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What Is A Lead Generation Specialist: How to Use Their Expertise?

A lead generation specialist can make or break your business. Or drain your marketing budget at the least.

Do you think I'm exaggerating?

A BrightTalk survey of 600 B2B businesses revealed that 53% of them spend more than half of their marketing budgets on lead generation activities. Unfortunately, that investment doesn’t pay off for most of them.

As many as 64% of the same group found that leads sent to the sales team make up less than 25% of overall revenue.

The problem is the large volume of low-quality leads. And it can be solved by a lead specialist.

In this article, you'll learn how a lead expert can help your business convert leads into paying customers.

What is a lead generation specialist?

A lead generation specialist helps businesses attract and qualify more potential customers. They are often part of a sales team in B2B companies. They can also work as independent or freelance consultants and offer their services in exchange for a retainer fee. 

And why are they important for your business?

Many B2B companies hire lead experts to take the pressure off their sales and marketing teams as they scale. Sometimes the number of leads coming into your sales team becomes too much for reps to handle. Or, you may not have enough leads coming in at the top of the funnel for your sales team to hit their targets at the bottom. 

Because of this, your reps may struggle to close deals at the rate they used to do. Lead generation specialists support sales by finding new prospects, warming them up, and transferring hot leads to a sales team to close the deal.


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What does a lead generation specialist job involve?

The lead gen specialist job description mainly focuses on outbound lead generation. They spend most of their time calling or emailing leads that match the company’s ideal customer profile. But their role is much more sophisticated than cold-calling random people. 

Here’s what a person in a lead specialist role does on a daily basis:

1. Researching prospects

Lead gen specialists need to find an angle to connect with prospective customers. Understanding their pain points and needs helps them craft an initial sales pitch that resonates with the problems they face. And eventually, build connections with the company decision-makers.

Intent data tools help identify ready-to-buy prospects thanks to tracking prospects' online behaviour. Using intent data and Cognism's accurate data helped Ultima achieve ROI in 8 weeks. George Mckenna, Head of Cloud Sales at Ultima, said:

"Our sales cycle is typically 6-8 months long. At Cognism, we saw ROI in 8 weeks from intent data and direct dials. One deal pays for a year’s Cognism subscription."

2. Contacting prospective customers

Another aspect of the lead generation specialist role involves contacting prospects through different channels. Since people started working from home, sourcing prospects' cell phone numbers has become more important. But lead gen experts are also in charge of sending follow-up emails and scheduling demos.

Michael Iannuzzi, Director of Marketing & Sales Development at Drift, said about his experience with Cognism's Diamond Data®:

“Approximately 4,000 leads each month are enriched by our SDR team using Cognism’s database. On average, 70% of monthly meetings are booked over the phone and every mobile number is pulled from Cognism.”

3. Qualifying leads

A large part of this job requires using lead scoring models. Good lead generation specialists can evaluate leads' interest in your product or service. They can determine if a lead meets the requirements to buy a company's product or service. It helps the sales team to decide where to allocate their resources.

4. Managing contact base

After creating marketing lists of targeted leads, a specialist in lead generation has to maintain and update CRM (especially after marketing campaigns, customer referrals, opt-outs, etc.). The aim is to keep the contact database accurate and relevant for the business. They also make sure the stored information is compliant with local regulations.

4. Improving processes

Lead generation experts are always on the lookout for ways to streamline the sales process at the top of the funnel. They contribute to developing the best outbound sales strategies and make suggestions as to the best sales prospecting software that helps them to perform their job better.

Check out the video below to hear about Gabrielle's daily job and her advice o how to deal with challenges in her role.

What skills do lead generation specialists need to have?

Lead generation is a set of practical skills that are transferable. If you're looking for a job in lead generation, here's a cheat sheet with key skills recruiters want to hear about.

And if you’re looking for a lead gen expert to fill in the role in your company, there are certain skills you need to look out for at an interview.

1. Communication

You need someone who can make an instant connection with prospects and get the needed information without it sounding like an interrogation. Lead generation experts also need to communicate with leaders and reps in your marketing and sales teams.

