By James Oberhausen, Co-Founder, President and General Manager
There is a significant gap between the transparency B2B buyers expect and what vendors provide. This is especially true in the lead generation industry, where transparency and reliability are often rare, leaving marketers with programs that are “good enough” but not great.
Why is it so hard to find a lead generation provider who champions transparency, and what happens when you do?
Challenging the Sub-Standard Status Quo of Lead Generation
The lead generation industry has traditionally been very transactional. The details of lead production are kept under wraps and marketers haven’t asked questions. As lead generation evolved to be a large source of revenue for most B2B companies, the industry remained opaque.
Marketers shouldn’t accept this status quo any longer. To understand where vendors who value transparency and provide reliable service fit into the future of lead generation, first we need to understand how this became the standard.
Lead Production is Hidden
It’s right there in the term – lead generation – but how are these leads actually being generated? Lead generation vendor-client relationships often consist solely of delivering a certain number of leads by a deadline. Marketers are accustomed to not questioning how those leads are produced or where they originated. What is the prospect’s experience? For content syndication leads, are they receiving content directly from an email or do they visit a landing page first? What journey did the lead take to be generated and delivered to a client? If you have insight into a lead’s journey, you can tailor your follow-up accordingly.
What It Means for Your Lead Generation Provider to be Transparent
Lead generation providers can challenge the status quo by incorporating transparency into their programs in these ways:
Revealing Behind-the-Scenes Metrics
What was once hidden should be made available to marketers so that they can understand the complexities of their programs and play a part in optimizing them. Industry standard lead generation programs do not typically deliver lead production metrics to clients. These metrics are valuable for better understanding how a campaign is running and how to take action to improve upon it.
Your lead generation provider should share how many phone calls were made or emails were sent, and how many leads were rejected during the quality control process. It’s important for marketers to understand how thorough the quality control process is and why leads are being rejected or replaced. This can help to continuously hone targeting criteria and saves marketers the time, money, and energy that they would otherwise spend returning leads.
Creating Confidence in Compliance
As data privacy and security becomes increasingly important, buyers must feel confident that their lead generation suppliers are compliant. Regulations are rapidly changing and lead generation vendors must get ahead of those changes to ensure their programs are up to speed. Vendors should be transparent with clients about the actions they’re taking to protect lead data and how they’ve interpreted regulations so that there are no surprises or costly mistakes.
Keeping Lead Delivery Promises
Your lead generation provider should deliver leads at the time and with the specifications promised. BlueWhale tracks promises kept to our clients, which helps us establish better partnerships. This means our clients aren’t worrying about whether leads will be delivered on time or whether they’ll be good quality.
Keeping promises also means that we’re transparent about potential unforeseen challenges. We believe that “bad news travels fast,” which means we recognize the importance of staying ahead of any potential bad news. Proactively working with clients when we encounter challenges ensures they’re up-to-date on their lead delivery status and the measures we’re taking to adjust the program.
The Impact of Transparency in Lead Generation
There are four main benefits when vendors implement lead generation with transparency in mind.
1. Collaborative Partnerships Get Stronger Over Time
Being transparent throughout the process moves lead generation away from being a transactional handoff to a collaborative partnership. Vendors can establish trust with clients by being honest about expectations and campaign performance and being reliable in their delivery. Your lead generation provider should approach your relationship from the perspective of the long-term benefit of delivering campaigns that continue to improve and provide an ROI that benefits your business.
2. Realize the Full Quality and Efficiency Potential of Your Campaigns
Transparent metrics allow marketers to gain a deeper understanding of their lead generation campaigns. We’ve found that quality control metrics are particularly compelling to BlueWhale clients who can then appreciate the efficiency of the process. By further improving on lead return rates, campaigns get better over time and marketers can spend more time and effort devoted to other marketing activities.
3. Optimize Campaigns Through Continual Measurement
Promoting transparency during your lead generation campaigns allows you to make adjustments that will result in better outcomes and keep your campaigns optimized as they run. If your lead generation vendor monitors and shares measurements throughout the course of a campaign, then you have the ability to be nimble to strengthen your program.
This applies to everything from content offers, to predictive intent topics, to audience targets. If one of your content offers doesn’t resonate with your audience, then you can make the determination to remove or replace it with another piece of content. Similarly, if accounts that have shown researching behavior in certain predictive intent topics are not converting at very high rates, then you can look to other topics that may be better indicators of purchasing intent. By being transparent about what is and is not working, your lead generation vendor can make recommendations that help you quickly pivot programs to find the most receptive, in-market leads.
4. Gather Intelligence to Improve Other Marketing Programs
The intelligence your lead generation vendor shares can improve marketing programs beyond lead generation. If your lead generation provider uncovers valuable information about your target audience’s engagement and preferences, these insights can be used to inform other marketing campaigns outside of your lead generation program, such as by refining your targeting for display advertising. Without transparency in your lead generation process, this information would remain hidden.
Better Lead Generation Starts With Transparency
Integrating transparency into all aspects of lead generation allows for a full-service vendor-client partnership. Lead generation vendors should be fully transparent about how leads are generated through campaigns and reliable in their delivery, so that marketers can gain a deeper understanding of the process and the two can work together for better campaigns.