Should You Hire a Lead Generation Freelancer or Agency?

By: Jack Reamer |
 December 18, 2023 |

As a busy founder, you might not have the time to build effective B2B lead generation strategies and implement them. 

You know that generating high-quality leads is no easy task…

You need to build a list of your ideal target audience

Find the right people to reach out to, whether it’s through Linkedin, cold email or cold calling

And once you find these people, you need to write convincing copy that doesn’t sound salesy. 

This all takes time… 


If you have reached this stage of growth in your business where you would like to ramp up sales, you might be wondering if you should hire a freelance lead generation expert

Or hire a lead generation agency to handle the entire process for you. 

If you are at a crossroads and need help determining which option is best for growth, consider the following outlined below. 

Both options are viable but you need to consider which would be best for your business. 

In this article, we will share the pros and cons of both, and this will hopefully help you make the right choice.

(If you would like 1 lead a day, hop on a free 15-minute strategy session with Salesbread. We can also advise you on which option might be better for you. No sales pitch. Just lead generation advice from a founder who has been in the industry for over a decade.)

NOTE: This article is referring to outbound lead generation.

If you are more interested in hiring a freelancer that specializes in inbound, such as: 

  • Search engine optimization
  • Digital Marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Marketing on social media platforms (Like Facebook ads, or Instagram)

You might want to read this article: Inbound VS Outbound Lead Generation and revert back to this article. 

Let’s dive in…

Consider the cost


Some freelancers might be more affordable. For example, you might choose to hire someone on Upwork.

If your company is based in the US and you hire someone from a different part of the world, you might pay a lower rate per hour. 

In some cases, you might find an excellent lead generation specialist who does exactly what you need, and this can save you money.

But if you need to hire a few different people until you find the right person for the job, it could be costly; Especially if you are spending money on training them. 

The average sales manager cost on Upwork is between $15 – $35 per hour.

For cold callers, you can expect to pay between $11 and $20 per hour.

According to Reddit if you are looking for a freelance cold emailer you could spend between $15 – $50 per hour. 


If you would like to hire a lead generation expert full-time, this would be more costly than hiring an agency. The average cost of an SDR is between $6000 – $10,000 per month. This is without things such as benefits, office equipment and subscriptions for tools and software. 

This article: Business Development Representative Salaries In 50 U.S. Cities shares what to expect when paying a BDR a salary. 


When it comes to hiring an agency (depending on which one you choose) you could pay between $5000 and $10,000 per month on average

It really depends on which lead generation services you choose. 

For example, if you would like an agency that specializes in LinkedIn outreach, LinkedIn social media management, or ads, you could expect the following:

It’s also important to consider if the agency you choose locks you into a contract or not.

If they don’t, you can stop using them at any time, especially if they aren’t getting results. But if you are locked into a long-term contract, and you aren’t seeing any ROI, then the agency could be alot more costlier. 

What’s the time investment for each option?


Remember that as a business owner or sales VP, your time is precious. So you need to think about how much time you have to actually invest in hiring and training a freelancer to run your lead generation campaigns

It takes time to hire the right person… This article: How to Hire a Top Freelance Salesperson explains how to make this process quicker.

And let’s be honest… 

Some freelancers might not need as much training, depending on their expertise. 

For example, if you need someone for data entry, market research, social media marketing, web design, SEO or PPC, they might not need much time investment because they already know what they need to do. 

They are probably experts in their field already. 

But if you have a very specific way of generating leads or writing copy for outreach, you might need to invest quite a bit of time in training. 

For example, at Salebread we use a specific method for writing personalized outreach messages, known as CCQ. We train our newbies to use this method and it takes time to get it right. 

List building is another example. 

Not everyone can build ultra-targeted lists on the fly. It might take some time and training to become an expert for your company. 

Studies have shown that it can take up to 9 months for a new salesperson to be competent enough to perform.

