I have dialogues:
“We need leads! Do you work on cost-per-lead (CPL) model?”
“Can you give us sales?”, “We need someone who gives hot leads. What are your guarantees?”, “Agencies always charge for nothing!”
ok, that's fine, let's review step-by-step
Part1: your startup should have viable business model. This is only way how you can make money. There are plenty of businesses that are not feasible, will not be able to meet client expectation or meet the need.
The product might be unnecessary, expensive, unclear.
We can make you sales only if you have a verified product-market fit.
The agency can make you sales if you already make sales without any agency
B2B ad agency is a sword, so you should be a warior, a knight. If you are not a knight, but a horse or a dragon, a sword is useless.
Let’s say you made a profitable startup with good demand, the agency gives you resource and knowledge for faster move. You just take the best selected strategies and skilled people make your marketing process smooth from a very beginning.
Part2: the cost per lead is a responsibility. If you want someone take the risk of your business and invest their own money into leads for your company, you should have a smooth analytics and lead acceptance process, quick and reliable payment for result. Most companies asking me about CPL model did not know their pipeline statistics and average cost per lead in their industry.
If you wish to pay only for leads – visit exchanges like CJ.com (USA) or Admitad.com (Russia), you will see yourself how strict are their rules, how complicated is to even register and be accepted. And how difficult is to persuade professional affiliated marketers to work with your offer (given the competition on these marketplaces).
Another problem is leads diversity: if you need leads for office rent they are pretty similar, but leads for software outsourcing business are very different, so you can’t easily compare them or value by similar price.
The leads selling agencies are very narrow focused. To generate leads they use/have some asset. For example some online journal or youtube channel with specific audience. So yes, they can generate leads, let’s say for ladies shopping, but they won’t do it for mortgage business or SaaS startup.
Part3: The end sale is internal commercial responsibility of the business owner, not the agency. When talking to agency you expect a magician who will give you money (and we are honored that you value us like that!), but if you do not control your source of income – it’s a bad plan.
So you will need to find time for management, for reception of work, for planning the workflow. I often met owners that gave me job, but failed even find time to jump on a call and discuss the leads.
If leads are spoiled or decision is not made in time – the sale won’t be achieved.
Hiring an agency requires managerial resource: we are people and you are people, and we need to communicate to produce mutual result.
Understanding agency resource in a correct way allows you to build successful partnership for getting marketingstrategie, leads pipeline, increase revenues.