Should You Outsource Your Lead Generation?

Should You Outsource Your Lead Generation_
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Veronika Belova
by Veronika Belova

2 Min. Read

Any sales team knows just how important lead generation is to a successful cycle. Generating leads isn’t easy. It takes work, and a lot of it, to see results and fill your sales funnel. Often, the people in your team responsible for lead generation will have huge chunks of their working time swallowed up by laborious and repetitive admin tasks. And if this effort doesn’t yield results, it can feel like a big old waste: of time, money, and willpower. 

When efficiency is the buzzword on every business leader’s lips, it can be tempting for sales teams to flirt with the idea of outsourcing their lead generation. But with hefty agency fees and your brand reputation on the line, is outsourcing your lead generation really worth the gamble?

In a rush? Skip ahead: 

What Is Lead Generation? And Why is it Important for Sales?

Lead generation is an integral part of the sales process. It involves identifying potential new customers for a business’ product or services, and directly targeting them to gain their interest and persuade them to buy. But getting the process right can be a real challenge. In fact, a staggering 46% of B2B sales representatives list lead quantity and quality as their top challenge. 

Often the responsibility of the marketing function, lead generation is a fundamental part of the sales cycle. Marketing teams will design carefully crafted content and marketing communications that land key brand messages to attract interest from cold customers. In some instances, content used for lead generation will be the very first touch point a prospect has with your business. So, ensuring that it has the right tone of voice, addresses the relevant pain points and clearly articulates your proposition, is critical. 

In-house vs. Outsourcing Lead Generation

We know why getting your lead generation campaigns just right is so important. So is it worth the risk of outsourcing such a critical component of your sales cycle? We’ve unpacked the benefits and drawbacks of keeping lead generation in-house and passing on the job to an external partner. 


Running In-house Lead Generation Campaigns

The Positives

  • Take full control over the process: When you manage lead generation internally, you can test and learn what works well for your product or service and hone your content and communications to reflect your learnings.
  • Better brand alignment: You know your brand better than any agency or partner could. If you are in the driving seat for your lead generation campaigns, you know that you’ll be landing all the right messages you’re hoping to put to market. 
  • Easier integration with other marketing strategies: Joining up cross-functional strategies can be a tricky business for any team. When you outsource your lead generation, you open yourself up to a fragmented sales cycle, where lead generation is out of step with the rest of your sales function.
  • Product and prospect knowledge: Your marketing and sales teams should be your biggest brand champions. If you sell a complex product or service, it can be hard for an external partner to wrap their head around precisely what you do and why you outperform your competitors. Powered by day-to-day contact with customers on the ground, your team will also have a much clearer idea of your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and will know how to tap into their pain points.


The Negatives 

  • Money, money, money: Lead generation is a complex art, and to succeed teams require expertise and highly specialized skillsets. This can equal big budgets on hiring, training and managing staff to really deliver results. 
  • Time drain: They say variety is the spice of life. And to keep your team engaged, it’s a wise idea to avoid assigning your people bulk admin tasks. The repetitive admin associated with lead generation can be a significant time drain, and will quickly demotivate eager sales or marketing professionals looking to hone their strategy skills.
  • Resource pinch: You only have one team, with only so much capacity. Allocating time to lead generation can be tough to justify if you lack the proven skillset to deliver against sales targets. 


Running Outsourced Lead Generation Campaigns

The Positives

  • Alleviate the people panic: When you choose a trusted partner for your lead generation campaigns, there’s no need to stress about hiring and training to justify the resource allocation. Some agencies and partners will also operate on a short term basis, so there’s no need to commit to long-term costs. 
  • Specialized Skills: A good lead generation partner will have a proven track record in delivering high quality leads for businesses like yours. They will have access to all the tools and tricks of the trade to entice your prospects and convince them to buy from you.
  • Sell at scale: Need to dial up your sales pipeline at short notice? A partner will be able to adjust campaigns dependent on your needs without any impact to your own team’s capacities or workloads. 
  • The gift of time: Give your internal team more headspace and working time to focus on bigger strategic projects, or urgent priorities by outsourcing your lead generation. 


The Negatives

  • Money, money, money: There’s no getting around it. Lead generation can be an expensive outlay even if you choose to seek out the support of a specialist partner. Agency fees for this kind of work can be eye-watering, and you might only be one account of many with limited agency resources going into your campaign. 
  • Lack of visibility: When a partner is taking care of a part of your sales process, you have to relinquish some control over how they operate.
  • Bad brand alignment: Without a proper brief and consistent check-ins, you run the risk of an external agency running lead generation campaigns with messages that just don’t fit your brand, your product, or reflect your prospects’ pain points. 
  • Low conversion rates: How well does your partner know your ICP? Do they know precisely who you are trying to target and what a viable, qualified lead actually looks like? Without the firsthand knowledge of who you’re targeting and how to communicate with them, taking on an outsourcing partner can drastically reduce the volume and quality of the leads generated in comparison to a dedicated internal resource.


When Should I Outsource My Lead Generation?

