Lead generation is hard. But it’s easier to do if you know what you’re looking for.
More specifically, you have to understand what your ideal customer looks like, what goals you want to achieve, and what you’re going to do with leads once you get them.
Similarly, hiring a company to outsource some of your lead generation efforts is hard. Outsourcing any part of your marketing may even require more organization and setup than handling it in-house because you’re paying big bucks to get things right. You don’t want to contract with a marketing company and then keep them on retainer while you figure it out.
At that first meeting, your lead generation company is going to ask you a bunch of questions so they can put together a quote for you. It’s best if you come prepared. Before you sign up for that meeting, use these clarifying questions to prepare yourself.
1. What do your targets look like?
A combination of your targeting needs, budget, and internal goals will help the lead provider find the right set of leads for you. If you’re working with a large sales team that can spend lots of time nurturing leads and making follow up calls, you can get away with purchasing a large list of less-qualified leads. However, if you need deals now and you don’t have the resources to nurture, you might be better served by purchasing a smaller list of highly qualified or BANT leads.
What makes an MQL or SQL at your company?
An MQL has indicated that they’re researching your company or your product space. How do you determine that a person is interested in continuing that research or purchasing soon?
- What actions do the leads need to take to qualify?
- What does your lead scoring look like? What actions increase or decrease a lead’s score?
ALSO READ: MQL vs. SQL
Who are your buyers?
While job titles are helpful, you’ll need to go deeper to really define the types of audience you need. If you understand what your ideal buyer looks like, the lead generation company can offer you a more precise quote.
- Job titles
- Company size
- Industry (make this specific)
- What technology your users already use (that your product could help with)
2. What are your goals?
Increased revenue is the ultimate purpose of any marketing campaign. But “increase revenue” isn’t a goal, it’s a wish. Dig down into the specifics of how much and how quickly the team or company needs to increase revenue.
- How much revenue do you need to make to reach your goals?
- How much can you depend on from current systems, and how much growth do you need?
- What can you spend?
- How does the investment impact your overall revenue goals?
Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are a great indication that your marketing is working. These are the hand-raisers, the folks that have shown interest in your product. Once you’ve defined what exactly qualifies a lead, you’ll need to get a handle on your numbers.
- How many qualified leads do you need to hand off to sales? You may need to have a discussion with your sales team to identify the number of leads needed.
- Figure out your ratios. If x (MQLs) result in y (sales), how much do you need to increase x to achieve z (overall revenue)?
Depending on your sales process, an opportunity could take many different forms, from booking a meeting or sales call to downloading a catalog. Define what a sales opportunity looks like for your company and then work out how many opportunities you need to support your revenue goals.
- How many sales opportunities result in a sale?
- If every phone call results in a sale, you’ll only need that many opportunities to reach your goals. Otherwise, you’ll work in ratios or percentages like you did with MQLs.
Depending on your sales process and your revenue goals, you could have a long or short conversion timeline. This will affect the types of leads you need to add to your funnel. If your timeline is short, you’ll need leads that are ready to buy, which means you can expect a higher CPL. And if your targeting is tight, it takes longer to find qualified leads. If you have a short timeline and no money, how can you extend your timeline?
- How soon do you need your leads to convert?
- Can anything be done to increase your timeline or targeting specifications?
3. What is your follow up plan?
How much follow up can your team handle? If you don’t have a plan or the resources to follow up, you don’t need to buy leads, you need to invest that time and money in getting your marketing and sales teams ready to work with leads.
Mary Houston Coker, a sales executive here at TechnologyAdvice, says, “if they don’t have a follow-up plan in place or don’t intend to follow up, they aren’t a good fit for us, because they will not be successful.”
Even ready-to-buy leads will need a little nurturing or selling from a sales or marketing team, so what systems or campaigns can you use to convert the leads you purchase?
Once you get the leads, how will you introduce your brand and your product to them?
- Email campaign
- Internal content with newsletters and downloads
- Direct mail
- Digital ads
Ultimately, it’s your team’s responsibility to ensure you’re ready to work with the leads you purchase. Not every lead generation company will turn you down if they don’t think you can handle the leads. Many companies don’t care if you follow up with the leads they sell, so make sure your house is in order before you get on the phone. Mapping out your audience, your goals, and your follow up plan will get you ready for that first phone call.
Ready to make the most of your marketing efforts? TechnologyAdvice can help you fill your sales funnel. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877.822.9526 and let’s talk about how we can help you find the right customers.