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A sales pipeline full of quality leads is every business owner's dream. Once you have that, it feels almost as good as winning a lifetime supply of your favorite chocolate bar. But those supplies never really last a lifetime, do they? And you shouldn't take your lead supply for granted either.
Businesses that try to generate leads in-house or don't have proper processes in place will hit the wall sooner or later. But lead capture doesn't have to be burdensome. You'll have your sales pipeline nice and full if you partner with a lead generation company. You can also engage website visitors with more intention. Let me explain how to do that.
What are lead generation companies?
Lead generation companies generate and qualify sales leads for other companies by identifying potential customers interested in the products or services offered by their clients.
Their tactics vary from company to company, but most take care of the whole process, including identifying leads and nurturing them until they're ready to buy. At this stage, a lead generation company will usually pass sales-qualified leads (SQLs) to your sales team so it can take care of the crucial step.
Why would you work with a lead generation company?
If you’ve taken care of lead generation in-house until now and you’re on the fence about hiring a lead generation agency, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have the time to keep investing in an in-house team and wait for them to generate satisfactory results?
- Are you happy with the quality of leads generated by your in-house team?
- Do you have enough time to take care of other important aspects of running your business with so much focus on acquiring leads?
If you answered these questions with a triple "no" and have the budget to hire a lead generation company, go for it. A lead generation organization will get you the following:
- More qualified leads without spending time nurturing them yourself.
- A whole package of skills you might not have in-house — lead generation agencies specialize in many different marketing tactics, including content marketing, social media, pay-per-click, cold emails, marketplace identification, etc.
- Return on investment more quickly.
Mick Griffin, chief growth officer at TRAFFIT, said:
Speed is crucial. Lead generation is a constantly changing ecosystem. Our potential customers are changing the way they consume knowledge and interact with businesses constantly. Working with a lead generation company usually means you cut out the trial and error, and their experts apply real-time tactics to generate your leads.
What to consider when choosing a lead generation company
If you’re getting sold on the idea of working with a lead gen company, it’s time to find out what to look for.
By checking a company's past performance, you'll determine if it has a history of generating high-quality leads, meeting its client's expectations, and generating results within its promised time frame.
A company's track record can also give you an idea of its expertise and experience in your industry or niche. A company that has worked with several businesses in your industry may better understand your target audience and the best strategies to attract them.
Assess a lead generation company's track record by checking their reviews, testimonials, and case studies. They provide insights into the experiences of other businesses that worked with the company and how happy they were with the provided services.
Lead acquisition cost (LAC)
Lead generation companies have different pricing models that vary depending on the services they offer, the quality of leads, and the complexity of their process.
LAC can turn your return on investment (ROI) upside down. Choose a lead generation company that offers a reasonable cost per lead, considering the value of the leads. If you're in a high-ticket sales industry, like real estate or finance, you may be willing to pay more per lead if the leads are highly likely to convert to customers.
Some lead generation companies may have a minimum lead order requirement or charge setup fees, so make sure that the company's pricing structure matches your business goals and budget. This will help you avoid unexpected costs and plan your expenses effectively.
Niche-specific lead generation companies have experience and expertise in the particular market or customer profile. They understand the unique challenges and opportunities within that market, provide insights and recommendations that can help you refine your marketing strategy, and generate high-quality leads that are more likely to convert into paying customers.
On top of that, communication with your target audience is easier for them. They understand the language and jargon used within your industry, which can help them craft messaging that resonates with potential customers.
Most importantly for you, their services can often be more cost-effective compared to generalist lead generation companies, which ultimately reduces the cost per lead. Griffin also hinted at an understanding of an ideal customer persona:
I want to see that they know exactly who I want as a lead, and also how to present strong value propositions that will make them want to learn more about my business. Generating leads isn't that hard, but generating leads that can convert is the key.
Methods and processes
Outdated or spammy methods can generate a high volume of leads but low conversion rates. On the other hand, a company that uses more targeted and precise methods, such as search engine optimization (SEO), affiliation, or social media marketing, may generate fewer leads but with a higher conversion rate.
