What Is A Lead Generation Company?

If you want to increase revenue, you need to increase the number of leads you get. You could try to figure it out yourself, but it might be smarter to hand over that responsibility to a lead generation company.

So, what is a lead generation company? A lead generation company helps your business find prospective buyers for your product or service.

To learn about the services lead generation companies offer, and how they can help your business grow, read on.

Increase the number of leads you get.

Lead generation companies explained

When you hire a lead generation company, you're essentially hiring a team of people who will help you find prospects, turn those prospects into leads, and turn those leads into conversions.

The methods and strategies these companies employ are as wide-ranging as the marketing industry itself. However, there are several benefits that all reputable lead generation companies will bring to the table.

Benefits of hiring a lead generation company

Prospect databases

Before you can turn prospects into leads, you need to know who they are.

Companies that rely on inbound lead generation strategies don't have to worry about this too much. But if you rely on outbound strategies to bring in customers, you'll need a database of prospects to contact.

Many successful lead generation companies have pre-made prospect databases for virtually every industry. By hiring one of these services, you'll gain access to these databases and save time that would have otherwise been spent finding prospects yourself.

Nurturing services

Acquiring a bunch of leads feels great. But if you can't nurture those leads toward converting, all of the money and work that went toward lead acquisition was wasted.

Some lead generation companies take the stress and guesswork out of nurturing by doing it for you. These services are typically comprehensive and involve the following strategies.

Email marketing

Email is an excellent place to nurture leads. Many lead generation companies will help you build and run your own lead nurturing email campaign.

Some will even run it for you, but I would hesitate to hand over full control right away. No one knows your target market like you do, and you need to make sure the company's team understands how to communicate with your prospects. But if you do trust them, the time saved writing and split testing emails is worth the cost.

Social media marketing

There are a lot of potential leads on every social media platform. A lead generation company can help you find those leads and target them in a way that makes generating conversions more likely.

Trade shows

Businesses that sell to other companies can find a lot of new prospects at industry trade shows. Your lead generation company can help you find these shows and prepare for them.

Appointment setting

Setting appointments with prospects.

Setting appointments with prospects is an important part of the B2B sales process. To lead a wary prospect down the sales pipeline, you need to schedule a series of one-on-one conversations to answer their questions and alleviate their concerns.

There are typically a few people involved in the conversational process.

If you're using a lead generation company, a lead generation specialist will often be the first point of contact. Once they've qualified and warmed up the prospect, they'll hand the reins over to someone from the sales team. An engineer may also get involved if the product is particularly technical.

Anyway, someone from your lead generation company can take the annoying task of appointment setting off of your plate.

Ready-made sales team

If your business is on the smaller side and lacks a sales department, some lead generation companies offer ready-made sales teams that will sell your products for you.

Of course, these teams won't be effective right off the bat. They'll need time to learn the ins and outs of your product or service and the personality traits of the leads they'll be selling to.

Expertise without the wait

It is possible to become a lead generation expert from scratch. The resources are out there, and with enough time and effort, you can learn the lead generation ropes all on your own.

However, your company might not have the time to wait for you to get up to speed. If your product launch is moving faster than the progress of your marketing education, outsourcing lead generation to experts is an expedient way to start getting sales immediately.

What to ask a lead generation company before hiring

What to ask a lead generation company before hiring?

How long have they been in business?

Longevity isn't always an indicator of quality, but it's often smarter to go with a long-standing lead generation firm than it is to take a risk on one of the new kids on the block.

Older firms have the advantage of larger databases, more experienced lead generation specialists, and a better track record of success.

That isn't to say you should disregard all newer companies right away. Many are started by experts with decades of experience in the lead generation space. Choosing a newer company with experienced leadership can bring the impact of an older company without the higher costs that generally accompany them.

Are they experienced in your industry?

The number of years a company has been in operation isn't the only experience-related factor you need to consider. It's also important to check how much experience each lead generation company has in your particular industry.

While many lead generation tactics are essentially the same across industries, there are several benefits to choosing a company that has experience operating in your field:

  • Richer prospect databases
  • A deeper understanding of the pain points customers in your industry deal with
  • A better grasp of the marketing approaches and vocabulary that work best

How do they find leads?

How do they find leads?

Although lead generation companies are knowledgeable authorities in the lead generation space, it's still important that you question and understand their methodology.

One of the first things you need to ask is how they identify prospects and convert them into leads. How they do this will have a substantial impact on lead quality, the amount of work your sales team will need to put in, and the amount of money you'll have to shell out for a lead generation.

While it's difficult to judge the efficacy of a lead generation strategy with a brief conversation, here are some things you should look for:

  • A multi-faceted strategy. Making outbound phone calls to target companies is a good start, but do they incorporate email outreach too? Will they be using any inbound strategies in their campaign? If so, what kind of content will they create to facilitate inbound lead generation?
  • A focus on lead nurturing. Generating leads is an excellent start, but your lead generation company shouldn't leave you in the dust to figure out how to properly nurture the leads they get you. Ask them if they offer lead nurturing services and have them explain their nurturing philosophy if they do.
  • A dedicated team. If your lead generation efforts falter, your bottom line is going to suffer. To give you the best chance of success possible, any lead generation company you hire should assign a dedicated team whose sole priority is helping your business grow. If the people working with your company will also be working with other companies, consider choosing a different lead generation service.

How do they qualify leads?

Lead qualification is essential if you don't want to waste the time of your sales team.

To maximize your sales team's efficiency, ask every potential lead generation company about how they handle the lead qualification process. While the exact way in which they qualify leads will depend on the marketing techniques used and the industry you're in, there are a few key questions that should be asked of every lead:

  • Can they afford the product or service?
  • Do they have the authority to make a purchase decision?
  • Are they in a position to buy soon?
  • Are they interacting with your website in a way that indicates intent over interest? This would be checking sales pages or demo videos vs. reading tangentially related blog content.

Are their leads exclusive?

You don't want to be competing with other companies for the same customers. If you hire a company to bring you leads, those leads must be exclusive. Any service that shares their leads with your competition isn't worth your time or money.

Shawn Manaher - Owner of Ignite Marketing
Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of Ignite Marketing. He's one part local business growth specialist, one part campaign strategizing ninja, and two parts leader of an awesome nerd pack. He won't eat pancakes unless you call them flat waffles.

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