So, you’ve read through our recent posts on nailing your sales goals with LinkedIn lead generation and finding your LinkedIn lead gen guru. Now you’re ready to take the next step and hire a LinkedIn lead generation firm.
What NOT to Do When Hiring a LinkedIn Lead Generation Firm
FAIL #1: Go in Blind
Beginning your search for a LinkedIn expert when you don’t know what a qualified LinkedIn lead gen firm should do is a sure-fire way to hire the wrong team.
A quality LinkedIn lead generation firm will offer a start-to-finish approach that handles the heavy lifting. Their methodology should include:
- Profile optimization to ensure you’re not only making the best possible first impression, but also reaching your target audience with keywords that real people naturally search for.
- Network building to help spread your messaging to the broadest possible audience of potential customers and fellow influencers.
- High quality content production that establishes you as an industry thought leader while amplifying your reach and search engine presence.
- Engagement with your potential client base that warms up cold leads and creates hand-raisers.
- Qualification and call scheduling that lets you focus on pitching your products and services to the right prospects.
FAIL #2: Skip Due Diligence
Just like engaging any other professional services, careful vetting is crucial to hiring a great LinkedIn lead generation firm. Read through their website and content to gauge their depth and breadth of experience. Ask for references, and more importantly, query those references about follow-through, timeliness, successes and challenges. Ask potential LinkedIn lead generation firms for case studies that demonstrate actual results for their past efforts.
One caveat here: It’s important to understand, when viewing case studies, that no two businesses are alike, and LinkedIn lead gen results will vary. Some niche industries are high volume, and others are low volume, but high value. Your results will naturally vary from the firm’s past clients — what you’re looking for is a demonstration of strong performance within the context of the purchasing patterns in your market.
FAIL #3: Forget to Set a Budget
By “forget to set a budget,” we mean fail to establish a financial plan that values the LinkedIn lead generation firm’s services based on your customer value.
Don’t think of the value of a LinkedIn lead generation service solely in terms of price. It’s far more important that your lead generation partner position you correctly and staff the effort with credible, experienced people that understand your offering and communicate it professionally to target buyers.
There’s no such thing as a “typical” lead value, which means cost per lead will vary significantly between industries. If you have a customer value of $1 million and your sales team averages three qualified discovery calls per month, then the value of a qualified lead is MUCH higher than a business with a $5,000 customer value talking to 30 new leads per month. A good range of per-lead value is $300 to $1,200 for most mid-market B2B businesses.
When setting a LinkedIn lead gen budget, remember:
- The QUALITY of the leads is critical. A poorly qualified lead will actually cost you money in the long run, so insist on a proper pre-qualification process.
- Choosing the cheapest provider is often a recipe for disaster. Don’t be lured into offshoring the work to poorly trained, non-business educated virtual assistants. These people are trained to hit a stated number by spamming your prospects. This will seriously harm your reputation, and will actually set your LinkedIn lead gen efforts back — perhaps to a point that’s impossible to recover from.
- A good rule of thumb is to expect your LinkedIn lead generation program to yield 5-8 times ROI. First, calculate your average customer value. Then use 10% as a conservative rate at which you convert qualified discovery calls into closed deals. This means you need to have 10 discovery calls to close one deal. (This is purposefully conservative, since studies show most B2B sales teams close 20 to 22 percent of their qualified sales calls.) Your “at the money,” or zero profit, call value equals 10% of your average customer value if you convert one in ten discovery calls into sales. To get to 5-8 times ROI from the service, simply divide the “at the money” call value by five or eight. That should be the target per-discovery-call value you pay your LinkedIn lead generation firm.
FAIL #4: Don’t Discuss Project Timelines
Not discussing your LinkedIn lead generation firm’s plan, including specific milestones and action items for all parties, is a surefire way to get off on the wrong foot. It’s crucial that you understand a provider’s specific approach. What’s more, by reviewing their structured timelines for daily, weekly and monthly achievements, you’ll be able to gauge the firm’s preparedness, organization and competence.
FAIL #5: Don’t Measure Progress
Multiple opportunities to measure progress and ROI should be baked into the LinkedIn lead generation firm’s approach. Regular bi-weekly and monthly calls are critical to keeping all stakeholders on track, and your provider should engage with you regularly and proactively. It goes without saying that they should also be available for questions and be responsive to feedback.
FAIL #6: Expect Too Much Too Soon
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your LinkedIn strategy won’t be either. A typical ramp up period of about two to three weeks is customary, so be aware that your first month will be light on results. A flood of results within seconds is not what you’re looking for anyway. In fact, receiving too many leads too soon likely means they’re unqualified, cold or generated through spam.
Take holidays, business cycles and seasonal influences into account when managing your LinkedIn strategy. But don’t pause your efforts during those periods. Consistency over time is key, and just because a few weeks are light doesn’t mean you should stop! The classic pitfall is thinking you should stop for the holidays or during August, but this approach just leaves you with zero engaged leads in January or September, when you could have hit the ground running and been ahead of the game!
By avoiding these mistakes and setting up a well-thought-out, consistent approach with the help of a qualified LinkedIn lead generation firm, you will be on solid ground to achieve sales success this year.
Hire an Expert LinkedIn Lead Generation Firm
To learn how you can implement a successful B2B lead generation program using a LinkedIn visit our LinkedIn Lead Generation Service page.