Lead Generation Companies – A Guide To Rule Them All

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Imagine if you could choose an industry-leading service provider with years of experience and complete knowledge about lead-generation companies. Your buying experience would be ten times easier. You would only need to pick one out of the hundreds of lead generation companies on the market, and you would gain comprehensive expertise in this area because you would know exactly what is essential—and what isn’t.

That would be fantastic. You could avoid costing your company significant expenses and wasting time on less important tasks. Unfortunately, people often have to make purchase decisions with a dearth of insights, despite drowning in millions of web pages of information. Even though the buyer’s journey rarely lacks resources, research doesn’t guarantee the understanding of how a process is actually implemented in practice. ly 255(!) unique entries. Here’s a simple example. You help your friend cook a soup and he asks you to add a bitter gourd in it. If you’re not familiar with East-Asian cuisine, you probably wouldn’t know what that is. Is it a spice or a meat? Is it stored in the fridge or a drawer? Do you have to chop or slice the gourd, or throw it in as is?

In this example, you have a goal but you don’t really know how to achieve it. To successfully add a bitter gourd to your soup, you probably need to search for some guidelines on the Internet or ask your friend, who is a fan of Chinese food. The same is true for any work process. The difference is that in business, you can’t Google a comprehensive answer within 2 minutes. It takes years of studying and work to become an expert in a particular area. As a result, when a company decides to outsource any service, there are many steps that go into making the right choice. As a buyer, you have to do comprehensive research (or risk feeling uninformed). However, most online articles lack real insight because most companies won’t readily share their methods to help buyers make the best possible purchasing decision. We recently noticed this lack of worthwhile, pertinent information related to lead-generation services on the web. As a business that specializes in this, we want to share professional insight, buying suggestions, market research, and lead-generation marketing trends.

Services Lead Generation Companies Offer

Typically, when an organization makes a decision to look for an outsourced lead generation company, they don’t know what to expect. Obviously, there’s a need to fill the sales pipeline with quality leads, but there’s little understanding of how providers actually achieve this goal; and more importantly, what’s necessary for their particular business. Market research might be also tough.

We have studied the top 15 lead generation companies on Clutch and found that an overwhelming number of unique services are offered, notably 255(!) unique entries.

For a buyer, this abundance is overwhelming, and may even cause buying analysis paralysis. Some of the listed services might perplex you, as well. For example, there are lead generation companies that provide accounting, corporate IT training, custom software development, electrical engineering, film services, privacy shield notice, technical support, etc. If you take a closer look, many of the “unique” services differ in name but indicate the same service. For example, Data Enrichment can be listed as Research & Analytics, B2B Email List/ Database Scrubbing, email verification. All of which refer to the process of collecting information about leads.

In order to not get lost in this chaos and make the right purchasing decision, a buyer needs to understand the lead generation process, its stages, and its components. The goal of this article is to provide comprehensive information on these so that you comprehend what you really need. B2B lead generation is a conjunction point of buying and sales processes. There’s company A that has particular problems and company B that solves them. They exist simultaneously and in parallel, but it’s B2B lead gen that joins them together. Although described as a funnel, consider it a filter for both buyers and sellers. There’s plenty of fish in the sea, but only a few of them are a good fit for your business. If you arrange your lead generation process properly, you will be in control of the filtering process. Otherwise, your potential buyers will move in their own directions. In the past, there were no filters, and teams wasted their time and efforts on prospects that never needed their products or services. The B2B lead generation experts began sorting contacts in order to keep only the prospective ones. This strategy enables sales managers to focus entirely on good-fit companies, while SDRs and Researchers carry out the “gold panning.”