A lead generation company specializing in a particular type of business or industry may use methods and processes more suitable for your business goals. For example, a B2B lead generation company may focus more on account-based marketing (ABM) to target specific businesses. In contrast, a B2C lead generation company may use more broad-based methods to target a wider audience, like firms generating leads for real estate businesses, insurance, and mortgage companies.
References and case studies
Speak with other businesses that have previously worked with the lead generation company. Ask about their experience, the quality of leads generated, and the company's level of support and communication. This can help you determine whether the company is a good fit for your business needs.
Case studies offer a more in-depth look at the company's success in generating high-quality leads. They typically include details on the strategies and tactics used by the company, as well as the results achieved for their clients.
Lead generation companies you might want to look at
With the abundance of available options, chances are you'll have a hard time choosing the best lead generation company. To make that easier for you, I looked at a few firms and chose three that are the real deal and a good starting point.
Cience offers two types of services: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and People-as-a-Service (PaaS). While SaaS is a relatively well-known concept, PaaS is a bit more enigmatic — it pretty much means you get to work with dedicated teams of researchers and sales development representatives (SDRs).
Cience will help you build your first ideal customer profile (ICP) so that they can reach your target audience as effectively as possible. Once they qualify leads, they hand them over to your sales team so you can close the deals on your own.
You also get to choose between inbound and outbound sales development, but you might as well run two approaches at the same time. That's especially handy if you've only ever done inbound sales and marketing and want to test if outbound is viable for your business.
Cience's pricing page reveals seven packages to choose from, all with detailed descriptions and different pricing types based on the project's scope.
This Canadian company exclusively services B2B tech companies. Specializing in this sector has gained their team a unique understanding of this industry, enabling them to develop strategies tailored to ideal buyer personas.
Going deeper, you’ll learn that they’ve worked with:
- IT services and marketplaces
- Marketing, retail, analytics, and at-tech
- SaaS and enterprise software
- Telecom, connectivity, and Internet-of-Things
Just like Cience, Martal offers inbound and outbound lead generation services at three service tiers involving:
- Lead generation
- Lead generation and customer onboarding
- Lead generation, customer onboarding, and account management
With their pricing available upon request, you can sign up for a three-month pilot campaign followed by a monthly subscription. The team you’ll work with consists of a sales operations manager in charge of the communication, monitoring, and improvements of your campaign, as well as a fractional VP of sales, a marketing manager, and a dedicated SDR.
Callbox caters to enterprise and scaling businesses worldwide. Like Martal, they work with companies in specific industries, including information technology, cloud computing, SaaS, financial technology, and a few other B2B verticals.
What sets this company apart is what they call multi-touch account-based marketing (ABM), which combines inbound and outbound channels and is based on four core steps: identify, expand, engage, and convert. Callbox claims this approach “turns prospects into qualified sales leads in half the time than it usually does.”
They also outline their ten-step process for lead generation campaigns, so you can get the idea of what you’re signing up for well before you decide to talk to them. Like most lead gen companies, they adjust their pricing to individual partners after their request.
When you’d rather take it one step at a time
If you feel lead generation outsourcing would be overkill at this point, using live chat as a lead generation software might be an interesting alternative.
When you look at LiveChat specifically, you’ll see that its features can help turn your website into a lead-generation factory. What is it powered by?
You'll find the tools that'll help you attract, nurture, convert, and delight website users on your landing page. From targeted messages that draw visitors' attention and knowledge base articles that educate them, to email marketing integrations, you'll be able to start engaging leads the moment they land on your website.
Once you’re past that initial stage, you can warm them up with rich messages, showcasing your products and services, and maximize your chances for conversion with asynchronous communication that keeps the business wheels turning even when you’re away.
Speaking of conversion, you can integrate LiveChat with your customer relationship management (CRM) software so that it's easier to get your ducks in a row. With your leads neatly organized, you'll be able to prioritize them and act on the ones with the best odds of converting.
You do you
Only you and your business partners know what will work best for your business. By now, you should understand the benefits of working with a lead generation company. Whether you work with one or generate leads on your own, you can support each approach by installing live chat on your website. Maybe this communication channel is all you need to get those sales pouring in.