85% of B2B marketers claim that lead generation is their most important content marketing goal. It will come as no surprise – at least we hope so – that we are also part of that 85%. As we like to say; lead generation is the fuel, the oxygen that is required to run any business. It is one of the most critical pieces of any marketing strategy.
At the same time, we also know that lead generation is often challenging and can be time-consuming. It requires a lot of patience, consistency, continuity, and content, as well as the awareness that each company will have to develop its own, unique strategy for generating leads. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in this field.
As such, it is most important that you asses the extent of capabilities your company and marketing department have. You will have to figure out which solution is more feasible: hiring and training someone in-house to market your product or outsourcing your marketing and lead generation processes to an independent marketing agency.
As with all things in the world, there are advantages and disadvantages to both in-house and outsourcing methods. With some of our clients we have even seen a case of back-and-forth confusion in which they switch between holding and passing on the reins of marketing and lead generation chaotically. In one business quarter they will say they should do it themselves, then decide to trust someone else with handling it in the next. It a struggle many marketers face, and rightly so. Improving your lead generation capabilities is always a difficult task, requiring a lot of effort, no matter who is in charge of accomplishing it.
In this blog post, we will make the case for outsourcing B2B lead generation, but also list the benefits of the in-house method, so you can decide yourself which servers your company’s goals best.
First, let’s get some important exceptions out of the way immediately.
- A crucial, but often sidelined distinction: If your company operates in the business-to-consumer (B2C) model, outside lead generation is a no-go!
- If you have already invested heavily in training in-house marketing and sales teams, or if your team has accumulated sufficient knowledge and expertise about your product, then the benefits of not outsourcing will outweigh the cost of hiring and training those team members – or further expanding those departments. Chances are they are quite well prepared to handle lead generation, which will lead to a pleasant return or investment. Just make sure that marketing and sales are well aligned!
- In general, the in-house method is great if you want to analyze your lead generation tactics and make quick changes and slight course corrections as fast as possible. It is also useful when you wish to track the work and progress of your marketing team more closely.
Now that we have cleared things up, let’s explore the case for companies that will see the benefits of outsourcing lead generation surpass the costs of contracting an outside party.
One of the first, major obstacles a company and its management face when deciding on outsourcing is this: they could be concerned about it due to budgetary reasons. However, they should the consider the following: keeping lead generation in-house means that they will have to hire, train, and pay at least one team member solely for that purpose. Good training that works can take a lot of time, sometimes a year or more, and then there is still the cost of overhead to expect. And let’s not even consider scenarios where the hired marketers or their training fail to live up to expectations.
On the other hand, if your marketing or sales teams would have less than a year of experience, outsourcing marketing and lead generation is far more likely to earn you more leads, thanks to the agency’s advanced skills and expertise. In such circumstances, you will save money: instead of spending a lot on onboarding and training your in-house team, you get a fully-equipped and prepared agency that can start lead generation almost immediately.
At the same time, choosing an outsourced option does not mean that you must to let go of control. You can exert as much control as you could if your marketing team were in-house. However, selecting the right agency that will see to the implementation of your lead generation goals, as well as setting specific criteria for doing so are necessary to achieve the same level of control.
What is more, mistakes can often be made when you start assuming that your target audience knows just as much about your services as you do. Consequently, a team of in-house marketers that know your product all too well could easily jump to conclusions that a prospect or customer would never make in the first place.
That way of thinking hurts your business. In marketing, your primary assumption should be that your customers know nothing about your products or services.
Outsourcing also presents a wonderful opportunity to slow down and reimagine how to best educate your prospective buyers. With 63 percent of companies reporting that their top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads, it shines on the underlying problem that they just don’t know their target audience as well as they should. Are you targeting those who will appreciate details and data? Is your audience composed of C-suiters who prefer a good narrative instead?
If you want to get positive results from your lead-generation efforts, you must be willing to take the time to get to know all aspects of your audience — and also teach them about you. A third-party agency offers a perfect way to get down to that: with their help, you can resume lead generation without having to go through the long training process of an in-house team, try out new methods, have a fresh set of eyes and ear review your marketing strategy and lead generation tactics, as well as give you the time to catch your breath, step back, and see your company’s marketing and sales operation in its entirety.
The Benefits of Outsourcing B2B Lead Generation
Before we move on to see just when and under what circumstances to turn to a third-party provider, we have collected six concise benefits of outsourcing B2B lead generation for you.
