How to Choose the Best Lead Generation Company
Lead generation is critical for any business looking to grow its customer base and increase revenue. Whether you run a small business that doesn't have the resources to generate enough leads in-house or a major enterprise looking to expand, lead generation companies can help.
However, choosing the right company can be challenging, with many factors to consider, from cost and data reporting to customer service and lead type. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to help small businesses choose the best lead generation company for their needs.
What is Lead Generation?
It’s important to understand the basic mechanics of lead generation before you dive into a partnership. Knowing the distinction between the different types of lead generation will aid you in choosing the best lead generation company for your business.
Pay Per Click vs. Pay Per Call Lead Generation
Knowing the difference between pay per click and pay per call lead generation is a critical first step in choosing the right lead generation company.
Pay per click focuses on generating leads through online advertising campaigns, where you’ll pay for each click on your ads, regardless of the outcome. It is typically used in search engines like Google and Bing.
On the other hand, pay per call is a performance-based model where businesses pay for qualified phone calls generated from their ads. This method is particularly effective for businesses that rely heavily on phone calls for conversions, such as local services or professional services.
While pay per click offers broader reach and visibility, pay per call provides a more direct and immediate connection with potential customers, which can lead to a higher ROI if you are skilled at booking the job.
Exclusive vs. Shared Leads
Knowing the type of leads you’ll be receiving from a lead generation company is key to determining if a partnership will work for your small business, which is why the distinction between shared and exclusive leads is crucial.
Exclusive leads are exactly what they sound like: leads that are sent to your company only. These leads are typically phone calls but can be form leads as well. They are typically more expensive but have a higher potential for booking the job as you won’t have to compete with other companies for the potential customer.
Shared leads on the other hand can be sold as many as 5 or more times to different companies, creating an element of competition with booking a job. Because there are more companies receiving the same lead, shared leads tend to be cheaper but are only a good fit for companies with the confidence to stand out in a bidding war with competitors.
Knowing the difference between shared and exclusive leads will help your small business narrow down the best lead generation company for your needs.
Understanding Your Business Needs
As you start looking for a lead generation company, it's important to understand your business needs. This way, you’ll be able to look at each company from the perspective of what your business hopes to get from them and how they can fill those needs.
By taking a critical look at what you hope to gain from lead generation, you’ll be able to determine the most important results you can achieve. That way, even if there isn’t necessarily a lead generation company out there that can check every box, you’ll still be able to choose the company that best fits what you’re looking for.
Ask yourself the following questions when outlining your business needs:
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your business goals?
- What are your lead generation goals?
- What is your internal capacity for optimization?
- What is your budget?
- What is your timeline?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search and find a lead generation company that is best suited to your needs.
Researching Potential Lead Generation Companies
Once you have a good understanding of your business needs, it's time to start researching potential lead generation companies. Of course, you’ll quickly find that it’s not as simple as Googling “best lead generation company”.
Your best bet will be searching for specifics that you want the companies to have, such as exclusive leads or pay per call services. Additionally, if you find a company that you think may be a good fit, it would be in your best interests to look at their competitors as well.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Look for companies with experience in your industry. They will have a better understanding of your target audience and will be better equipped to generate high-quality leads for your business.
- Check their reputation and customer reviews. Look for companies with positive reviews and a good reputation in the industry while also keeping in mind that reviews don’t always paint a full picture.
- Evaluate their pricing. Look for companies that offer transparent pricing and billing features that can help you be successful without breaking your budget out of the gate. For example, at Service Direct, we only charge you for leads from real potential customers seeking services in your area, also known as billable leads.
- Evaluate their services. Every company is going to have different services that they have prioritized. You’ll want to evaluate these services on top of any internal features that can make your lead generation journey successful.
By keeping these factors in mind when researching lead generation companies, you’ll be able to look at every company with a critical eye and determine a few companies that could be a good fit for your business. Then, to narrow them down further, you’ll want to look closer at lead quality.
Evaluating Lead Type and Quality
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a lead generation company is the quality of leads they provide.
