The nature of business is relationship building. For most businesses, finding leads that have the highest likelihood of making their way down the sales funnel can be time-consuming and challenging. This can be especially true for business-to-business companies.
Studies show that an average of 61% of marketers list lead generation and traffic building as their number one challenge. This could be one reason more B2B companies are turning to outsourcing for their lead generation needs. A lead generation agency can be a go-to source for companies who feel overwhelmed by executing lead generation strategies or find themselves underwhelmed by the number of successful conversions they wind up with.
This article will explain what makes B2B lead generation challenging, and how companies looking for valuable, qualified leads can benefit from outsourcing lead generation to an agency. We will also list some best practices for choosing the right B2B lead generation agency for your needs.
Lead Generation – The Backbone of the Sales Funnel
Lead generation refers to the process of finding the people who are most likely to be interested in purchasing your products or services and then taking specific actions to convince those potential buyers into becoming actual customers.
Converting prospects into customers is hard work. It involves creating interest and awareness of your brand, driving interested parties toward the right information, demonstrating value, and then finally making that first contact and landing a sale.
The Tighter B2B Funnel
The sales funnel for B2B companies can be smaller and requires businesses to do more nurturing to make conversions. Buyers for businesses are more likely to take their time making purchases, exploring options, considering price points and value, and seeking the approval of executives and CEOs before pushing that buy button.
Businesses will find much more success converting leads into customers if they are attracting the right kind of customers in the first place. Old-fashioned marketing techniques, and even some modern ones, involve casting a large net and hoping that some of what is caught is valuable.
While this method might garner some results, it is in no way cost-effective and can be inefficient. Instead, companies need to gather valuable data to target their message to the right audience.
Outsourcing to a Lead Generation Agency – Let the Experts Handle it
A lead generation agency is a company that helps businesses get leads. More businesses are turning to outsourcing for lead generation, and the reasons can vary. But the bottom line is that lead generation is vital for businesses to succeed, so letting the experts handle the job seems to make the most sense.
Here are a few reasons it could be beneficial to hire a B2B lead generation agency:
Outsourcing Saves Time and Money
Lead generation has become more complicated and time-consuming over recent years, thanks in part to social media platforms and digital advertising methods. Using a lead generation agency frees up the marketing team to focus on other projects.
Expert Advice Gets Better Results
Experts who understand the best tactics to target potential customers will have a higher likelihood of creating a pipeline of valuable, qualified leads. The experts will know how to use the correct messaging based on customer profiles and buyer personas, tailor the approach based on the platform, and push the right kind of content to keep leads engaged.
Improve Your Online Marketing Presence
Because most of the marketing today takes place digitally, hiring the right B2B lead generation agency can help companies grow their online presence. A good agency can help you optimize your website, build valuable content that will drive traffic, and implement advertising campaigns.
How the Work Gets Done – The Art of the B2B Lead Generation Agency
The expansion of digital marketing, social media, and online platforms has forced marketers to rethink and expand their strategies. Cold calling, junk mailers, and purchasing outdated lead lists won't do the trick anymore. Instead, an agency must create targeted strategies to gather leads.
Here’s the breakdown of how a lead generation agency works to find and nurture leads for businesses:
Step 1 – Build an Optimized Website
Generating leads means getting information about your brand in front of the right people. Once interest has been built, those people need someplace to go that will help them make educated decisions and take the next step. So companies need an optimized website for them to land on.
Step 2 – Drive Traffic to the Right Place
Once a company has a website in place, a lead generation agency will use different methods to drive traffic. The key to executing this step properly is to offer the potential customer something of value.
These methods might include:
- Content Syndication (blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, RSS feeds, and more)
- Optimization of Landing Pages (including SEO optimization)
- Online Advertising
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
Step 3 – Gather the Right Data
An agency might use tools to track visitor activities on your website. This helps the agency build a comprehensive list that includes up-to-date information about a lead's interests and how likely they are to make a purchase, and could capture data that includes their personal information, such as business name, email address, job title, and more.
