop selling. Start helping.” ― Zig Ziglar
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