Lead Generation Outsourcing: A Complete Guide 

If you’re thinking of outsourcing lead generation, you’re not alone. By 2030, the outsourcing market is expected to reach 512.4 billion USD.

Lead generation is vital to growing your business, but your sales team doesn’t always have the capacity – especially with ongoing labor shortages. So, what can you do? Outsourcing can help.

Increasingly, advanced AI is assisting businesses in identifying qualified leads at scale without breaking the bank or overtaxing their employees. In fact, 25% of companies report that AI helps fill gaps that exist due to a lack of human capacity and 43% of representatives believe that AI positively impacts their performance. 

From HubSpot’s 2024 Sales Trends Report

In 2024, outsourcing will be a key component of lead generation campaigns, with AI assistance and automation becoming the norm. That being said, outsourcing isn’t right for every company. 

So, let’s break down the pros and cons of outsourcing lead generation to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your team. 

Transitioning to Outsourcing: Key Factors to Consider 

Defining Your Outsourcing and In-House Lead Generation Models 

So, should you keep your lead generation process in house or look into outside lead generation services? There’s no one-size-fits all solution.

In-house lead generation offers many benefits, such as:

  • More direct control of your company’s vision and brand
  • Increased alignment between sales and marketing, which can deepen your understanding of target audiences  
  • Internal teams with built-in knowledge of your company can help better tailor campaigns, draft copy, and produce marketing materials

However, maintaining an in-house lead generation team requires significant investments in recruitment, training, technology, ongoing management, and so on.

For small businesses, startups, and others with limited bandwidth, outsourcing can be a gamechanger. 

From McKinsey & Company’s “New B2B Growth Equation”

Additionally, B2B companies in particular may benefit from lead outsourcing. The B2B market is getting tougher. According to McKinsey, B2B buyers’ expectations have skyrocketed in recent years, with consumers demanding more and more personalized experiences.

In a hyper-competitive market, casting a wide net is crucial. However, it’s not an easy task when customers expect a customized shopping experience. Lead outsourcing can help by:

  • Specialized agents focus exclusively on finding you quality leads, offloading work from your in-house team
  • Your in-house team can instead spend time crafting personalized sales and marketing campaigns to appeal to buyers one-on-one 

In a nutshell, outsourcing brings in expertise, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. If your company lacks specific resources, outsourcing agencies have access to advanced tools that allow them to execute targeted campaigns efficiently.  

Ultimately, the decision between in-house and outsourcing models depends on your unique circumstances and sales and marketing objectives. 

Identifying Triggers for Shifting to Outsourcing 

Lead generation can be a major bottleneck for business growth. Identifying potential customers can take hours of valuable time away from your sales team.

Are your current resources are unable to keep up with your lead generation needs? Consider the following: 

  • Do you need to scale lead generation quickly? Lead-gen scalability is notoriously tough, especially without outside help. In an unpredictable market especially, outsourcing allows you to scale lead generation flexibly as circumstances change. 
  • Do you want to improve the quality of your leads? When your sales team is responsible for everything from drafting emails to cold calling, they might not have adequate time for lead generation. Outsourcing can help you better connect with your target market, ultimately increasing conversion rates. 
  • Do you lack internal resources? Lead generation is time-consuming, especially with an overtaxed team. If your marketing and sales initiatives are struggling to connect with your target audience due to capacity constraints, you may need to bring in outside help. 
  • Are you looking to reduce costs? While many people assume outsourcing is pricey, it can actually reduce costs. Leveraging the expertise and technology of specialized agencies eliminates the need for many in-house investments. 

Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Your Lead Generation 

While outsourcing can help with scalability and give your sales and marketing teams extra expertise and experience, it also means sacrificing some control and dealing with potential communication barriers. 

Let’s take a quick look at the drawbacks and benefits of outsourcing lead generation. 

Pros 

Expertise and Experience 

A good outsourcing partner can bring invaluable knowledge to the table. Rather than focusing on all aspects of the sales funnel, you’re working with individuals hyper-focused on lead generation.

Service providers focus solely on connecting you with the best potential clients, handing your salespeople those leads most likely to convert. 

