Ask the expert: your questions on growing the business answered
In this fortnightly column, Ask The Expert, we aim to provide readers with practical advice on how to grow their businesses.
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and paytechs to scale. A visiting lecturer at the American University in Paris and regular industry speaker, he was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION 14: I’m considering outsourcing my lead generation activities. What elements should I consider?
Lead generation is one of the most important activities any fintech can undertake. According to Hubpsot, 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important marketing goal in order to fuel the sales pipeline. However, lead generation can be challenging and time-consuming since there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
If you own a fintech or lead a marketing or sales department, it’s vital to assess your capabilities to decide whether to hire and train someone in-house to market and sell your product, outsource your marketing and lead generation efforts, or employ a hybrid of the two.
There are advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing, and the back-and-forth confusion between “I should do it myself” and “I should trust someone else to handle it” is a struggle many commercial teams face when determining a lead generation strategy.
In this column, we’ll explore the benefits to outsourcing to help you decide whether it’s a good option for your business; and examine whether you can accomplish your growth-oriented goals in-house.
- When to outsource and when to keep in-house.
A key consideration when deciding whether to outsource is staffing. Do your team members have the skills and capacity required to take on lead generation? If they don’t, should you skill them up or outsource the responsibility? Here are some tips:
Consider in-house lead generation when:
- You can dedicate an experienced, full-time team to the task. In order to make lead generation work effectively, you’ll need at least two or three team members who can focus solely on targeting, content, domain and scheduling logistics.
- Your primary leads are coming from inbound marketing: people who have indicated that they want to hear from you – for example, who have completed a form on your website to download a piece of content.
Outsourcing lead generation may make sense when:
- You don’t have the resources to staff a full internal department
- You require focus on cold calling and booking appointments
- You need to accelerate efforts
- You’re struggling to reach key decision makers or influencers
However, it doesn’t have to be a binary choice.
Many fintechs outsource partsof lead generation – for example, initial outreach and appointment scheduling – whilst keeping other elements in-house, such as content creation and the development of target criteria. This can free-up experienced salespeople to lead the initial discovery meeting and start to cultivate a relationship with the prospect.
An effective approach could be a hybrid model where existing sales and marketing teams are supported by experienced lead generation partners who focus on outbound.
- It’s all in the briefing.
Ok, you’ve decided to outsource part of your lead generation activities. Now what?
The first thing to do is to ensure your chosen vendor is thoroughly briefed on your product/solution. The more they know, the better they’ll be able to pitch to your prospects. One way to do this is to develop a ‘cheat sheet’ comprised of your ‘elevator pitch’, key solution features and benefits, and customer testimonials that can be quoted while on the phone.
The elevator pitch is your opportunity to present your case to the prospect. Generally, you’ll only have 8-10 seconds to do so. Therefore, the pitch must be concise and relevant to needs.
The second key element is to ensure you have a clear set of targets in place with defined criteria. I’ve previously written about how to create a strong target list here.
Once the cheat sheet and target list are completed, you can move onto the briefing process.
Most reputable lead generation companies provide clients with a dedicated business development team that undertakes outreach through calls, emails and LinkedIn, with a project manager serving as a single point of contact.
A kick-off should be arranged with the team that will be working on the campaign, with discussion focussing on the positioning of the product/solution, overcoming typical objections, methodology for passing across leads (i.e., via email/phone/booking directly into shared Outlook/Google calendar), and what has worked to date and what hasn’t. One effective approach is for your salespeople to pitch the lead generation team as if they were real prospects.
Investing time in briefing your outsourced lead generation team up-front will help accelerate the delivery of a successful campaign.
- Working as one team.
Now that your outsourced team has been briefed, you need to agree how to work together. Here are some considerations:
- Determine the structure, method and frequency of updates. For example, how will you will receive them? Daily, weekly, monthly? Via email, phone or face to face?
- Once the campaign starts, schedule a call with the team at the end of the first day to assess feedback – for example, what are the main objections and questions?
- Schedule regular calls with the campaign team to tweak the approach and refine messages based on feedback.
- Set up a dedicated email address and instant message tools (e.g. Slack) for the campaign team to engage with the rest of the business.
- Agree how the campaign will be reported. One way to do this is to set up a shared online portal through which all activities and progress are documented. This will enable stakeholders to see how many calls have been made in a day, how many conversations have taken place, how many email pitches or follow-ups have been sent, plus a summary of every conversation.
- Once a lead has been secured, agree how that progresses through the business – for example, who the lead is allocated to, what they need to do, and the timeframe for completion.
Following these steps will help you get the most of your relationship with your outsourced lead generation company.
Bringing it all together.
Fintechs live and die by lead generation. Generating interest in your product or service is the single most important thing you can do. Ironically though, a lot of business owners forget they can use outsourced lead generation to achieve better outcomes – in a faster and more affordable way.
The benefits of outsourcing lead generation can add up. Outsourcing can save time on prospecting, qualifying leads and setting up meetings. Working together, your outsourced lead generation and internal salespeople can reduce time and achieve reasonable lead efficiency – making your growth goals more attainable.
Whether you ultimately choose outsourced B2B lead generation, an in-house team, or a combination of the two, the biggest mistake you can make is to overestimate benefits and underestimate costs. Effective lead generation requires plenty of resource, effort and patience.