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Do Lead Qualification Services Work?

Getting high quality leads is a never-ending challenge. To cope, some companies split lead generation into two stages. They pay an outside organization to do the initial qualifying and prospecting of the lead, which is then handed over to the internal sales group once it is "mature." This division of labor seems smart on the surface, but it's a good way to ensure that your customers buy elsewhere.

Here's how lead qualification services work. An outsourced calling group finds a prospect, and introduces your company and offerings, and develops the lead until the lead agrees, say, to a live demo. At that point, the calling service hands the prospect off to your sales rep to conduct the demo and move the deal forward.

This is supposed to keep the most valuable sales resources -- folk who can develop an account and close a deal -- focused on the truly "hot" leads. But there's are two downsides that probably outweigh any advantage that comes from the division of labor:

  • Downside #1: First impressions are important. Why would you want that first impression to be from a $9.50 an hour dial-bot?
  • Downside #2: Cold calling is an art. Should that artistry be left to outsiders in call centers where turnover is high and hiring requirements low?
Here's a better approach.

Use tools like ZoomInfo and Jigsaw to prequalify and better target your raw leads. Then hand those raw leads over to a connection service (not a calling service) like ConnectAndSell. The connection service simply gets the (pre-qualified) lead on the line -- without revealing that they're even involved. Put it all together with a process-oriented CRM system like Landslide and you're all set. No dial-bots required...

That way, every hour that you spend "cold-calling" means actually speaking to real prospects, rather than just dialing numbers and chatting with admins to get the real deal. You remove the busywork from the cold-calling process, while still ensuring that your contacts with prospects and customers are consistent.

READERS: Have any of you used a lead qualification service? Did it work, or was it more bother than it was worth?

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