Cost-Effective

It might sound cliche, but outsourcing lead generation often pays for itself when it’s done right.

When working with a quality agency, outsourcing can improve vital metrics and KPIs while cutting back on costs like recruitment, training, and in-house employees.  

Scalability 

As noted above, lead generation can be a barrier to scaling your sales pipeline. If you don’t have adequate time to devote to lead generation, outreach suffers. Connecting with lower quality leads is a massive waste of everyone’s time and resources.

Outsourcing lead generation allows you to to easily adjust resources based on demand without needing to internally hire or train staff. 

Quick Implementation 

Lead generation agencies can get campaigns up and running much faster than in-house teams. The sales process is time consuming. Chances are, your reps have a hundred things on their plate without having to worry about rolling out a lead generation strategy.

But an outsourced team specializing in lead generation? They have the time and resources to implement lead generation efforts fast. 

Focus on Core Business

With lead generation handled by outsiders, your sales team can better focus on core business needs.

Rather than wasting hours crafting an ideal customer profile and identifying key decision-makers to contact, your sales reps can instead spend time honing their people skills, preparing for calls, fine-tuning marketing efforts, and more. 

Cons 

Less Control 

First, the obvious – you’re placing a lot of trust in an outside party with lead generation. 

You’re relinquishing autonomy in decision-making, campaign execution, data management, and more. You may struggle to keep your brand voice intact when you’re delegating tasks to individuals outside your company. 

Quality Concerns 

An outsourcing company might bring in a ton of sales leads, but are they the right leads for your goals? If you’re working with an outside company with values that don’t align with your own, you might end up with a subpar list of contacts.

Additionally, external agencies sometimes prioritize quantity rather than quality in order to meet contractual quotas. 

Communication Barriers 

Effective communication is essential for a good lead generation strategy, but unfortunately this doesn’t always go smoothly. Factors like geographic distance, time zone differences, and even small cultural nuances can impede effective collaboration.

When looking for an outsourcing company, prioritize finding a company with values that mesh with your own and be proactive about facilitating conversation. 

Data Security 

Let’s be honest – trust is paramount when you’re outsourcing any aspect of your business’s operations. Outsourcing requires sharing sensitive customer data with external agencies, which naturally raises concerns about data security.

Handing over data to third parties can increase the risk of security breaches, impacting your company’s reputation. 

Dependency 

Intentional or not, outsourcing can create over-dependence on external agencies. This is a huge strategic risk for businesses.

Relying too much on a third party can limit the development of your internal team, hindering innovation in lead generation over time. Not to mention that if your outsourcing partnership dissolves for any reason, you may be left scrambling to fill the gaps. 

Choosing the Right Lead Generation Partner 

The above drawbacks shouldn’t scare you away from outsourcing lead generation. Rather, they should give you a better sense of how to choose the right partner.

Below are a few things to consider when picking an agency to collaborate with.

Industry Knowledge and Expertise 

Does an outsourcing company have experience finding leads from your niche or industry? If not, they’re unlikely to be the right partner for your team.

Ideally, you should look for companies with experience working in your specific industry so they understand the messaging most likely to resonate with high-quality leads. 

Look for hard proof a company is successful in your industry. Case studies, customer reviews, and hard metrics can help you determine if a company’s worth the investment. 

Transparency of Strategies 

You want to work with a company that is dedicated to transparency when it comes to lead generation. Vague content marketing materials claiming to yield a high number of leads don’t tell you much. 

Instead, look for specifics:

  • Are companies being upfront not only about their results but how they achieved them?
  • Are they showing off materials like email marketing templates, LinkedIn posts, outreach strategies, and more to prove they can connect with your ICP?

Customized Solutions 

The best outsourcing companies understand there aren’t one-size-fits all methods. Companies should offer customized solutions that work for not only your specific industry but your company’s individual goals and needs.

B2B lead generation strategies differ vastly from the B2C or D2C sector, for example. You don’t want a partner who’s a one-trick pony. 

The best partners:

  • Take time to understand your target audience, brand voice, and brand goals
  • Have demonstrable experience working with a variety of businesses 
  • Have delivered solid results across a diverse range of sectors 
  • Look beyond conventional lead generation methods and prioritize cutting-edge technologies and out-of-the-box marketing strategies.

