When selecting someone for your business to partner with, it’s about more than just the price tag. Sure, price is a factor, but you also have to make sure that the partnership is going to work and be fruitful for both of you.
If you’ve ever considered partnering with a company to generate leads for your B2B business, you probably have a multitude of options available to you. Choosing a partner is a strategic business decision, and it can feel overwhelming. First, let’s take a look at what a B2B lead generation company actually does and why you might need one.
What is a B2B Lead Generation Company?
A lead generation company is responsible for handling all aspects of prospecting, qualifying leads, collecting contact data, lead tracking, communication, and digital strategy development. Working with a B2B lead generation company, specifically, can connect your business with other businesses who are looking for the products or services you offer. The efforts of a B2B lead generation company ultimately expand your customer base, helping you to grow your business.
Now, how do you go about selecting a company to work with? Here’s what you should look at when selecting a B2B lead generation company to work with.
Basic Company Information
First and foremost, when looking at B2B lead generation companies, you should be looking at basic company information. Not only that but do you like them as a company? Can you picture a good working relationship between both of you? A gut feeling says a lot, and if you don’t have a great feeling initially, you may want to ask yourself why that is.
You should also look into the following information about all companies that you research:
What types of companies do they work with?
When evaluating B2B lead generation companies to work with, it’s important to look at what types of companies they have experience working with. A company may say that they can work with any type of business; but usually, they specialize in working with businesses that are a certain size and in specific industries.
Do they work with small to medium-sized businesses? Or, do they work with larger corporations more often? What industries do they specialize in? If they specialize in generating leads for the business sector you are in, great! Or, if not, you can at least do your research to see if they work with an industry that’s fairly similar to yours.
Do they provide inbound or outbound lead generation services? Or both?
Has your business evaluated different lead generation strategies? You can go with outbound lead generation—this method allows you to target the exact types of customers you want and initiate the first conversation with them. Inbound, on the other hand, brings leads to your business by driving users to your website through SEO, content creation, social media, and other marketing services. Or, you may decide your business could benefit from both.
There are pros and cons to both inbound and outbound marketing, and the strategy (or strategies) you decide to use is up to you. But, it’s important that you decide whether you are more interested in generating inbound leads or generating outbound leads, because some companies only offer one or specialize in one more than the other.
How much experience do they have?
For most B2B companies, lead generation falls outside of the type of work they are familiar with. Even so, if you’re going to outsource your lead generation efforts, you want it to be to a team of sales professionals who can provide impactful results.
Experience is measured in a number of ways. You should consider all of the following factors when selecting a B2B lead generation provider who can directly impact revenue and growth:
- Years in business
- Number of current clients
- Success stories with past clients
Specifics About Your Program
In addition to basic company information, you should also ask any potential partners about what your program will look like. It’s important for you to have a clear picture of what your program will look like so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Be sure to ask potential B2B lead generation companies the following questions before entering into a partnership.
How will they tailor their services to meet your goals?
Once you choose which lead generation strategy makes the most sense for your business (inbound or outbound), it can still be difficult to make a decision. So many companies offer the same types of services, so you’ll need to figure out more about what your program will look like.
Ask the provider how they will tailor their services to meet your specific goals. Also, ask the following questions:
- What does the onboarding process look like?
- How do we stay in communication throughout the program?
- Do they offer full-service vs. stand-alone packages?
- Do they manage all lead generation activity or is it partly self-directed? What are you responsible for?
- Do they offer additional services like lead management and lead nurturing?
Which stages of the sales funnel will be covered?
This is a critical piece of information you’ll want to know if your company struggles with a long and complex sales cycle. What are you paying for and what stages of the sales funnel will be covered? Knowing what steps they will handle can help you maximize your conversions.
How and where do they get their leads?
If you’re going to invest in a lead generation program, you’ll want to know where your leads are coming from. The quality of leads starts at the time they’re first acquired as prospects. Where is the team getting the contact information of the prospects for your program?
Ask the following questions:
- Do they use third-party data sources?
- Does the agency do its own prospect research?
- How often do they update and clean their leads database?
- What steps do they take to ensure data quality (i.e. do they scrub lists?)
A great B2B lead generation agency will utilize a talented team and industry-leading tools to make your program as successful as possible. Consider the following when analyzing different companies to work with.
An experienced lead generation company should use a full suite of tools to make your program a success. These tools are used to manage, automate, and optimize lead gen campaigns.
Ask the company, or, if you can find it on their website, look for the following types of tools:
- Lead verification tools
- Analytics and reporting tools
- Marketing automation platforms
- CRM tools (such as Salesforce)
- Email automation tools
- Call tracking tools
- Social media management tools
- SEO and CRO tools
- SEM analytics tools
One of the most important things to look at—who will be on your account? You want to make sure that a talented group of individuals is responsible for growing your business, so it’s not wrong to ask who will be running your account and what each person’s responsibilities will be.
Ask questions such as:
- How many sales reps will be on my account? Will a sales gap be filled if one arises, and by whom?
- Will you have data specialists on your account working in the background?
- Who will be your marketing team (if you are investing in an inbound program)?
- Is anyone responsible for training the sales reps who will be on your account?
- Who is writing the content used for your program in email campaigns and landing pages?
Who is designing landing pages or marketing assets used for your program?
It’s important that you know what your role as the client is. Once you find out what parts of the sales funnel are covered, determine if you will be able to handle your responsibilities. If you only handle the pitch once a lead is qualified and agrees to an appointment, you can likely handle it. However, if other parts of the funnel aren’t covered, it’s something you’ll want to consider.
Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to measure performance with any lead generation program you invest in. Even if a company is great at communicating with you, being able to see the results yourself is very powerful. Consider asking the following questions.
Will you be able to monitor your program?
First of all, ask if there is any way to monitor your program at all. Is there a client portal? This is no longer just a nice feature for B2B lead generation companies to have, it’s almost a must-have capability for successful lead generation campaigns. Ask what dashboards they’ll be providing and the different ways you can track the success of your program.
How is performance tracked and reported?
Lead generation campaigns are based on data. The quality of the tracking/reporting a company provides should be a direct indicator of whether or not you should work with them.
Consider the following:
- What types of metrics are included in your dashboard and reports?
- What is the frequency of reporting and updates?
- Are you able to customize and tailor reports to your unique requirements?
Choosing the right B2B lead generation provider can be tough. Abstrakt Marketing Group is an experienced inbound and outbound marketing company that can grow your business and keep your sales pipeline filled with qualified leads. Contact us today to learn more about what a program would look like for your business.