How To Filter B2B Lead Gen Companies

Buyer Persona (BP)

If you develop a CRM for hospitals, you won’t need to contact restaurants, law firms, or any other entity except for healthcare organizations. You will most likely need to talk to the head of the marketing department or Chief Physician rather than an accountant, a guest service associate, or facilities manager. This is also an area of marked departure from many marketing strategies that purport to be lead gen but cast a broad advertising, PR, content marketing, event, or social media-based approach that is best defined by these wide-net strategies (read: wasted time, money, and effort). In most cases, the buyer persona is defined by a company prior to creating a product or service. It outlines what you sell and to whom and describes what business problems and tasks you can solve for a particular business. Without the BP, you’re unlikely to succeed. However, some organizations don’t have one. Experienced lead generation firms ask their clients for a detailed description of their buyer persona before they begin data enrichment. At CIENCE, we have a specific questionnaire called “Ideal Customer Profile” for our client companies to complete. Advanced techniques include Predictive Scoring and developing Lookalikes to current best customers.

Data Enrichment (DE)

Data Enrichment is the next stage of lead generation services. Once you know the companies and titles to look for, you can begin research.

Data Enrichment Services Offer

  • ❌ Illegal web scraping
  • ❌ Reselling a ready-made contact list
  • ✅ Data subscriptions
  • ✅Human-driven research on the web
  • ✅Software-augmented human-driven research

As an agency driven by both human and software-augmented research, we provide insight into a researcher’s daily work at CIENCE.

Lead Qualification (LF)

Once you’ve obtained your lead list, you need to qualify them. The questions to ask are:

  • Do they have an undiscovered need?
  • Do they need to be educated on your offer?
  • Do they use your competitor’s product or service? (incumbents)
  • Do they have the budget to make a purchase?
  • Are they ready to buy? (timing)
  • Do they realize the problem you can solve?
  • Do they know that your type of product or service exists?
  • Can the lead generation company do it themselves (in-house)?

To get these answers, you’ll need to ask decision-makers directly. That’s where you need a person to begin the conversation with prospects. We call this position a Sales Development Representative, though there are many other names for this role (Business Development, Account Development, Inside Sales, or Market Development Reps). Sales Development Representative goals are as follows:

Channels Sales Development Representatives Use:

  1. Email
  2. Telephone
  3. Social networking websites
  4. Web links
  5. Offline (Direct Mail, In-Person)
  6. Video
  7. Text Message

These aren’t interchangeable. According to CIENCE’s VP of Sales, Michael Maynes, the best possible outreach is multichannel. If a business wants to succeed in lead generation, they need to make multiple touches via email, phone, and social networking websites within a certain window of time. Sales reps should be good at communication, rejection handling, and turning negative responses into positive ones. They need to understand how to write a follow-up that will eventually bring the appointment. However, the composition of the initial message (email), and templates in general, should be entrusted to a professional.

Recommended reading: Gain insight into an SDR’s daily operations at CIENCE

Something that many lead generation companies forget: a complex multi-stage sales development process needs someone to manage, control, and monitor it. One of the reasons organizations opt for outsourcing is the ability to save their managers time for more important tasks. That’s why we believe that lead generation companies should also provide managed services that include reports, analysis, and strategic planning. Two advantages include the ability to leverage the experience of an expert and the benefits of pattern-matching across similar clients, industries, and target audiences. Managers at lead generation companies typically run various projects at one time. Their experience is second to none and their advice on campaigns is highly valuable. The following is a matrix showing lead generation services and the particular pain points they solve.

Lead Generation Companies Checklist (40 Tips!)

expert tips from Head of Sales to CEO of the top lead generation company

Do Your Own Research

  1. Look up the case studies (usually placed on the website):

    I would certainly look at how they solved particular problems for sales teams.
    Andrew Khvatov, CIENCE Internal Team Lead

  2. Search for published reviews by customers (co, Glassdoor, Go2Crowd or type “company name” reviews in Google)
  3. Look at the clients they’ve worked with (it’s a good sign when a company places them on the website)
  4. Look at their partners, this indicates that they’ve been on market for several years and have built their own network (can be found on the website)
  5. Look for professional certifications (on their website or via Google)
  6. Pay attention to the division of labor and the ability to articulate lead gen methodologies used to reach your target personas (look at Solutions or Services sections on the website)

