When it comes to lead generation, one question that always plagues marketers is whether to outsource or handle every activity inhouse. Ultimately, there is need for both approaches in any company. There is a mountain of evidence supporting the efficiency and success that comes from working with b2b lead generation services. Besides the cost savings aspect that goes with lead generation, there are many other factors that influence the decision to outsource lead generation. These include:
1. Time Factor
If you have little time to meet your sales objectives, outsourcing is a viable option. It would take too much time to hire, on board and train additional in house staff to generate leads.
2. Current Competency Levels.
Upskilling your team is always an option, but it comes at an additional cost. Not to mention, even after training, you have to contend with the subsequent learning curve. Mastery of skills like appointment setting comes with experience. Before investing in training your team, ask yourself:
- Is the skill you are training for absolutely necessary to have on the team? Or can you get the skill from a third-party agency?
- Will taking time off to train interfere with other areas of your business?
- Do you have other team members to dedicate to core marketing activities?
- Will the staff members need more training in other skills that complement lead generation? For instance, project management?
3. Technology and Tools
Figure 1: Leads Calls
Lead generation depends on having a reliable technology stack (such as CRM tools and marketing automation tools) to manage the process. Spending on the best tools may be a huge investment for your company. On the other hand, outsourcing will give you access to a technology stack that measures up to industry standards.
4. Lack of Resources for Scaling Up
If your sales and marketing teams are held up by lead generation activities, they could miss out on entire trends and opportunities. Outsourcing lets third party agencies like telemarketing companies handle the grunt work, leaving your team free to make “big picture” plans.
5. Lack of Budget
Salaries is one of the biggest cost impediments for small and medium sized companies. More so, the lead generation process comes with some costs. You have to compare your costs for inhouse vs outsourcing approaches to determine which one gives you the highest ROI.
How Inhouse and Outsourced Lead Generation Teams Can Work Together to Get the Most ROI
Once you decide that outsourcing your lead generation is the right move for your company, you must achieve alignment of your inhouse and outsourced lead generation process. Alignment will depend on the need that both teams defined on first contact. In other words, what part (or parts) of the lead generation process did you outsource? Common areas of difficulty often include:
- Generating accurate buyer personas
- Identifying the goals and desires of each persona. That is, what do they want in a product or service?
- Attracting and nurturing leads from MQL to HQL
- Appointment setting
- Data capture and performance tracking
Future conversations between your teams will be based around these activities. In your follow up meetings, you should find out:
- What your outsourced team is doing to bridge the gap/gaps identified in the areas mentioned above. Have they set up a system to address the gap? For instance, you may have many leads but you are having a difficult time reaching any of them on the phone. Can your appointment setting partner get you meetings?
- Whether the lead generation activities are paying off. This should be supported by numbers.
That said, for your lead generation strategy to work, inhouse and outsourced teams must perform tasks that support the process. These include:
1. Attracting leads
Inbound: Content generation Relevant content is a vital part of any inbound marketing strategy. Create blog posts (text and visual), rich content, white papers and eBooks, and distribute them across the platforms popular with your personas. The right content will help your leads make up their mind about buying.
Outbound: Telemarketing Nurturing a lead can be a time-consuming process; lead generation tactics like telemarketing play a crucial role in this process. Unfortunately, telemarketing has received a bad reputation over the years, thanks to pushy sales people who prospect for sales without first segmenting or profiling their audiences.
But the picture looks very different on the b2b front, where telemarketing has been ranked as one of the most effective lead generation methods. In a survey conducted on 200 sales managers, the respondents said that when they receive sales calls at work, they look at this as an opportunity for more business. They also ranked it as one of the best ways to generate b2b sales.
Note however, that it takes skill, experience and the right tools to pull off telemarketing in a way that is strategic and beneficial to your company. Due to their experience, telemarketing companies understand the nuances that make it successful. They are thus best placed to handle this part of your lead generation, to give you a leg-up in getting relevant conversations started with your leads.
2. Lead nurturing
Figure 2: Lead to Customer Funnel
Anyone on your email list is important as they have already had prior contact with you. This also makes the task of nurturing such leads that much easier, as they have already expressed an interest in buying from you. If they haven’t bought from you before, nurture them through the sales funnel with content. If they have purchased from you before, continue to send them targeted content that will entice them to be repeat customers. Work with your outsourced team to ensure that you have the right content to send and that your email autoresponder is sending out emails based on your lead’s activities.
3. Lead qualification
Knowing when to pass leads over to the sales team is important in order to increase conversions. Inhouse and outsourced teams should be clear on the definitions of what qualifies a lead as sales ready or a high-quality lead (HQL). Some key indicators to guide the process include:
- A high lead-score. For instance, a lead that interacts frequently with your website or other platforms should score highly.
- Behavioral traits that suggest strong interest
- Availability of budget
- When a lead possesses the necessary authority level
- A clear need for your product or services
The entire lead generation process should be under scrutiny by your team to ensure that it is as effective as possible in bringing in new leads, nurturing them, converting them into customers and retaining those customers overtime.
At the beginning of your partnership, align your inhouse and outsourced lead generation teams on the metrics and the benchmarks for success. After that, hold regular meetings between both teams to review measurable impact. But you shouldn’t just evaluate for the sake of it; performance evaluation meetings highlight areas of concerns. For instance, if leads seem to drop off at a certain point in the funnel. Needless to say, if lead nurturing activities are clear from the get go, you will not have a problem with leads suddenly dropping off. Before you task your teams with lead generation, prime them and equip them to better exploit every touch point for maximum conversion and positive ROI.
The best lead generation strategy is one that ends up in the highest conversion of leads to customers. Cooperation is important when working with a third-party lead generation service. Only by aligning your inhouse and outsourced teams can you evolve your lead generation approach fast enough, thus giving your business the lead catalyst it needs to take advantage of changing market trends.
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