B2B Lead Generation: Outsourced gives 43% better results than In-House

Using outside professionals to help your company implement lead generation programs gives 43% better results than hiring your own lead generation person and it costs a lot less. Case closed!


Why is this the case? Check out The Problem with Reliance on Junior Marketing Folks.

So many firms try to implement lead generation programs in-house, (Just do a search on Linkedin for “lead generation” to see how amazingly popular it is.) it’s useful to share some facts from NNC Services white paper which did a great job of comparing in-house lead generation programs with outsourced b2b lead generation.  (Click the link to see the original post.)

There are some challenges and problems they found with in-house sales lead generation:

  • Lack of follow-up on events and telemarketing — In-house resources are rarely, if ever able to follow up on a consistent and effective manner. For instance, one company we know very well did a very popular webinar and shared the recording. But they failed to use the “Rule of Five” as espoused by B2B marketing expert Ardath Albee. Failing to split the audio for a podcast in iTunes, do a video interview in YouTube, narrate a PowerPoint and post it to SlideShare, create an e-book, write and post blog articles, etc. meant they missed many content marketing opportunities. Even something as simply creating a chapter indexed version of the webinar helps a lot.
    Opportunities like this to generate quality sales leads are far too valuable to waste.
  • Feedback from the market is not used - A deep understanding of customers is needed for effective BtoB lead generation.  These are called Buyer Personas. But in-house resources almost never do the level of research needed for optimal results. For instance, a lot of software companies sell to Chief Information Officers, but a CIO study found three archetypes with three different goals, requiring three different content approaches. The results of that study was documented in the book Content Rules.
  • Incorrect targeting — Not talking to the right level means poor results.  However, most in-house resources stop their research when they find an interested executive.  Often this lower level executive is a dead end. Outside services like the B2B bead generation company Find New Customers does complete dossiers on target companies so you always target the ideal executives.
  • Using a unique channel - This is one of the biggest problems with in-house lead generation programs trying to generate quality sales leads.  They tend to rely on single tactics, such as email campaigns or telemarketing.  Since everyone else is doing the same thing, there’s too much noise to be heard and few sales leads emerge.
  • Leaving it to the team’s junior - Leaving the activity on the sales team’s newcomer is one fatal mistake since the time spent in inappropriate meetings with the wrong prospects often results and the quality of sales leads suffers. Deeply experienced professionals like those found at the marketing lead generation company Find New Customers have the talent and experience to produce dramatic results.

If there are problems with doing b2b lead generation in-house, what are the advantage of bring in an outside firm who are experts in lead generation - like Find New Customers or NuSpark Marketing?

This white paper makes the point that you do not get more sales leads from outsourced b2b lead generation, but you get much better sales leads that are likely to close.  After all, closed business is what we all need.

Here is why:

  • Clear client profiling. (Buyer Personas) Lead generation experts use multiple methods to find out every bit of useful information about a prospect and to draw out a complete picture: likes/dislikes, need and behaviors.  These specialists also understand how customers buy, so they translate your selling process to the customer’s perspective.
  • Correct Targeting. Outsourced experts ensure you talk to the person(s) who make the buying decision — through deep research.
  • Qualified Sales Leads. You don’t waste time on a meeting with someone who hasn’t expressed a clear need for your products or services, or who lacks the budget to purchase them.  You only get meetings with people who understand what you are selling, need it and can afford to buy it.
  • Follow-up and feedback. All opportunities are followed up until they become qualified sales leads or are determined not to be valuable. Also, the outsourced lead generation team has the ability to use market feedback to get more leads.
  • Multi-channel approach. A good lead generation partner will use a complex mist of sales lead generating channels — including networking, online and off-line, as well as social networks.  This significantly improves the results of the campaigns.
  • More confidence. It takes 6 months to a year to consider if an in-house team member focused on sales lead generation is qualified and producing results for your lead generation programs.  By comparison, you can usually evaluate an outsourced lead generation resource in a month or two.
  • Less cost. Compared to salary, benefits, training, taxes, ramp-up time, etc. an outside expert can cost up to 65% less.


An outsourced b2b lead generation partner - and you have many to chose from including NuSpark Marketing, AcquireB2B, Bluebird Strategies,  Find New Customers - can deliver better sales leads than you can, at much lower cost, with reduced risk and increasing your opportunities for improved fiscal results.  3 months of b2b lead generation outsourcing brings you the same results as 12 months of in-house lead generation.

Bottom line: 43% better results by outsourcing B2B lead generation

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I was the host of the Focus Roundtable on B2B Lead Generation

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is President of the B2B lead generation consultancy, Find New Customers.

We help companies with between 150 and 5,000 employees who sell complex products to businesses to implement world-class lead generation programs. As companies struggle to create quality sales opportunities, they turn to lead generation companies like Find New Customers.

29 thoughts on “B2B Lead Generation: Outsourced gives 43% better results than In-House

  1. Would love to see the white paper you refer to so could you include a link in the post? Been doing this 27 years and I have rarely seen a vendor deliver better results than an in house team.