- Talk to high-quality prospects: Instead of reaching out to many different people, connect with those who are ready to talk about your products and services. Working with an agency that has skilled marketers ready to find you those very prospects gives you a huge advantage, cutting costs and time. At the same time, you can have your sales team do the thing they do best: closing leads. With the bulk of your lead generation outsourced, your sales team will get all the qualified leads.
- Fewer energy-intensive tasks: In a field with high turnover, maintaining your sales and marketing teams is energy intensive. Outsourcing your B2B lead generation allows you to focus on other priorities and opportunities.
- Reduced lead time: If you are starting out on a new sales campaign or have a new business, you will have a lot of work ahead of yourself. Among those crucial tasks one is to develop your sales and marketing strategies as well as the respective teams. With an outsourced team, however, you can get set in a much shorter period. Through them, you already have an experienced team in place who can start generating leads almost immediately after signing the contract.
- Lower costs: Third-party providers not only have hiring practices in place to bring on the best employees for the job, but they also base their business around hiring and training marketers or salespeople. You can achieve cost efficiency if you work with an agency that already has these processes in place.
- Technological edge: An outsourced team comes equipped with the software – and hardware – that they need to do the job.
- Better evaluation: When working with outsourced specialists, you collaborate with an agency that focuses on the very processes you tasked them with. You get a staff of talented marketers or salespeople ready to help you out who will also aid you in crafting best practices and metrics to evaluate results.
Now that you can see the benefits of outsourcing, you might be wondering just when is the right time to do it?
When is the Right Time To Outsource?
Time to see some exact cases and circumstances that present perfect opportunities to outsource – or to rely on your in-house staff.
When deciding on outsourcing, a central question you should always ask yourself is if your current team has the skills and capacity to carry out the task? With the answer in mind, let’s go a little bit deeper. It will help you see the golden opportunity for outsourcing when it presents itself.
Outsource lead generation when:
- You do not have the resources to create, train and/or maintain a full internal marketing department.
- You have a solid process for qualifying leads and are confident enough to create one for lead generation with all parties involved.
- Your lead generation needs center on cold emailing and booking appointments.
Stay in-house with lead generation when:
- You can dedicate an experienced, full-time team to it. To make lead generation work as it should, you need at least two or three employees who can focus solely on targeting, content, domain, and scheduling logistics.
- Your primary leads are coming from inbound marketing: people who have indicated that they want to hear from you when they have filled in a form on your website, for example.
Go hybrid – when your exact goals do not fit either category:
- Outsource only certain phases needed for effective lead generation:
- Content marketing: let an agency drive up interest and provide meaningful content of value on your blogs, LinkedIn, as well as other social media platforms.
- Cold emailing: it can be effective as a lead generator, especially to certain demographics, especially younger ones between ages 20-45. They strongly prefer email for receiving updates from brands. If you use email as your primary vehicle to prospect, make sure you have assigned someone to monitor your inboxes full-time to respond and schedule meetings in a timely fashion.
The benefits of outsourcing lead generation continuously add up. Outsourcing will save you time in many ways: if you want them to focus on prospecting, identifying the most qualified leads, and setting up meetings with your salespeople, then that is what they shall do for you. Together, your outsourced lead generation and internal sales teams can work out the best methods to reduce sales time and achieve a reasonable lead efficiency, making your growth goals more attainable.
To close the case of outsourcing vs. in-house, here are some of those takeaways that you should always consider when doing lead generation:
- Chances are you cannot go wrong with a third-party agency that has the expertise and skillset, and with a strong set of guidelines in place to control their efforts according to your needs.
- Always list and deliberate on the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing. The best outcome will always arise from a custom, mixed approach where you do what you do best in-house, and let the third-party provider do the tasks that they are better at.
- No business can devote 10 hours a week to lead generation and expect to see the fruits of that labor. Lead generation is a complex art form that requires a cross-section of expertise, knowledge, talent, patience, consistency, and valuable content across multiple disciplines to work as intended.
- Whether you choose outsourced B2B lead generation, an in-house team, or a combination of the two, the biggest mistake you can make is overestimating benefits and underestimating costs. Lead generation takes resources, effort, and patience. A lot of it.
If you feel like your company is at a stage when it should outsource phases of B2B marketing, look no further! At Blackhole Media, we are ready to help you discover which marketing and lead generation solutions serve you best and support you in implementing them the way that provides the optimal background for attaining your sales goals!