Fist Negotiations

  1. Check their performance at each of the “gates.”

    When working with the provider, check their performance at each of the “gates.” To get an appointment, you need a conversation. To get that you need good emails sent at the right time to the right person. To get that you need to have the contact info of the right person. To get that you need to know who you are looking for and how to go find them!
     John Girard, CIENCE CEO

  2. Check how well they understood and communicated sales development activities, tasks, process, and projects.

    During a discovery call, I would ask about their strategy. How do they organize any lead generation process? Does one SDR fulfill all functions: campaign management, data enrichment, template writing, outreach to leads? Or do they have different people running these processes? I’d rather work with a team of professionals because one person can’t do all these tasks efficiently
    Rade Kemalova, CIENCE Internal Team Manager

  3. Check what they have done in your particular industry.

    Look at a broad scope of industries worked with to ensure creativity of strategy and variety of tactics.
    Eric Quanstrom, CIENCE CMO

    Identify the experience of this company within your industry, analyze its target market. Are there any successful cases of providing services to companies in the same field?
    Anna Svetlichnaya, Head of Sales Operations Specialists Department

  4. Look at what kinds of engagements might scale with success (e.g. time to market, number of resources, contract lengths).
  5. Check whether they provide test leads

    Special focus should be on the quality of test leads: Are they are easy to review, fit your Ideal Customer Profile, and were delivered on time. It will be easy to identify if these leads are up-to-date after the first outreach. You’ll need to check the percentage of bounced emails and types of responses you receive. In case you get negative replies, saying that people are no longer with their companies, this is a trigger for you that the list might have been bought. At the very least it’s dated
    Anna Svetlichnaya, Head of Sales Operations Specialists Department

  6. Ask what programs a company uses. If they don’t have the right software, research will be longer and the quality of leads will be under question. Find out if they are tech-savvy and utilize the newest tools and software. Also, identify milestones, which are carried out solely by human touch.
  7. Ask if they use human intelligence. People can provide their expert opinion. Furthermore, they can go beyond any preset list of requirements. For example, if a machine looks for Marketing Managers, and a person’s position is Demand Gen Manager, a tool will most likely miss him or her in the list. Be attentive during the discovery call. A salesperson you’re talking with should ask more questions and identify your needs rather than recite their capabilities and uniqueness. A Sales Rep is usually the face of the company, so pay attention to his/her manner of communication, integrity, and the way information is communicated to you.

The Process Of Cooperation

  1. Be in control of how leads are qualified, e.g. specific titles, industries. In other words, that should be the leads that fit your Ideal Customer Profile.
  2. They must schedule the appointment with the right person who must understand why the appointment has been scheduled

    Personalization. It’s important to show to a lead that we know why we reach out to them and what the outcomes of our cooperation are.
    Olesia Maksymenko, Head of Sales Development Department

  3. Check whether they care about your brand (!)
  4. Do they understand your value position on the market?
  5. Pay attention to whether they use multiple channels (e-mails, calls, chats, LinkedIn and other social media channels)
  6. They are buyer-centric. The latter means that you put the buyer first.

    You show that you’re interested in the prospects, their problems and try to provide some solutions.
    Michael Maynes, CIENCE VP Sales

  7. You need to know open, conversion rates, and other metrics. If you make an investment, you have to learn apart from getting appointments

    I can get 20 meetings. It’s great. But why did I get them? Why didn’t I get 50 instead? Was it a language use that attracted or scared away people? Regardless of the number of appointments you get, you need a lot of transparency on what’s being executed and what’s not.
    Michael Maynes, CIENCE VP Sales

