If you type the phrase “lead generation agency” into Google, you may (or may not) be surprised to find that you get 312 million results.
That’s a lot of data to sift through by anyone’s standard (except maybe Google itself). So what do we mean by lead generation?
The spectrum here is pretty vast, but essentially all lead generation agencies will have one ultimate goal: to help their clients uncover (and win) new business opportunities.
Different agencies will have different target markets (whether B2B or B2C) and different methods of delivering these results – in some cases appointment setting, in some cases emailing prospective customers or in some cases simply collecting data to provide their clients with a pool of contacts that may be interested in their product or service.
But with such a huge number of agencies out there, how can you find a lead generation agency suitable for your needs?
The first thing to consider is your own target market. For example, let’s say your business is a design agency and your specialist area is packaging design for FMCG products. You wouldn’t want to employ the services of a lead generation agency who mostly set appointments for double glazing salespeople to visit homeowners.
If you are targeting a large household name with a view to winning new business from them (for a rebranding for example), it is likely that the value of that account to you will run into tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds. Likewise, the cost of acquisition is likely to be higher than the double glazing example used above, simply because more time and effort is required to talk to and persuade the senior decision makers at that company that your agency can help progress their brand.
You may choose to approach these decision makers yourself, outsource to a business development agency (which to all intents and purposes is another name for a lead generation agency) or work in partnership with them as an additional resource to your own in-house new business team.
Whichever route you go down, the key factors to consider are what we refer to at Alchemis as “Quality Quantity Direction”.
- How good is your existing proposition, case studies, etc
- Do you/your lead generation agency have sufficient sales skills/ability to pitch your offer to the senior marketing decision makers you will be approaching
- Do you/your lead generation agency have accurate data and the right level of market information available
- Do you/your lead generation agency have the right software and tools for the job (i.e a robust and effective CRM system)
- Do you/your lead generation agency have a sufficient pool of leads to work from
- Are you/your lead generation agency having enough conversations with the right sort of decision makers (remember these are high-level executives you are likely targeting and may not be easy to get hold off – it takes tenacity and discipline)!
- Are you/your lead generation agency generating a sufficient number of new business opportunities (meetings/pitches/wins) from these conversations? If not, why?
- Are you/your lead generation agency targeting the right market sectors, the right size companies and the right type of companies for your skillset?
With so many lead generation (aka business development, aka new business) agencies out there, it’s vital to do a bit of research before investing your money into a campaign with one of them.
A few things to look out for are:
- How long have they been trading/are they financially secure?
- Are they reputable (eg are they a member of a recognised industry association, such as the Data & Marketing Association)?
- What volume of data do they have, where do they get their data from, how is it managed, are they GDPR compliant?
- Can they provide references from clients they have run campaigns for that would be relevant to you?
- Can you see their set-up to have a look how they work and meet some of their account managers?
Whilst it is a crowded market place and quality between agencies can vary enormously, there are a number of decent specialist lead generation agencies operating. If you do your homework on the points mentioned above the chances are you will find one that’s right for you.