Lead Generating Companies - What They Do
Starting a new business is exciting. You’re passionate and have wonderful solutions to help your customers achieve their goals. You start with a couple of your friends’ businesses, perhaps some referrals and everything is going well.
But you know it’s a matter of time before your sales pipeline dries up. You need a constant flow of customers if you’re going to grow and stay in business.
Where do you start?
You could try out a couple of lead generation strategies…
An excellent growth solution, except, the implementation process needs time to work, along with finances and man-hours that you can’t afford right now.
Your best bet? To partner with a lead generation service company that will send leads your way.
Let’s explore lead generation, who lead generation service providers are, what they do, and what you can expect.
The Lead Generation Process
The lead generation process revolves around inspiring interest in your solutions amongst target audiences intending to turn them into customers.
This means that your products/services need to match the needs of an audience group. Even what looks like general merchandise still has audiences it speaks to.
You’ll need to create customer profiles (revenue, size, location, motivations, etc) of these audiences so you can target them effectively. The closer these leads match your ideal customer the easier it will be to drive conversion.
But why bother with lead generation?
Because customers won’t automatically find you. You can have the best solutions on the market but if no one knows about them you won’t make sales.
Lead generation boosts awareness of these solutions by alerting prospective customers of your existence.
Lead gen allows you to collect consumer data that may shed light on buying behaviour and propensity, needs, and underserved aspects of the prospect’s pain points.
With such a treasure trove on hand, you can build personalised campaigns that offer custom solutions.
In situations where the lead is not ready to buy, the strategy still educates and nurtures them keeping you top of mind when they finally come around. They will be less likely to turn your team away when shopping for your solutions.
Assuming you want to keep things in-house, you’ll need to identify the most suitable lead generation strategies and communication channels that fit your target audience.
These may include social media advertising, influencer marketing strategies, email marketing, search engine optimization (for your content strategy), cold calling, and LinkedIn lead generation tactics.
As mentioned earlier, the process requires time and a budget—the resources you allocate will most likely determine the returns you see.
Is Lead Generation the Same as Demand Generation?
Demand generation is a top-of-the-funnel tactic that relies on various marketing activities designed to build brand awareness.
Potential customers who didn’t know your products/services exist now become aware and interested in them.
Lead generation focuses on these brand-aware people to collect their information to convert leads to customers.
The information collected can help flesh out your ideal customer profiles to help sales teams identify similar leads with better conversion propensity.
Demand generation and lead generation work in tandem to drive potential B2B customers to your sales pipeline.
Are there challenges?
The most common you’ll find is encountering low-quality leads. These are typically audiences that have no desire to convert and may waste efforts trying to get them to do so.
In these cases, your team will need to relook at your lead qualification criteria and the channels that bring in poor leads.
All very time-consuming work, and here’s where a lead generation company comes in.
Who Are Lead Generation Service Providers?
These companies help sales teams in both small businesses and large corporations make their efforts more efficient by qualifying and warming up leads for them.
The best lead generation companies are masters at this game and excel by incorporating creativity and expertise to maximise results.
The team may comprise marketing experts, content creators, social media specialists, SDRs, conversation analysts, graphic designers, and brand managers.
This team studies your business model to understand how your solutions work and the audiences you want to target.
They then work cohesively to align their services to your needs while bringing out aspects of your brand that will appeal to your target audiences.
Some of the services you can expect may include
- Database management
- Account management
- Building contact lists
- Appointment setting
- Creating personalized marketing campaigns
- CRM integrations
The lead generation company may make suggestions regarding shifts in mindset, a multi-channel approach, and sales operations to improve efficiency.
They can point out gaps and join the dots to help you see what your team has been lacking this entire time and applaud the good.
Lead Generation Company Types
Primarily, lead generation companies fall into two categories: inbound marketing companies and outbound marketing companies.
Outbound Lead Generation Companies
These agencies drive brand awareness and interest in your solutions by sending out marketing materials.
They use cold calling, direct mail, email marketing, and LinkedIn lead generation tactics to achieve their goals
Inbound Lead Generation Companies
The lead generation company draws potential customers to your sales funnel through content marketing.
They put together search-engine-optimized content (blog pieces, videos, infographics, etc) focused on educating prospects about their pain points and the available solutions.
This content is then shared on your website, authoritative and industry-relevant websites, social media, and through influencers.
How Does a Lead Generation Agency Work?
A B2B lead generation company is directly responsible for capturing and integrating valuable consumer data from the market.
They harness this information from
- Publicly available records
- Verified trade publications
- Digital business publications
- Printed newsfeeds
- Trade references
- Social media
Depending on your requirements, the company will organise the data they collect into categories that serve your target market. They will develop personalised marketing campaigns, and launch them.