  8. Check examples of the content they create: email templates, phone-calls, posts on blogs and social media
  9. Scrapers differ from subscription-based data providers. The latter search information using legal methods, for example from email signatures. The main drawback of platforms is that they update data once in 3-6 months. When you order research services instead of a ready-made list, you will get the most up-to-date information
  10.  Methods to check whether they’re up-to-date. For example, recently Facebook updated its rules. Those companies that managed to adapt to them are winners
  11.  Organization’s expertise both in lead generation and appointment setting
  12. The rate of touches (e.g. 2 emails, 5 calls, 3 messages on social networks)
  13. The message of emails should be catchy and have a human feeling rather than standard marketing text. Here’s an example. You sell offline maps for travel agencies that provide tours to exotic locations. A good email would be: Let’s take an example from the previous item: offline maps. If Guillette replied she had never had problems with her tourists, reply-handling almost always wins the day: This style is pretty non-standard, but such letters attract attention. Prospects get interested in continuing conversation. Dare to go out-of-the-box! Obviously, these examples are somewhat simplified, but they help to understand how you start and maintain a conversation with a prospect.
  14. The ability of SDRs to answer any prospect questions and overcome objections.
  15. Responsiveness by SDRs (the key to increasing engagement)

    I would also estimate the work of their inbound team. How fast do they answer my questions? Do they provide comprehensive answers?
    Rade Kemalova, CIENCE Internal Team Manager

    On a separate note, it would be helpful to have a call with an SDR who’s currently working at this company to learn his/her background, evaluate the level of communication skills etc. Obviously, it doesn’t mean that this person will work on your account. However, you’ll be able to align your requirements with current employees and decide whether you want to proceed or not.
    Anna Svetlichnaya, Head of Sales Operations Specialists Department

  16. Outreach that stands out. For example, images, gifs or tools that enable to insert customized video in an email for a more effective outreach.
  17. Flexibility is also a nice thing. I see it as a client-oriented problem-solving approach. In this case, a company adjusts its offer to the needs of my business rather than offers a fixed set of services

Stop Signals!

  1. “We just give you good leads” language is not enough. Listen to their vocabulary!;
  2. “Too good to be true” pricing is a sign it’s based on a bad list;
  3. Lead generation company gives the price before understanding who you are;
  4. Anything relying on “lists and databases” is likely to be very inaccurate (pre-purchased, pre-scraped etc.)

    Ask if they do research upon request or they have a ready-made contact list. If they have a list, they’re most likely resellers who purchase list from platform providers. In this case, you’ll pay more due to inaccuracy levels. Scraping – a robot that searches for data on the Internet instead of people. First, it’s illegal, because many state registries forbid this practice. Second, data quality is low (you will receive less than 25% of accurate leads), because most actual data is contained on social networking websites that can’t be scraped.
    Taras Ilnytsky, Head of Data Enrichment Department

  5. Mono-channel sales development campaigns, i.e. the outreach is via email only or only calling
  6. Self-centric campaigns – when the main emphasis is on the seller, not the buyer
  7.  Non-data-driven approach
  8. Inaccurate leads (no comments)
  9. The company doesn’t have software for outreach or uses an outdated program with a limited number of functions, is difficult to use, especially when it comes to reporting
  10.  Be aware of “guarantee” results

I’d also estimate any promises of lead generation companies. Beware of the company who will “guarantee” results, as your mileage will always vary. For example, the abundance of conferences and receptivity in biotech makes it easy to set up to 20 appointments in a week. However, if you target law firms, getting 2 appointments in the same time period will be a struggle. In this case, you need to rely on your own sales prospecting industry experiences and industry statistics (averages).

Get a deeper insight into our experts’ opinions from CIENCE ebook How to Choose the Right Lead Gen Company?

