We like to take the opportunity to share with our clients articles and research that we have read and feel may be of interest to you as well. We recently came across a white paper titled ‘50 questions to ask a lead generation provider’ which we wanted to share.
The complete white paper with the 50 questions can be downloaded from Salesstaff.com, however we have decided to share some of the key questions we get asked here.
The objective of a demand generation program is to fill a sales funnel with qualified, actionable sales opportunities – to speed up sales cycles and ultimately provide sales teams with better opportunities to close new business. If you decide to invest in a demand generation program from a third party, asking the right questions can make all the difference between the program falling short and becoming a wild success. A poor choice could result in a wasted time and resources with unqualified prospects, so it is important to know what to look for when deciding on outsourced lead generation.
Q. Will the opportunities that you generate for my company be shared or sold to any other company? Will leads/appointments that I receive be former appointments that you’ve scheduled for other clients?
Sometimes lead generation and appointment setting vendors will produce a sales lead for a client, which is then repurposed for other clients with similar offerings. This can tend to dilute the quality of the lead.
Q. What percentage of your business is in my industry?
It may not necessarily be a deal-breaker if a lead generation company does not have specific experience with your particular product or service, but you should know the vendor’s general experience in the your space (tech, supply chain, healthcare devices, etc.).
Q. What percentage of your campaigns market to our target market vertical(s)?
This is far more important than if the vendor has experience providing sales leads for products like yours. You need to be confident that the vendor has experience speaking to your target market, especially if you serve a niche market. There’s a certain lexicon and set of protocols for niche markets, and you should be sure the vendor is familiar with those intricacies.
Q. Will I own the final database at the completion of the campaign?
One of the key ingredients of a successful appointment setting campaign is a quality marketing database. Over the course of the campaign, that database is updated with new contact information, specific business intelligence, and notes. Many vendors will offer you the database complete with updated information when the campaign is completed.
Q. How do I know that your Business Development Reps (BDRs) will be able to understand the complexity of our offering and communicate that to our prospects?
The success of a sales lead generation campaign is directly correlated to the quality of the BDRs that work your campaign. Many call centres or telemarketing companies hire lower-level personnel that function as script-readers. On the other hand, a quality Demand Generation company will employ BDRs that have a high business IQ and specific areas of competency.
Q. How do you assist your clients in measuring the success of the program?
You should clarify with your lead generation vendor which metrics will be used as a guidepost for campaign success. Find out how they measure success. Do they measure quality of the delivered leads? How about the speed of lead production? Do they measure consistency of lead flow?
Q. Do you have Case Studies you can send me today?
Case studies can be very telling. Ask if the vendor has Case Studies in your industry, specifically, to get a handle on how they have performed for other clients in a similar industry or situation. But beware, as you know, Case Studies tell the stories of the best results. As they always say in infomercials, the results may not represent typical customers.
Q. Do you outsource or offshore any of this program?
Some companies don’t mind if their appointment setting and market outreach program is offshored. Some companies would rather have agents that have a native English accent. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with, but you should know if offshoring or subcontracting of lead generation services is part of the package so you can make an informed decision.
Q. How is messaging created? Do you work from scripts?
In the initial phases of your campaign, messaging should be a primary concern for the vendor. They should have a measure of research that goes in to creating messaging that aligns with your company’s value proposition. Significant emphasis should be applied to this critical task. A great follow-up question is: ‘If the initial messaging is not performing well, how quickly can we alter the messaging?’ As it pertains to scripted telesales, ask if the vendor rigidly adheres to the script or whether their BDRs are experienced and agile enough to go with the flow of a conversation that veers from the original messaging.
Q. Can we come for a site visit?
You can tell a lot about a company and their culture by walking their halls and meeting on their turf. It gives you a sense of the intangibles that can’t be ascertained on a phone-based sales presentation. Extra points to a lead generation vendor that invites you to come visit their offices; but beware the vendor that shies away from site visits. It makes one wonder, “What are they hiding?”
Q. Do I need to sign a long-term contract?
Obviously, you want to know what exactly the contract terms are. Some vendors allow for a month-to-month agreement, while others might require a longer-term contract. A month-to-month arrangement is not preferable to either party, because developing a mature pipeline (especially for solutions that have a longer sales cycle) can take time. An appropriate pilot period is at least 3-6 months.
Q. What is your quality control process?
You want to find out if the vendor has resources dedicated to ensuring the quality of the sales leads and appointments that they deliver. Lack of a great quality control process can cause lots of unnecessary wasted time, as you’ll be chasing some leads that may be minimally qualified or, worse, unqualified altogether. A good follow-up question is ‘How are the Quality Control agents compensated?’ Optimally, you want a Quality Control team that is unbiased, with no compensation attached to the number of leads they deliver.
Q. How can I ensure that your sales reps will maintain the integrity of my brand?
You’ve worked hard to build your brand. You do not want the first impression that your future dream client has with your company to be in the hands of an inexperienced telesales rep. Demand that your lead gen vendor can naturally communicate clearly, confidently and persuasively with key decision makers. Through the course of their day-to-day work on behalf of your company, they will, by default, become your front-line brand ambassadors. Be sure that the vendor you choose represents your organization well, builds trust in your brand and ultimately gets the results that you need.
Q. Can’t we just develop an internal lead generation department ourselves?
Inevitably, this question opens the door for the vendor to further explain the value of outsourcing. In short, you could always develop an inside sales/lead generation department yourself – but not without significant expenditures on data, human resources, sales management, and technology infrastructure.
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