Timing is everything in sales. There’s no cut and dry answer to whether you should outsource your lead generation process. But if you do decide to seek the help of a partner, it’s important to consider when the right time might be. 


Signs You Should Outsource Your Lead Generation

Is your team at full capacity? Are you struggling to keep up with the demand for discovery calls and demos? It might be time to lean on external resource and free up the time of your team. If you have a pressing demand to really fill your sales funnel with more leads because of ambitious targets, an agency partner can act as much-needed firepower to get you across the line. 


Perhaps your team isn’t up-to-speed with the specialized skills needed to run complex lead generation campaigns, or you’re entering a new market with a specific cultural context or language your team isn’t proficient in. Don’t be afraid to lighten the load and engage with an external partner to do some of the heavy lifting.


Signs You Should Keep Your Lead Generation In-house

If you’re selling a highly specialized product or service, your in-house team will have the knowledge and familiarity to run lead generation campaigns best. And if you have resource to test an in-house campaign, it can be a good learning opportunity for staff looking to upskill and develop their marketing toolkit. Or maybe you’re launching a new product or service and need complete control over the brand messaging entering the market for your new offering. In these instances, an in-house lead generation function can be your most effective route. 


Quality Control for Outsourcing Lead Generation

If you do decide that now is the right time to partner with an external agency to handle your lead generation, ensure you are setting your team up for success by using the following quality control methods.

Define Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

A well-defined ICP is crucial for effective lead generation. Work with your agency to create and refine your ICP by analyzing market research and audience data. Clearly outline the demographics, behaviors, and pain points of your ideal customers to ensure your partner targets the right prospects.

Set Clear Goals and KPIs

Establish specific, measurable objectives to guide your lead generation efforts. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress and ensure alignment with your business goals. Regularly review these metrics with your agency partner to maintain focus and drive success.

Maintain Regular Communication

Frequent check-ins and performance reviews are vital for a successful partnership. Utilize collaborative working technology like Slack, or project management tools like Asana to make sure both parties are on the same page about outputs and expectations. Regular updates and feedback sessions can help keep the campaigns on track and drive continuous improvement.

Vet Your Agency Partner

Finding the right agency partner can be a bit like dating. You have to be prepared to play the field to find your perfect match. Start by researching potential partners’ track records and client testimonials. Has the agency worked with any big brand names like Google or Uber? Ask key questions about their experience in your industry, methodologies, and what success looks like to them. And remember, always check how the partner adheres to privacy laws like GDPR. If you establish an open dialogue with your agency partner from the outset, you can build a relationship of trust that will keep you true for the duration of the lead generation campaign. 


Common Mistakes to Avoid When Outsourcing Lead Generation

Data Quality Issues

How do you know that the contact data your agency partner is using for outreach is correct and up-to-date? Use a tool like Surfe’s email finder for LinkedIn to ensure the validity of the email addresses and phone numbers your agency partner is targeting. With a 93% success rate, you can rest easy knowing that the contacts your agency is pursuing are real people, with real email addresses, who might actually read your content.


Misalignment with Brand Messaging

If your agency partner doesn’t have all the right product information and your desired brand messages to hand, the fall-out can be significant. Your conversion rate will suffer and, chances are, you’ll have spent a lot of your budget on a campaign that doesn’t drive results. Give your agency partner a headstart by providing them with personalized templates for each of your buyer personas to ensure that your messaging is consistent and your business is speaking to prospects in a way that aligns with your brand strategy. 


Dependency on Your Partner

You know what they say, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If possible allocate back-up resource in the form of a well-trained in-house expert who can pick up the slack if your agency doesn’t perform as you hope.


lead generation with email finder for linkedin

Let’s Wrap It Up!

Deciding when to outsource your lead generation campaigns will depend on your own specific business needs. Assess your in-house team’s capabilities and resources to make the call on whether you can justify the time spent on training and campaign management. If outsourcing is the right path for you, be warned! The costs can be high, and you run the risk of low conversion rates, misaligned brand messages and disappointing results. Give yourself the best chance of success by improving the quality of the contact data you use, and creating seamless messaging templates to ensure brand consistency. For every email, to every prospect.

Surfe is trusted

Set your lead generation campaigns up for success with Surfe.

Whether you’re making a go of lead generation in-house, or trusting an agency partner to do the job for you, Surfe can help. Convert more leads, improve the quality of your outreach and ensure your brand messages are bang on.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Outsourcing Lead Generation

What is Lead Generation?

  • Simply put, lead generation is the process of finding new customers who might be interested in your business’ products or services, and trying to interest them in buying from you.


Should I Outsource my Lead Generation? 

  • There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to lead generation. Take into account your team’s capacity, their expertise and your budget to make the right decision for your business. 


Is Outsourcing Lead Generation More Expensive? 

  • Not necessarily! There are significant costs associated with in-house lead generation campaigns too, like hiring, training and resource allocation.


What Tools and Technologies Can I Use to Improve My Lead Generation Campaigns? 

  • Chrome extensions like Surfe can help with common lead generation issues like data quality and misaligned brand messaging. And it can save you on hefty agency fees, too.