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Choosing Between a Lead Generation Agency or an In-house Lead Generation

01 November 2022

Leads are the lifeblood of your business, and they’re often frustratingly difficult to obtain.

Whether you need better leads or a more efficient process for acquiring them, maybe you’ve considered working with a lead generation agency to achieve those goals.

But beware of outside lead gen agencies, as they aren't always as helpful as they may seem. There are hidden hazards resulting from these services, and they may not appear until you've lost considerable time and resources on a method that fails to meet your overarching B2B marketing and sales strategies.

Lead generation doesn’t have to be an outsourcing approach, as you can opt to do it in-house and reap the benefits of doing so. Keep reading to learn the differences between a lead generation agency and in-house lead gen services, and determine which process is right for your sales team.

Lead generation agency

A lead generation agency provides an outsourced solution to a common problem among today’s top salespeople: the need for insight into potential customers or clients. The agency plays an instrumental role in identifying leads that need additional nurturing.

Some lead gen agencies go beyond merely gathering details about leads, continuing their work with potential customers after becoming full-blown clients. Agencies may even provide initial email marketing or appointment setting services. The intention is to streamline the onboarding process. 

With this approach, the agency acts as an early liaison between the prospective client and the business.

Pros of using a lead generation agency

It takes considerable time and effort to produce top-notch leads, and some businesses may lack the resources necessary for effective lead generation. SMBs, in particular, often struggle to acquire proper personnel to find or make the most of quality leads. 

In such situations, a lead generation agency may seem desirable. This resource makes it possible to offload some or all of the lead generation process, thereby freeing up businesses to focus on other pursuits.

Cons of using a lead gen agency

When your schedule and staff are stretched thin, it can be incredibly tempting to seek short-term solutions to remove some of the burdens. However, these temporary opportunities can often turn into long-term headaches. 

At the outset, these services appear to fulfill an important function —quickly securing a high volume of leads for businesses struggling to identify prospective clients. Over time, however, disappointed lead gen clients observe a discrepancy between quality and quantity.

The leads so swiftly acquired by these agencies reveal themselves as not relevant to the businesses you aim to serve. Lead gen agencies often focus on quick fixes, so they fail to acquire an in-depth understanding of buyer personae or ideal customer profiles.

The result? A long list of leads that provide a minimal return on investment. Without a targeted approach, lead gen agencies end up sending you leads that are not qualified based on your target audience or general approach to B2B marketing. 

Beyond this core problem, additional downsides of working with a lead gen agency might include:

  • No control over timing. The timing of your leads matters, including their journey through the sales funnel. Unfortunately, timing can be difficult to control when you rely on lead gen agencies. These services may rush the sales funnel rather than maintain the slow and steady process that genuine nurturing requires.

  • No CRM integration. Where do qualified leads go once they have been identified and vetted? Ideally, your streamlined workflow will include integration with your customer relationship management (CRM) solution. This should optimize the transition from lead, prospect, and, finally, client. Unfortunately, lead gen agencies often neglect to provide easy CRM integration.

In-house lead generation 

Businesses that keep lead generation in-house employ B2B marketing professionals who are highly trained in — and passionate about — lead generation and nurturing. Enterprises with large marketing departments may be able to use lead generation specialists, while others may need to get generalists, such as marketing assistants, involved. 

Pros of keeping lead generation in-house

If you want to make the most out of each and every lead, in-house lead gen is the way to go. This curated approach delivers the specific types of leads your business requires because it depends on professionals who are intimately familiar with your brand and your target client.

Instead of wasting time on irrelevant leads that don't pan out, an in-house team allows you to focus on prospects that are most likely to convert, delivering the greatest ROI. Other advantages worth considering include:

  • Real-time access. With lead nurturing, time is of the essence. The sooner you follow up with qualified leads, the more likely you will score higher conversion rates. In-house solutions provide a huge advantage from a timing perspective because they offer direct access to leads. 

