4 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a B2B Lead Generation Company

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a B2B Lead Generation Company

This just in: Your demand gen budget has been approved.

Hooray! It’s time to start planning out how you’re going to spend it.

It’s no secret that lead generation is key to driving revenue for your company and finding the right lead generation company to work with can help you do just that. But with so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to find one to help drive the results you need to crush your demand gen goals (and impress the heck out of your boss).

By avoiding the four common pitfalls below, you’ll be able to find the right type of B2B lead generation partner to work with and get the most out of your marketing efforts.

Table of contents

What is a lead generation company?

A lead generation company is your friendly neighborhood strategic marketing partner. Or at least, that’s what they should be.

A great lead generation provider can help you reach new audiences to:

  • Build more brand awareness
  • Drive new high-quality leads into your pipeline
  • Maximize your marketing ROI

A not-so-great lead generation provider, on the other hand, will make your life as a marketer miserable.

Okay, so maybe we’re being dramatic. But it can be a real drag to spend your precious marketing budget only to get a big fat zero return on your investment. Not to mention, a list of not-so-hot leads your sales team will hate you for. 😬

A lead generation partner exists to help you, the marketer, generate high-quality leads and pipeline for your company. In other words, they exist to make your job easier. But there are some vendors out there that you should absolutely steer clear of. We’re talking run for the hills if you pick up on any of these red flags.

Here are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

Mistake #1: Lead generation providers that work as a middleman

Why this is a mistake

A B2B lead generation provider that works as an intermediary is one that purchases its leads from other third-party sources but represents them as their own. They’re typically not a publisher with their own engaged audience. They’re simply renting their audience from who-knows-where or purchasing contact data from other providers.

Unfortunately, many newer players in the lead generation space are cutting corners by aggregating audience data from other publishers or creating large contact lists using 3rd party data sources. By working with these types of vendors, you not only risk wasting your marketing spend on low-quality leads who aren’t actually in-market for a new solution, but you also create a brand safety risk to your organization. In many cases, these programs can do more harm than good, giving potential prospects a poor experience with your brand.

How to avoid it

Work with lead generation providers and/or publishers who have a history of growing a loyal audience base and have built up owned audiences through long-term investments in thought leadership and editorial strategies. These types of providers are the real deal. They know their audience inside and out, and have a solid understanding of:

  1. Who they are
  2. What they’re interested in
  3. What content resonates best with them throughout their buying journey
  4. Who is most likely in-market for a new solution

Look for companies that gather their own first-party data and have the ability to reach, engage, and influence their audience in a reliable and trustworthy manner. Lead gen providers with established brands and long standing followers are in a unique position to reach targeted audiences while genuinely influencing purchase behavior.

RELATED ARTICLE: Questions to Ask a Lead Generation Company During Your First Meeting

Mistake #2: Lead generation vendors that limit targeting

Why it’s a mistake

Lead generation vendors whose strategy is based on targeting or setting lead filters based on demographic and firmographic information only (i.e. targeting leads at X type of company with Y titles) is another common red flag to look out for.

While it’s great that these vendors will ensure your lead lists are filled with contacts within your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), there’s no way of ensuring that these individuals are actually in-market for a new product or service, or will be any time soon. Even if they downloaded your amazing white paper.

If you’re only looking for top-of-funnel (TOFU) leads to build your marketing database, this may be sufficient, but if you’re looking for near-term pipeline and revenue impact, buyer beware. A second concern with these types of vendors is that you may be missing out on in-market leads who are actively researching new products in your category but sit slightly outside of your ICP.

How to avoid it

Work with lead generation companies who can provide ICP targeting, layered with behavioral, intent, and/or activity-based data. By doing so, you’ll broaden your targeting beyond demographic and firmographic data to reach those who are actively engaging with content that is moving them through the buying journey.

Additionally, your messaging will reach those who are actively researching, or even in-market, for solutions like yours.

RELATED Article: Before You Hire Any Lead Generation Partner, Ask Your Team These 3 Questions

Mistake #3: Lead generation providers who don’t engage their audience

Why it’s a mistake

Some lead gen providers (ahem we won’t name names) will generate a single touch with a prospect and treat that as a qualified lead. For example, a content syndication partner might try to pass content downloads over to you as a sales-qualified lead – no bueno.

Treating a lead as sales-qualified before they are, especially after a single touch, means you’re losing out on the opportunity to build brand trust and affinity. This can ultimately turn away an otherwise qualified lead that requires further nurturing. You also run the risk of wasting precious resources by prioritizing your sales team’s efforts on following up with leads who are unfamiliar with your brand and unlikely to engage.

How to avoid it

Work with lead generation partners who can establish multiple touchpoints with prospects to help build brand affinity and create interest in your solution.

This means working with a vendor who can execute integrated B2B marketing campaigns that will help you reach and retarget leads with a mix of content, ads, thought leadership, and other touchpoints taking a multi-channel approach to nurturing the lead before they’re passed to your marketing or sales team.

Mistake #4: Lead generation companies who don’t “walk the walk”

Why it’s a mistake

Often, marketers will work with a lead gen provider who is more transactional in nature. They’ll run a program, provide leads, and that’s the extent of the partnership. While this might seem efficient, a hands-off approach often means lead quality can suffer.

How to avoid it

Look for a provider who has expertise in driving lead generation success and who will provide support throughout the course of your program. An effective and experienced customer success team will be able to spot-check results, refine your targeting, and optimize along the way to make sure your program is meeting the expected results. They’ll even provide guidance on which types of content assets or ad creative will best resonate with their audience members.

Choose your lead gen partners wisely

Remember: Selecting the right B2B lead generation partner — one that delivers high-quality leads and acts as a strategic ally, helping you to build brand trust and drive sustainable growth — is crucial for the success of your demand generation efforts. By avoiding these common pitfalls and choosing a top-notch partner, you’ll be well on your way to marketing success.

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