In-House VS. Outsourced? And How to Build Your Own Lead Generation Team

By: Jack Reamer |
 January 22, 2021 |

Let’s face it: Lead generation is a critical aspect of your business.

Without enough quality leads coming in… your sales numbers go down and you may have some unhappy meetings about finding other work. 

However, generating leads is no easy task.

Any SDR or business development VP knows how time-consuming and challenging each stage can be. For example…

  • Researching and understanding your client profile 
  • Testing and optimizing your messaging 
  • And developing an outbound strategy

On the upside, you know that a working lead generation strategy will bring you a consistent flow of high-quality leads. But let me guess…

… between running a kickass business and serving your current clients, you’ve already got too much on your plate to worry about lead gen. (Much less implement the strategy.)

Bottom-line: You need help getting b2b leads.

The question is: Should you outsource this to an agency or hire an SDR internally?

In this article, we will explore the benefits of outsourcing your lead generation efforts or keeping them in-house to help you decide which one would be the best fit for your company and profits.

Lead generation team VS. Internal sales team

The back and forth confusion between “should my own team do it” and “should I trust others to handle it” is a common struggle every business owner faces when trying to ramp up sales.

Both options are feasible but that doesn’t mean they fit your business needs.

So let’s take a look at a few pros and cons, and what they could mean for your business. 

1) Let’s start with the cost.

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective solution to get high-quality leads, then hiring a lead generation agency is the best choice.


That’s because hiring an internal sales team can be costly. Not only do you need to pay them a salary, but you’re also expected to provide benefits. This may include everything from paid time off to health insurance.

But if you outsource your lead generation efforts, you can scratch “salary” and “employee benefits” from the list of things you need to worry about.

Plus, you can get a trained and experienced lead generation team for less than the cost of hiring a single SDR. 

An experienced lead generation agency already knows what tech to use for messaging, what tools to use for building lead lists, how to generate prospects without tarnishing your reputation, and what messaging resonates best with your ideal prospects. 

In short, they’re already paying for the tools and subscriptions you would need to provide to your new sales team. (In addition to paying their salary.)

By now, I think we can both agree that having a team of experts handle your lead generation efforts ensures that you not only get results fast, you also don’t have to think about burning budget on trial and error. 

However, if you’re still not fully convinced that an internal sales team, translates to more financial and time investment, ask yourself this:

What does an SDR cost in the U.S.?

As per ZipRecruiter, the average annual pay for an SDR in the United States is $49,537. 

Keep in mind, your ideal sales team should consist of copywriters, conversion analysts, marketing strategists, and sales reps. Having an agency that can fill those roles can save you an arm and a leg.

2) Time investment for hiring your first sales rep.

Hiring a sales team can be challenging and exhausting. Imagine the burden of recruiting, training, and managing your own sales team which can take months.

Picture yourself sifting through resume after resume and conducting multiple interviews to find the best person for the job. Once the recruitment process is over, you will also have to invest time in training new hires.

Rain group found that it takes an average of nine months for a new salesperson to be competent to perform.

Not to mention you have to prepare your aspirin as you develop and implement processes and master lead generation on the fly. The good things is 

3) Consider your short term sales goals.

The next thing you need to consider when deciding to outsource your lead generation efforts or keeping them in-house is the result. 

For businesses whose sales teams have little to no experience in lead generation, outsourcing will likely help generate more leads in less time, thanks to the agency’s advanced skills and experience. 

So, if you want fast results and a lower risk of failure, hiring a lead generation agency might be a smart strategy.

And that leads us to the next big question, when should you outsource?

4) When is the right time to outsource.

The thought of hiring a lead generation team is exciting but it is also one of the toughest choices most business owners have to face. Lead generation is the growth engine of every business which is why it is vital to identify when you need help with your lead gen efforts.

To determine the best time to outsource, you have to ask yourself these questions;

  1. Are you seeing the results you want from your internal sales team?
  2. How many people do you have on your sales team?
  3. Is there a person designated for each activity involved in lead generation?

Obviously, you can’t expect one person to do all the tasks involved and get great results. The best thing to do is ask yourself and your team if you’re demanding too much from them. 