Lead Quality and Conversion Potential 

You want a partner that prioritizes quality over quantity (albeit, while also bringing in a high number of leads). A good lead generation partner should have a history of helping companies identify leads with needs that align closely with their offerings. 

It’s not always easy to immediately gauge an outsourcing company’s skill here. Obviously, reviews that mention quality leads are a great sign, but look into harder metrics too:

  • Can a company provide you information about their lead scoring methodologies? 
  • If you ask hyper-specific questions about your industry during initial consultations, can company representatives answer easily? 

Asking these questions ensures a company has the expertise necessary to track down quality leads with high conversion potential. 

Clear Contract and Pricing Models 

We hate to sound like a broken record, but a good lead generation partnership boils down to trust. A good partner will be completely transparent about their contract and pricing models. This ensures mutual understanding of your goals, prevents misunderstandings or disagreements, and helps foster a streamlined process for all parties involved. 

A good outsourcing company should:

  • Clearly outline deliverables, timelines, and the respective responsibilities of both parties
  • List pricing models both in the contract and on the company website
  • Let you know exactly what you’re paying for, whether it’s a fixed fee or a performance-based arrangement 

Compliance with Data Privacy Models 

Compliance with privacy laws is non-negotiable. The costs can be devastating to both your company’s reputation and revenue. According to Harvard Business Review, publicly traded companies suffer an average 7.5% decrease in stock value post-data breach and audit fees for companies are 13.5% higher post-data breach.  

When you’re handing over data to a third party, you need to ensure they’re up-to-date with all regulations and have a solid plan in place to ensure customer privacy:

  • Does your partner have a clear understanding of national, international, and regional regulations? 
  • Can they provide you with detailed information about their data handling practices and security measures? 
  • Are they transparent on their website about these procedures?

Proven Track Record 

Can your outsourcing partner put their money where their mouth is? Anyone can make vague claims about their abilities, but you’ll need to see hard facts before committing. Scan a company’s website and social media to see what materials they have speaking to their efficacy.

The more concrete, measurable details the better: 

  • Can a company provide you with client testimonials, references, and performance metrics? 
  • Do they have a history of long-term partnerships?

You want to work with a company that has a consistent, documented history of delivering results over time and keeping customers happy. 

How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Lead Generation? 

Obviously, cost is a huge factor for companies considering outsourcing lead generation. So, let’s take a look at how to estimate costs to help you decide if outsourcing is a feasible option. 

Cost Per Lead 

Cost Per Lead (CPL) varies greatly by industry. Technology and healthcare fall on the higher end of the spectrum, with averages of $208 and $162 respectively. Retail and non-profits, on the other hand, can fall as low as $34 and $31 respectively.  

Pricing Models 

Every agency will have their own pricing model.

Some charge hourly rates, usually falling between $25 to $50 per hour. Some charge pay-per-performance, where you’re only charged for booked appointments.

Costs here can vary a lot by company.  Some companies, usually those that offer customized solutions, work on a retainer basis with fees that start around $8,000. 

Average Cost 

Across all industries, the average CPL comes to around $198. However, as stated, some industries are pricier than others. Additionally, high-quality verified leads tend to cost more.  

Factors Influencing Cost 

It’s hard to make blanket claims about the cost of lead generation. Individual factors make a huge difference. Everything from the complexity of your campaign to the level of industry competition to your project size impacts your final pricing. 

Using AI Sales Agents like Ava from Artisan AI can hugely cut back on costs, with fees starting at just $225 per month. Learn more here.

How To Measure the Success of Outsourced Lead Generation 

If you decide outsourcing lead generation is right for you, you’ll want to make sure it’s actually cost-effective long term. To measure the success of your outsourced lead generation efforts, consider these key performance indicators (KPIs) and methods:

  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): Calculate the cost spent on the campaign divided by the number of leads generated to measure efficiency and budget alignment.
  • Lead Conversion Rate: Track the percentage of leads that become qualified prospects and then customers, indicating the quality of leads.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Assess the revenue generated from the leads compared to the cost of the outsourcing service to determine profitability.
  • Sales Growth: Monitor any increases in sales volume that correlate with the start of the lead generation campaign, indicating overall effectiveness.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Measure the revenue a customer is expected to generate throughout their relationship with your company, indicating long-term value from leads.

