Upwork: What to Consider Before Hiring a Lead Generation Specialist

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Lead generation is a vital part of the sales process; without it, businesses can run out of revenue. Lead gen specialists are experts at deploying strategies to attract potential customers with a high probability of purchase. 

Companies can choose between freelancers, in-house teams, or third-party agencies to ramp up the lead generation process. Before deciding which option better suits your business, it’s essential to understand the benefits and risks that come with each alternative. 

Considerations for Hiring Freelancers

According to Upwork1, freelancers made up 34% of the United States workforce in 2017, and that is expected to rise to about 50% in 2030. 

Engaging a freelancer gives your business instant access to independent professionals, but it’s important to consider that the top talents in this market often work for lead generation agencies. Before hiring a freelancer, pay attention to the following:

Hiring Freelancer Checklist

Project timeline

A freelancer must provide details for project completion before you sign the dotted lines. If the freelancer proposes an inconvenient timeline, they may not be the ideal fit for you.

Budget

Before hiring a freelance lead generation specialist, ensure that you’re both on the same page regarding the budget for the project. Freelancers can either get paid per project or per hour. Although they are considered a cheaper alternative to lead gen agencies and in-house teams, their costs can balloon without a clear understanding of the scope.

Track record

The ideal freelancer can back up their work in the industry with references and social proof from reputable clients. A freelancer’s track record demonstrates their ability to generate high-quality results for their clientele.

When hiring on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, the volume of positive reviews will give you an idea of how experienced the lead generation specialist is.

Communication

Before hiring an independent lead generation specialist, consider how well they communicate. The freelancer should provide real-time updates on the job done for your feedback.

Industry knowledge and skill set

The best freelancer for the job should be familiar with lead generation in your industry. They will be reaching out to experts in your field to grow your leads, and doing so without the proper information puts them at a disadvantage. 

Many freelancers have a particular skill set for lead generation, with expertise only in one aspect of lead generation such as content creation or social media. 

Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers for Lead Generation

Outsourcing lead generation to freelancers has benefits and drawbacks. Before hiring a freelancer, evaluate if it is a suitable fit for your company.

At a glance, the pros and cons of hiring freelancers are:

ProsCons
FlexibilityLow-quality leads
Project priorityLittle room for supervision
Low-costData security risks
Limited experience

Pros

Flexibility

Clients benefit from freelancers’ flexible work schedules. You can reach them outside of work hours for issues that need immediate attention.

Project Priority

Freelancers usually have a few gigs at a time and can prioritize your project. This is an advantage over lead generation services, which may be overburdened with clients at any given time. 

Low-cost

Hiring a freelancer is less expensive than hiring an in-house lead gen specialist, as you do not have to pay for training, onboarding, benefits, and other costs that come with staffing. 

Cons

Low-quality leads

The best lead generation campaigns prioritize quality over quantity. Freelancers are likely to have less experience with lead scoring and your qualifications, which can load down your pipeline with low-quality leads.

Little room for supervision

Unlike in-house teams or third-party agencies, sales leaders cannot supervise the freelancers’ work. While communicating through the project is a great way to supervise the job, it lacks the hands-on approach that lead gen agencies offer. This is especially true on freelance platforms like Upwork where most communication happens through the Upwork portal.

Poor data security

Hiring a freelancer entails entrusting sensitive information to a stranger, sometimes worldwide. Data security concerns hamper outsourcing lead generation to freelancers. 

While non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) outline potential remedies in the event of a data breach, they can’t retroactively secure your data.

Limited experience

Many freelance lead generation specialists have minimal experience, which limits their ability to combine effective strategies. Freelancers’ skill sets are often singular in focus such as social media, content creation, or email marketing. If their skill set is well served for engaging your audience, this may be less of an issue.

Should I Hire an In–house Lead Generation Specialist?

Freelancers are great if you’re starting out or need to ramp up results in the short term. For longer-lasting results, sales leaders often prioritize hiring an in-house specialist or a reliable lead generation agency. 

Adding a lead generation specialist to your team is expensive and time-consuming.  As a sales leader, you are in charge of hiring, onboarding, and intensive training before the new hire produces results.

Lead generation specialists earn about $48,000 yearly2, excluding benefits and bonuses. This sum and other expenses may represent significant investments above your company’s lead generation budget.

Outsourcing lead generation to an agency is highly cost-effective compared to hiring freelancers or full-time specialists. 

Why Should I Choose an Agency Instead of a Freelancer?

A sales agency comprises teams of experts with the necessary skills, tools, and tactics to improve sales processes through effective lead generation. These companies utilize inbound and outbound strategies to attract potential customers and schedule appointments for your business.

Lead gen agencies are advantageous because they:

  • have highly specialized teams
  • prioritize lead quality over quantity
  • use data-driven methods
  • are more cost-effective

Highly specialized teams

Lead generation agencies use a variety of strategies to attract new clients. To produce top lead generation outcomes, the team of skilled professionals employs their knowledge in SEO, social selling, direct email, email outreach, cold calling, and content marketing.

Lead gen teams also provide a fresh perspective into your sales process, bouncing ideas off each other to attract more customers.

Lead quality over quantity

Lead generation agencies use proven strategies to qualify potential customers by their interest in your business. The sales reps classify leads into cold, warm, and hot and pass them to the account executives to channel their efforts into closing. 

Data-driven methods

Lead generation teams use data and research to extract valuable information about prospective customers. Their experience working with many businesses allows them to quickly diagnose solutions and generate leads for your business.

Cost-effective

Cost per lead (CPL) is the average amount spent on generating new leads. CPL is calculated by dividing the total cost of lead generation by the number of new leads. 

CPL = Lead Generation cost / Number of new Leads

Many freelancers misinterpret CPL because they do not account for lead quality in their calculations. Bad leads also cost money and result in losses, as they do not generate revenue for the company. The cost per lead with lead-generating agencies is more representative, as most of the leads generated have a higher potential to become customers. 

Bottom Line

Lead generation specialists can work as independent contractors, full-time employees, or through third-party lead generation agencies. These agencies offer cost-effective services with professional teams and use proven strategies to generate hot leads. 

Instead of chasing inexperienced freelancers or spending money to hire and train in-house staff, sales managers can leverage lead generation companies to drive leads and increase revenue.

References

  1. https://www.upwork.com/research/freelance-forward-2021
  2. https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/lead-generation-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,26.htm
  3. https://www.entrepreneur.com/living/6-must-dos-when-hiring-a-freelancer/253004
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