Leads are useless for building your business.
That’s not a typo… leads ARE useless, and they’re literally a dime-a-dozen these days.
What you need are high-quality leads. Not cold leads. Not warm leads. But hot leads that actually convert. The type of hot leads that come from sales professionals.
Thankfully, there are lead generation services (i.e. C-Level Partners) that can deliver hot leads one after another. The problem is, for every one legitimate lead gen service out there, there are 99 that are just plain bad.
So how do you find the diamonds in the rough? What questions should you ask? What should you look for and steer clear of when shopping around for lead generation? I’m answering all of these questions and more in this post. So let’s dive in!
What are Lead Generation Services?
A lead generation service is usually a team of salespeople who will cold call on your behalf so that you can focus on other business-building activities. Some lead generation services only build lead lists for you, while others will call the prospect and set sales appointments on your calendar.
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Four Questions to Ask Lead Generation Services
Do They Have a Methodology?
If you have a lead gen company making calls on your behalf, they better have a proven process or methodology in place.
A methodology shows that intention goes into their lead generation activities. The last thing you want is a company dialing prospects haphazardly and inconsistently. To net real returns, be sure to look for a proven methodology that is end-to-end in nature. For instance, I’ve created the TraXion system that puts prospecting on auto-pilot. If you asked me about it, I’d share this:
- We learn about your product or service, target market, and value proposition
- We then develop a tailor-made marketing strategy and lead generation database
- We make targeted calls and qualify, nurture, and prioritize prospects for you
- We deliver appointment, after appointment, after appointment
Do They Really Try to Understand Your Buyer?
A lot of times, you’ll have a lead generation service come in and start spraying the marketplace for any and all leads. They’ll make calls to those outside of your target sector, just to fulfill their quota. Worse yet, when they do call on your ideal buyer, they don’t speak the industry lingo. They use canned cold calling scripts that certainly don’t position your company as an authority in the marketplace.
Needless to say, don’t work with those lead generation companies. Ask incisive questions about how they adapt their sales approach to different industries. And ask them specifically how they will approach your buyer. If they stumble over their words when answering, it’s a sign that they don’t really know what they’re doing. They might still get you some leads, but they will scorch your lead pool in doing so. You don’t catch a fish by poisoning the pond. It’s simply not sustainable, healthy, or honest.
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Do they Qualify the Leads?
Let’s say they do know how to speak to your ideal buyers. Great. But are they qualifying the prospects before you take time to meet with them? Nothing is more frustrating than getting into a sales meeting only to find out the prospect is woefully disqualified for your product or service. So be sure to ask the lead gen service about their sales qualification process.
To put a finer point on it, ask what parameters they use to qualify prospects. Ideally, they’ll say something like: “We qualify prospects on the four parameters of B.A.N.T. — Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing. If the prospects we call don’t have the budget for your product, or authority to make a buying decision (typically a C-Level executive), or the need for your product, or the timing is wrong for them, then we DO NOT book a meeting with them.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Give me just 3 qualified leads over 100 unqualified leads any day of the week. Qualified leads are leads that CLOSE.
Do They Help You Execute Your Business Plan?
When hiring a lead generation service, you want to bring on a force-multiplier who will partner with you to help execute your business plan. Is your short-term plan to grow by ten new accounts in Q3? Is your longer-term plan to become the leading provider in your industry in five years? Maybe your business plan isn’t to scale to the moon. Maybe you simply want to grow slow and steady while providing a premium service to the marketplace.
Whatever your vision is, you need to ask the lead generation service if they will come alongside you as a trusted partner in executing your business plan. And more specifically, ask them how they will accomplish this. Remember, although high-quality leads are integral to your success, they are only one part of a larger equation. Look for alignment here. It will pay dividends in the long run.
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Final Words on Lead Generation Companies
From small startups to the fast-growing enterprise company, pretty much any brand needs lead generation to build their business. The question is… how do you go about finding the right service for YOUR brand. Hopefully I’ve answered that question for you today. One thing that I didn’t touch on was in-house lead generation. The truth is, depending on the type of founder/manager/leader you are, you might have the wherewithal to build out an in-house lead generation team. If that’s you, more power to you! But the truth is, most companies are smart to hire out their lead gen to real professionals.
If and when you do hire it out, just remember to ask the four questions I’ve outlined above. Again, those are: Is there a methodology in place? Do they try to truly understand your buyer? Do they qualify the leads coming in? And do they help you execute your business plan? Get positive answers to these questions, and you can feel confident moving forward with the lead generation company.
Until next time…