    Lots of reasons to outsource but consistently better results is not one of them. I have nothing but respect for the vendors we partner with but to say they deliver better results in 3 months than an in house team can in 12 is a fallacy.

    Sorry Jeff but our opinions diverge on this one!

    1. @Jeff - The question of outsourced vs. internal inside sales teams is one that we at Vendere ask quite a bit too (naturally, since we are a lead gen vendor).

      Here’s how my logic flows: Take the scenario where you train 2 people internally, and let’s say that they produce 6 appointments per week. All other things equal, they will also produce 6 appointments if they work for a vendor. So what would cause there to be different results? Things like (1) recruiting better people, (2) better systems and processes, and (3) better training. It is our opinion that a vendor like Vendere or Find New Customers can nail these three things, because that is ALL they do.

      Conversely, with the help of outfits like Trish’s Bridge Group, it’s not a stretch to think that one can also put together a supremely productive internal team, also. Half a dozen of one, six of the other.

      The question is a tough one to answer and some would say unanswerable because there are so many variables. We argue the merits of both in our blog article Lead Generation Outsourcing: Do I hunt for leads or hire the hunter?

      P.S. You’re killin’ me with the links. Too many for my liking, makes the article a little diluted.

    2. There is a link to the original white paper in this post, near the end of the first paragraph. Hope that helps.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Trish. The point in the blog post is to let the professionals do their jobs. Regardless of the approach, structuring and training an in-house team or bringing in the expertise of demand generation experts — the key is to use that expertise and not try to do it yourself with a junior staffer.

  3. The “facts” regarding in-house lead generation are assumptive at best in that whitepaper. A well aligned and managed lead generation team and their processes coupled with people that posses industry/market/domain expertise will succeed over an outsourced team always.

    1. You make a good point, Jeff, but I find that argument a bit specious. You say a “well-aligned and managed lead generation team with processes and people with expertise” The problem with that argument is that most firms don’t do lead generation that way. The data compiled by CSO Insights is damning. That’s why companies need to bring in outside experts to help them craft the processes and content to do lead generation the right way. Things like universal lead definition and customer insights get short shrift in in-house teams.

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. Curious how you can say I make a nice point then say my argument is “specious” in the very same sentence…..That seems ostentatious doesn’t it?
        We are saying the same thing in the end. Invest in the right people, develop the right tools, process and metrics for management, don’t be afraid to iterate and success will follow.

      2. No harm intended, Jeff. I said “a bit” specious. But you’re right. We say the same things. Invest in the right people, tools, process (content) and metrics.

        My only point is that a tiny percentage of businesses have the expertise to do that all by themselves. One of the main reasons is that they see the same things everyday, while outside experts can draw upon the experiences of many firms.

  4. Hi Jeff,
    I disagree with you on this one. The entire argument rests on the suggestion that external telemarketing people are more competent than internal people. This is not a universal truth but something to be judged one firm at a time.

    1. Nothing I love more than a rousing debate! Thanks, Kevin. But the point I see is that most firms do not have the in-house expertise to create the processes and content to drive good lead generation programs. Companies tend to hire a person or assign a junior level staffer — and they don’t do the research needed to understand buying personas.

      I think the issue goes far deeper than who dials the phone, Kevin. It goes to the whole process. That’s why you need experts.

  5. I think that the issue of inside vs outsourced lead telemarketing really comes down to the internal companies’ experience and competency in managing a tele-prospecting function (the people, utilization of the technology and on going management process). I would tend to agree with Trish B particularly in the inside sales selling function. Having worked with a major Fortune 500 telecommunications company in lead generation, they did not have the skills, experience and management to drive a productive tele-prospecting organization.

    The key is finding a high quality vendor that is aligned with your business objectives. Some areas that I believe the pros do better;

    Recruiting and Training. This function tends to have high turnover requiring constant recruiting and training, which I believe that good outsourced vendors tend to do better.

    Headcount Flexibility: Another major benefit was the increased head count flexibility of an outsourced vendor. We could increase and decrease resources as needed. Adding headcount in today’s economy is frequently a very difficult task in major corporations.

    We worked with the same outsourced vendor for over 8 years who was able to deliver outstanding results on a consistent basis. They became a strategic partner with our company and we saw year over year increases in both productivity and lead quality.

    Based on my experience, I believe a top quality outsourced vendor can do teleprospecting better than most internal operations.

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  7. The ingredients for doing tele-prospecting and tele-qualification well are the same whether outsourced or in-house. Both can lead to outstanding results. What an outsourcing company potentially brings to the party are certain economies. When they investigate and implement sales 2.0 technologies for inside sales or lead gen teams, for example, they are usually able to spread that cost across a far greater headcount than most companies can. They can also recruit significant experts to manage these operations. Where the HR department for a software company must recruit a wide variety of people, the outsourcing vendor highers and trains a disproportionate percentage of phone reps and so can specialize in this type of recruitment, making better selections more consistently. Most outsourced firms also locate in an advantageous labor market (Boston and the Silicon Valley, where most technology firm area, in contrast, are very high cost labor markets). These vendors also have well-thought out processes for inside sales and lead generation activities and can make minor modifications for a given client quickly and cost effectively. I could go on and on about the potential advantages.

