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Lead generation agencies?

Anyone have experience working with lead generation agencies? Any tips on how to work with them? What criteria do you use to choose among them?

My target market would be non-technical founders of early-stage startups, if it matters.

Thanks in advance for any advice,
Chris

10 Replies

Lane Campbell
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Lane Campbell Advisor
Lifelong Entrepreneur
I'm a believer in using indirect sales instead of hiring outside sales. Your ROI with indirect sales is much higher and your overhead is greatly reduced.

If these services actually netted profits for customers they wouldn't mind getting paid commissions for deals closed. Instead they balk at that.

I think the lead generation services that target startups are parasites that exist solely to suck the blood out of the startup.





Richard Pridham
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Richard Pridham Entrepreneur • Advisor
Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs
Lane: what exactly to you mean by "indirect" sales?

Lane Campbell
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Lane Campbell Advisor
Lifelong Entrepreneur
Richard,

Indirect sales programs have varying names and purposes. They are sometimes called partner programs, channel programs, referral programs, or reseller programs. The idea is to have a stream of leads coming to you through people you compensate when business closes. Direct sales requires building a team or retaining a team. Either you are paying the salary for a sales person to have a butt in a chair or you pay someone else to employ someone to have a butt in a chair. At the end of the day it's a caped risk on the gamble that they may bring in more than you spend. Its possible but more often than not direct sales doesn't perform well enough to viable.


Richard Pridham
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Richard Pridham Entrepreneur • Advisor
Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs
Lane: ok, thanks. Very familiar with channel/reseller/partner/affiliate models. Wasn't sure if that's what you meant by indirect.
Richard Pridham
1
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Richard Pridham Entrepreneur • Advisor
Investor, President & CEO at Retina Labs
Hey Chris,

I guess it depends on what you're selling, how long and complex the sales cycles are, ease of reaching/access to decision makers in target market, geographic location, etc... Some products/technologies lend themselves to a channel/partner model, especially when the partner can add value around your offering. When it's more difficult for partners to benefit and add value, a direct to end customer model may be necessary. Each has it's pros and cons. Partner/channels are great but they take long to develop. Direct to customer requires a sales team (inside and/our outbound). As far as lead gen agencies, you have options: here are firms that can do prospecting and appointment setting (i.e. cold calling); marketing agencies that will manage your lead gen programs (e.g. email marketing, paid search, SEO, content...).
Chris Oei
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Chris Oei Entrepreneur
Independent Contractor at Realty ONE Group
Thanks for the helpful advice, everyone!
Aleksandr Yarmolatii
1
0
Experienced in Motion Graphics, Design, Video Production and Automation
Chris

I think the best will be to hire some people into your team becauselead generation agencies can't be such inspired as people in your team.
A.J. Lawrence
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A.J. Lawrence Entrepreneur
Data focused revenue growth executive from startups to Global1000s
I've had clients and companies I've invested in have good success with both Aaron Ross of "Predictable Revenue" fame, new shop, Carbio, http://www.carb.io/ and RevBoss,http://www.revboss.com/

With a more personal touch, I've personally used Nigel Wright, of Pipelinetorque, and would be happy to make an introduction.
Jofin Joseph
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0
Jofin Joseph Entrepreneur
Lead data diagnostics at Vibe
Great question and of course a huge problem. I've always been a huge fan of Predictable revenue and the concept of splitting your prospecting from the sales team.

We run Vibeto solve the contact management problem for sales and marketing. We have a lead cleansing service and lead prospecting service. Let me know if you would like to try out.

Haya Levine
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0
Haya Levine Entrepreneur
Independent Medical Practice Professional
In my experience, there is Sales Genie and Lead Genius, which are very reliable, but they require a subscription. I also doubt they would be able to find "non-technical" people. You may want to try Craft-Leads. They are pretty cutting edge, and may have a solution for you. They also don't work on a subscription model, so you can buy a small list, see if it works, and go from there.
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