They then monitor responses and qualify the leads before passing them to your in-house sales team for closing.
Most lead generation companies employ traditional and modern techniques to reach and verify sales leads including cold calling, social selling, and emailing.
The goal is to maximise communication usage to increase outreach, reach that qualified lead, and drive conversions.
At SalesHive, our strategy includes a custom-built CRM and outreach platform for our lead generation activities, reporting, as well as booked meeting tracking.
To boost transparency, our clients receive login credentials to the platform allowing them to track contacts, outreach activities, meetings, and goals.
One of the most exciting things clients will notice about our platform is its A/B testing feature. With multi-variate testing capabilities, we can test every aspect of our emails right from the subject line to CTA, and closing to maximise effectiveness.
We then translate our findings to our cold calling and LinkedIn to make marketing operations worthwhile.
How Do Lead Generation Companies Qualify Leads?
To ensure the leads generated fit your company, most lead generation companies communicate directly with them to confirm their genuineness and interest in your solutions.
It’s a tedious process but one that is necessary to ensure you receive high quality leads.
Besides, confirming the lead’s interest, direct communication portrays seriousness on your part boosting your credibility in the long run.
Advantages of Working With a Lead Generation Company
Partnering with a lead generation carries a load of benefits including
- Saving you the resources you would otherwise spend searching and chasing high quality leads—think time, manpower, and money.
- Their expertise helps structure existing and upcoming sales campaigns for maximum impact.
- You gain access to a contact database of verified leads which may be difficult for small businesses to obtain in a short time.
- Thanks to their multi-channel approach, they have immense advertising power and presence on social platforms. This means they can spread the word quickly about your solutions to a vast pool of audiences.
- Reduces closing time. With a steady stream of high-quality leads coming in, it becomes easier to spot those with high purchase propensity and zero in on them.
- Where you can’t spare the time or workforce, outsourcing your lead generation needs means you can turn your attention to other aspects of your business. The experts find prospective customers and only after their interest has peaked are the leads delivered to your team.
Qualities of Reputable Lead Generation Companies
We’ve already seen that outsourcing lead generation activities can be highly beneficial to your brand, but so is the reputation of the firm you want to work with.
A quick google search for top lead generation companies can help steer you in the right direction but there are qualities you want to watch out for.
Any lead generation services provider worth its salt will possess the following qualities:
A true partner will be open and honest with you. They will share their plans, how they plan on reaching their goals, and how you’ll measure their efforts.
It won’t always be smooth sailing and the agency should be willing to share truthfully the current position, whether it’s good or bad. In short, beware of seeing only the good stuff.
- Integrity and Professionalism
Imagine your account manager telling you that your followers on social have gone up by 300%, wouldn’t that be great?
Imagine the possibilities and the reach. Fast forward and you find that the lead generation provider paid those followers and they are actually invalid leads.
Ethics are important in this job. So are the processes and mannerisms with which the agency obtains and interacts with prospective customers. It will reflect on your brand.
Your lead generation partner should be enthusiastic about the partnership and your success. You don’t want to send an email and wait for days for a response. If you sense a lack of enthusiasm or commitment, you may need to cut your losses early.
- Close Collaboration
The lead gen services provider acts as your in-house marketing team. They should appoint a dedicated management team that meets with your sales team or schedules video calls or phone calls regularly to keep abreast of developments.
Collaboration goes both ways. Inform them of product/service changes, industry trends, and new regulations, and let them share the projects and plans they are undertaking to fill up your sales pipeline.
If they have a new content marketing strategy, get to know about it and provide input. The provider should feel like they are down the hall from you.
- Open to Innovation
Forget 10 years ago, what worked 5 years ago may not produce highly desirable results today. The online space is constantly evolving so you need to find an agency that’s open to adopting new techniques and integrating new tools.
An agency that’s open to innovation will help you stay ahead of the competition, the one that isn’t… well, how will they deliver results?
- Aspires for Quality Leads Over Quantity
The pressure to deliver will always be there but that’s no reason to fill your pipeline with poor leads and make converting leads troublesome.
The lead generation company’s goal should focus on how they will generate high-quality leads with high chances of converting.
Top Questions You Should Ask Your Preferred B2B Lead Generation Company
There’s still plenty of work to be done when identifying the best B2B lead generation company for your needs.
As you narrow down the list of lead generation companies, here’s a list of 12 questions worth asking before you settle on one.
- What Stages of the Sales Cycle Do You Cover?