Bonus! Lead Gen Companies Comparison Table + ROI Calculator

Purchasing decisions can be extremely difficult, especially when it comes to B2B products or services. Buyers can spend hours analyzing numerous options and still have a hard time understanding the difference between company A and company B. We believe the best way to analyze the organizations and their services is to create a comparison table. That’s why we summarized the suggestions of our management in one buying template that will help you choose between several lead generation companies:

Lead generation companies comparison table
Tip: Use «SHIFT + mousewheel» to move left/right
Criteria
Resulting grade*
* doesn't take into account input fields
[{"section_title":"","section_fields":[{"title":"Type of data enrichment","type":"select","options":[{"label":"None","value":"0"},{"label":"Resellers","value":"0"},{"label":"Platform","value":"1"},{"label":"Human-driven","value":"1"},{"label":"Software-augmented human-driven","value":"2"}]}]},{"section_title":"Sales Development","section_fields":[{"title":"Channels","type":"checkboxes","options":[{"label":"Email","value":"1"},{"label":"Phone-calling","value":"1"},{"label":"Social networking websites","value":"1"}]},{"title":"Web Channel","type":"checkboxes","options":[{"label":"Websites","value":"1"},{"label":"Chat","value":"1"},{"label":"Meetings","value":"1"}]},{"title":"Unusual outreach methods","type":"text","options":false}]},{"section_title":"My experience with the company","section_fields":[{"title":"How I estimate their content (emails, phone-calls, blog, website, social networks)","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"How their SDR worked with me?","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Personalization in communication with me","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Understanding me (buyer persona) ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Understanding of sales process on the whole","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Ability to deliver valuable advice \/ strategies ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Quality of Samples (e.g. Test Leads) ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Are they flexible in offerring me services","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Responsiveness of Vendor","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Perceived reputation of Vendor ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Fit with current business strategies ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Perceived service quality ","type":"radio","options":false},{"title":"Impression of values, vision, or fit with Vendor ","type":"radio","options":false}]},{"section_title":"Management and strategy","section_fields":[{"title":"How are campaigns created?","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"What plays are run?","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"How are accounts managed?","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"What campaigns strategies do they offer?","type":"text","options":false}]},{"section_title":"Company expertise","section_fields":[{"title":"Who are their customers?","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"Ranking","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"Reviews","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"Did they work in my industry?","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Are their promises realistic for my industry?","type":"radio","options":false}]},{"section_title":"Costs","section_fields":[{"title":"Price","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"Discount \/ Special offer","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"Calculated ROI","type":"text","options":false}]},{"section_title":"Efficiency and control","section_fields":[{"title":"What KPIs do they set?","type":"text","options":false},{"title":"How can I track activities?","type":"text","options":false}]},{"section_title":"What reporting will I get in the end?","section_fields":[{"title":"Quantity of leads","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Email open rate","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Email bounce rate","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Email response rate","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of email sequences","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Follow-ups","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of unsubscribe requests","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of ambiguous responses (email)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of negative responses (email)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Reasons for negative responses (email)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of dials per lead","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of calls per lead","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of conversations over the phone","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of ambiguous responses (phone)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of negative responses (phone)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Reasons for negative responses (phone)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of touches on social networking website","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of ambiguous responses (social networking website)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of negative responses (social networking website)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Reasons for negative responses (social networking website)","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Feedback from prospects","type":"checkbox","options":false},{"title":"Number of appointments","type":"checkbox","options":false}]}]
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We also created an ROI calculator to help buyers understand the cost cuts they gain from lead gen services:

Buy vs Build: ROI Calculator

This form helps you calculate the investment of building an SDR team internally.

Input your information in the fields below.

Contact John Doe at 1-555-3333 with any questions.

NOTE: Our calculator indicates an SDR and Researcher because our offering includes both full-time dedicated resources.