We suggest offering a trial of between 1 and 3 months with a freelancer

During the trial, your freelancer should be able to show that they have:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Great customer service skills
  •  And if they can implement your marketing strategy

The trial allows you to see if they are a good fit for your business, and if it also allows them to see if they enjoy working for you. 

If your lead gen freelancer is still struggling to grasp your business after 3 months, they might not be the best fit for your company.

And yes, freelancers come and go, but if you find the right freelancer, and train them well, they can stay with your company for many years to come.  

So investing time in their training can be worth it…

But you need to be honest with yourself and consider if you really have the time available to invest in training. 

If you don’t…. Then hiring an agency will be the better option…


If you decide to hire an agency that specializes in lead generation, there will probably be minimal time investment needed from you. 

They should hop on a discovery call with you to find out more about your business, and this normally takes about an hour. 

The right agency will also be able to build ultra-refined prospecting lists of potential customers based on current buyers’ data from your company. 

They will then show you this list, and have you approve it to make sure that they are reaching out to the right people. 

Next, they might go over copywriting with you, to ensure that the messages are aligned with your brand and voice. 

But once all these basics are done, they should be able to run successful campaigns that bring in new sales leads

If you hire an appointment-setting company, all you have to do is show up to the call and close the deal. 

Think about expertise


Some freelancers do have a ton of expertise. On Upwork, you can hire top-rated talent and have a look at their reviews.  

In some cases, they might have worked a specific number of hours, or they might mention how many years of experience they have in B2B marketing

You could even google the freelancer‘s name and see what extra information comes up.

Perhaps other people have left reviews on Google, or maybe the freelancer runs a successful lead generation blog, which might show off their knowledge. 

But on the other side of the coin, you might find freelancers who don’t have much experience. You might need to spend more time on training.

It really depends on the freelancer you hire. 


Some agencies might have been in the business of lead generation for a few years, but, in order to gauge their expertise you need to ask them a few questions. 

(In this article: 10 Questions to Ask a Linkedin Lead Generation Service Before You Hire Them we share what to consider before hiring an agency.)

For example, you should ask them:

How long will it take before my first lead comes in?

At Salesbread, for example, 92% of our clients see their first qualified sales lead within 48 hours. 

How do you build a list of potential leads?

If an agency can’t tell you in detail how they build prospecting lists, then you might want to consider shopping around for a different partner.

A short conversation about how they build lists should tell you a lot about the agency. 

You want to hire a company that obsesses about list building.


Because if their sales teams build ultra-refined lists the chances of qualified new leads will be so much greater. 

At Salesbread it takes us a week to build a list of potential clients for our partners. We focus on quality and not quantity outreach

The video below is an example of how we would do this:

This article goes into more detail on how we build prospecting lists: Why We Set Out to Build The Best Done-For-You Lead Generation Service

Which channels do they use for lead generation?

A good agency should use a multi-channel approach when it comes to finding qualified leads. If they only rely on telemarketing, for example, they might miss out on finding you a ton of new clients

At Salesbread we rely on the following:

  • Linkedin outreach
  • Cold email
  • SMS

To find new business for your company.

Do they use automation for the entire process?

Some automation is okay. For example, at Salesbread we use Expandi to send follow-up messages. 

But, we don’t use automation to write our copy or reply to prospects once they respond to our messages. 

Prospects know when the same automated message is being sent to thousands of other people. And most of these kinds of messages get ignored. We all have “blinkers” on when it comes to spammy messages. 

So instead, we prefer a personal touch at Salesbread. 

Every single message is personalized, and our SDRs follow up in real-time.

Do they have a proven track record?

Ask the agency for recent testimonials and case studies. They should be able to provide you with a few recent ones. 

Here are some of our most recent case studies and testimonials:

Case Studies

Final Thoughts

Choosing whether to hire a freelancer or an agency really depends on what your needs are and the freelancer that you choose. 

But if you lack the time or experience to generate sales-qualified leads, book a free 15-minute strategy session with Salesbread. 

We would love to help you generate 1 qualified sales lead per day.