2. Sales knowledge

Your lead gen specialist needs to know how sales works, such as how the prospect completes various steps on the way to becoming a customer. Even if a person in this position only works at the top of the funnel, they need to know how you fit in with the rest of the team.

3. Tech savviness

Lead generation professionals need to understand their prospects' pain points and be able to explain how your product resolves them. Staying on top of the latest developments in a tech organization, helps lead specialists speak prospects’ language as well as brainstorm ideas with internal teams. 

4. Data-driven

Analytical skills are essential for every salesperson in the age of data-driven marketing. Lead expert’s role involves understanding lead generation metrics, such as conversion rate, drop-off rate, or time required to convert a lead. It enables them to focus on the right leads and manage their time effectively. 

5. Targeting and segmentation 

Lead gen specialists must be able to determine whether a lead fits in with your ideal customer profile and the stage of the buyer’s journey the lead is in. That knowledge facilitates lead nurturing and helps personalize communication to help qualify leads for the next stage.

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How much does a lead generation specialist make?

There is no easy answer when it comes to lead generation specialist earnings. It usually varies depending on the results a person in this position delivers. Companies sometimes decide to pay a base salary and a commission on top of that. 

According to Comparably, the average Lead Generation Specialist in the US makes $46,246 a year and they make the most in Los Angeles at $38,738.

But let’s review average salaries in the industry as reported by lead generation specialists on job portals: 

  • According to Indeed, a lead generation specialist makes $28,206 base salary + $12,000 commission per year 
  • According to Glassdoor, a specialist makes $15 per hour but in a similar role of a lead generation representative, one can earn $45,562 per year and $67,716 per year after being promoted to a lead generation manager 
  • According to Payscale a manager makes $60,376 base salary + between $1,000 and $20,000 bonus per year

The lowest salaries are for recent high-school graduates and undergraduate students who make up nearly 50% of those who reported their earnings on Indeed. Experienced lead experts can negotiate higher base salaries.

Tip! Find out more about other lead generation costs and how to lower them.

How to become a lead generation specialist?

If you want to get a lead generator job, or you’d like to progress in your career, here’s how you do it.

You can enter the industry without a higher education degree and learn on the job. But it’s good to have at least some experience in sales so that you understand the sales funnel. The interviewer will also assess your communication skills to see if you can talk to prospects. 

Getting a degree can help lead gen specialists with data analysis, critical thinking, communication, and other necessary skills depending on the field they study.

Working in sales also means you have to be comfortable using lead generation tools.

And when you’re ready, you can talk to recruiters on Linkedin or apply directly to B2B organizations. Start by looking at the Cognism careers page.

Tip! Learn all about sales development representative job from Cognism's SDR team.

How to go beyond expectations in a lead generation expert role?

If you're looking for a promotion or a pay raise, try some of these suggestions to exceed your lead generation KPIs:

  • Visit the prospects' websites to check who the lead's coworkers are. In larger organizations it takes multithreaded selling to get the deal done.
  • Use intent data to address the right person at the right time.
  • Learn about sales teams' targets and experience to optimize and facilitate the sales process at an early stage.
  • Personalize your message to individual prospects to meet their unique needs.

Tips on hiring great lead specialists

First of all, invest in hiring the right people. 

Focus on finding people who show interest in learning new things and have the potential to become proficient in using your product. Check if they can explain how it works in simple words.

Second of all, empower lead specialists with the right lead generation tools.

Lead generation specialists are your most valuable resource. So make sure you automate processes to make their work easier. Save their time on manually searching prospects and use it on building connections with businesses and contributing to lead generation strategies

Then you can use lead generation metrics and KPIs to monitor their performance and find ways to improve it.

Tip! Find out the list of top lead generation companies and what services they provide.

Take a tour of how Cognism can support lead gen specialists

If you don’t really feel like spending your valuable time and resources hiring a lead gen specialist, Cognism can supply you with leads that match your ideal customer profile. 

Our database is global, GDPR and CCPA compliant, easy to use, and fast to adopt.

Find out how your business can make meaningful connections with your target accounts by clicking to register for a demo.

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