  • Search engine optimization. SEO can complement and enhance lead-generation efforts by bringing extra traffic to your website. With the right lead gen solution, this traffic can then be analyzed to determine which visitors constitute the most qualified leads. Lead gen reps typically don't provide high-quality SEO services. Therefore, SEO, like lead gen, will ultimately be more targeted and effective if it remains in-house.

  • Alignment with marketing campaigns. Brand consistency is key to developing trust among both leads and current clients. But, this quality can be difficult to maintain when you rely on outside agencies that don’t specialize in your niche. When lead generation is completed in-house, leads are more likely to be selected based on the realities of your current marketing campaigns.

  • Fine-tune the process with the data. When you manage lead gen in-house using a tool like Leadfeeder, you’ll be able to stay on top of the data. The LF sales leaders look at their funnels and sales cycles constantly, always adjusting with the market, new offerings, a customer asks, and everything in between. 

Cons of keeping lead generation in-house

In most situations, an in-house lead gen strategy will produce higher quality leads that are more likely to respond to your nurturing efforts.

Still, there are caveats. There's a reason so many businesses express interest in external lead gen services — the struggle to handle complex inbound and outbound marketing processes independently. 

As already touched on, lead gen is a labor-intensive process that calls for highly trained and deeply passionate employees. Depending on the scope of your marketing department, you may find it difficult to keep enough talented professionals on staff. 

If you're unable to scale up, you may quickly find that a few overworked marketing employees are forced to handle a wide range of concerns. This could leave hardworking staff members unable to focus exclusively on lead generation or anything else. 

On the other hand, such limitations don't necessarily mean you need to avoid in-house solutions altogether. Consider developing a streamlined workflow if you prefer not to use traditional lead gen agencies. Otherwise, while your leads may be of sufficient quality, you simply won't have the time or attention to dedicate to upping the quality. 

Which lead generation process is right for your company?

Lead generation agency vs in-house lead generation

While outsourced agencies and in-house lead gen are the two main approaches to lead generation, these are by no means the only options available for scoring high-quality leads. In all likelihood, you'll benefit most from a middle-ground option that considers both systems' advantages and concerns.

The ideal solution for your next lead generation campaign is an in-house marketing team that gets a boost from lead generation software. This captures the efficiency of lead generation services while giving your marketing team much-needed control.

The right solution will help you make the most of existing leads you've previously struggled to identify. Advanced software can use current website traffic to generate qualified leads. These are then scored and segmented to help you prioritize. 

Once the best leads are identified, they'll automatically go to your CRM to be integrated into your current sales structure. This frees your marketing team to focus on nurturing leads and building strong relationships. 

How to set up lead generation processes in your company

It’s one thing to know you’re ready to up your lead generation strategy, but it’s quite another to get the ball rolling. Our experts at Leadfeeder know the undertaking this can be.

A few simple adjustments in your company could make a world of difference for your sales team. We can help with various resources to point you in the direction you want to go. Of course, we first recommend starting with a free Leadfeeder trial for 14 days. 

If you’re going with in-house management, Leadfeeder is the perfect accessory for your sales team. I love this article titled, “How Leadfeeder Uses Leadfeeder” — this shows how you can utilize the software as an internal team. 

Start with understanding how lead generation works and how to build your best approach to getting valuable leads.

Next, find helpful information on key metrics, demand generation, social media marketing, PPC strategies, and more.

Blend the benefits of in-house and outsourced lead generation

Whether you’re new to building a lead generation process or looking to change up an established strategy, Leadfeeder is the right choice for your biz. We offer the best of both worlds: the targeted approach of an in-house team with the streamlined solutions of an outsourced lead gen agency. 

We aim to help your outbound and inbound marketing system work as efficiently as possible. In turn, you reach your goals by not having to rely on a “typical” lead gen agency.

Leadfeeder empowers your sales team so you can find and make the most of exceptional leads. Get in touch today to learn more about our lead generation solutions. We’d love to get you started with a free trial.

Romana Hoekstra
By Romana Hoekstra

Content Marketing Expert

Romana helps B2B tech companies and startups to craft high-performing content marketing strategies with a focus on organic growth, SEO, high-quality content production & distribution.

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