It’s important to evaluate lead quality from a top-down perspective as well as on a granular level. Some companies are going to position their leads as the best quality around, which can seem legitimate until you look closer at various elements.
For example, you need to understand a company's lead qualification process. A good lead generation company will have a robust process for qualifying leads to ensure they are high-quality and relevant to your business. Some companies might even have quality assurance processes and teams to ensure that you aren’t paying for illegitimate leads.
Additionally, to determine the quality of leads they provide you’ll want to look for companies that provide leads that are more likely to convert into paying customers. This can be done by seeing if a company publishes data on the types of leads they provide or the percentage of valid leads sent to their customers.
Finally, you’ll want to evaluate the lead-to-customer conversion rate. In other words, a high conversion rate indicates that the leads provided by the company are of high quality. If you can find data provided by a company on the number of valid leads that turn into customers for their clients, you can closely examine the overall quality of the lead generation they provide.
Examining the Lead Generation Company's Process
The next step to choosing the best lead generation company for your small business is understanding the lead generation company's process. This is critical to ensuring that their approach aligns with the business goals we mentioned earlier.
Here are some things to consider:
- Understand the company's lead generation process: Companies that have a transparent and well-defined process for generating leads are going to be an all-around better fit than companies that have hidden techniques that they aren’t willing to share.
- Determine the tools and strategies they use: Look for companies that use a variety of strategies and tools to generate leads, such as form and phone leads as well as differing services. Additionally, you’ll want to see what types of programs and internal tools companies have to provide to streamline the lead generation process.
- Evaluate their approach to lead evaluation and client follow-up: The best companies have a process for evaluating leads so that you don’t have to spend all of your time doing so. They also will have support teams that are there to provide help if you aren’t seeing the success you want.
By keeping these factors in mind when evaluating a particular lead generation company, you'll be able to assess if they are a good fit for your small business.
Assessing a Company's Tools and Support
Speaking of support teams, customer support and communication are essential factors to consider when choosing a lead generation company. In fact, customer success and support can make or break a lead generation company, especially for small businesses without extensive internal resources.
When it comes to support, you’ll want to look for lead generation companies with highly responsive customer support. A good lead generation company should be available to answer your questions and provide help when needed.
Additionally, you’ll want to determine the support channels they offer. The best companies will offer multiple communication channels, including phone, email, live chat, and more. They should also have internal resources such as help articles and videos so that you can find information whenever you need it.
Finally, you should evaluate a company’s transparency and reporting practices. You’ll want to partner with a lead generation company that provides regular updates and reports on leads generated, lead quality, and other key metrics related to your lead gen campaigns.
Contract And Agreement Review
The final step to evaluating lead generation companies is to evaluate the contract to ensure there aren’t any red flags involved. Plus, as a business, it’s always smart to make sure you understand the intricacies of any contract you’re signing.
Keep these in mind:
- Review the terms and conditions of the contract. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions and that they align with your business needs and goals.
- Look for any hidden fees or restrictions. Make sure there are no hidden fees or restrictions that could impact your business in the future.
- Make sure the company isn’t making hard-to-keep promises. These can include ensuring you won’t have to do any work to book jobs, promising exceptionally low costs per lead, and more.
In addition to keeping an eye out for these potential causes for concern, you’ll want to take a look at the transparency of the company. If you have a concern, voice it, and if they are open and honest about addressing that concern, then that speaks volumes for their overall business model.
Choosing the right lead generation company is critical to the success of your small business. By understanding your business needs, researching potential companies, and evaluating lead quality, you’re off to a strong start.
Further examining a lead generation company's process, assessing customer support and communication, and reviewing the contract and agreement, will help you make an informed decision and choose a company that will work with you to achieve your business goals.
Remember that the process of selecting a lead generation company takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the long run. By following the guidelines in this article, you can confidently choose a company that will generate high-quality leads and help your business grow. Good luck!
- The Ultimate Pay Per Call Marketing Guide
- Lead Generation: Top Terms Defined for Home Services
- 5 Top Thumbtack Competitors and Alternatives