Marketing teams use a variety of tactics to drive and generate leads for their brands. The tactics they use tend to shift with the trends. Over time, leads run dry, and sales teams are left with few prospects. This dry spell can send companies looking for other viable options when the tried and true organic lead generation methods no longer work.
Companies can use a variety of methods and tools to find leads. Lead generation companies assist sales and marketing teams in refreshing their dry pipelines. But if leads seem to be everywhere, what makes these lead generation companies different? What skills, tools and techniques do they use to generate leads for others?
How B2B Lead Generation Companies Generate and Use Leads?
Before you seek out a lead generation company, you must first understand the different types of leads. When leads were discussed, one would think of a hot news story back in the day. Now leads, or marketing leads, indicate interest in doing business with your company. Prospects can show interest by the number of website visits, clicks and average time on page or sessions. Leads can be divided by type and customer lifecycle stage.
- B2B (Business to Business) Leads – Leads are companies that may be willing to do business with your business
- Marketing Qualified Leads – are found from your marketing efforts
- Information Qualified Leads – Leads that research a solution to their problem
- Sales Qualified Leads – Leads that are ready to buy
- Product Qualified Leads (PQL) – Leads prepared to use your product, or at least as a free trial
- Service Qualified Leads – Leads that are willing to test your service
- Cold Leads – Know nothing about you and/or your business but fit the buyer profile
- Hot Leads – Interested in your business and have actively sought what you have to offer
Lead generation involves attracting prospects to your business and converting them into buying customers. Lead generation is important to your inbound marketing strategy and occurs after attracting their interest. Different companies use various lead generation strategies depending on the type of lead and the stage the customer is in their buyer’s journey. Leads’ basic contact information and demographic data can be captured using gated content through lead capture forms, Calls to Action (CTA), surveys, emails and landing pages.
Methods B2B lead generation companies use to capture leads:
- Free Trials
- Referral Marketing
- Free Tools
- Social Media
- Retargeting Strategies
The methodology used by any particular lead generation company will be based on the stage of the customers’ journey, budget, marketing strategy and campaign goals. Without the correct data, not every lead generation company will be effective at generating leads. Nor will every lead generation agency offer useful B2B leads.
Data-Driven Marketing and Lead Generation
Effective lead generation costs money. There is NO WAY that a trustworthy and effective lead generation agency can provide free or cheap leads without research and money. If a company is giving away leads without questioning their use or your marketing strategy, prepare to be well acquainted with the spam folder because that’s where your company will be heading.
Data plays an intriguing role in lead generation, segmentation, qualification and usage. As part of an inbound or data-driven marketing strategy, the use of data must be carefully married to your B2B lead generation strategy. Data works when it’s fresh, relevant and used correctly. Gathering unnecessary data can be a turn-off to your prospective leads, damaging to your B2B lead generation strategy, costly to protect and store and useless overall.
Basic personal information like names and emails can work for marketing qualified leads. However, leads are qualified after you get their attention. Therefore, you will need to know your client persona before your target. You will need demographic and behavioral data. Then it would be best if you gauged the level of interest your prospect has in your company. This step is called qualifying leads. Not every lead generation company qualifies leads the same way, but there are four simple questions you can ask to qualify leads using IBM’s BANT Model.
Budget – What is the prospect’s budget?
Authority – Does this person have the necessary authority to make a decision?
Need – Do they need this?
Time Frame – Is there a deadline for implementation?
Although using the BANT model is a great way to get rid of window shoppers and focus your attention on sales-qualified leads, you should NOT simply ask questions as if reading from a script. When using BANT, paying attention to how the prospect responds and the answers provided can help segmentation your qualified leads and what happens during follow-up.
Two red flags to look out for during your conversation are lack of knowledge and need. Leads often don’t know what they need or why they are there. The problem could also indicate a failure in your targeting, and this person should not be there. Or they cannot clearly articulate the issue. This issue means your prospect needs to go back and clearly define the problem to decide whether or not you have the solution. With lack of need, your prospect may know the problem but have no immediate need to solve it. And with no immediate need to solve the problem, they could end up wasting both your time and end up not completing the sales process.
In 2018, Hubspot designed GPCT BA/C&I to segment leads further, but with the downside of being a more complicated lead qualification process than BANT and taking longer to qualify leads. Since lead qualification can be a part of customer screening during the onboarding process, checking for goals, plans, challenges, timeline, budget, authority and negative consequences and positive influences can reduce your chances of your lead becoming a buyer.