Number of SDRs
If your SDR also performs the duties of a Researcher, this number can be fractional. Also be sure to represent their base and equal fraction totaling 1 in cell b10 (Number of Researchers)
SDR Base
According the Glassdoor the national average salary for an SDR is $42,250
Number of Researchers
Researcher Base
According the Glassdoor the national average salary for a Researcher is $39,276
Managers Base
At 5 SDRs you'll need a full time manager. $73,966 is glassdoors estimate of an SDR manager
Managers Time Commitment to SDRs
What percentage of a managers time will be dedicated to these. The more SDRs the more time is required from an individual, usually 100% once you hit 5 SDRs.
This is a calculation of an employees salary, in addition the the operational cost of employment.
Annual Monthly
Employee Cost
This is a calculation of an employees salary, in addition the the operational cost of employment.
{{f07}} {{f08}}
Support Tools
Cost of tools for an SDR to operate effectively
{{f09}} {{f10}}
Cost to Manage SDR Team {{f11}} {{f12}}
True Cost of SDR TEAM {{f13}} {{f14}}
This percentage demonstrates cost during ramp up or structure changes when your SDR is not operating at 100% efficiency.
You might factor in 75% efficiency in the first 90 days.
   
SDR Team Efficiency Calculation
This percentage reflects the cost incurred during ramp up or structure changes when your SDR team is not operating at 100% efficiency.
You might factor in 75% efficiency in the first 90 days.
The efficiency calculation adds the cost of inefficiency to the total operating cost of the team. Example, at 80% efficiency the 20% would be added back to optimization. It would cost $1.20 dollars to operate at 80% efficiency instead of the normal $1.00.
Under Performance Cost {{f16}} {{f17}}
Cience 3 Month Pilot Cost $13200
Internal Test Cost {{f19}} {{f20}}
Operational
These are variable to every business but a sage estimation is a 20% increase :
Taxes
Insurance
Equipment
Office Space
Additional Benefits (Perks)
Recruiting Cost
Total
Estimation
These are variable to every business but a sage estimation is a 20% increase :
Taxes
Insurance
Equipment
Office Space
Additional Benefits (Perks)
Recruiting Cost
Support Tools
These are variable to every business but a sage estimation is a 20% increase :
Taxes
Insurance
Equipment
Office Space
Additional Benefits (Perks)
Recruiting Cost
Annual Cost Monthly Cost
Research Tools
Social Prospecting
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
Cost: Around $1000 a year
{{f24}}
Lead Sourcing
Discoverorg, Rainking, BuiltWith
Cost: $2000 – $20,000 a year
{{f26}}
Scraping Tools
Datanyze / SalesLoft Prospector / KickFire / Capture
Cost: $5000 – $10,000 a year per seat
{{f28}}
Outreach Tools
Datanyze / SalesLoft Prospector / KickFire / Capture
Cost: $5000 – $10,000 a year per seat
Email Tracking
Yesware / Tout / Cirrus for BCC
Cost: $100 – $500 per seat per year
{{f30}}
Email Management
Outreach.IO, PersistIQ, QuickMail
Cost: $500 – $2000 per seat per year
{{f32}}
Operational Tools
Outreach.IO, PersistIQ, QuickMail
Cost: $500 – $2000 per seat per year
CRM
SalesForce, Base, Netsuite, Sugar CRM
Average Cost: $500-$2000 per seat, per year
{{f34}}
Email
Gmail
{{f36}}
Demo Software
Join.me, Clearslide, Docsend
Cost: $200-$500 per seat per year
Also factored in a conference line.
{{f38}}
Total Cost {{f39}} {{f40}}
Savings with CIENCE: {{f21}}

Lead Generation Companies Analysis (based on Clutch)

You won’t find one single, definitive, credible market research report of the Lead Generation Market on the web, because there isn’t one. Our CIENCE team came to the conclusion that the market is pretty broad, with no completely dominant vendor (800 lb gorilla). Few third parties, let alone analyst firms, have attempted to study or estimate market sizing, although companies like CIENCE do this research for ourselves—which we’d like to share with you. In this chapter of the article, we share our findings of the B2B lead generation market. Hence we can’t expect our competitors to share any data with us, so we decided to study the public information they provide. We picked Clutch as our main source of information. Clutch is a platform that lists businesses along with the reviews from their clients. It also has the ranking and provides an insight into 15 Market Leaders and 10 contenders. Their goal is to help buyers make the best purchasing decisions. At the time of the research, there were 201 lead generation companies registered on Clutch.