    Of course, these advantages don’t always mean a client will receive superior results, primarily because those clients who look to outsource functions often do not make the necessary investments in the outsourced partner that would lead to superior results. Instead, they invest for reasons of speed, cost, or flexibility. Most importantly, clients do not invest in the considerable cost of truly integrating the outsourced vendor into client operations, especially sales operations.

    And some vendors definitely use their economic advantages to increase their own margins while delivering a mediocre service.

    1. Good post, Dave and I agree 100%, especially with your point about not getting results because they do not make the necessary investments. And it is not just money, but deep thought, discussion and planning. They do need to integrate the outsourced vendor in the client operations, especially sales. Well said.

  8. The biggest question a company has to ask themselves is; can we rely solely on our own lead generation efforts to meet our sales, profit, and growth goals? One of the biggest mistakes I see companies make is casting too narrow a net when it comes to their in-house lead generation efforts. Employees charged with the lead generation efforts for their companies often take their target market and get laser focused on people/companies who fit the exact demographic for their products/services. This narrow net may exclude hundreds or thousands of prospects who may be a fit for their company’s products/services.

    There are certainly benefits to both in and out of house lead generation efforts. Whether the lead comes from the in house or outsourced lead generation program a company has to have the processes in place to follow up, track, and monetize each and every program they use. If a company is using pay per click, trade shows, or other lead generation programs there has to be a positive ROI when all is said and done. I have many conversations with clients who tell me 3-5% close rates don’t compare to the close rates of other programs they use and they will have to find another way to generate leads. When you ask about the ROI and how it compares to the ROI of the other programs they often can’t provide an answer. If one program at 15% close rates is providing an ROI of 105% and another program with a 5% close rate shows an ROI of 150% which one is better performing? It all depends on which metric drives more for the business.

    How many times have you been to a trade show and seen people scanning badges or taking business cards from anyone and everyone who walks by a booth? How many clicks from Google does a company drive to their site and have the visitor there for less than 30 seconds and then have them leave? Does that full page ad in a trade publication really generate leads? All questions I have asked and had marketers say “Well I have to be there because my competition is doing it so I have to.” I have seen clients not attend trade shows and had their results up or down at the same rates as their competition. Google will tell you that you should be spending on every key word for your industry not because it’s going to impact the marketer’s bottom line, but because it creates revenue for Google. Print advertising is great for branding but, will your company ever be Coke, Xerox, or Kleenex? Probably not.

    At the end of the day, marketers need to spend their budgets smarter. Many outsourced programs provide companies the opportunity to try something for a short period of time and within a budget. If a program doesn’t work they can move on and try something else. It’s more about finding the right mix for your lead generation efforts than whether you should stay in house or use outsourced programs. There are no silver bullets – especially in today’s economy.

  9. Thanks for the reply, Todd. Two great vendors who provide outsourced lead generation services are Green-Leads and InTouch. Green-Leads provided B2B appointment setting services and InTouch provide lead nurturing services. Good luck.

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  11. We can go to a great restaurant love the food and try to re-create it at home to some varying degree of success. It is an issue of base competency and focus. I agree with a lot of the comments about not making blanket statements but I see enough horror stories from companies big and small (especially large size) corporations in how they deploy their lead generation activities. Legacy issues and silos are the reasons why companies should look at outsourcing to a qualified vendor. What makes in-sourced lead generation less effective a lot to do with the organizational structure of a company. The larger they are the more dysfunctional they become. I think it is also a philosophical decision that is based on perceived control of the process. Some people need and want control even the numbers are not spectacular. Smaller to mid sized organizations have come to understand the advantages of outsourcing by necessity but for enterprise size organizations it is often about functional silos, legacy issues with complicated CRM that only the internal CRM police can understand. If one cannot win the philosophical battle, move on and let them have their fun.

    1. Thanks Louis. You use a great analogy. Dine at a great restaurant and then try to recreate at home. That is the perfect analogy for B2B lead generation. Bottom line: One with a few years of experience will never touch the professionals. This is why company need to stop hiring and start outsourcing.

      Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Love the great debate on this post. Do it in-house or outsource it? IMHO, it depends on skills. Do you have the skills in-house? If so, keep it in house. But if you are like most companies and you have junior people in marketing, you’ll get better results from outsourcing.

  15. I enjoyed reading every comments as well as the post you’d made Jeff!
    Outsourcing services has advantages and disadvantages as well. In every actions we made there are always what we call a risk and consequences. Proper planning will elicit this so called risk. Each has different approaches and techniques used for the betterment of its business. Well let’s just learn from one another.

    Happy Marketing!

  16. Julie, Thanks for your note and I’m glad you enjoy the posts and the comments. I’m also delighted to receive so many comments as that is the mark of a healthy and well-read blog.

    Jeff Ogden, President
    Find New Customers


  17. Lead generation is a tough task. That’s why more and more lead generation service provider companies continue to burst these days to meet the demands of businesses needing such service.

    Thanks Jeff for this blog post! Indeed an effective one. Love the strategy you use.

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