For B2B organizations, finding the right mix of lead and demand generation partners to drive pipeline and revenue is crucial to business success. Because building an internal lead generation team can be exceptionally challenging – onboarding new reps; ongoing training; lack of bandwidth to do it the right way; lack of know how to do it the right way; incredibly expensive; time to value isn’t there aka it takes too long to realize results – more B2B leaders than ever are opting to outsource their lead generation initiatives to various partners that are 100% focused on driving pipeline. As you go through the process of outsourcing this piece of your business, here are 5 important questions to ask your lead generation partner:
1. What experience do you have in attacking the industries and companies that we target?
Having industry experience and knowledge about the company types you’re targeting should be one of the first questions you ask any lead generation partner that you’re thinking of bringing on board. Your partner is going to act as an extension of your business, so they should understand the ins/outs of the market you’re trying to penetrate and how to speak the industry language. They should know who the decision makers are and why, as well as the types of folks that can influence the decision making process, and how different messaging resonates with different roles and job functions within an organization.
2. What experience do you have in working with organizations like mine?
To piggyback off the above, you also want to work with lead generation partners that have experience in working with businesses that offer products and services similar to yours. This means they’ll be familiar with your value proposition and how to articulate it in their messaging. It also means less education and training on your part, which will enable your lead generation partner to ramp up quicker and generate results faster. Remember, one of the key reasons you’re outsourcing your lead generation activities in the first place is because you don’t have the time/bandwidth to train and ramp up an internal team. Find a partner that can hit the ground running.
3. Our #1 priority is lead quality – how do you ensure the leads you generate are qualified leads?
It’s not about only lead generation anymore…it’s about quality lead generation. The process to get here should be very straightforward – you and your lead generation partner should mutually determine on the frontend what a qualified lead is and what it isn’t. There should be no gray area because it’s a very black and white issue. A prospect either meets the qualifications that you agreed on or they don’t. A crucial mistake in any lead generation initiative is not having an iron-clad definition for a qualified lead from the beginning because it creates problems in the long run. When you’re sourcing partners to work with, press them on this.
4. Once we bring you on board, what is your process for generating leads?
They tell you they can generate leads for you…great. Exactly how are they going to do it? You deserve to understand their process from A-Z. Are they a one-trick pony in terms of how they’re going to get you in front of their ideal audience, or do they take a multi-pronged approach to driving demand and pipeline for your products and services? If outbound calling and emailing are going to be a part of the equation, it’s important to understand their call and email approach, as well as the cadence. When do they make calls and send emails? When and how do they know to pivot the messaging to illicit a response? How many times do they typically touch a prospect before they become a qualified lead? When do they determine it’s time to move on and focus on other targets? And this is just for the outbound lead generation component – there are a whole other set of questions to ask your inbound and content creation lead generation partners. You should expect a detailed, clearly laid out roadmap for how your partner is going to generate results for your business.
5. Can I speak with organizations you’ve worked with that have successfully used you to generate qualified leads from audiences similar to mine?
In this instance it’s not just about a referral, but a referral that hits close to home. If your potential lead generation partner tells you that they have experience and have had success in attacking the industries you target, ask to speak with the companies they’ve worked with that go after similar audiences. If they’ve had success generating leads for products and services similar to yours, and/or they’ve helped other companies effectively penetrate similar markets, they should have no problem getting you in touch with their clients. If they’re hesitant about you speaking with their customers, you should be hesitant about bringing them on board as your lead generation partner.
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org