Years of Foundation of Lead Gen Companies

What we couldn’t track was the number of organizations closed during this period. Nevertheless, we see that the number of companies is steadily increasing. The fact that it has tripled over the past 18 years proves that there’s a constant demand for outsourced lead generation services.

Facts Found On Clutch on Lead Gen Companies

The methods of B2B lead generation dramatically changed with the massive “webization” of business that took place back in the 2000s. Most companies began using emails and created websites and official pages on social media as their virtual representative offices. These events changed the way lead generation works, for both data enrichment and sales development outreach. Web presence made information about companies and employees more available. On the other side, it also made buyers more independent and demanding. In the end, it all falls to the execution of each company – whether to be stopped by obstacles or leverage new opportunities. And taking into account the number of lead generation providers, market entry opportunities are abundant. One more interesting figure we obtained from Clutch was the average number of employees. We found that 73% of lead generation companies have fewer than 249 employees.

1. The percentage is quite different for Clutch’s market leaders. 53% of the top 15 lead gen providers have 250+ employees. And for the top 16–25, the percentage drops to 30%. Having a big number of employees isn’t surprising. Lead generation providers employ People-as-a-Service (PaaS) model. Beware of small firms here. You need humans to do data enrichment and sales development work. The best companies hire and train researchers and SDRs. Now, let’s take a look at what a buyer can expect from organizations registered here. 1. The top 6 industries in which lead generation companies specialize are:

  • Business services (87)
  • Financial services (77)
  • Retail (56)
  • Healthcare and life sciences (53)
  • Telecommunications (50)
  • Manufacturing (42)

2. We studied the Service Focus of lead generation companies registered on Clutch. As we mentioned above, there are 255 unique entries. To tackle this chaos, Clutch introduced a service focus that enables potential clients to see what a particular organization does. When it comes to lead generation companies, Clutch provides two main service focuses: Voice/Call Center and B2B Lead Gen.

  • Apart from them, these organizations provide other types of services:

    The most popular are Voice Call Center and B2B lead generation & qualification.
  • As you can see from the chart below, most organizations have a small focus on B2B Lead Generation.

    Of 201 companies registered on Clutch, only 31 (15%) had a focus that equals or exceeds 50%. The percentage is almost the same for Top 15 leaders – 20%.
  • Apart from lead generation, these companies also provide Voice / Call center services. Most companies (~72%) have a strong focus on this type of service (50% and more).
  • 71% of companies provide Non-Voice BPO and Back Office Services. However, 66% of lead generation companies have a weak focus that is lower than or equal to 45%.

3.The average hourly rate:

  • 68% of lead generation companies work at less than $25 per hour
  • 22% have $25-49

This pricing implication is particularly important juxtaposed against in-house costs.

  • For Top 15, the breakdown is 77% vs. 6%.
  • As for the “contender,” it’s 70% vs. 10%.

It’s notable that most companies that hit top 25 lead generation services have the lowest hourly rate. 4. Minimal project size:

  • 87% of companies have $1,000 as a minimal project size
  • The percentage of companies ready to take a $1,000 project is lower for the top 15
  • With regards to the contenders, 87% of companies have $1,000 as a minimal project size

To summarize, you can easily outsource lead generation at $25 per hour and get a $1,000 minimal project. If you work in business services, manufacturing, financial sector, retail, telecommunications, or healthcare, you are more likely to find a provider that fits you perfectly.

