The Leads “Con”

By March 10, 2016marketing

I find it funny that the largest lead generation convention in the US refers to itself as “Leads Con”. A “con” by definition is to “persuade someone to do or believe something, typically by use of a deception.” The lead generation industry is big business. I use to wholeheartedly support it and engage it. But over the last several years I’ve come to realize it can be a “con” if you let it.

Lead generation is the lifeblood of most companies. You need leads/inquiries in order to generate business. And it doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, you need leads. I worked for a company a few years ago that was generating 3,000-4,000 leads per day in order to sustain our growth and infrastructure. We started out small and generating all our own leads. But due to circumstances beyond our control, we had to outsource a portion of our lead generation. That portion grew to the point where the company was so dependant on the outsourced leads, we couldn’t function without it. It was like crack. Once you start down that path it is almost impossible to get off it without great sacrifice.

This is where the “con” started. We were still generating a good portion of our own leads. But we were outsourcing too. It became evident to those of us looking at the details that our outsourced lead-gen was competing with our in-house lead-gen. I wanted to bring more of it back in-house to be more in control of our destiny. But the outsource company(s) had a compelling argument, and I think some under the table deals, so we ended up outsourcing all our lead-gen. We were no longer truly in control; although the lead-gen company did tout their complete transparency with impressive reporting. But it just wasn’t right. We, as a company, had added a huge gap and removed ourselves from our potential customers. It became very evident how disconnected we were from our customer base and sales suffered as a result.

I don’t care what any lead-generation company says; their quality doesn’t come close to that of internally generated leads – when done right. I know what some of you may be thinking; “but we need more leads in order to grow!” Then I say to you; get better at generating your own leads. Grow your internal efforts and hire the right people to do it. Whatever you do, don’t outsource lead generation. Your company may not grow at the speed you want. But it will grow stronger and be a more viable company over the long-term.

I left the company that I worked for that was generating 3,000-4,000 leads per day. They continued to outsource all lead-generation against my advice. That company ended up folding because I’m told they were $100-150 million in debt. And 90% of that debt was to lead-generation companies.