This information is critical as it sets the stage for all activities they will work on and how you’ll measure performance. If you’re working with a good lead generation company they will specify
- The parts of your sales cycle they will handle
- If they are open to working with your existing customer acquisition strategy
- The steps they will take to maximize conversions at the different stages
- What Tools & Tech Do You Use?
Top lead generation companies invest in various mar tech solutions to optimize, automate and manage lead generation campaigns.
Some tools you may want to look for in a candidate agency include
- Call tracking
- Email automation tools
- Social media marketing tools
- Lead verification tools
- CRM tool
- SEO tools
- Marketing automation platform
- Analytics and reporting tools
- Does Your Tech Stack Meet Our Needs?
While a suite of lead generation tools is desirable, it won’t matter much if it doesn’t fit seamlessly with your business processes or marketing workflows.
Check for system integrations and whether the agency’s tools actually comply with your industry’s requirements.
- How is Your Reputation?
You’ll need to conduct your own market research concerning the provider’s reliability. A provider who has worked with multiple companies is easier to measure since their customers will talk about different aspects of their brand and solutions.
Ask the potential lead provider to share customer feedback from various sources including
- Customer success stories
- Reviews from third-party sources
- Industry-relevant awards and recognitions
Check for appointment-setting capabilities, contacts profiled, percentage of appointments that converted, and percentage of leads that were accepted into the pipeline.
Was there a lift in site traffic and qualified leads compared to what the customer enjoyed prior to engaging the lead generation services provider?
- Who’ll Handle Your Campaign?
It’s important to know the people that will be assigned to your organization. Consider the following
- Will you have a dedicated team handling your campaign?
- What role will each person in the team perform?
- Is this team familiar with your products/services? What’s the extent of their knowledge?
- Where Will the Team Be Located?
Time and language barriers can create real barriers in a sale and B2B solutions are tough enough to sell without these extra obstacles.
The best lead generation companies have teams in the same time zone and share the same language as your audiences for smooth communication.
- What Happens If a Skills Gap Arises?
Even the best lead generation services provider may find that they lack people with a particular skill set to carry out specific marketing campaign activities.
If it feels like you’re intruding on their internal processes, you’re not—the project is every bit their responsibility as it is yours. It’s important to know what will happen in such situations.
Ask the provider to share information on their recruitment practices, onboarding processes, performance management, and subcontracting processes.
- What Are the Overall & Individual KPIs for the Campaign Activities?
Lead counts are worth keeping an eye on but they aren’t the only metric in a B2B lead generation campaign.
A typical lead generation company will have multiple measures of success and depending on your project, the KPIs can include
- Sales appointment setting
- Contacts verified
- Qualified leads
- Event registrations and attendance
- New prospects
Check how these measures fit into your sales objectives.
- How is Performance Tracking & Reporting Done?
Whether it’s cold calling or email marketing, today’s lead generation campaigns aren’t just data-driven but also measurable. It’s the only way you can make timely and informed decisions.
Different lead generation companies have different ways of measuring performance and tracking but you’ll want to find out
- What metrics are included in your dashboard?
- What types of reports can you expect and how often will you receive updates?
- Will the reports be customizable to suit your specific business requirements?
- How Do Users Monitor Campaigns?
Lead generation projects aren’t a once-in-a-while type of project, they span several months or years, so your ability to stay abreast of developments and performance is a must-have.
When selecting the best lead generation company for your organization use the following questions to assess the provider’s ability to keep you updated
- What dashboards will you provide?
- Will we have a primary contact person?
- How often will our contact meet with my sales team?
- How will we stay in touch? A provider that provides multiple channels is preferable to ensure you can reach them at all times.
- What is My Team’s Role?
Some B2B lead generation companies handle the entire campaign from preparing campaign materials to lead nurturing before passing over sales-qualified leads to your sales team.
Other providers may require your involvement, especially during the ideation and planning stages. You need to be clear from the beginning, so you can decide if their modus operandi will work for you.
- How is Your Pricing Done?
And finally, the cost factor…
The provider’s experience, successes, your target market and lead generation requirements, and the scope of services offered (including various sales growth solutions) may impact pricing.
Look at the value you’ll receive from the vendor (their capabilities and track record) rather than just the cost. At SalesHive, we offer three packages priced affordably to help meet your sales needs.
Partner With a Lead Generation Company Today
Working with a B2B lead generation company means you can rely on their expertise to generate qualified leads saving your team trial and error drama.
At SalesHive, we believe in transparency, market research, innovation, and professionalism to drive the most qualified leads to your organization. We listen to your needs and tailor solutions to help you reach your goals.
If you're looking for stress-free sales pipelines, talk to us, today.