B2B Lead Generation Companies - Access Marketing Company

Four Criteria for Vetting B2B Lead Generation Companies

According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018 report, lead generation is unanimously the greatest challenge for marketers worldwide. Add to this the complexity and elusiveness of business-to-business (B2B) audiences, and you’ve got a heck of an undertaking as a B2B marketer. Perhaps that’s why so many organizations are seeking out the support and expertise of B2B lead generation companies.

As is the case with any service provider, B2B lead generation companies aren’t created equal. Some can provide great strategic oversight but flop when it comes to tactical execution. Others are dynamite at managing the nuts and bolts of campaigns but lack the expertise to wrap a strategy around those efforts. The question is: How do you know what you’re going to get from a potential B2B lead generation partner?

To prevent your B2B lead generation company search from turning into a game of mystery box, you need to know what (and what not) to look for during the vetting process.

Here are four criteria for vetting potential B2B lead generation partners:

1.      Questions

The first thing a good B2B lead gen company will identify is whether it can even help you as a client. The fastest way to spot one of these honest companies is by paying attention to the questions they ask during initial meetings. Does the company’s staff ask thorough, hard-to-answer questions about your business? Does it sound like they’re reading from a script, or are they responding to you with thoughtful, intelligent questions and comments? Moreover, do they also explain why they’re asking the questions they do?

Bottom line—a good gauge of a B2B lead generation company’s experience and knowledge is the type of information they try to glean about your business. The more surface-level the information gathering, (likely) the more surface-level the solution.

2.      Content Know-How

Content marketing is one of the most popular, most effective means of B2B lead generation today. So, one of the biggest ah-has you can make about a potential partner is identifying whether they get content. Do they have a track record of writing smart, compelling pieces for a variety of verticals? Do they have a process for generating topics? What’s their approach to getting content in front of target audiences? Have they thought through what happens after a prospect downloads a content piece?

Finding someone who can write a few hundred words about a topic is easy. But finding an expert who can turn those few hundred words into a mechanism for generating new business is not. Do your homework and look for a B2B lead generation company that understands marketing content beyond the words on the page.

3.      Digital Skills

Today, much of B2B marketing—heck, much of all marketing—is done digitally. Channels like social media, paid search, video marketing, digital content and email have taken over as must-use lead generation avenues. Because of this, you need to gauge your potential B2B lead generation partner’s adeptness in the digital space. For example, does the company specialize in only marketing automation, or do they design and deploy multi-channel programs that include marketing automation, paid search, social media and event marketing? Your marketing needs will help you determine whether you’re better suited for a specialist partner or one that can handle a more varied digital workload.

4.      Measurement

Beware of set-it-and-forget lead generation programs. Almost no program will hit the bullseye on the first shot without at least a few nudges and tweaks. Point being, press B2B lead generation companies on their approach to measurement, attribution and optimization.

Transparency is one of the most important traits to look for in a lead gen partner. The right partner will take the time to understand what metrics your stakeholders care about and will be able to knit together custom tracking programs that hand you requisite data on a platter. What’s more, the right B2B lead generation partner will be in your programs every day, combing through data and turning the dials to find the right formula for success.

Enough High-Level Fluff, Get into the Nitty Gritty

There’s no Magic Bullet for B2B lead generation success. It’s a process that requires time, attention to detail and, oftentimes, the right partner. While this blog post gives you some great, high-level criteria for vetting B2B lead generation companies, it’s purely a starting point.

If you’d like to dig deeper into what to look for in a potential B2B lead generation partner, our white paper, B2B Lead Generation Best Practices: Leveraging Content Marketing to Increase Leads & Sales, has some great nuggets of insight.


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