No matter what kind of business you run, lead generation is likely a crucial part of bringing money in and making your business work. But if you’re not generating those leads internally, you’ll need some way to feed your team with good leads that can be turned into a contributing part of your revenue stream.
However, lead generation services are all over the map. Good leads are still good leads, but bad leads are, well, worthless. And if you’re buying leads, it’s important to get leads that you can turn into paying customers. With the right lead generation partner, you’ll find that a steady stream of good leads can mean the difference between a successful quarter and a lackluster one.
What Is a Lead?
While most people have an idea of what a lead is, many teams and businesses use the term interchangeably even though everyone knows that some leads are better than others.
In general, a lead is essentially any contact in your database. Ideally, they’re potential customers that have expressed an interest in your products or services, but they could also be bad leads — harvested emails, scraped numbers and the like that are unlikely to ever convert. These are basic leads, and a lot of times it’s just a vanity metric that measures the size of your database without regard for potential or a likelihood of converting into a paying customer.
Instead, the real value is in qualified leads from the lead generation service you use — leads that match your target customer profile and has both the means and the ability to pay for and utilize your offering. Unlike generic leads, qualified leads represent potential customers. They may not yet have expressed an interest in your company, but they’re at least a member of your target audience.
The next level of leads is a sales qualified lead. These are leads that are not only a member of your target audience, but they’re also expressly interested in your product or service. Ideally, if you’re paying for leads, these are the leads that are most valuable what you should be shooting for. Whether they’re requesting more information or are waiting for a phone call, consultation or demo, these leads are just one step away from becoming a customer.
It’s About Quality, Not Quantity
When you’re considering how much to pay for lead generation services, the most important thing is to look at what you’re actually getting. So-called leads that may have no interest in your product or that aren’t in your target audience are essentially worthless, even if you got thousands of leads for pennies on the dollar.
Years ago, it used to be possible to assemble a huge funnel of generic leads, letting potential customers work their way through a complicated buyer journey of research and self-guided investigation until they were ready to discuss their options with a salesperson.
Today, there’s so much bad and redundant information out there that customers have all but given up. Instead of spending hours, days and weeks researching their options, they want quick and effective solutions to their problems without all the runaround. That greatly benefits nimble sales teams that can get in front of the right people — as well as lead generation services that bring those people right to your door.
Be Smart With Your Lead Generation
It’s true that pricing for lead generation services varies wildly. But as we mentioned earlier, that’s more because what constitutes a “lead” can mean many different things. However, if you’re trying to save money on your lead generation, you’re likely also jeopardizing the quality of leads that you’re buying.
Most companies that provide lead generation for a few hundred dollars a month often leverage software to scrape and mine sources like LinkedIn and other publicly accessible spaces online to assemble huge lists of ultimately worthless leads. You might be getting thousands of leads for just a few hundred bucks, but it’s not a viable lead generation solution because the list is ultimately worthless.
Other types of lead generation services might give you a more personalized approach and conduct real searches to identify likely customers, but without qualifying anyone you’ll still have to come in cold and hope that you get lucky. Ultimately, these are all generic leads, not qualified leads — and definitely not leads that are on the verge of purchasing, nevermind their actual interest in your product.
The Viable Lead Generation Models
Moving beyond generic leads to qualified leads that are actually worth something gets you into the next level of lead generation services, or lead generation solutions that actually work. Whether you’re a small business in need of lead generation services or you’ve had it with that underperforming telemarketing program, real lead generation will cost you.
But just because you’re paying more doesn’t mean you’ll have to make it up elsewhere. Better leads means a better close rate and potential customers that are further along in the funnel. Whether you’re paying per appointment ($50 to $500) or per month ($2,000 to $20,000), the leads you’ll be getting are qualified leads, not cold, dead ends.
Per appointment billing is popular with companies that want to maximize the number of effective meetings they can book, paying only for leads that are ready for a consultation or demo. By paying for actual meetings, you won’t be wasting a large portion of your lead generation budget on worthless database entries — these are actual people that want to see how you can help.
On the other hand, per month billing is great if you want to establish an ongoing fixed cost — something that you can build into your existing workflow instead of ramping up and down based on the number of appointments. In fact, you can actually get a better value with per month billing than per appointment billing if your chosen lead generation service is dialed in.
Learn More About the SalesHive Approach
Here at SalesHive, we believe in the power of qualified leads. That’s why we’ll work hard to bring you the best leads for your business with a leveraged sales team that you don’t need to worry about day after day. Under your guidance, we’ll help design and fine-tune a process that works best for you and your potential customers, all without the burden of building an expensive internal sales team. Learn about cold calling and the rest of what we have to offer, or contact us to get started.