In the last post, I described how to scrape LinkedIn to build massive leads lists of companies and contacts programmatically.
Today I want to discuss the next step which is building an outsourced lead generation team to do things like finding email addresses, additional data enhancement, and research on who the decision makers are.
By the end of this post you will have the scripts and blueprint for how to build an entire team of people who can create and enhance targeted lead lists for you while you sleep for a fraction of the cost than you’d pay for someone in house.
Why Build Your Own Team?
There are lots of companies today that offer lead generation as a fully managed service today. There’s also fantastic API’s like can do some heavy lifting for you like Clearbit and FullContact.
Although, these strategies can be easier to implement, you have less control and even with API’s there’s lots of missing data or incorrect data you eventually need to double back on.
Building your own team, even if it just works in tandem with these services, is a superpower because it gives you the flexibility to do whatever you want. It is absolutely a process that takes some ramp time. But if you envision outbound lead generation to be an ongoing part of your business, than I believe the upfront investment is worth it.
By the way, this initiative doesn’t just have to be employed for sales efforts. We use an outsourced lead generation team in our recruiting process which can be dialed on and off whenever we want. Having this gives us a ton of confidence that we can fill the top of the funnel with candidates whenever we want.
Where To Find Your Outsourced Lead Generation Team
By far and away the most reliable place I’ve found for finding high quality freelancers is UpWork.com which provides access to on-demand contract talent all over the world.
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a job listing. Below is the exact job posting I used to build my current team.
In the skills category, I suggest denoting the following categories:
The rest of the parameters can be scoped according to your needs.
The next step is to submit your job which will enable you to invite specific candidates to apply.
Finding Great People
Before we start inviting people to our job, we’re going to make a spreadsheet to profile candidates for our team.
These are parameters that I generally like to view when evaluating outsourced lead generation candidates.
Get a copy of the exact Freelancer Scorecard spreadsheet I used here:
Now based on your needs you’re going to start searching for candidates.
If you want to just get started with one individual, you can just search “lead generation” or “lead research” in the Find Freelancers part of the site. You can refine your search by category and I usually select the Lead Generation facet within the Sales & Marketing category.
If you want to set yourself up to build a team, the role that I’ve had the most success with is searching for a “project manager” in the same category.
From here, you want to start reviewing the search results to find ideal candidates to invite to your job.
Things that I look for on a profile are high ratings and candidates based in the Philippines. That’s not to say that other places in the world can’t provide extremely high quality work, I just find that these people are the most cost effective and reliable when it comes to outsourced lead generation.
When inviting people to jobs, I usually don’t worry about customizing a message. This comes only after someone has accepted my invite.
Once they’ve accepted, you’re going to want to qualify multiple candidates and then test them.
- Have they done this before?
- Do they have access to a team?
- What is their hourly rate? (sometimes different than listed)
- How many leads can they do a week (varies by project)
So I’ll send an message that looks something like this:
Thanks for applying for my job. A few questions:
- Have you done lead generation and data enhancement before?
- Do you have a team that you currently manage or can access to increase volume as we get going?
- What is your team’s hourly rate?
- How many leads can we build up to a week?
Let me know and if it makes sense, I can send over a small test to determine quality of work and get a sense for how many leads we can do an hour.
Once they confirm these answers, you are going to want to send them a test to see how quality their results are.
I generally create a test to find the decision maker’s name, LinkedIn, and email address at 15 companies. Prior to given the test, I go and do this myself to make sure I have a proper benchmark.
Click below to get access to my exact test you can steal from a prior business to screen candidates below.
Once the candidate has agreed to do a test, I start tracking them in the candidate spreadsheet.
I usually aim to test 8-10 people after which I compare their scores and pick 2-3 to start working with based on quality, price, and expected capacity (i.e. can do 2,000 leads a well).
Why More Than One Person?
Similar to when you’re hiring your first Salesperson, it’s generally better to hire more than one so that you have proper result benchmarks. If this is the first time you’re working with someone for outsourced lead generation, you’ll want to have a comparable to understand what “good” actually means.
I generally set a time or volume quota to make the assessment. Two weeks or 500 leads is a good place to start. Again you’re looking for reliability, responsiveness, quality of work, and output.
After the assessment period, it’s time to pick your winner and get going!
Like anything this process should ramp over time so you don’t over invest in something that isn’t successful. Maybe outbound isn’t effective as you thought or your cold email templates suck. So I wouldn’t go crazy and try to push for 5,000 leads a week before you have a clear understanding that it’s working and who your ideal customer avatar is.
But as you get comfortable with these things, you’re going to want to increase the number of people you’re putting against this task. This is why having a project manager with access to talent they can train is so valuable.
Assuming you properly qualified at the onset, it’s literally been as easy to scale this initiative as saying I want to double the output by adding someone. Things get more complex as you try to scale it with a host of independent contractors who aren’t necessarily working in tandem, but this is also very doable.
Effectively scaling your outsourced lead generation team is a whole other topic we can dive into in another post. The main thing to focus on in the early days is finding great people who are consistently providing your desired output. Over time you’ll find ways to further optimize the process as you become more comfortable.
Have questions about outsourced lead generation? Ask them in the comments below!