4 Tips on Farming Out Your Lead Gen

Farmland at sunset

…and why farming out may not always work

Are you having trouble filling the top of your company’s sales funnel? If so, it’s probably a good time to explore an outbound calling campaign. But is it better to outsource that campaign, or keep it in-house?

Much like starting a new exercise regimen, successful telephone lead generation takes skill, discipline, and persistence—it’s a long game that requires a significant investment in order to produce measurable, ROI-positive results. For example, over 80% of new qualified sales opportunities require at least 5 calls just to reach the decision maker. And you will need even more calls to close the sale!

The decision to outsource or manage your efforts internally comes down to: Where do you want to place your investment, and where do you think you’ll get the best return?

Here are some factors to consider:

Who will represent you best on the phone?
• Your existing sales team already knows your product best but is probably too expensive for long-term outbound cold calling.
• You would have full control over a new internal team, but new hires require training and there’s constant turnover and absenteeism to manage.
• Outsourced vendors give you an instant team who is trained at cold calling and representing new clients, but it’s hard to know which firm is really good. Many outsourced firms over promise and under deliver.

How much should you invest?
• Some firms are committed to building and maintaining a thriving long-term Inside Sales team; others scrimp, hire minimum wage individuals and let them fend for themselves. The latter is a recipe for disaster because new folks will not know your strategic direction, details of your product, nuances of your market or how to overcome objections.
• Outsourced firms have predictable fees, that can be turned off and on. You are in control of your investment.
• A very good outsourced firm is not cheap. If your product/service is inexpensive, earning a positive ROI may be difficult to attain.

What level of expertise is required?
• There is a definite skill set to effective cold calling. Many internal teams don’t have these skills in-house.
• It’s unrealistic to hire Inside Sales individuals – no matter how experienced – and expect them to design a program themselves. All programs are slightly different and Inside Sales reps who are good at one kind of product or service may fail on another.
• Outsourced firms come with a range of skill levels. Some throw programs together. Others keep up with industry trends and are known their expertise. How can you know in advance?

What technology tools do you have?
• Certain outsourced firms make a point of attending industry conferences and investing in technology, such as: a database, a CRM program that tracks activity, sends out emails, and accepts return calls. Some can even measure results by caller.
• Other firms prefer to keep their prices low and have chosen not to keep pace with new technology trends.
• If you handle your program internally, consider which technology tools will optimize your results.

Internal vs. outsource: there is no right or wrong answer. The right answer depends on your existing skill set and available staff to handle lead generation internally, how much you are willing to spend to build vs. rent, your interest in creating and managing a start-up organization internally, among other factors.