With B2B leads, the authority must be clear from the onset or sought out immediately. Usually, there may be several players you need to have listed as B2B contact leads for one company with large organizations. Though all will be interested in doing business with your company, not all of them may be key decision-makers. This slight distinction is why when choosing B2B lead generation services or methods. You need to choose top lead generation companies that identify key decision-makers and where to get them.
What Makes a Top Lead Generation Company Stand Out?
Identifying top lead generation companies isn’t as easy as a quick Google search. As pointed out earlier, lead generation and qualification take more effort than simply gathering emails from a landing page. Here are five ways top lead generation companies stand out from the rest.
Lead Generation and Qualification Strategies
One thing that sets the top lead generation companies apart is their generation and qualification strategies. Top lead generation companies know where to find quality leads, how to create opportunities to get leads, what methods to use against the various types of leads and how to disqualify leads effectively. The importance of lead generation never overshadows the need for qualification.
In some lead generation services, there is the tendency to capture any cold leads that are remotely interested in your industry, ignore qualification and sell the lead as is. This dangerous practice can grow their database and sales but not give you or business quality hot, B2B leads, or qualified leads.
Data Access, Storage and Segmentation
Cutting back on qualification means no segmentation. Lack of segmentation reduces the need for stringent access protocols. Lead generation services that focus on continuous leads need rapid turnover to have fresh leads. As these leads aren’t correctly segmented or validated, there is no way to verify freshness other than having a quick turnover rate.
Top lead generation companies invest in secure storage systems and strict data access policies. They are not about to take risks with CEO email databases sources or B2B sales qualified leads. They are upfront about how and where they sourced their leads. They understand the effort, cost and responsibility behind lead generation and are not willing to hand over qualified sales leads without some key questions answered or effective marketing strategies in place.
Data Validation Techniques for Relevance and Lead Freshness
A top lead gen company will believe in quality over quantity. Data verification and validation will play a key role in lead generation, qualification and segmentation in these companies. Data enhancement will be a necessary part of their data validation techniques and ensure continued lead freshness.
Cold leads that are validated and enhanced have a better chance of becoming warm leads and eventually turn into hot or sales-qualified leads. Data verification and validation aids with personalized marketing strategies, creating multi-channel engagement, and help with intent-based out-reach. Data enhancement can form part of lead qualification by filling the missing gaps and eliminating outdated leads.
GDPR Compliance and Data Protection Policies
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) should prioritize any lead generation agency’s lead generation services. Data protection is not an option for top lead generation companies. Look for local and international data protection regulations compliance symbols on their website and registered affiliations with Privacy Shield and watchlists.
Data protection goes beyond their storage systems and key access points for top lead generation companies. Safe and proper handling of the leads by their eventual owner is another requisite of an effective lead generation agency. They will work with you to ensure that your company is GDPR compliant and obeys all data privacy and spam policies.
Customer and Peer Reviews
Being number one in the industry is a giant flashing neon sign that this is a top lead generation company. But what are the top in? Sales? Growth? Quality? Or are they just the top Google searched company? The answer matters! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or advertising can quickly get a lead generation agency a considerable market presence, but that doesn’t guarantee they are a top lead generation company or meet any previous criteria.
When other companies within the industry start discussing them in a positive light, that’s when you pay attention. Customer and peer reviews can tell you more about a company than its profit margin. Companies can grow exponentially by increasing sales by volume and finesse their way to the top on sheer numbers with cold, stale leads. Customer and peer reviews must be based on the type of leads you are seeking. They may be one of the best B2B lead generation companies in the USA, but if your company is seeking expansion outside the US, they will be of no use to you.
These are just a few ways to help you recognize top lead generation companies online. Remember, reputable lead generation companies will ask questions, seek to secure their leads, and use data validation techniques to validate and qualify leads. When qualifying B2B leads, companies that pay attention to anti-money laundering policies, market presence in the industry, and behavioral activities of key decision-makers are better equipped to provide you with safe and effective B2B leads.
Notice that budget is not an issue with lead generation. It can affect the range of your B2b lead generation strategy, but it can still be effective with the correct data. There are many free ways to generate organic reach, but these methods take time and can slow down your lead generation efforts.
If you still wish to acquire leads without the lengthy process, you can buy business data and work with FrescoData on your B2B lead generation strategy. We know who are the key decision-makers in a company and can provide lead generation for small businesses and large corporations. We can create targeted email lists of sale qualified leads pushing your lead generation strategy forward by using data enhancement, data verification, and validation.
Lead generation is intricate enough without crazy models that waste time and cost more to implement. Partner with one of the top B2B lead generating companies in the USA who has the global reach to give you the widest variety of leads to choose from. Keep things simple and strategize your next lead generation strategy with FrescoData today.