Keeping a sales operation healthy means providing it a steady source of good leads. There are many options for sourcing leads, but for a startup to sustain growth and reach its next milestone, it needs a predictable method for new generating leads and filling the pipeline. Finding a method that balances quantity, quality and price could be the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. Outsourcing lead generation can be exactly that for you.
But first, let's take a look at some of the most common options for lead generation:
- Buy a List: There are many “data firms” that scrape the web and approach you with a claim to have clean data to sell you at bargain prices. However, this route hasn’t worked out well for us or, quite frankly, anyone we know. To salvage these lists, it takes more work to scrub the data and find the quality leads. But by that time, you’re list has dwindled and your cost per lead jumped significantly.
- Manual Lead Generation: This approach requires skill from someone who’s successfully done it before. However, if you’re a team with limited time and resources, you may want to have your salespeople focusing on the most important and highest-leverage activities of sales, like closing deals.
- Join Associations, Conferences or other Industry Groups: There are some association with a large member base in fairly targeted niches. The obstacles here are cost and number of associations. Does the quality of the list alone merritt the price of the membership? How many relevant associations are there? It’s also important to note the quality of these lists. Though associations are infamous for outdated member lists, they’ve gotten better over time.
- Use an Intelligence Platform: There are some great companies out there that can, in fact, provide you with clean data in large numbers. Some of our favorite companies are Datanyze and ZoomInfo. Many of these intelligence platforms have become a standard part of the Modern Sales Stack. The catch -- you’re paying a pretty penny for these services.
- Outsourcing: Ok, this actually isn’t a common practice, but the rest of the post is about how you can utilize outsourcing to get more high-quality leads for less.
As you can see, there are many ways to solve your lead problem. If the economics of your product support it, spending big to acquire leads might be the best approach for you.
If you're more sensitive to the cost of each lead, there’s one other option. Call it a hack. Call it being creative. Call it working smarter. Call it what you want, but this works. This option will let you source thousands of quality leads at a fraction of the price.
How to Generate Thousands of Leads at a Fraction of the Price
Here's a step-by-step methodology for affordably sourcing high-quality leads. It involves working with freelancers overseas, which initially takes some effort to manage, but yields great results. This will take a few days to implement, but could potentially yield some amazing results.
1) Creative Ideas for a Lead Gen Process
This is a critical, often overlooked, and ongoing step. If you haven't already created an ideal customer profile, start there. Then, think long and hard about all the places you might find prospects who match that profile.
All B2B salespeople are active on LinkedIn, and there are some great advanced tactics for prospecting. But LinkedIn is not enough. You have to get creative to find new sources and methods of generating leads.
Technology has enabled sales reps to become highly technical outbound lead sourcing machines. For example, working together with your marketing and/or engineering team, you can scrape all the people who have upvoted a tool/resource on Product Hunt and drop then into your outbound campaign. Then weave in some social selling and leverage Product Hunt’s and Twitter’s API along with Zapier by send an automated tweet to those Product Hunters.
Another example of thinking outside the box is utilizing a tool marketers love, BuzzSumo. Find popular blogs or specific posts that write about problems you solve. Then using BuzzSumo, you can find all the people who have tweeted that post and scrape those names, giving you a list of people who you know are interested in the problem you solve.
Yet another sales hack is to use Mention.com to monitor any social chatter (Twitter, blogs, discussions, etc.) and set up alerts around relevant buzzwords. At the end of every day you’ll have a list of prospects that you know are interested in what you do, and more importantly, interested now.
The key is to set up a process, so eventually you’ll be able to collect leads at the end of the day like clockwork. Ah, the power of automation. But be careful to automate the right things in sales.
Once your sales team has a proven process established, it’s time to find freelance workers who will be able to execute it for you at a very reasonable price, allowing you to focus on higher leveraged activities.
2) Hire and Evaluate Freelancers
It's all about the cost per lead here. Start by posting an ad on Upwork or Freelancer seeking a workers for a project. In your job description, be sure to include a detailed description of the work you want done and the specific skills required, which will be determined by the lead gen process you established in step 1. This will weed out some workers who claim anything to get jobs. This first job will only required 10 hours. If you find solid workers, then you’ll extend the contract.
Expect to receive a range of different quotes, but we’ve found a sweet spot between $5 and $8 per hour. Hire at least 5 freelancers across various price points to see who provides the best value. Some workers who appear more expensive may actually deliver a higher number of quality leads, while some cheaper workers could deliver more leads but lower quality. Segregate each worker's submissions so you can track their work and measure each one's performance later on.
After you’ve hired 5 workers, tell them exactly what to do. The more specific instructions you can give them, the better your results are likely to be. Spell everything out, step by step. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Also, provide a template of a spreadsheet with all the fields you expect to be delivered such as Company, First Name, Last Name, Title, Email, Phone, Address and URL.
Generally, if you hire 5 workers, 1 maybe 2 should pan out as strong performers. Give them more hours and work and quickly cut the rest by ending their contracts after the initial 10 hours. Then run the whole process again to find new workers.
3) Reduce the Number of Bad Leads
Keeping your outbound bounce-rate down is very important. So before you reach out to any of these new leads produced from your freelance workers, try to filter out obviously bogus email addresses through services like Rapportive, Kickbox.io or Briteverify.com.
It's even a good idea to set up a separate domain for sending emails to the leads you get from your workers. For example, instead of sending from your main domain (Company.com) create a new domain (TryCompany.com or GetCompany.com). You need to protect your main domain with your life!
4) Review Vendor Performance
If workers submit too many leads that get rejected in step 3 or bounce when they're activated in a campaign, you need to know so you can hire someone else. Using PersistIQ, add a field to each lead that indicates the source, so you can attribute these back to the vendors. You can also track lead source all the way through to when a deal closes. If you find someone who is contributing leads that close, give that person more work.
5) Rinse and Repeat
This is an ongoing process. Using this method you should expect a cost per lead below $0.31, with a 2- or 3-day turnaround. Keep this cycle going. Freelancers can move on or get busy with other projects, so you need a decent roster of talent to keep yours sales operation well nourished.
Once you have this process down, you’ll be able to predictably get quality leads in the top of your funnel day in and day out. The only thing left to do is drop them in your personalized outbound sales campaign using a platform like PersistIQ!
Stay tuned for more of the latest in outbound sales best practices and methods.
This post was brought to you by PersistIQ. Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale. See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.