This data is then used to create an in-depth database that can be updated, stored, and used to better understand your target customer. Google Analytics is a popular tool that agencies often use to track specific actions taken by website visitors.
Step 4 – Engage and Nurture Leads
Once potential buyer data has been compiled into a usable and organized database, lead generation agencies can use the information to create targeted campaigns. They will use a variety of tactics to reach out directly to leads, including personalized emails and messaging. There are several methods that agencies can use, including:
- Cold calling
- LinkedIn outreach
- Email and Text Messaging Outreach
- In-Person Meetups
- Virtual Demonstrations and Webinars
- Growth Hacking (includes incentives, contests, and free tools)
The Long and Short of Lead Generation Agency Price Points
One of the first questions most B2B companies will ask when investigating the value of outsourcing their lead generation campaigns is, "What's it going to cost me?" Everything in business comes back to the question of value versus cost, and lead generation is no different.
The cost of lead generation services depends on what kind of campaign a company is looking for. Multiple pronged strategies involving ad campaigns, social media outreach, email automation, and more, can cost extra. But for companies that wish to maximize the scope of their strategies, utilizing multiple channels can be extremely useful.
Different Prices for Different Products
Average costs for lead generation services range from 1% to 10% of the product price for each lead. This percentage can vary greatly depending on the industry and the type of product or service being sold.
There are typically two models that lead generation agencies use to dictate price structures. One is based on participation, meaning you don't pay unless leads are generated, and the other involves charging for successful conversions.
Other agencies will charge a flat fee that gives companies access to a certain number or level of outreach tools every month, with no guarantee that leads will come as a result. If you find an agency that has a proven track record of getting results, this kind of pricing structure could be beneficial.
Finding the Right Fit – Picking the Right B2B Lead Generation Agency
Any business purchase should be investigated and weighed before pushing the button. Lead generation is no different. Every aspect of the services offered must match the needs of the business. This is especially true for B2B companies, who are searching for highly qualified leads from a select pool of potential buyers.
B2B companies should ask questions before choosing an agency to outsource lead generation, including:
- What methods does the agency use to generate leads?
- How will the agency nurture leads after making contact?
- Does the agency build valuable databases and include targeting messaging?
- Does the agency include data-capture and analytics software?
- Can the software integrate with current CRM programs?
- Are there free trials or demos offered?
- What is the pricing structure for services?
- How successful is this agency in generating leads for other businesses?
- Does the agency involve outreach through LinkedIn?
LinkedIn – The Place to Be for Businesses
The last question on the list is essential for companies looking to build leads from other businesses because LinkedIn is the number one resource used by business professionals. According to statistics, LinkedIn is the most effective social media channel for B2B lead generation, with 80% of B2B leads coming from the platform.
Choosing an agency that specializes in marketing through LinkedIn can make a huge difference for B2B companies. The whole idea of strategizing lead generation is to focus on the channels that get the best results, and for companies searching for other companies, LinkedIn is the place to be.
Intelus Can Maximize Lead Generation Results Via LinkedIn
Intelus is a shining example of an agency that provides real results for companies marketing themselves via LinkedIn.
We provide lead qualification, appointment setting, dedicated and personalized messaging, comprehensive monthly reporting, and instant notifications of potential lead activity.
Lead generation takes a large chunk of a company’s operating budget, ties up sales and marketing teams, and if executed poorly, results in a loss of revenue instead of the boost companies were hoping for.
But because the activity of generating and nurturing leads is essential to creating a strong and growing customer base, companies need to realize that the results gained by hiring a lead generation agency will far outweigh the upfront cost.
B2B businesses often require a more targeted approach to lead generation that will require time and energy from marketing and sales teams. Outsourcing lead generation activities will free up both departments to work on other projects and allow them more time to focus on creating revenue.