Outsourcing your lead generation can tremendously advantage your sales funnel. Lead generation providers have the expertise and resources to scale campaigns quickly, all while optimizing for the best possible outcomes. From creating a reliable lead flow to qualifying leads, handing lead generation to a vendor can majorly de-hassle your sales and marketing teams.
When evaluating your lead generation options, there’s a lot to consider. For instance, the cost, the method of lead generation (email, advertising, etc.), and the number of leads are all important factors. But a crucial – and often unconsidered aspect – is the type of lead you are receiving. Are you getting a list of names or a series of scheduled appointments? Are your prospects qualified? Have they expressed any interest?
There are many types of leads and lead generation providers. Knowing which partner can offer the most value for your company may feel hidden behind smoke and mirrors. In this article, we will explore the many variables defining a lead and important questions to ask your lead generation provider.
Questions to Ask Your Lead Generation Provider
If you’re working with a lead generation company, aligning your goals and expectations with their process and deliverables is vital for success. This requires a knowledge of the inner workings of your provider. For instance, a ‘qualified’ lead could be vetted a variety of different methods depending on your lead generation partner. Knowing what’s important for your business (perhaps that all of your leads are CEOs of SMBs in Missouri) will help you to hone in on which partner would be the best fit for you.
Below are some questions to consider when evaluating your lead generation partners.
What is the deliverable?
Some lead generation providers simply deliver a list of names. Others offer 50+ leads per month, but none of them have been qualified. Companies like Sapper provide you with scheduled appointments with interested and qualified prospects. Depending on your current needs and marketing strategies, you should have an idea of what kind of deliverable you’re looking for and what your end goal is (i.e. new email subscribers, raising brand awareness, new clients, ROI, etc.).
By knowing exactly what you’re paying for, you can determine the value for your company.
How many leads will I receive?
While this is an important metric, you don’t want to get too caught up in the number of leads. Hundreds of unqualified, cold leads will be of little value to you. However, knowing the quantity of leads will help you to better understand your CPL or cost per lead.
When learning this information, take into account your own sales cycle. What is your average conversion rate for both a warm and cold lead? And how long is your sales cycle? Understanding this information will help you to estimate if and when you can achieve ROI with a vendor.
Where Do the Leads Come From?
Where does your provider source their prospect data? Is that data cleansed and up to date? And how did they connect with this prospect? Email, cold call? Understanding ‘how the sausage is made’ can be an indicator of quality and help to set realistic expectations for you and your team.
For instance, Sapper utilizes our trusted list providers and internal database to source highly accurate, up-to-date prospects. From there, we build segmented lists based on your buyer personas and schedule meetings with those prospects who have agreed to a call. This gives our clients several layers of qualifiers to secure leads that are most likely to convert.
Are the Leads Qualified?
How targeted is your lead generation provider’s process? Do leads have to express interest before being handed to you? What criteria make a lead ‘qualified’?
Your provider should be able to demonstrate how leads are vetted to match your needs. From targeting parameters to intent to buy, every lead generation provider qualifies a lead differently. (You can read more about qualifying leads in our recent blog post here.) When working with a provider, make sure you have aligned on what constitutes a qualified lead.
Do You Have to Initiate Contact with Leads?
When someone supplies you with a lead, you may need to contact them yourself. Yes, this lead is likely ice cold. This type of lead can still have value, but it represents more work on the part of your sales team. If a company sets appointments for you, this is a sign that you’re dealing with at least a warm lead. A person who is completely disinterested isn’t going to agree to an appointment.
The Difference Between Lead Generation and Appointment Setting
Lead generation is simply the process of finding potential clients for your business. There are dozens of different strategies to generate leads ranging from social media and email marketing to cold calling and advertising. Your lead generation provider, depending on their specialty, will work with you to cultivate a list of potential buyers.
Appointment setting services, on the other hand, take this process one step further. At Sapper, we not only go through the process of sourcing prospects and generating leads, we then nurture those prospects to move to the next phase.
Through a series of engaging and intentional emails, we educate our clients’ prospects on an offering, address pain points with solutions, and suggest a time to discuss further. Those prospects who understand the value and want to learn more ‘raise their hand’ by replying with interest. While it can be extremely time-consuming, Sapper does the back and forth of selecting the best day and time for our clients and prospects to meet, sending each party a calendar invite with the event details. This seamless process allows an easy hand-off for our clients to pitch their products.
Appointment setting offers clients more value than lead generation alone. At Sapper, we don’t provide our clients with a list of prospects; we provide qualified sales meetings with vetted leads designed to grow your businesses.
Learn More About Your Leads
Leads come in many varieties. Some are quite a bit more valuable to your business than others. When determining your lead generation strategy, it’s essential to know exactly what you need so you can partner with the right vendors. You don’t want a mere list of names, but people who are actually interested in your offers. The more educated you are about leads, the less time you’ll waste pursuing unqualified buyers. To learn more about how Sapper Consulting can set qualified sales appointments for you, click here.