How to Choose the Right Lead Generation Partnerships to Grow Your Business
Are you looking for more leads for your business? Well, of course, you are! To grow sales and revenue, you need to constantly be adding leads to your pipeline.
When marketers were asked to rank their top priorities, generating more leads was far and away at the top of the list. They ranked it well ahead of increasing customer satisfaction, brand awareness, customer retention, and closing more deals. Leads are clearly a top priority.
However, lead generation isn’t easy. Getting accurate data, balancing volume and quality, and creating a consistent pipeline are all challenging. You need to make sure you have a strategic process in place to handle, nurture, and move leads through the buyer’s journey and the sales enablement tools you need to support and turn leads into customers.
While there’s a lot to worry about to create an efficient and sustainable sales process, it all starts with generating leads.
What Is a Lead Provider?
B2B lead providers help companies develop leads. They range from lists to tech tools to full-service marketing agencies to help deploy lead generation tactics.
There are four main types of lead gen providers:
- Database and list providers
- Inbound lead generation companies
- Industry niche sites
- Outbound lead generation companies
Database and List Providers
Lead generation companies that cull and aggregate consumer and business information provide lists of leads for purchase. Leads can be sorted in a variety of ways to provide targeted lists based on predefined data. For example: You can buy lists of B2B leads by industry, revenue, number of employees, job title, location, etc.
Some list providers will have their own B2B contact databases, others will cultivate existing lists, and others specialize in specific areas such as LinkedIn for data sourcing. There are also lead aggregators that purchase lists and then resell them.
Inbound Lead Generation Companies
Inbound lead gen providers work to optimize your website, create content, social media, brand, and SEO to generate demand and capture leads. By making your content easier to discover and creating relevant, valuable content, you can better attract website visitors and convert them into leads.
Industry Niche Sites
While most inbound lead generation providers work directly with customers to improve the quality of content, websites, and landing pages, others are self-standing websites. For example: A website might help consumers find lawyers in their local area and sell the leads to law firms. Sites like Cars.com or Autotrader do this for car dealers.
Outbound Lead Generation Companies
By comparison, outbound lead generation companies send out or push messages to a targeted audience. This might include email campaigns, cold calling, display advertising, direct mail, or any number of tactics.
While some agencies and lead gen companies will provide multiple services, others will focus more heavily on one aspect. For example: A lead gen provider might excel at email marketing while another may focus its effort on social selling tactics. Which led gen provider you choose will depend on what your needs are and what you already do to attract leads.
How To Choose Lead Gen Providers: 8 Questions To Ask
When choosing lead generation partners, there are many variables to consider. We’ve put together a list of questions you should ask to make sure you find the right partner for your business.
1. What Services Do They Actually Offer?
As we mentioned above, lead gen providers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You need to make sure that any company you do business with provides the type of services you need. It makes a big difference whether you want to buy a list and do the marketing yourself to generate leads or if you want someone to deliver you qualified leads that have indicated some level of intent.
Most companies today employ several different solutions within their marketing and tech stack, using multiple tactics. For example: They may use a mix of inbound and outbound marketing tools doing email campaigns using account-based marketing (ABM) with lists they’ve bought, and using a chatbot/SMS platform that provides best-in-breed conversational AI to engage website visitors.
2. How Are Their Leads Sourced?
Where leads come from and how they are sourced are crucial. For example: When you buy lists, the leads on the list don’t know you. Generally, they have opted in on another site and may see your marketing efforts as unwanted. Since you’ve never had any contact with them, any marketing you do might come off as spam.
Leads can also grow stale quickly. If your lead gen provider is handing you leads, you need to make sure they are current and constantly updated. People change jobs quickly these days, so an old lead might be worthless.
Some of the best lead generation solutions will source leads from your website or content so you can be assured the information collected is current and has opted-in to your offers.
3. How Are Leads Qualified?
Similar to sourcing, you want to understand how lead gen providers qualify leads. You should set strict parameters for how and what qualifies as a lead, especially when you are buying them.
4. How Do They Deliver Quality Leads?
The quantity of leads your lead generation partnerships deliver is only important if the leads are high-quality. The more quality leads you have, the better your closing rate will be.
Nearly half of all marketers say that ROI measurement is a priority. You will want to evaluate how lead gen providers develop leads to ensure you get the balance of quantity and quality you need.
5. How Do They Measure Success?
The best lead generation companies will measure success based on results rather than numbers. Someone can hand you a million email addresses, but if they don’t lead to sales, you’ll waste a lot of time chasing unproductive leads. It could drive your marketing and sales teams crazy.
When choosing lead generation partnerships, discuss how they measure success, what metrics they use, and how they deliver ROI.
6. Can They Integrate With Your CRM and Marketing Tech Stack?
You need a lead generation provider that can integrate their data with your CRM and tech stack. Leads need to fit seamlessly into your workflow and automate the process of getting leads and information into your pipeline.
When discussing potential lead generation partnerships, make sure there’s a mechanism to automate lead delivery into your specific tech solutions. Your team will thank you.
7. What Are Their Conversion Rates?
What’s more important than leads? Conversions. It’s great to keep your pipeline full, but you need to convert leads to grow your customer base and generate revenue. Ask potential lead generation partners for their average conversion rate.
There’s a lot that happens between generating a lead and getting a conversion and almost all of that is out of the hands of your lead gen provider. However, good lead generation partners should be focused on delivering the highest quality leads that generate sales. That’s what it’s all about.
Which leads us to this: How do you evaluate ROI for lead generation companies?
8. What’s the ROI on Lead Generation?
While most lead generation companies will tell you about their great return on investment and cite case studies with great results, you should independently develop your key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate any lead gen companies you work with to ensure you’re getting a fair return on your investment. Most companies today are tracking several metrics to evaluate ROI. You should be tracking:
- Marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
- Sales qualified leads (SQLs)
- Conversion rates
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Customer lifetime value (CLTV)
Tracking these key metrics and slicing them by source and lead gen provider can help you determine which lead generation companies are giving you the most bang for the buck.
These metrics also help you evaluate your marketing and sales efforts to find potential roadblocks or shortfalls in your sales development processes. When you find leads getting stuck in the pipeline, it helps you to evaluate your sales teams and your processes.
For example: If your marketing team does a great job of nurturing leads and turning them from SQLs to MQLs, but you’re not closing the number of deals you should be, it’s a sign something’s not working right. You can dig in and see what’s happening. Maybe your sales team needs more training, your lead scoring process needs adjustment, or you aren’t providing the marketing support your sales team needs.
Boost Lead Generation and Conversion Rates
Of course, once you’ve generated a lead, it’s up to you to keep them engaged and drive them through the buyer’s journey. By engaging with them from the initial content and providing relevant, useful information, you can nurture your leads to improve conversions.
With the right lead generation partnerships and a well-defined marketing and sales process, you’re on the way to success!
If you’re looking to supercharge your sales pipeline? Talk to the experts at Aktify today and learn how conversational AI can boost your lead generation and conversion rates today.