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Making the most of a lead generation partner

'Tales from the non-exec’ harnesses the insights and lessons gained from the board rooms of marketing agencies around the UK and abroad from one of the most experienced non-exec directors in the sector, Miles Welch, the founder of Milestone Advisory and former CEO of Digitas and COO of Harvest Digital. Issues such as business strategy, exit planning, growth pains, expansion, culture, leadership, process and people will be covered in the form of tips, tools and advice. Powered by The Drum Network, ‘Tales From the non-exec’ is an essential read for any agency leader looking to grow a better business.

How do you get the best out of a lead generation partner?

I always get mixed reviews from people I meet about the efficacy of engaging a lead generation business, but for a lot of businesses it is a really effective way of filling the sales pipeline. Quite often, poor performance is not down to the partner you choose but the way they are engaged and the misconception that making appointments is going to improve your sale performance.

Here are a few thoughts on selecting a partner and how to get the most out of the relationship:

• Look for track record, seek performance data and take up references

• Check the quality of the people making the calls, not the person who’s sold to you

• Quality of opportunity versus volume of meetings

• Understanding of current market trends

• Breadth of offer are they simply making phone calls or can they help you with the wider sales performance

• Price is sadly a factor but try and balance the fee with all the above. The cheapest is not always the best option and if they can help in other areas be receptive and prepared to pay a little more.

Get more out of the relationship by:

• Treating the new biz agency as an expert and a partner, not as a supplier or a box ticking exercise, and trusting their ability to deliver over the long term (new business from cold is seldom a quick fix solution to business growth)

• Providing the partner with as much insight and info as possible at the outset, and on an on-going basis, and reacting quickly to info requests and meeting date requests

• Having empathy for the challenges of developing new business from cold, and trusting in the nurture process

• Being receptive to advice around collateral, website and campaign strategy

• Tailoring content (blogs etc) to specific lead gen campaigns

• Showing enthusiasm and gratitude to the lead gen partner – sales people have an inbuilt need to please and feel loved and a well done or thank you note goes a long way

• Understanding and agreeing the level of qualification agencies wish to meet clients at

• Seeing the partner as an outsourced engine room that compliments new business activity around referrals and in-bound leads

• Being honest and open from the outset about what success looks like

• Knowing what you’re good at and not good at, and accepting help (where it’s offered) in winning business, not just opening doors.

I’ve been surprised with the businesses I’ve met recently that really do sales performance consultancy rather than just lead generation. Be open and receptive to help in other areas of marketing and sales to improve your performance, you may be surprised.

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