How difficult is it to sell leads

11 things to look out for when buying B2B leads - with a checklist to download

The purchase of B2B leads is becoming more and more popular on the market. Performance agencies advertise with long-term online skills and promise quick increases in sales through new customers. But what do you have to look out for when buying leads? How can you check an agency's offer for seriousness? The following article shows which pitfalls exist in buying leads and how to avoid them.

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Buying leads alone does not generate any sales. The sales force needs to be able to convert the leads. In times of remote selling, the company needs additional skills. But let's look at the leads themselves first.

1. Were the leads collected in accordance with the law?

When it comes to lead generation, there are many black sheep in the market. Of course, the companies that generate leads are reluctant to look into their cards. Nevertheless, it is very important for you as a buyer of leads that you have the provider document how the leads are collected in accordance with the law. This includes, for example, that the leads have gone through a so-called double optin process, i.e. have confirmed their own email address with one click. Furthermore, an IP address and the date-time stamp should be saved. Finally, it must be possible for each lead to unsubscribe from a list or newsletter with one click.


2. Have the leads been informed about the use by you?

In the case of lead generation, which usually takes place via an online form, the lead must be given information that you as a company or sponsor will receive the lead data. The text must also state what you are allowed to do with this data. He must also be informed about his possibility of revocation. The lead must agree to this declaration by submitting the form.

3. Are the leads "hot"?

Timeliness is an important point for good lead utilization. How much time elapses between generating the lead and referring it to your company? The longer this period, the less “hot” the leads are. This makes converting a lead more difficult depending on the topic. In the B2B market (see also the explanation of B2B) the period can usually be longer than in the B2C market. For example, if you sell software or a complex machine, the customer needs a lot more time to make a decision. Sometimes the so-called closing time is more than a year. The closing time describes the time that elapses between getting to know the customer and closing the sale. In the case of complex products in the B2B market, different decision-makers are often occupied with the purchase decision, which further extends the decision-making process. Even so, you should make sure that not too much time has passed before the lead is handed over to you. Because if you or your sales department then manually re-qualifies the leads, even more time goes into the country. For these reasons, we advise you to continue processing and qualifying or contacting leads within one month.

4. Are the leads in the right format?

When you receive leads, what is the best format for you to process them in? Is an Excel list sufficient or should the number of leads be imported into your own CRM system via an interface? The more requirements you have, the higher the effort for the lead generation agency. In each individual case, it must be weighed up whether it makes sense to program an interface.


In a first lead package, check the quality of the leads and the cooperation with the service provider. When you're excited about the initial results, optimize lead handover.


5. Were the lead specifications confirmed in writing before the lead purchase?

Set guidelines for the quality and number of leads that you take away. This includes, for example, the size of the company or the decision-maker level. Of course, the higher the requirements and the higher the restrictions, the higher the price per lead. In any case, these specifications must be confirmed in writing by the provider or written in the offer.


6. Does the service provider have a data protection officer?

The agency should appoint a data protection officer for legal queries about the lead survey. In this context, it should also be asked how the agency reacts to security-related attacks such as cyber attacks and whether the agency is insured against such cases.


7. Do you only pay after the lead has been accepted?

Some providers can be paid even before the first leads are delivered. A business partner recently reported to me that they had to prepay a minimum of 100 leads. The quality of the leads that were then delivered was very poor. We advise you to refrain from doing this and only pay leads after delivery. In individual cases it can be that a large-scale lead campaign devours costs for conception and ads. For such cases you can pay an advance. With the pure acceptance of lead packages and tests, it is better not to pay until you have received the leads.


8. Is the dealings with existing customers and prospects regulated?

How do you deal with lead data if the lead is already in your customer base? It is also conceivable that you have already created the lead as a prospect in your CRM system because it was won through another lead campaign a few weeks ago. Of course, your lead agency is not responsible for the fact that you already own the customer. You should come to an agreement on this in advance. For example, you can explicitly exclude customers in advance with a list. A small lead price is also conceivable for cases that cover at least part of the agency's costs. It is important to settle these cases in writing before commissioning.


9. Is the exclusivity of lead usage regulated?

If you work with a performance agency that generates leads only for you, then you should document this exclusivity in relation to the leads in writing. If you simply take leads from a lead generator, you can request an exclusivity. However, be aware that this exclusivity costs money. Partial exclusivity in the form of a time advantage is also negotiable. So you can agree that you will receive the leads exclusively in front of all other lead recipients for 2-3 days. In most cases, this option is also associated with higher costs per lead.


10. Does the lead price match your product offering?

The price of the leads varies greatly depending on the quality and industry. Important for you: Does the price pay off in your business model? If your product costs 100 euros and the lead 150 euros, then it goes without saying that you have to refrain from this offer. However, such a low price would not be advisable in the B2B sector. You can also read our complete article “What does a B2B lead cost?”.


11. Touch your own nose - is the internal lead management process in place?

It happens again and again that despite the delivery of top leads, there is no sales success in the end. A performance agency reported to us that after a thorough review, it turned out that there was a problem with lead tracking and lead handover. The agency's contact in these cases was always a marketing manager, but the lead processing was done in the sales department. Unfortunately, sales did not follow up on many leads because it was either busy at the moment or the lead lists were simply forgotten. This mainly happens when the leads are not integrated into a corresponding marketing automation software, in which lead nurturing takes place automatically without the intervention of a sales representative. No more lead is lost like this.

Also read our article on software comparison of Marketing Automation Tools.

In addition to these 11 aspects, you will find further questions in our complete checklist for buying B2B leads with 21 points. You can download the list at the beginning of this article.



Image sources

  • leaduebergabe-b2b: Pexels - Erik Scheel