The Best Services and Companies to Outsource Lead Generation in 2024 

Artisan AI 

Artisan AI specializes in creating AI employees, called Artisans, capable of automating entire workflows. Their Sales Artisan, Ava, can automate finding high quality leads, researching them, and writing hyper-personalized emails. Learn more here.

Pros 

  • Ava can instantly find you hundreds of high quality leads
  • Access to a built-in database of over 300 million high-value leads 
  • More affordable than a human lead-gen agency
  • Users who have experienced the greatest value from the platform have reported a 7% cold email open rate
  • Provides a wide range of integrations including HubSpot and Salesforce

Cons 

  • As it’s a newer company, it lacks case studies speaking to its efficacy 
  • Some features not yet available 

Pricing 

Prices range from $225 to $875 a month. 

Belkins 

Belkins is an B2B lead generation agency that specializes in appointment-setting, cold email outreach, demand generation, sales enablement, and more.  

Pros 

  • Creates personalized campaigns for individual clients 
  • Provides comprehensive case studies, reviews, and testimonials illustrating company’s efficacy 
  • Track record of delivering high-value leads to consumers 

Cons 

  • Lead quotas not always met 
  • Lack of pricing transparency 
  • Social media outreach limited to mostly LinkedIn 

Pricing 

You can request a quote via Belkins website to get specifics for your company, but pricing tends to fall between $50,000 and $199,000 per project according to Clutch reviews.  

Cience 

Cience is a B2B lead generation service that focuses on setting up appointments with qualified prospects. They provide data-driven lists of leads, execute multichannel campaigns, and offer CRM solutions via a HubSpot partnership. 

Pros 

  • Offers customized B2B lead lists based on key data points 
  • Clients report high cold email open rates 
  • Adjusts campaigns along the way for optimization 

Cons 

  • Mostly provides services for the beginning stages of the sales cycle 
  • Employees based all over the world, sometimes causing scheduling conflicts 
  • Lack of pricing transparency 

Pricing 

Not listed on the website, but ranges from $4,200 to $9,000 per month according to reviews

Hunter.io 

Hunter.io is a cloud-based email search solution. It specializes in helping businesses both locate and verify personal email addresses for high-value leads.  

Pros 

  • Provides a wide range of integrations including Zapier, HubSpot, and Salesforce
  • Instant availability to accurate info on leads 
  • Automates some aspects of cold emailing and communication 

Cons 

  • Requires a lot of manual labor from your in-house team 
  • Lacks advanced mail tracking software 
  • Occasionally provides outdated or incorrect contact info 

Pricing 

Hunter.io’s paid plans range from $49 to $4999 per month. 

Reply.io 

Harnessing the power of AI technology, Reply.io is a sales engagement platform that helps clients automate and scale lead outreach. It provides tools for email automation, drip campaigns, prospecting, and analytics. 

Pros 

  • Provides detailed reports that include campaign information and analytics 
  • You can easily import outside data via CSV files 
  • More affordable than similar options 

Cons 

  • Customized fields can be difficult to import
  • Lack of editing options for email design 
  • UX design is sometimes confusing 

Pricing 

Reply.io’s paid plans range from $49 to $139 per month 

Start generating leads 10 minutes from now. Hire Ava now, and she will launch a lead generation campaign for you immediately with a focus on quality leads and quick results

Outsourcing Lead Generation: The Bottom Line 

Outsourcing lead generation is likely to become more common in 2024 and beyond. With the rise of AI especially, we’re likely to see more and more lead generation solutions crop up on the market. If you’re considering outsourcing lead generation, do your due diligence before settling on a partner. 

The best lead generation outsourcing companies provide customized solutions tailored to your industry and niche. They’re transparent about everything from pricing to data compliance and can provide hard evidence that their methods work.

While outsourcing presents its challenges, thorough research helps you find the right partner and achieve growth in today’s competitive landscape. 

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