Whether to use lead generation companies or go it alone is one of the most difficult decisions you will be faced with. Establishing leads is integral for any business, and even more so in a service business.
Generating sales or customer leads can be accomplished in many different ways. Word-of-mouth advertising relies on existing customers spreading the word about how great you are. Redesigning an existing website to funnel new customers through special offers can be a cost-effective way to generate leads.
While it is a common go-to, cold-calling is difficult, frustrating, and results in few leads when compared to the time spent. Potential leads can be purchased through data-mining companies, but you can never be sure exactly what you will get for your money.
That leaves outsourcing to one of the many lead generation companies. They can provide you with a list of potential customers that will be suited to your business. They also have the capabilities to set up your website, email campaigns and other methods used for lead generation. But how do you select the right lead generation service for your business?
Know What Lead Generation Companies can do
Before you set out to find the perfect lead generation services, you need to be familiar with what their intended purpose is. Finding that company that can provide a good, up-to-date U.S. lead list that meets the specific criteria for your business is crucial. If you’re selling services as a life coach, you don’t want a list of people interested in buying new cars.
If you intend to launch a web-based campaign, make sure that those lead generation services are available through any company you select.
Things to consider while searching for the perfect lead generation service
There are a million questions that you must answer to help refine your search for a lead generation service that will fit your needs.
Are you marketing your services strictly to businesses? Are you a personal life coach helping individuals organize and streamline their personal lives? Do you want to focus on small businesses or large corporations? Do you want leads generated through online marketing and form submission? Are you targeting a specific demographic?
Who are your potential customers and how do you want them to find you? Will you be using web-based marketing or contacting people in person via telephone or email? Do you already have a website that utilizes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)?
Do you already have a system in place to process and qualify new leads? This is an important step in the process. With no system in place, sales personnel could expend valuable time on bad leads. How will you measure success? Will measurement be based on additional views on your website or increased social media interaction? By cataloging successful conversions on your website? Will you only count actual sales of your service, with verified appointments?
Once you have answered these and the many more questions about exactly what you need from lead generation services, you can begin shopping for one that will fill your needs.
Take your time
There is no need to rush through this process. If possible, delegate the task to a person within your company who has relevant responsibilities associated with sales. Make sure it is a person that is detail oriented and thorough.
Carefully review all prospects
Do not select the first company that comes up in the phone directory or at the top of your Google search. Give special attention to their background and record. Compare their track record to other lead generation companies within the industry. Make sure the company will supply an up-to-date U.S. lead list, with real-world potential customers.
Conduct thorough research
The number of fly-by-night companies out there can be overwhelming. They might supply you with a twenty-year-old list of people that were searching for Motorola 550 cell phones when those were all the rage and the internet was in its infancy. Utilize as many platforms as possible to verify information about the company. Check reviews on business review websites. Check out their LinkedIn page. Look at their social media accounts. Ask them questions.
In a perfect world, you will want a company with a proven track record. Look for one that has five or more years of proven experience. Because we live in a technologically-based society, you want a company that has kept up with the times. Having a good base in technology and having the technological tools to facilitate and augment the sales lead generation process is a necessity.
Contact current clients
You can ask the company for several clients who would give a referral on their behalf. When a company refuses to, or can’t, supply a reference list when asked, they should probably be avoided. Current or past clients in similar businesses will generally offer you honest feedback on the reliability of any lead generation companies they have used successfully.
When you contact current and previous customers ask about their Return on Investment (ROI). You will potentially be setting out a good portion of revenue for leads that may or may not produce an ROI. Top lead generation companies top search engine listings for a reason – and that means they may cost more initially. If previous customers had good experiences and feel like they got what they paid for, the decision to make this expenditure is easier.
Try to come up with a few independent opinions as well. This will give you a more balanced perspective. You ultimately want a firm that will provide consistent support, maintain professionalism, and provide superior customer service.
It All Boils Down to Due Diligence
When starting and growing any business, due diligence is a step in the process that cannot be skipped. You may conduct the research yourself, or have someone do it for you. In the end, it may save a headache, heartache, and potentially big bucks.
Your business is an investment in your future. You wouldn’t buy stocks without researching the company offering them. It only makes sense, then, that you wouldn’t hire any lead generation services without due diligence.