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How to judge a lead-gen provider by its excuses

Being in the lead generation industry myself, I am curious what the competition is doing. Since „classical” sales methods don’t seem to work so effectively in the last few months, it seems that lead-gen activities are the last resort for some companies to stay alive. However, you should be very careful with selecting your lead-gen solutions provider, and keep in mind that not everything they present on paper can become reality.

Their job is to pass as many qualified prospects through the sales funnel, as fast as possible, to bring you more sales and a bigger income. When they cannot make it happen, there are some main reasons they will invoke. Here they are, not necessary in the order of importance, and some ways to figure them out:

  • Hard work in the ultimate thing in sales

They will tell you how many long and tiresome hours they’ve spent  to gather hundreds of contacts, and send them more or less compelling messages on your behalf. You should understand that what really makes a difference is that they only approach the right people in the first place, and try to cultivate a profitable relationship with them.

  • Leads are qualified in the 2.0 era

In the past, lead-gen providers were looking for leads in mailings, trade shows, advertising, networking or newsletters. In the 2.0 era, all these turned into blogs, videos, eBooks, free reports, press releases, RSS feeds or  email lists. Even the names sound more pretentious than in the past, the reality is the same: these are not leads. Most of the times, they are just inquiries from people who want something for free. Digging deeper into these sources, your provider may actually find a prospect. Who is neither a business referral, nor a lead.

  • Everything counts as a lead

Your lead-gen service provider may take pride in the number of e-mails or phine calls you receive. Still, some distinctions must be made. Inquiries are not leads. People who want to get something for free don’t represent leads. Leads are people who:

  1. Have a genuine business need that your product/service can fulfil
  2. Have a budget
  3. Are really interested in talking directly to you about your products and services to see how you can help them
  4. Match the ideal client profile

Leaving philosophy and terminology aside, the best possible leads are the ones you receive through a referral. When this happens, it means thay you already benefit from an amount of credibility and trust, and chances are that you will get a new client – more than 50% of the times, as I’ve noticed.

Filed under: b2b marketing, b2b sales, Business-to-Business, General, how to, Lead Generation, Marketing Results, Marketing vs Sales, objectives, , , , , , ,

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