Lead Generation Trends 2018

1. Challenging sales environment

We’ve already said that lead generation has changed significantly in the past decades. And the reason for that is the new sales environment. The Internet has increased buyer awareness and enabled people to search for solutions independent of vendor information or input. Additionally, the pace of tech development has made effectiveness a business deity. There’s no more buying just to get rid of a pushy seller. It’s all about the value of the product or service on the company. In addition to that, buyers have a strong concern about the influence of their purchase on their reputation.

Distinctive Features Of Modern Vendors

  1. They’re stressed with the buying process (and need help)
  2. They seek to be more independent

In other words, buyers don’t want to buy what they don’t want, don’t need, and can’t leverage. They hate sellers who push purchases down their throats. However, the nature of B2B products and services makes it really hard to analyze them and make a good purchase decision. These contradicting powers create a huge internal conflict, which can lead to inaction. People involved in the lead generation could either suffer or leverage it.

  1. The number of decision-makers for a single purchase in B2B has increased 6 times as much.

And each of them evaluates your product and service from his own perspective, having his or her internal conflict. Selling is as difficult as ever.

  1. New channels of communication were introduced

However, it became much harder to get through to a decision-maker. This seems to be a global trend: we became as close as ever before, but it also made us appreciate our time more than ever. We won’t spend it on invaluable things.

  1. The sales process became longer

Because of more decision-makers and increased pressure on them, while the possibility to start a conversation with them became smaller.

New Sales Environment Caused New Features Of Lead Generation

  • sales specialization
  • targeting
  • personalization
  • software augmentation
  • value-driven buyer-centered communication

2. Sales specialization

As the sales process became longer one seller could no longer do all tasks alone. This complexity required trained specialists. That’s why we’ve seen several new roles introduced in lead generation: researcher, copywriter, and sales development representative.

3. Outsourcing

The larger number of people forced businesses to spend more money and increased the cost of one prospect. Furthermore, the rise of the demand lowered the level of requirements to new hires (around 80% of companies are ready to hire people with less than 2 years experience). Meanwhile, OTEs decreased. And so did the tenure as people didn’t want to stay in a low-paid stressful job, and required promotion. Outsourcing lead generation became an efficient solution to these challenges. It enabled companies to decrease the cost of a lead while entrusting the job to the experienced professionals, who have been working in it for years.

4. Targeting and Personalization

Targeting is what enables your company to find and reach out to the buyers who potentially have a strong need in your product. On the other hand, through personalization, you can demonstrate an in-depth understanding of your prospect’s pain points and explain how your company can make a change for them. According to RAIN Group President, Mike Schultz, buyers expect customization from sellers, but the latter are sometimes too lazy to do it in the era of automation. Speaking of which:

5. Automation and cadences

It’s another popular trend. The longer sales process requires more efforts from everyone involved in lead generation. Software augmentation enables you to:

  • check data
  • assign some routine processes to the computer
  • spend more time on personalization
  • reach out more leads
  • customize this process
  • keep track and report

6. Multichannel outreach

More web presence means more channels to get through to your prospects. Lead generation is all about starting a business conversation with the right person. You’ll be more efficient if you try reaching out via email, phone, and social networking websites.

7. What other businesses think about lead generation trends

On Quora, we asked: What are the lead generation trends in 2018? The most interesting and valuable answer was the podcast by Alex Glenn from Right2Revenue and co-host Karan from Hubsell.com:

The number of lead generation companies and services might seem overwhelming for a buyer to process. However, we hope that our article, expert tips, breakdowns, and tools help you achieve a better understanding of this topic. For further questions about lead generation services from knowledgeable sources, especially how they can facilitate the growth of your sales and new revenues, please contact us using the form below. We’ll get right back to you.

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Anastasia Voitehina
Content Writer

Anastasia Voitehina is a Content Writer at CIENCE Technologies. She creates passionate articles, witty infographics and smart charts dedicated to B2B Lead Generation. Anastasia also records the company's history and writes inspirational stories about her colleagues.

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Lead Generation Companies – A Guide To Rule Them All