If your internal sales team is already working as hard as they can but still falling short of reaching your sales target, then it’s about time to let the experts take the wheel of your lead gen efforts. 

Bonus: If you’d rather watch than read, you can check out this video where we answered the question, “Should you hire a lead generation agency or build an internal sales team?”

What are the red flags to look for when hiring a lead generation team?

It is clear why you should hire a lead generation agency, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to choose one.

It is a big decision to make, which is why I’ll enumerate what you should look for to help you separate the good from the bad. 

1) Agencies that require a “number” of months commitment.

If a lead gen agency is as good as what they claim to be, there’s no logic behind why commitments need to happen. Because if they’re good, they should make a lead happen in two days, one day, or an hour. 

So unless they’re sure that they can keep you through performance, then there’s absolutely no reason to pull the “commitment” card.

You should be able to walk away WHENEVER you want to.

2) Agencies who promise to contact large numbers of people every month.

If an agency tells you, “Look, we’re going to contact 5000 people every month on your behalf,” RUN.

This is a scary approach for two reasons.

One, the emphasis is not on the result.

As long as they’re not bashing your list or your reputation, you probably don’t care that much about their activities. It’s just ‘What am I going to see in return?’

But this is where email spam could get ugly. This is where your reputation could be tarnished because, at the end of the day, there are only so many people that are a good fit for your company.

So, be wary of agencies taking the volume approach. 

Second, bulk-sending messages make it impossible for personalization to be done. Personally, I would never let anybody do outreach on my behalf if they didn’t personalize it.

Just check out this study that suggest 65% of buyers say they’d switch brands if a company wasn’t making an effort to personalize their communication.

3) Agencies who claim they have a ‘secret sauce.’

When you ask an agency, ‘How do you do that?’ and their reply is they can’t tell you because it’s their secret sauce, the best thing to do is to stay away from them. 

If an agency tells you that they have a secret sauce, chances are that they are doing something fishy which can tarnish your reputation.

Or they’re just basically a trick that’s going to last a month or two. 

4) Agencies who refuse to give reference.

I’ll add one more thing, and if agencies are able to satisfy this, then it should put you at ease.

Ask the agency for a couple of phone numbers for clients that they’re working with so you can ask them and find out how long the agency’s been working with them and just have a short chat. 

If they can’t give you their clients’ contact details, or say something like “we protect our clients”, then RUN.

If they have a good working relationship with their clients, they should be able to ask permission to give their phone number to a prospective client.

When does a relationship with an agency fail?

You have to realize that getting into the lead generation game is a risk. There’s no guarantee of an X% return on your investment. 

However, there are times when it’s the perfect time to hire a lead generation agency – you’ve found the right lead generation team, the right product, the right service, the right strategy, and somehow, it still fails.

The reason?

This might surprise you a bit but it is common among businesses.

Most founders are looking to double their revenue and they need fast results but they don’t have the bandwidth. 

If you’re a business owner and you don’t have the time to invest, then it’s not a good time to hire a lead generation agency. 

It is pretty simple. 

It’s always going to fail when the leads generated were not acted on, in a timely manner. A lead a day, ready to talk but if you’re not there on the zoom call, it’s not going to work. You’re not going to make money. 

So, whether you’re going to outsource agency or build an internal sales team, make sure you have the bandwidth to actually make it a priority for you. 


Now that we have unpacked the pitfalls of building an internal sales team and you understand the potential benefits of hiring a lead generation agency, let’s have a recap of why you should outsource your lead generation efforts. 

  • Outsourcing a lead generation team means you don’t have to worry about paying out salaries and other benefits, saving you piles of cash in the process.

  • Hiring a lead generation team can save you plenty of time because you don’t need to recruit and train new employees.

  • If you want fast and great results, hiring a lead generation team is a smart choice because they’re already seasoned, marketing experts. 

    Could you use more help or are you doing well on your own?

    If you want to ensure the growth of your business, hire a lead generation team.

    Let us do the scheduling for you.

    Just be ready to act on a lead.